As my daughter rounded the 6-month mark, I began to think about what sorts of foods I would start her on. I perused the grocery aisles and was not impressed with the selection, even with the organic and natural varieties. They seemed colorless and bland, and when I read the ingredients lists, water was near the top.
Convenience is definitely a selling point when it comes to jarred baby food. But I started wondering – how complicated and time-consuming could making my own baby food really be? So I left the baby food aisle and headed over to the produce area and picked up some organic carrots, beets, bananas and apples.
The only equipment you need to make your own baby food is a pot! But if you have a steamer, then you can use that, too. Wash, peel and chop your fruits and veggies and steam them until the are tender. If a fork easily passes through, then it’s ready. If steamed vegetables and fruits are soft enough, you can mush them with a fork. I also like to use a handheld blender. Continue reading “Make Your Own Baby Food”
A new study out of Australia suggests pregnant women who do not get enough vitamin D could be putting their children at risk of language difficulties.
Researchers looked at levels of the sunshine vitamin in more than 700 pregnant women, then measured their children’s behaviour and language development.
They found that the children of mothers with the lowest levels of vitamin D were twice as likely to experience language difficulties, compared to those whose mothers had normal levels of the vitamin.
One of the reasons for low vitamin D levels is the amount of time spent in the sun, or the amount of time NOT spent in the sun. With concern about skin cancer, many women are also wearing sunscreen to prevent skin damage and possible skin cancer.
So, supplementing with vitamin D3 acts as insurance. I personally take 2000IU per day (particularly in the winter) and both of my children take 1000IU.
Lactose is a sugar found in dairy products and for many people it causes gas, bloating, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems. This is because they lack the enzyme lactase, which helps break down and digest lactose.
Although it is possible to get all nutrients found in dairy products from other foods, calcium and vitamin D deficiencies can be a concern, since many people do rely on dairy for these two nutrients.
Calcium: Signs of deficiency include bone density loss and muscle spasms. Green leafy veggies, almonds, tofu, tahini and sardines with the bones are all good sources of dietary calcium. If you aren’t getting enough of these, then supplement with additional calcium. On average most people should aim for about 1000mg of calcium intake per day. Continue reading “Avoiding Nutritional Deficiencies in a Lactose-Free Diet”
Nursing is a personal and often controversial decision to make. Many factors affect a woman’s choice to breastfeed, but if you do choose to do it, keep in mind that what you put in your mouth can impact your baby’s health as well. Here are some tips to help you eat well, stay hydrated and produce quality milk for your little one.
1. Drink plenty of fluids. Most women should be aiming for 10 cups of water per day. This is especially important for milk production.
2. In The Breastfeeding Book: Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Your Child from Birth Through Weaning, Martha and William Sears, M.D. recommend the following 12 foods as part of a healthy breastfeeding diet: avocado, chickpeas, eggs, fish, flax seeds and flax oil, kidney beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, tofu, tomatoes, whole grains and yogurt. Each of these foods contains important nutrients such as protein, folic acid, fiber and other essential vitamins. Continue reading “5 Tips for Your Diet While Breastfeeding”
It has been a while since we have had some information on one of our most popular topics, vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin.” A new study out of Australia has shown that there is a connection between low vitamin D levels and gestational diabetes. Vitamin D is one of the important vitamins during pregnancy; researchers recommend that a pregnant woman should regularly get tested for vitamin D deficiency.
The study involved 147 women at Westmead Hospital’s gestational diabetes clinic. More than 40% of the women had lower than average vitamin D levels at the start of the study. The research was led by Dr. Sue Lynn Lau and Dr. Jenny Gunton from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research, with Dr. Neil Athayde and Professor Wah Cheung from Westmead Hospital. The researchers noticed that the women with the worst blood sugar control were also those with the lowest vitamin D levels. The findings are published in the latest issue of the Medical Journal of Australia.
Gestational diabetes carries a whole list of complications including premature labor and birth, blindness, increased risk of both mother and baby developing type 1 or 2 diabetes within 10 years, and a very large birth weight baby (over 12 pounds). Low vitamin D levels can also cause the newborn to have weak bones, which can be broken more easily by a fall during childhood and adulthood.
If you are pregnant or are thinking of becoming pregnant, talk to your doctor about supplementing with vitamin D3. I am 32 weeks pregnant and I take 2000IU per day. It is also something you would want to continue after your baby is born. If you choose to nurse, you will also need to give your infant vitamin D, as well.