Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sometimes ads are good: Dove Self-esteem Fund

While some may be skeptical of Dove's Campaign For Real Beauty (Canadian version here), the viral ads used in the campaign pack an emotional punch. The best known video is "Evolution" which recently won the Cannes Lions 2007 Grand Prix for film, which is the advertising industry's highest award.

Show this to your daughters. Again and again. And again.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What? A parenting magazine with substance? Well, one issue at least.

On our first visit to the pediatrician with Zen Girl, we were handed a massive lump of coupons. Somewhere in that lump was a copy of ParentsCanada magazine. It was immediately tossed aside. I figured it was an ad-driven, poorly written junk mag. Some time later, while preparing to blue-bin it, I actually looked at the cover.

Behind the requisite "15 Accidents That are Killing Our Kids" headline,
there's smiley Olympic rower, children's rights activist, Canadian icon and single mom Silken Laumann looking right at me.

It gets better.

Interviews with same-sex parents about their experiences becoming/being parents.

And then the real kicker. An excerpt from Freakonomics.

Wow. It's amazing what we take for granted in the Great White North. I remember a controversy in the last year or so where a parenting magazine was forced off the shelves of many an American store because it showed a breastfeeding baby.

We get single moms and gay parents and I nearly over looked it.

Kudos to ParentsCanada! Keep up the good work.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Milk Soy Protein Intolerance (MSPI): The Great Goat's Milk Fallacy

Finding sources of fat and calcium is very difficult for moms breastfeeding MSPI kids. Many people (even lactation consultants and dietitians) suggested goats milk (and goat cheese and yogurt) as viable options. A chat with our allergist revealed that goat milk-based products are NOT safe for MSPI kids.

Bovine albumin (the protein that causes the irritation) and goat albumin have 97% structural homology. This means that the two proteins are almost identical and cause identical symptoms.

Enriched rice milk is a good source of calcium and can be used instead of milk in most recipes. I have yet to find alternatives for cheese and yogurt.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

The fuss about co-sleeping

Co-sleeping has been all over the news (here, here and here) since the Coroner's Office of Ontario released a report calling for a ban on infant bath seats and calling co-sleeping a major cause of infant death.

The big media (see links) have been simply rereading the press release, with out looking at the details. In reality, the report should be considered in two sections. The first deals with infant bath seats. There were 50 accidental infant drownings in Ontario between 1986 and 2004 that involved bath seats. Most cases occurred when a parent momentarily turned away. We used a bath seat once or twice for Curious Boy, but he hated it so we stopped. In reality, what is important is for parents remember that kids can drown in any ANY AMOUNT OF WATER. Never turn away. Not for a second. Ever.

The second part of the report deals with co-sleeping. We are avid co-sleepers in this house. Before Curious Boy was born, I was dead set against the idea of having a kid in my bed. After three weeks of zero sleep, I caved. I love it. When Zen Girl came, we just assumed that she would share our bed. Co-sleeping is a wonderful bonding time, and certainly makes nighttime nursing much easier.

The coroner's report suggests that infant sleeping be restricted to "approved" sleeping areas, namely cribs. This is where one begins to wonder if the coroner ever had kids. Children should not be allowed to sleep in playpens, swings, car seats or vibrating chairs. Come on. This means that parents can never actually leave the house. It's absurd.

According to lactation consultant extraordinaire Carole Dobrich, co-sleeping parents must take a few precautions:

  • Baby should sleep in Mom's arms
  • Dad should have his own blankets
  • Minimize pillows and blankets in the bed
  • Sleep on a firm mattress (especially not a waterbed)
In almost every case where a child died while co-sleeping one of these things was involved:
  • Drinking alcohol to excess
  • Sleeping pills or other medication that makes parents drowsy
  • Smoking in bed
  • Obesity in the parents
  • Sleeping on a sofa or armchair
If any of those things apply to you, DO NOT sleep in be with your child.

Whenever someone is critical of co-sleeping, I always ask them to consider other newborn mammals. It would be considered cruel to have a puppy sleep away from its mother. Why then is it not cruel to keep a human infant away?

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Milk Soy Protein Intolerance: What you CAN'T eat.

This is for everyone who's wondering what you need to avoid if you are breastfeeding a child with MSPI (especially Laurie).

On ingredients lists you must avoid the following:

modified milk ingredients
milk protein

soy flour
soy protein
soya beans

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Milk Soy Protein :Intolerance: Stuff You CAN Eat (MSPI)

If you are breastfeeding and avoiding dairy, soy and beef, there are so many things that you can't eat. There are however a surprising number of things you can eat.

Check out the Kosher section of your local grocery store. Better yet, find a kosher bakery. Anything labeled PAREVE will not have any meat or dairy. The only thing to check for is soy.

The first time my wife went on this diet, my wife spent the first two weeks feeling like she was melting away Here are some snack foods we've found:

  1. Lay Chips: Plain, Salt and Vinegar, All Dressed (check others)
  2. Oreo cookies
  3. Dad's Oatmeal (and oatmeal raisin) cookies
  4. President's Choice Trail Mix granola bars (Loblaws/Provigo/Sobeys/Maxi)

Remember to check all of the ingredients anyway, since they can change at any time.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Milk Soy Protein Intolerance

Unfortunately, this is the first in what will be a long and ongoing series of posts about Bovine Protein Intolerance. It is also referred to as Milk Protein Intolerance or Milk/Soy Protein Intolerance (MSPI). For simplicity (and hopefully some Google action) I'm going to call it Milk Soy Protein Intolerance.

Our son, the Curious Boy, was diagnosed with MSPI at 4 1/2 weeks, after we found blood in his diaper. Philosophermom went on a restricted diet, eliminating beef, soy and dairy. CB outgrew the intolerance at 10 months (75% outgrow it by 12 months, more than 90% by 2 yrs).

According to our allergist, MSPI appears to be hereditary (talk to my mom), and our other children would be at risk of having MSPI as well (about 50% for a girl, greater than 80% for a boy). When Zen Girl started showing signs of increased fussiness and a green, mucus-y stool at about 2 weeks old, we decided to test if she was suffering as well. After a few days, her stool returned to yellow, and she was once again living up to her name.

There are very few resources online about MSPI, and many pediatricians are not even aware of the condition. I'm hoping that we will be able to share some of our experiences and strategies with you. In addition, I will be posting lists of prepared/packaged/restaurant food that is safe for breastfeeding moms who need to eliminated dairy, beef and soy from their diet.

Skin-to- hairy chest

Paternal Skin-to-Skin Contact Offers Cesarean-Born Baby Same Calming & Development Benefits As Mom.

We are big fans of skin-to-skin contact in this house. Zen Girl was put on her mom before the cord had even been cut. The two spent a lot of skin-to-skin time together in the recovery room, and continue to do so now. It is amazing how much it can calm her down and help her feed.

I love being skin-to-skin with my infants as well, and in the hospital often held my daughter (and son before) to my bare chest to help calm them.

A new study in the journal Birth:Issues in Perinatal Care shows that when mom is unavailable, contact with dad offers the same benefits.

In a study of 29 father-infant pairs, full-term healthy newborns born by planned cesarean section were randomized to be placed either skin-to-skin on their father’s chest or beside their father in a crib. The infants in the skin-to-skin group stopped crying and were more calm compared to infants in the crib group. A father should therefore be regarded as the primary caregiver for the baby when a mother is not available immediately following a birth.

Dads who don't live at home are still important

In the lead-up to father's day (and to compensate for my inability to find time to write real posts), here are a couple of recent studies highlighting the importance of fathers:

Fathers Have Great Impact On Their Children's Lives, Even When Not At Home

"[...] looked at the quality of the relationship nonresidential fathers had with their children. The closer the father-child relationship -- not just the amount of visitation -- the better children were doing,"
This news can be both frightening and reassuring for dads who don't live with their kids. Dads who don't get to see their kids often, but find ways to really engage them can still play an important role. On the other hand, fathers who get to see their kids a lot, but don't find ways to connect won't have a big impact.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

MotherRisk. You should know about this. Really.

I've been meaning to post about Motherisk (LINK) for a very long time. So here we go.

"Motherisk offers pregnant, planning and breastfeeding women answers to questions about morning sickness and the risk or safety of medications, herbs, diseases, chemical exposures and more."

It's run out of the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children (LINK) and is perhaps the most useful drug and exposure resource available for pregnant and breastfeeding women. There is loads of info on their newly updated site, but even better are the phone numbers:

1-877-327-4636 - Alcohol and Substance
1-800-436-8477 - Morning Sickness
1-888-246-5840 - HIV and HIV Treatment
(416) 813-6780 - Motherisk's Home Line

The Home Line is the one to call if you need information about the safety of medication during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This service is much more thorough and helpful than sites like SafeFetus (LINK), because they can provide you with specific details about what types of studies were done, as well as metabolism details.

Last week we called to find out if Claritin is safe during breastfeeding. It is.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Getting the posts in... diaper watch edition

Ever since we found blood in the Curious Boy's diaper when he was 3 1/2 weeks old, we've paid close attention to what comes out of his butt. Same goes for Zen Girl now. The day we came home from the hospital, the ZG all of two days old, we found blood in her diaper. Not the pretty red uric acid crystals that you learn about in prenatal classes. Drops of blood.

Cue the freakout.

A few deep breath later, PhilosopherMom remebers hearing about a friend's sister who had the same thing early on with one of her newborn girls (she has five, and one on the way). Turns out that estrogen from the mom can cause newborn girls to have a little menstruation.


Closer inspection revealed that ZG had swollen breasts to boot. As many as 10% of little girls have this (LINK).

The spotting stopped later that day.