Breastfeeding: Is There Ever Too Much of a Good Thing?

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife continues to breastfeed our two-year-old daughter even though she’s old enough to eat “real” food. I don’t have a problem with this, but some of our friends and even some coworkers are shocked that she’s still breastfeding. Is there a specific age at which you should stop breastfeeding? Are we committing some sort of social faux pas by trying to do right by our daughter?

A: Oh, boy, are you going to cause a firestorm. Deciding whether to breastfeed a baby and for how long, is something only the parents can decide. But, as you’ve noticed, a lot of people have strong opinions on the topic and they’re not afraid to share them—whether you want to hear them or not.

Let’s start with some background. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that, barring any medical problem, babies get nothing but breast milk for the first six months. Then it’s “as long as mutually desired by the mother and child.” Many pediatricians suggest that starting at six months, parents should gradually introduce appropriate food and simultaneously decrease breastfeeding. At the end of a year, most babies will be weaned. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a child nurse for longer than that—as long as you understand that the kind of nutrition if provides is mostly emotional.
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All Joy and No Fun: How Children Affect Their Parents

Jennifer Senior, author of All Joy and No Fun.
Topic:
The paradox of modern parenthood.
Issues: How children compromise the autonomy parents have grown accustomed to; how children affect parental decision making, division of labor, and can strain a marriage; the true fun in having children is just sitting back, being passive, and enjoying kids being themselves; much more.

Baby Knows Best + What Works and What Doesn’t in Blended Families

Deborah Carlisle Solomon, author of Baby Knows Best.
Topic:
Raising a confident and resourceful Child.
Issues: The RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers); how to respond to your baby’s cues and signals; how to help your baby develop healthy sleep habits; seeing your infant as a competent people with a growing ability to communicate, problem-solve, and self-soothe.

Patricia Papernow, author of Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships.
Topic:
What works and what doesn’t.
Issues: What makes stepfamilies different? Five challenges for stepfamilies; why ex-spouses are part of the family; how stepfamilies change and develop over time.

Parents report same well-being but more emotions | Futurity

Parents report same well-being but more emotions | Futurity.

American Academy of Pediatrics Advises Pregnant Women and Children Not to Consume Raw Milk Products

Raw milk and milk products from cows, goats, and sheep can transmit life-threatening bacterial infections, yet sales are still legal in at least 30 states. In a new policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises pregnant women, infants and children to consume only pasteurized milk, cheese and other milk products, and supports a ban on the sale of raw milk in the U.S.

The policy statement, “Consumption of Raw or Unpasteurized Milk and Milk Products by Pregnant Women and Children,” published in the January 2014 Pediatrics (released online Dec. 16), reviews evidence of the risks of consuming unpasteurized milk and milk products in the U.S., especially among pregnant women, infants, and children.

“Given the progress we have made in prevention, there is no reason to risk consuming raw milk in this day and age,” said Jatinder Bhatia, MD, FAAP, a co-author of the policy statement. “Consumption of raw milk products is especially risky for pregnant women, infants, immunocompromised individuals, and the elderly, and the evidence overwhelmingly establishes the benefits of pasteurization on food safety.”

Efforts to limit the sale of raw milk products have been opposed by people who claim there are health benefits from natural factors in milk that are inactivated by pasteurization. However, the benefits of these natural elements have not been clearly demonstrated in scientific research. Numerous data show pasteurized milk provides the same nutritional benefits as raw milk, without the risk of deadly infections including Listeria, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Brucella and E. coli.

“Consumption of raw milk or milk products can result in severe and life-threatening illnesses such as miscarriage and stillbirths in pregnant women, and meningitis and blood-borne infections in both young infants and pregnant women,” said Yvonne Maldonado, MD, FAAP, the lead author of the policy statement. “Before pasteurization of milk began in the United States in the 1920s, consumption of raw dairy products accounted for a significant proportion of foodborne illnesses among Americans, and resulted in hundreds of outbreaks of tuberculosis and other serious infections.”

Today, an estimated 1 percent to 3 percent of all dairy products consumed in the U.S. are not pasteurized. From 1998 to 2009, consumption of raw milk products in the U.S. resulted in 1,837 illnesses, 195 hospitalizations, 93 illness outbreaks, and two deaths. The risks involved with infections due to consuming raw milk are particularly high for pregnant women and their fetuses, as well as for young children.

“Raw milk poses a significant health risk, since the process of obtaining fresh milk from cows and goats can be fraught with risks of contamination both while milking the animals and during storage,” said Mary Glodé, MD, FAAP, a co-author of the policy statement. “Pasteurized milk and milk products are extraordinarily healthy, nutritious and safe for children. We are fortunate to have pasteurized products easily available for our entire population.”

The AAP supports the position of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other national and international associations in endorsing the consumption of only pasteurized milk and milk products for pregnant women, infants, and children. The AAP also endorses a ban on the sale of raw or unpasteurized milk or milk products in the U.S., including certain raw milk cheeses. Pediatricians are encouraged to advocate for more restrictive laws regarding the sale and distribution of raw milk and raw dairy products.

Dads Parent Just As Well As Moms

dads care just as good as mothers

Dear Mr. Dad: I’m seeing news stories all the time about how stay-at-home dads are becoming more common, and how fathers of all kinds are taking on a greater share of the parenting workload. While that sounds like it should be a good thing, I’m worried about how the kids will do. I have nothing against fathers, but after all, mothers are naturally better parents than fathers, aren’t they? So doesn’t it follow that they’d do better in life if they were raised primarily by their mothers?
A: In a word. “No.” In two words, “Hell, No.” I’ve been doing research and writing about fathers for nearly 20 years and I can assure you that there’s no scientific evidence to support the claim that women are naturally better at parenting than men No question, they’re better at being pregnant, giving birth, and breastfeeding, but when it comes to actually caring for children, the most important factor is not the sex of the parent, but the amount of time the parent spends with the child.
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