Posted tagged ‘milk’

Organic infant formula? One brand is a bad idea

August 10, 2008

As reported by the New York Times, parents thinking that Similac Organic Infant Formula is healthier than conventional formulas are in for a surprise. The company that makes it, Ross, decided to use cane sugar as a sweetener. This makes Similac Organic taste sweeter than other infant formulas, and much sweeter than human milk. It’s riskier for a baby’s teeth, and is very likely to lead to over-eating. Worse still, it may help imprint a desire for sweeter foods starting at a very young age.

As discussed in this post, I’m not a proponent of organic foods. They’re more expensive, and I’m not convinced that they’re healthier or better for children. In the case of this particular infant formula, parents are paying about 30% more for a product that’s very likely to be less healthful than non-organic alternatives. You can’t assume that organic = more healthful.

Goodbye, whole milk

July 7, 2008

A new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, published in July 2008, calls for almost all children to consume low-fat rather than whole milk to reduce their long-term risk of cardiovascular disease.

Reduced-fat milk is preferred for all children starting at age 2. For babies younger than this, starting at age 1 year reduced-fat milk should be used if there are any risk factors: obesity or risk for obesity, or a strong family history of heart disease or increased cholesterol. Since just about every child growing up in the developed world is at risk for obesity, the guideline seems to apply to just about everyone.

The guideline doesn’t distinguish between low fat (2%), skim (0%), or other varieties of reduced-fat milk. I have been advocating skim milk for all children starting at age 2, and will now also suggest low fat (2%) milk starting at age 1 for all babies. The only exception would be in children who are truly underweight, who could benefit from the extra calories of whole milk.

The policy statement also covers new information about screening for cardiovascular risk by measuring cholesterol in children starting at age 2 who are at risk. You’ll be hearing more about this soon as these guidelines are distributed and discussed, but you heard it here first!

Ending the night bottle routine

May 16, 2008

A question from Cameron: “I have made the mistake of letting my daughter keep her bottle when she goes to bed. She is now almost 3 1/2 and her sister is about to turn one. Do you have any suggestions as to how to how to wean both of them off the bottle?”

For the one year old, I suggest you just do it all at once. Change your bedtime routine to include a snack, like some banana slices, plus a cup of whole milk. After the snack, give her a bath, read some books, and put her down in her crib. Do this consistently, and stop offering or even mentioning a bottle at bedtime. She’ll develop a better routine that’s healthier for her teeth and will reinforce good independent sleeping through the night.

For the 3 ½ year old, it’s going to be more difficult. (more…)