The big toy news this week concerns the popularity of a certain blond, shapely doll — and another, well, blond, shapely doll. Barbie, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation, has been knocked from her No. 1 position for the first time, dethroned by Elsa and other “Frozen” merchandise. More »Move Over, Elsa. Why Barbie Still Reigns
What Can You Do to Prevent Infant Allergies? When you were a child, how many kids did you know with food allergies? How many do you know now? Without even knowing the statistics, everyone can tell food allergies are on the rise. Here are the facts: According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, food allergies (a serious medical condition) affect up to 15 million people in the United States, including 1 in 13 children. A study released in 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that between 1997 and 2011, food allergies among children increased by approximately 50%. Unfortunately, the cause for this increase still remains unclear. So, what is a food allergy and is it the same as an intolerance or a food sensitivity? Food allergies and intolerances are different. In very basic terms, the job of the body’s immune system is to find and attack germs (like bacteria and viruses) that make you sick. A food allergy occurs when the immune system mistakenly targets a harmless food protein as a threat and attacks it. Unlike other types of intolerances and sensitivities, food allergies involve the immune system and when the offending food is ingested causes a series of reactions involving antibodies and other chemicals that ultimately trigger the allergic response. With food sensitivities and intolerances, the immune system is not involved. Some of the symptoms may be similar; however, the process in the body is very different. Food allergies can be life threatening (a condition known as anaphylaxis) — sensitivities and intolerances are not. Eight foods account for 90 percent of all food allergy reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish. It doesn’t take a big bite of something, even trace amounts of a food allergen can cause a reaction. What can you do to prevent allergies in infants and children? Research suggests that there are two things that have been found to help: 1. Do your best to breastfeed: Many studies discuss the protective role that breastfeeding plays in the development of allergic disease. Breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of life has been shown to significantly lessen the risk and severity of food allergies in families with a strong history of them. In general, breast milk does not typically cause allergic reactions in breastfeeding infants. But mothers sometimes worry that their babies may be allergic to something that they are eating and passing through their breast milk. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Only two or three out of every one hundred babies who are exclusively breastfed demonstrate an allergic reaction—and that’s most often to the cow’s milk in their mother’s diet. In this case, the infant may show signs of severe colic, abdominal discomfort, or a skin rash such as eczema or hives, or may react with vomiting, severe diarrhea (often with blood in their stool), or difficulty breathing that lasts up to several hours after breastfeeding.” 2. Don’t delay solids: What about when your baby is ready to eat solids? Your baby is typically developmentally ready to begin solids between 4-6 months of age. For decades, the medical community advised parents to delay introducing allergenic foods until 12 months (cow’s milk dairy), 24 months (eggs), and even 36 months of age (fish, tree nuts, peanuts). Then, in 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics retracted its previous guidelines, acknowledging that “there was insufficient evidence to support delayed introduction of allergens as a strategy to reduce the risk of food allergy.” The newest guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest that there is NO benefit in delaying the introduction of highly allergenic foods in infants. So how do you do it? In a nutshell (pun intended): If you can, make foods yourself (babies like them better, they are so tasty!). Start with something soft and in season (think avocado, sweet potato, melon) and don’t be afraid to offer foods that were previously off limits (nuts, fish, eggs, etc.) as long as you remember to keep the food form and size in mind — no choking hazards! And consider adding Dr. Greene’s Feeding Baby Green to your trusted book collection because it’s an excellent resource for creating healthy, nutritious meals that prevent childhood disease. Even though there may be no real “cure” for food allergies, you can make daily adjustments to significantly help! Avoidance of food allergens and early recognition and management of allergic reactions to food are important measures to prevent serious health consequences. Breastfeed if you are able and for as long as you and your baby mutually desire. Education is power — consult with your child’s doctor and start to learn the simple signs of an allergic sensitivities and you will be able to feed your baby safely (and happily) with ease. Be Well, BeNutritionWise! - Nicole Meadow, MPN, RD, CSP, CLC This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for medical advice. Before undertaking any course of treatment or dietary/health changes, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider. More »What Can You Do to Prevent Infant Allergies?
Perhaps the worst thing a parent can hear from a grown up child is, “I want you out of my life. You’re toxic.” More »How Parents Can Have a Healthy Relationship With Their Kids
It’s a Christmas miracle! An elementary school in a Boston suburb that was going to cancel its annual trip to see The Nutcracker has decided allowing kids to see a Christmas tree on stage willnot destroy the non-Christians in the audience. According to whdh.com: More »School Considered Canceling Nutcracker Trip to Protect Kids From Christmas Tree Exposure
When Lucien Parisseux made an appeal on Facebook that friends send his son Manuel postcards for his birthday, he probably didn’t expect much. After all, he only has 24 friends on the social network. More »Thousands of Birthday Cards Arrive After Father's Facebook Post
You may feel silly speaking to your baby in a high-pitched, squeaky voice while reading to him or playing games. But a new study conducted by Brigham Young University found that babies are much more likely to remember experiences if there is a positive emotion or affect attached to them. More »How You Talk to Babies Can Affect Their Memories
Choosing a name is one of the first — and sometimes trickiest — decisions parents make for their baby. There’s a lot to consider: possible nicknames, ease of spelling, what the kids on the playground will say, and outside associations (a little boy named Kermit will, for better or worse, always be lumped with the frog). More »Could Your Baby's Name Predict Future Behavior?
A California couple who survived every parent’s worst nightmare — in April, they awoke to discover their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Savannah “Savvy” had passed away in her crib from SUDC (Sudden Unexplained Death in Children) — have honored her memory by giving another little girl a gift of $100,000. More »Parents Give Away $100K to Deserving Family to Honor Daughter
It wasn’t common for toddlers to get the flu shot when Emily was diagnosed 10 years ago. But her father is convinced it would have made all the difference. More »Flu Shot Could Have Saved 3-Year-Old’s Life, Family Says
Worried about your kids' safety online? Check out Kelly Ripa's best social media parenting tip-it's getting mixed reviews. More »Kelly Ripa's tip for keeping kids safe online
LEGO sets in the 1970s came with a special set of instructions – for parents to stop gender stereotyping. “It’s imagination that counts,” declares the toy manufacturer’s note, unearthed by Redditor fryd_ from his partner’s Grandma’s house in a set from 1974 and posted online Nov. 22 under the headline, “70s Lego had the right idea.” The letter spells out, “A lot of boys like dolls houses. They’re more human than spaceships. A lot of girls prefer spaceships. They’re more exciting than doll houses.” More »LEGO's Advice 'To Parents' in 1974 a Big Hit Today
If anyone knows how tempting it is to share our kids’ hysterical, adorable, or unreal moments with our entire social networks, it’s us. We get it. Proud parents want to shout their children’s accomplishments — regardless of how big or small — from the (virtual) rooftop. More »5 Photos of Your Kids That You Shouldn't Post to Social Media
The "mommy-track" is to blame for killing your career, according to a new study. More »Kids or husbands: Who holds your career back?
Bill Cosby ended a 90-minute comedy set at the Atlantis Bahamas in Nassau on Thursday with a tribute to his longtime wife, Camille Cosby. Wearing a gray sweatsuit with the words “Hello Friend” across the shirt, the comedian held up his ring finger bearing his wedding band and said, to a cheering crowd, “Camille and I have been married for 50 years.” More »The Woman Behind Bill Cosby
Before becoming a mother, I was prepared for all the parenting mistakes: buying the wrong size diapers, cutting fingernails too short, running the bath water too hot. But I was not prepared for parenting failure. And that’s exactly what I believed I’d done — failed, twice — when it came to breastfeeding. More »I Failed When It Came to Breastfeeding
If you’re disappointed about the way your career is tracking, don’t blame your kids — or your husband. Blame the stubborn ol’ gender stereotypes that insist moms are better equipped than dads for child rearing. The messages, a new study has found, tend to seep into the way companies do business, ultimately giving men more career advantages than women. More »This, More Than Kids, Affects Mom's Career
Perhaps the time has come to retire Barbie and introduce kids to the new Lammily doll. More »The big Barbie fail-and why we love the Lammily doll
A Long Island third grader has been banned from attending her public school in Miller Place because of a vaccine dispute. “I’d rather be at school, I miss my friends,” Ceili McNicholas, 8, told CBS New York. More »Girl Banned From School Over Vaccine Dispute
The principal of a Florida middle school was suspended Tuesday after approving an unannounced safety drill last week that put armed police officers in classrooms with guns drawn, sending the school into lockdown mode. Terrified students texted parents, fearing for their lives. More »Principal Suspended Over Terrifying School Safety Drill