Of peanuts, breastmilk and faulty medical recommendations

Groundnuts on a white background

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do peanuts, the cause of deadly allergies, and breastmilk, the purported “elixir of life,” have in common?

Both have been the subject of medical recommendations that are wrong, based on weak science, implemented without adequate studies, involving failure to consider risks as well as benefits.

Peanuts do not cause peanut allergies, and breast is not best.

Peanuts do not cause peanut allergies, and breast is not best.

Medical researchers recently announced that they had made a big, life threatening mistake. The advice they provided regarding deadly peanut allergies, was 100% wrong. After years of insisting that keeping babies away from peanuts prevented peanut allergies, experts have reversed themselves and announced that giving babies peanut protein prevents deadly peanut allergies.

It’s hard to be more wrong than that.

As pediatrician Aaron Carroll notes in the NYTimes piece How to Prevent Whiplash from Ever-Changing Medical Advice:

…[T]he National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases expert panel changed course and recommended that we start giving babies peanut powder or extract in food before they are six months old rather than make sure they go nowhere near it. The panel said this is good advice, especially if the babies are at higher risk for developing an allergy…

But it’s important to remember that the earlier recommendation wasn’t made in the Dark Ages. As recently as 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared that children at risk for allergies be given no peanuts until they were 3 years old. It’s not unrealistic to think that this might have increased the number of children with peanut allergies, not decreased them.

This is hardly the first healthcare reversal. I’m old enough to remember when mothers were told to place their babies on their stomach to sleep … which turned out to increase the risk of death from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). I’m old enough to recall when doctors were told to give all post menopausal women hormone replacement therapy … which turned out to increase the risk of breast cancer. And I’ve lived through a plethora of dietary injunctions … which paradoxically increased the incidence of problems they were designed to prevent.

How could researchers and physicians have made such terrible mistakes?

Carroll carefully elucidates the reasons.

1. Concluding causation from research that merely demonstrates correlation.

A great deal of epidemiological research, particularly research about nutrition, suffers from this problem.

…[M]ost often, recommendations fail because they aren’t supported by high-quality research. They have only observational trials behind them, not the full weight of randomized controlled trials. Too many times, organizations have been burned when the associations we see don’t translate to causal changes in the more strict randomized controlled trials.

Correlation is not causation. That is Statistics 101, yet researchers, in their enthusiasm to address serious medical problems, often ignore that most critical caveat.

The recommendations to restrict peanut exposure were based on observational studies that erroneously concluded causation. Similarly, nearly all recommendations about the purported benefits of breastmilk are based on small observational studies — weak, conflicting and riddled with confounders — that erroneously conclude causation.

2. Extrapolation from high risk groups to everyone.

If something works for one group, we tend to believe that it should work for more. People at high risk for breast or prostate cancer may need to be screened for the diseases. Expanding that screening to people at low risk, however, yields more false positives than true revelations. Hormone replacement therapy most likely benefits some women, especially younger women and those who have had a hysterectomy. Others get the same side effects or harms with little benefit.

Premature babies benefit from breastmilk. Premature babies are at risk for nectrotizing enterocolitis and breastmilk seems to reduce the risk as compared to formula. But just because breastmilk is beneficial in high risk situations does not mean that we ought to extrapolate to all babies.

3. Failure to study, in many cases to even contemplate, the downsides of recommendations as carefully as the upsides.

This would apply to recent sleep recommendations, which may (and I stress may) benefit babies but also might hurt them and parents in other ways.

This especially applies to breastfeeding research, which suffers from a severe case of white hat bias.

‘White hat bias’ (WHB) [is] bias leading to distortion of information in the service of what may be perceived to be righteous ends… WHB bias may be conjectured to be fuelled by feelings of righteous zeal, indignation toward certain aspects of industry, or other factors…

Breastfeeding researchers are so sure that breastfeeding is beneficial and are so angry at historic malfeasance of the formula industry, they exaggerate findings that place breastfeeding in a positive light and ignore findings that the benefits of breastfeeding in industrialized countries are actually trivial (approximately 8% of breastfed infants have one fewer cold or diarrheal illness in the first year). They never consider the potentially deadly side effects of the relentless promotion of breastfeeding including starvation, dehydration and even death. Indeed, the Fed Is Best Foundation now exists to warn women about the very real risks and downsides of breastfeeding as well as the benefits.

Breastfeeding researchers “know” that breast must be best and therefore always begin and end any breastfeeding study with the claim that the benefits of breastfeeding are well proven when the truth is that they are not. The purported benefits are based almost exclusively on small observational studies, assumed rather than demonstrated causation, and unjustified extrapolation from high risk studies.

Researchers on peanut allergies were forced to reverse the recommendations that they had based on weak science. Breastfeeding researchers have based their claims on science that is even weaker still.

It is inevitable that “breast is best” will eventually be replaced by “fed is best.” The only question is how many infants and mothers will be hurt in the meantime.

  • Madtowngirl

    A little OT: can someone explain to me what the deal with giving toddlers juice is? At madbaby’s 18 month well check, we were told they “don’t recommend giving juice,” but I’ve been told to give apple juice when she’s been sick. She loves apple juice, and the few tastes of orange juice we’ve given her. We don’t give her juice often, maybe once or twice a week, but I admit that when she’s gone through periods of refusing to eat or drink much, we give it to her a bit more often.

    Is the main concern the sugar? We only get juice that doesn’t have added sugar, but I know there’s still a good deal in there.

    • Heidi

      Yeah, I think the concern is sugar and the lack of protein and fat, too. I know my kid is not big into drinking really at all. We don’t even give him water because right now he gets the bare minimum amount of milk (16 oz.) and we’re supposed to be giving him the max (24 oz.) because his weight gain wasn’t great at his 12 month visit (although he got taller so I feel like next visit his weight will have caught up). If we gave him any juice, he would drink that much less milk.

      • Madtowngirl

        That makes sense. Fortunately madbaby loves milk, too, so we don’t usually have that problem (unless she’s in the toddler food funk).

        • Heidi

          Juice makes the baby’s butt mad anyway. I would put a mere slosh in his yogurt/milk mixture to make a smoothie of sorts for his breakfast. He got blisters on his butt but is otherwise not prone to diaper rashes. I switched to putting a squirt of fruit puree instead and the problem cleared up right away.

          • Madtowngirl

            Oh wow! Then all the more reason to avoid it. 🙂

    • Sarah

      In the UK I’ve seen it linked to tooth decay. Not sure about the research basis for this, but my friend is a dentist and she strongly agrees with the NHS advice not to give juice in bottles in particular. I give a bit though, watered down, in a small cup.

    • sdsures

      Apple juice was what I was given when I was sick as a kid. It helps rehydration. (Canada, 1980-1990)

    • fiftyfifty1

      This, unfortunately, is another one of these pieces of pediatric advice that is not nuanced enough, in my opinion. Juice CAN be a huge problem in some kids’ diets. Parents who don’t know better assume that since 100% juice doesn’t contain any added sugar that it is something that kids can drink in unlimited amounts without problem. Thus, I have met kids who drink a quart or more of juice a day! This can cause obesity, tooth decay and can displace milk (which has more nutrients). There is also this unproven fear that it will cause a child to develop a lifelong sweet tooth. So the party line becomes OH MY GOD AVOID ALL JUICE LIKE POISON!

      In reality, it’s like anything else. Moderation is the key. A small glass (~4 ounces) of juice a day never hurt anyone, and supplies some vitamins, calories and fluid, all of which our body will use nicely.

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        I don’t give my boy juice more than once a week or so, usually, but then you’ve all heard of MiniBard’s apple habit. o.O

  • SporkParade

    So, Bamba, the Israeli peanut snack that lead to all of this new allergy research, is a perfect example of how “health food” is intended to signal privilege. In the US, all the in-the-know parents are trying to figure out where to buy Bamba so they can introduce peanuts early. In the Israeli mommy Facebook groups, I see at least one post a month asking for a “healthy” alternative to a snack food whose ingredient list is literally, “peanuts (49%), corn, oil, salt, iron and B vitamins.”

    • Ah yes, Bamba, which also has one of the cutest advertising strategies around. I do believe it’s exported — look in kosher food sections. I know my son in NYC says he finds it without too much difficulty. It’s certainly, as snacks go, a lot healthier that potato chips.

      I worry, though, that since a significant portion of the human race aren’t geniuses, some idiot mothers will begin feeding their toddlers whole peanuts, or chunky peanut butter, with dire results.

      • Dr Kitty

        I’ve just googled “Osem Bamba” and it seems to be available in the U.K. from Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Amazon.

        Is it basically a peanut Wotsit ( corn puff… I think American Cheetos are similar)?

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          likely, cheetos are a “cheese” corn puff. or cheese-likesubstance, anyway, lol. i love ’em

          • Yes, it’s like Cheetos, with less salt, IMO. Try it, you might like it…I’m not all that fond of peanut-flavored anything. It’s fairly choke-proof as it dissolves in the mouth, and not oily-tasting.

            Israelis are very fond of nosherei like Bamba; there must be at least several dozen varieties, including one called “Kef-Li” (“my enjoyment “) which consists of rectangles striped in pink and white, and is marked as being of “smoked” flavor — and tastes just like bacon.

          • 3boyz

            I’m more partial to Bissli than Bamba, but Bamba is definitely easy and convenient if you want to feed your baby peanuts. We introduced all our kids to peanuts with Bamba when they were babies.

        • StephanieJR

          I can’t remember the brand name, but you get peanut puffs in Lidl’s. I love them, but the packs are too big to eat with just me and mum before it goes stale.

          I also fell in love with cheesy puffs out of Thai 7-11’s. They were more like chunks than Wotsits. So cheesy!

      • 3boyz

        Kosher supermarkets carry it, and many kosher aisles in regular groceries have it as well. I assume it’s location specific though. Large Orthodox population nearby, they’ll have it. Otherwise, probably not.

    • Heidi

      So that’s what Bamba is? They sell peanut puffs at Aldi occasionally. We kinda thought it sounded gross because I associate corn puffs with cheese. I have seen people say, “Try Bamba! It’s a great way to introduce peanuts,” as if stirring peanut butter, regularly available anywhere in the US, in another food like infant cereal is hard to do. Well, of course, why would you want to do the easy thing! Why not pay outrageous shipping for a snack that is definitely no healthier than infant cereal (which the mommy groups have villanized) and peanut butter!

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        I’m presuming it is the evil sugar in peanut butter that is the problem.

        • Heidi

          Heh, even the grocery store that is a one minute walk from me who doesn’t have an expansive “natural/health food” aisle and whose largest demographic lives in the subsidized housing for the elderly building behind it, sells the PB that is nothing but peanuts.

        • Daleth

          So just get real peanut butter (ingredients: peanuts, salt). That’s what we use so it’s how we introduced peanuts to our boys at 9 or 10 months.

      • 3boyz

        All the kosher grocery stores carry Bamba, it’s no more expensive than a bag of potato chips. Of course, that’s assuming you live in an area that has kosher supermarkets. Definitely not so healthy, but we have fed Bamba to all of our babies in infancy (and my oldest was born when they were still saying to avoid peanuts till over 1 or 2, I for get which). My husband is Israeli and said nonsense, all the babies have Bamba and no one is Israel has peanut allergies (ok, not no one, but it is very rare and it is mostly among immigrants from the US and UK where peanut allergies are common). We switch to peanut butter when they’re old enough for it not to be a choking hazard.

        • Heidi

          http://www.target.com/p/osem-bamba-peanut-snacks-1-oz-24-pk/-/A-17435700 Target has it available for online order. I’m reading the lone review, though: “all the kids I take care of simply love Bamba and the awesome thing that it has no sugar no wheat no chemicals – peanuts and oil only.” LOL, no, peanuts and oil would be a canister of peanuts. Did s/he miss the whole corn thing (which why would it be inherently any better than wheat with the exception of a wheat allergy or celiac?) and that day in science class when they explained what a chemical is? But I guess science illiteracy is partly why it’s considered superior to other options more easily attainable by the average American.

          • 3boyz

            It definitely has some sort of starch binding it all together. It’s a flavored puff! It’s a snack food, it’s not health food. It’s really no better than cheese puffs from a nutritional point of view. But it is a very easy way to feed peanuts to infants, and it is delicious, so kids and adults of all ages certainly enjoy it as well.

      • SporkParade

        Yeah, we started by mixing peanut butter in with mashed fruit because we were too scared to start finger foods before 9 months. 🙂 The only real advantage of Bamba over mixing in peanut butter is that it allows them to develop their pincer grip.

  • BeatriceC

    OT: Day four cigarette free is drawing to a close. I ended my self imposed house arrest and went to the grocery store (I’ve never smoked in my house, so if I don’t go outside, then I don’t smoke, hence the house arrest). I realized how terrible my car smells. Any good tips for getting the smell out of my car?

    • CSN0116

      No advice. But happy for you! 😀

    • Heidi

      I’ve had luck hanging a coat on a box fan to get the smoke smell out. Perhaps get an extension cord and a box fan, and point it towards the car for a few hours?

      *With the doors open of course.

    • Bombshellrisa

      I have something that the dealership uses in cars, it gets rid of lots of smells including smoke. I will post it tomorrow. Congrats on day four!

    • Buy a new car?
      I think Febreeze is supposed to be made for that.

    • Who?

      Kitty litter? It is really good for getting the smell out of shoes, somehow absorbs it. Not sure how much you would need for a whole car, though.

      I like Antigonos’ idea of buying a new one with all the money you save not smoking.

      • BeatriceC

        I’m starting a fund to have my teeth fixed for real instead of the stop-gap measures I’ve had so far. This included orthodontics as my top teeth are very crooked. Between fillings, crowns and braces, my teeth need thousands of dollars worth of work.

        • Who?

          Good plan!

    • Roadstergal

      I’ve never been able to fully eliminate the smell. I’ve been able to reduce it. I have recently adopted this as my go-to to get any smell out of any fabric – just foam all over and wipe it down:
      https://www.amazon.com/Motorex-Helmet-Care-Aerosol-171-605-021/dp/B001GNEHVI

      Also, congratulations!

    • Sarah

      No. But well done well done well done!

    • Bombshellrisa

      This is what hertz uses to get scents out of cars. It helped remove the smell of smoke from a lot of things after the house fire in the other house (clothes and pillows)
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5bbc3b962d51168301f6d296caf57e947bab80c66d60f8fdf12d3c2efaf1727f.jpg

      • BeatriceC

        Thanks! And sorry for the accidental fat finger downvote. I think I fixed it.

        • Bombshellrisa

          You fixed it, no worries!
          If that doesn’t work, you can go and get an ozone treatment at a detail shop or get your dealer to give you a referral. It’s pricey (although “pricey” to my husband might not be pricey to you) but will for sure get rid of the smell

  • Mel

    Completely OT: Here’s our third outfit for Spawn. We made him an elf hat for Christmas and a vampire cape to shameless plug the need for blood donors in the US after his fourth blood transfusion.

    This creation, though, is a disguise for Spawn to use because my husband and I realized that there is only one possible reason that the parent/visitor elevator skips floors 2 and 4 at the hospital: The hospital is also the regional center for extraterrestrial premature and pediatric patients. Now, Spawn can visit those floors and meet other alien and elder god babies.

    As a side note: Spawn’s doing awesome! He’s on the transition CPAP and just growing like a weed. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5a80fcee1dd0907becd8628103b8a984f34fe9142de7bfcb94f875e64b149762.jpg

    • BeatriceC

      Ohmygosh! How adorable!

    • EbbyBee

      You are so amazing for doing anything creative with a baby in NICU. I have 28 weeker twins who are just now term. Baby Bea was home before Christmas but Baby Posy won’t be home until tomorrow (so excited!). I’m hoping that when they are home and settled I can do something fun and crafty, but the past 2.5 months just doing laundry was an accomplishment.

      Edit: forgot to mention that your costume is TOO CUTE!

      • momofone

        Congratulations on your babies, and especially on Baby Posy going home tomorrow!

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        Congrats!!

    • Dr Kitty

      So cute!!!

  • Chi

    OT but a friend of mine shared this link on FB and I’m curious to get your thoughts on it. From what I skim-read, this woman is basically regurgitating the trope that babies ‘cluster feed’ and not to fret if your baby only goes 40mins between feedings instead of 60-90mins (or longer).

    From my own personal experience from my attempts to breastfeed, my daughter was only going 20mins between ‘feeds’ and that’s because she was hungry. So telling mothers that 40mins between feedings is ‘normal’ is disingenuous because it could be that the baby isn’t getting enough and needs supplementation, but because mom is getting fed this crap that this is ‘normal’ she won’t even think to supplement and so baby is at risk of dehydration and starvation and all the complications that go along with it.

    Thoughts?

    http://www.emmapickettbreastfeedingsupport.com/twitter-and-blog/the-dangerous-game-of-the-feeding-interval-obsession

    ETA: Oh and at the bottom of the article there’s a shameless plug for the author’s book.

    • Young CC Prof

      Like a lot of naturalists, she’s mixing up facts and myths. Yes, there are normal variations to infant feeding patterns, yes, the occasional cluster-feed is normal, but there are also abnormal variations. A baby who wants to eat every 2 hours instead of 3 is probably fine, a baby who is nursing all day and never seems satisfied is potentially a baby who’s not getting enough.

      This is going on all over, the claim that hungry unsatisfied newborn behavior is normal, just keep going. It’s really quite dangerous, we’re training mothers NOT to recognize hunger in their babies.

      There’s also the needless shaming of mothers who push for longer intervals. There’s nothing wrong with feeding every couple hours during the day if that’s what baby wants, but once you get past about 2 months, it really is OK, and probably a good idea, to start gently encouraging longer intervals at night.

      • Inmara

        Also a possibility for baby who is nursing constantly but not being satisfied and gaining weight – celiac disease. Happened to a friend of a friend; once doctors figured it out and she went gluten free baby suddenly was not hungry and nursing every hour anymore. Poor thing had enough milk but almost no nutrients were absorbed due to impact of gluten.

        • Roadstergal

          Wait, I thought magic breast milk sparkles prevented celiac! /s

    • CSN0116

      So I often advise women who end up needing to supplement with formula (unplanned). And I have noticed something about it all.

      Mom has baby and nurses on demand and around the clock, (1) to establish her supply, and (2) because she’s told that’s the only way to effectively breastfeed a newborn. But then her supply comes in and gets established but she fails to regulate anything; she just keeps nursing constantly.

      This can cause some undesirable things to happen. Around the three-week mark many of these moms will come to me with a constantly fussy baby, who needs the breast to calm, and a compromised, stalled, or dropping milk supply. Why? Because baby is just snack, snack, snacking. Baby is feeding so frequently, despite there being ample milk to stretch the feedings apart a bit, that he/she is putting in minimal effort needed to stimulate mom’s supply. Lackadaisical sucking and short feedings restrict mom’s supply.

      In addition to these physiological errors occurring, mom becomes extremely overwhelmed and fatigued. She also starts to slack on her nutritional and fluid requirements which further sabotages her supply.

      If a logical stretching of feeds was not stigmatized (“if it’s not torture then you didn’t earn it”) the practice would be used more often. And I’m somewhat convinced that the need to supplement around that 3-4 week mark would decrease, increasing EBF rates at 1 month.

      • Chi

        If only there were something that mothers could use instead of their breasts to pacify their babies when they just want to suck and not eat.

        Oh wait…

        /sarcasm

      • fiftyfifty1

        But it’s more complicated than that. Another big factor is storage capacity. It varies widely between women. Milk production is fast when breasts are not full, but slows way down when breasts approach fullness. Women with large storage capacity can therefore make milk at a fast rate for much longer. Women with a small storage capacity only produce milk at a fast rate for a short while before nearing capacity and thus slowing down. Women with large capacities can go hours between feeds because they can give their babies large boluses at a time. And waiting hours between feeds does not adversely affect their supply (within reason). But women with small storage capacity MUST feed more often. It’s the difference between dairy cows and meat cows. Dairy cows can milk only twice a day and will continue to produce large amounts. Meat cows will dry up under the same milking schedule. To keep in lactation, meat cows must milk frequently throughout the day. It’s not that meat cows are doing something wrong or “failing to regulate” their calf’s nursing schedule.

        • CSN0116

          Hmmmm I knew nothing of the differences in cows! Fascinating…

          What I see in humans is that when a paci is used to extend feeding intervals from every hour to at least 2.5 – 3 hour intervals, once a supply is established, milk production actually picks up for women otherwise dealing with a stalled or dropping supply. I would imagine this has a lot more to do with removing the feelings of overwhelmed-ness and making nursing more manageable than anything. Just my observations from over the years. Of course I also only talk with the women who are having supply issues and needing formula supplementation. I don’t talk to the women who are managing to keep a supply, be it by feeding every 1, 2, 3 or 4 hours. So, my observations are very skewed.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Yes, a woman’s experience with breastfeeding can be greatly influenced by storage capacity, and yet it’s essentially never talked about by lactivists. For large storage capacity women, breastfeeding can be much like bottle feeding. Babies can sleep through the night early, you can skip feedings without worrying about supply, you have full freedom to go out for the evening because you can easily pump a large amount to give to babysitter, babies are fully settled after feeds. Women with small capacities can end up meeting their babies’ needs 100%, but only at the cost of being chained to the baby. If they work, they have to pump constantly or they dry up. They get criticism from grandma for “spoiling the baby by feeding it too often” when actually they need to. They can feel constantly harried, sore and sleep deprived.

          • CSN0116

            Is high or low storage capacity linked to cup size? Other factors? Or is it totally unrelated and just luck of the draw? TYVM for the info!

          • fiftyfifty1

            There is some correlation but not super strong because some women with large cup size have breasts mainly made of fat, while others have breasts made mostly of glandular material. My own mother was very high storage capacity. I was a small baby, and 100% breastfed, but was sleeping completely through the night and feeding only every 4 hours during the day by the end of my first month according to the journal she kept at the time. And this was without trying to put me on any sort of schedule, it just happened. She has a large cup size and tells me that her mammograms say she has very dense (i.e. highly glandular rather than fatty) breasts.

          • BeatriceC

            I have giant breasts which are mostly glandular tissue. I could have fed an entire NFL team if I didn’t actively try to slow down production. An interesting note, unlike women with fattier breasts, they don’t shrink when I lose weight or grow when I gain weight. Since I’ve gained and lost the same 75-100 pounds several times in the last 15 years, I’ve actually tested this theory with various water displacement measurements, as well as several different measurements using a regular tape measure.

          • Kelly

            Dang it. This sounds like me and I have been hoping that if I lose some weight they will go down a size. I went down one size after weaning after the first two but I never nursed with the third and it never went down. This also makes sense on why I never go down to my original D size. I also have realized that I have huge indentations in my shoulders that I thought was normal. I can’t wait until I can get a reduction.

          • lawyer jane

            Interesting conversation. I believe I had small storage capacity, yet my experience did match up to what CSN was saying: around 3-4 months my baby wasn’t gaining fast enough, and I was advised to focus the feedings in order to ensure that he wasn’t just snacking. This did result in better weight gain (although still not enough, but enough for him to stay on his 5-10% curve, which wasn’t actually big enough, but that’s another matter). I don’t know if the focused feedings increased my supply, but I think they increased the baby’s intake because I was more diligent about making sure he got full feeds every 2-3 hours instead of getting just enough to take the edge off. But ultimately the combination of my low supply/low storage, and an essentially stoic baby who was relatively content to be “not hungry” (as opposed to actually well fed) was not really enough for my baby to thrive the way I wanted him to. That didn’t happen until he started getting extra formula!

          • Daleth

            In the meantime, have you checked out Bravissimo.com? It’s a UK company (very cheap now with the post-Brexit plummeting of British currency) that specializes in bras, swimsuits and clothing for large-busted women. Last time I used them they had flat-rate shipping so you could order a ton of stuff for like $11 in shipping costs.

          • Kelly

            I have not but I am going to check it out.

          • Dr Kitty

            Yup.
            I would say I’m probably high storage capacity, with large, glandular breasts. I would only ever feed from one breast at a time, and that would be enough to satisfy the baby…right up until my son started crawling and literally burnt off more calories than any human could supply.

            Runs in my family- my mother had to have ultrasounds instead of mammograms until her late 50s because her breasts were “too dense” for mammograms to be effective.

          • myrewyn

            Huh. I normally have very small breasts (A cup verging on B just before my period if I’m lucky) but with both babies have had no trouble producing enough milk for a full feed or pumping. My second baby was sleeping 4-5 hours at a time nearly from birth. I guess I’m lucky! Hopefully I will have the same experience with baby 3 due in May!

          • Gæst

            I think I am a large-capacity woman (I once pumped 20 ounces in ten minutes), and while yes, I could skip feedings without tanking my supply, it’s not all roses: skipping a feeding led to extremely painful engorgement, and I had several rounds of plugged ducts that made me panic because I was afraid they would turn into mastitis. Regularity of milk removal was key.

          • Juana

            There’s that lactivist myth that always gets me because it’s so obviously wrong: “Breastmilk is always made on demand, not stored.”

            Nope. Just nopety nopety nope.
            I could always clearly check and estimate how much I could pump or which breast to feed, because I could feel the increasing fullness.

            It’s so obviously lactivist wanting to have it both ways:
            – You can’t feel fullness between feeds and wonder if you’re producing enough? No way, breastmilk is made on demand!
            – You want to skip a feed or cease lactating? But you might get engorged!

      • Yes, yes, YES!

        Maternal fatigue is a BIG factor in milk production, ignored of course by the advocates of round-the-clock feeding. Moreover, when mother is the pacifier, the baby gets used to endless snacking as the norm.

    • Mel

      I don’t like how the author doesn’t differentiate between the age of the infant and the “hunger cues”.

      Yes, babies do cluster feed sometimes – but not all the time. A kid who does that for a few days at 2-3 weeks, 6 weeks, just before a growth spurt ect., is probably just going through a phase that will pass. A kid who is attached to the breast nearly all day trying to get more milk for more than a few days may well NOT be getting enough milk or high enough calorie milk.

      Yes, some babies show hunger cues faster than others and if the mom and baby are new at nursing responding to early hunger cues gives more time to set up a good latch before the kid goes bonkers. If the mom is experienced or the pair has been nursing a while, there is no requirement to pop a nipple in the kid’s mouth as soon as they happen to be awake and making mouthing movements.

      Breast feeding is not required for bonding. Spawn’s still a few weeks away from trying to breast-feed, but he’s bonding quite well with me and my husband. He holds our fingers, tries to join in conversations, and stares at us when he opens his eyes. None of that requires stuffing a nipple in his mouth…..

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      My bf’d kid clustered a bit , though i think in that case i just had so much that he’d get mostly colostrum the first session. it’d take 2 or 3 to empty a side

    • AnnaPDE

      This cluster feeding excuse is annoying. A cluster is when a few feeds are spaced really closely, whereas the rest are spread out.
      Like, at a certain time of day they’ll load up on milk with short breaks. They do it with formula, too. (My son did it just before bedtime: 3 solid feeds in less than 2 hrs, after which he’d fall asleep with formula running down his chin and not wake up for 4-5 hours.) But then they go without for a somewhat longer time.
      If kid wants to feed constantly and doesn’t ever think of anything else to do, that’s not a cluster, it’s not getting full.

  • Marylynn

    Just curious about the sleeping on the stomach thing. My son slept on his stomach due to reflux… My friend’s baby with reflux almost died choking on his own reflux while swaddled on his back. If correlation does not equal causation, isn’t the whole belly-sleeping-causes-an-increase-in-SIDS thing kind of the same thing? I know people whose kid slept back-only and still passed away due to SIDS. Not trying to start an argument, but am genuinely curious about this. It seems like there would be so many more factors than just belly sleep, and the risk of SIDS on belly sleep, if I read right, goes up from .1% (1/1000) to .2% (2/1000). Thoughts?

    • swbarnes2

      FWIW, some posters her have hypothesized that a drastic drop in the smoking rate is the real cause behind drops in SIDS. FWIW as well, my child-birth class, which seems to be pretty fact based, said that you really have to get grandma and other caretakers on board with back sleeping, because the rate of SIDS was highest among babies who usually slept on their backs, and were put on their stomachs. And my pediatrician said that the only two cases among his patients were babies who rolled onto their stomachs.

      And, FWIW, British studies did not see a significant increase in choking deaths as back to sleep was becoming more widespread.

      • CSN0116

        Yes, babies who belly sleep from birth have a lower risk of SIDS than those who are back slept regularly and then abruptly switched to belly (this is strongly linked to SIDS being more common in daycares, sudden sleep position change).

      • Marylynn

        I wonder why the correlation exists with back-sleeping/rolling-to-stomach. Is it weakness developed in the ability to breathe fully on stomach due to never being put on stomach?

        I get the choking death risk not rising, but I guess it really hit home with this kid because he was about the same age as mine, same gender, same medical condition, and, incidentally, same name (I realize that this is total and absolute coincidence and is completely irrelevant except for the medical condition).

        • swbarnes2

          I think one hypothesis is that higher CO2 levels screw up the baby’s brain so that it forgets to breathe. So maybe a baby facing down is breathing in slightly higher levels of CO2, since it’s heavier than room air. This is why it’s sometimes suggested to have a fan blowing on baby, and one reason why crib bumpers are frowned on, because they inhibit free air flow in the crib. (Though of course, the major danger is baby rolling onto the bumper, and not being able to breathe)

          Another point…African-Americans babies have higher rates of SIDS, and that holds true at every education level. So there’s likely a genetic component there too.

          • Roadstergal

            There’s been a recent push to identify genetic susceptibility to SIDS. It will likely be a mess of many different polymorphisms, but it certainly makes sense with some of the AA and sibling links…

    • CSN0116

      I calculated the risk/benefit of this years ago. My children got far worse sleep on their backs, so all five belly slept from birth. I felt that restorative, REM sleep was more important than the very small SIDS risk. Also, SIDS has never been random and my other risk factors were very low.

      I’ve been a staunch critic of back to sleep for a long time (overstated benefits and unknown risks of chronic poor sleep for many). I’ve heard a lot of the decrease in SIDS deaths was mere code shifting, as at the same time maternal smoking rates plummeted and the criteria to list SIDS as COD on a death certificate became much more stringent – all creating an illusion that is probably far from true.

      It’s my tin foil hat thing. :/

      • Marylynn

        That’s my tinfoil hat thing, too. 😀 I can’t understand how lack of REM sleep could be a good thing. My child NEVER slept on his back. Babies in my kid’s daycare have completely flat heads. The startle reflex keeps them awake unless swaddled.

        I wish someone could show me one way or another here whether there is a definite causative aspect, or if it is correlation, which was a major point in this article.

        • CSN0116

          This is not a peer reviewed scientific analysis, but this guy sorts it out better than most I’ve seen.

          http://www.heracliteanriver.com/?p=97

          • Marylynn

            Great article, thanks! It backs up quite a lot of the stuff I’ve read in many different places.

      • lawyer jane

        Not to mention that “back to sleep” has instigated the creation of contraptions like the Nap Nanny, and unsafe practices like accidentally cosleeping on a couch when the baby won’t sleep on their backs. I’ve always wondered how many new baby deaths might be attributed to these unintended consequences.

        • lawyer jane

          Case in point: a $1000 cradle that literally fastens the baby to the mattress to keep it on its back! That is nutso. I’d put my baby to sleep on his tummy before I’d do that.

          “To use it, parents dress the infant in a swaddle-suit that clips to the bassinet.”

          https://www.wired.com/2016/10/robo-cradle-will-rock-baby-sleep/

    • the wingless one

      Once my son started refusing to be swaddled (3mo) we had to switch him to belly sleeping too. Everything I read seemed only to talk about correlation and the lack of sleep (adults and baby) was getting to a point where the risks associated with sleep deprivation felt like they were outweighing the risk of SIDS.

  • jen

    Breast milk contains immunoglobulins, HAMLET and stem cells and aids in intestinal flora development. Know one should be pressured to breast feed, but they should be educated about the benefits.
    https://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~andersh/research/milkcancer.asp

    • moto_librarian

      Perhaps you can explain the different types of passive immunity that a baby can receive from its mother.

      • Marylynn

        My son is adopted and was EFF since birth. He, like I gather most other babies, received antibodies from his first mother. I had norovirus when he was about 7 weeks old. My mom, with whom I was staying, came down with it a day after me. My son, for whom I exclusively was caring (and I was too exhausted and sick to take careful health precautions) got nothing. He’s had a few colds and one ear infection (and later on, after age 2, a stomach virus) but he’s not sicker or healthier than my nephew who was EBF till 6 months and still BFs at age 3. So my guess is the antibodies come from the mother, in utero (and as the child passes through the birth canal, though I’m not sure about that part).

        • fiftyfifty1

          “So my guess is the antibodies come from the mother, in utero (and as the child passes through the birth canal, though I’m not sure about that part).”

          They come in utero from the placenta. They don’t come from the birth canal part.

          • Marylynn

            Thanks. There ya go. So I’m not entirely sure the boob milk is what makes the immunity is all I’m saying. Not sure if that was the point of the above comment or not.

        • Young CC Prof

          Human babies get almost all of their maternal antibodies across the placenta in the final weeks of pregnancy, and just a little extra from milk after birth, mostly in the colostrum that flows the first few days rather than in the mature milk.

          Some animals don’t do it like that, especially farm animals that have a different sort of placenta. Horses are born with no antibodies and tend to die quickly if they don’t get their colostrum.

          One thing that does apparently come from the birth canal is bacterial seeding, which is good if Mom is healthy, not so much if she has an infection in the reproductive tract.

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      Breast milk can also contain AIDS.

    • moto_librarian

      How would breastfeeding protect against tumor development? Because from what I’m reading, HAMLET has only been demonstrated to work in petri dishes and possibly when it is extracted and injected into animal subjects. What would be the mechanism for getting the protection from digesting breastmilk? It’s also quite telling that most of the websites that discuss this are quite sketchy – Natural News was promoting it.

      • Sheven

        Good point. Delivery system and context matters. Insulin is crucial for diabetics, but only if injected at the appropriate time. Eating it randomly wouldn’t do much good.

      • jen
        • Heidi

          “In petri dish and animal experiments, the *protein complex* — called HAMLET — increased bacteria’s sensitivity to multiple classes of antibiotics, such as penicillin and erythromycin.”

          So they isolated something in breast milk and it had an effect on something in a petri dish. But that doesn’t mean humans orally ingesting breast milk does that. I don’t eat moldy food when I have strep throat just because pencillin is derived from mold.

        • moto_librarian

          You failed to answer my question.

          • jen

            You can criticize the cancer researcher if you don’t approve of their methods. But the fact remains that the genes for coding these proteins are up regulated during lactation and a reasonable assumption would be that they serve a purpose.

          • swbarnes2

            “Having a purpose” doesn’t mean that purpose is “being magic”. Almost anything will kill a cell in vitro if you have a high enough concentration. To claim that you can therefore eat enough of the substance to get a high enough concentration to have a clinical impact is simple stupidity, or outright dishonesty.

            Which explanation should we apply to you?

          • Mel

            Kind of.

            Animals are tricky on these type of things. We often up-regulate certain proteins to be produced but then modify the protein to be used in other ways.

            The first paper explains how HAMLET works in killing tumor cells in labs(which is great), predicts that baby stomachs could make HAMLET from breast milk (interesting, but needs more exploration), and posits that HAMLET protects children against tumors (big overreach for anything other than “we should keep looking at this”)

      • Madtowngirl

        And this is all assuming it even survives the stomach acid of the infant, which it most likely doesn’t.

    • swbarnes2

      You are sincerely claiming that eating stem cells is good for you?

      • Sean Jungian

        You mean, no matter how many undifferentiated stem cells I eat, I’m never going to grow that third arm?

        • momofone

          Well yeah, but you have to make sure to eat arm stem cells. Duh.

          • Sean Jungian

            SCIENCE!

          • Heidi

            Well, then that explains why I have boobs. I was ingesting my mom’s boob stem cells when she breastfed me! And that’s why my husband doesn’t have boobs – he was EFF. Except…should I now be worrying about either of us growing cow udders?!

          • momofone

            That might also explain why I (EFF) had boobs for a while, but then had to have them removed–there weren’t enough stem cells to keep them going!

          • moto_librarian

            OMG! I was formula fed – that must be why my breasts never worked!

          • Mel

            BigDairy says no – and if you ever say that again they will put a hit out on you. FYI.

          • Roadstergal

            THAT’S why my tits are so small!

          • Mel

            ROTFL.

        • Mel

          Oh, shit.

          I’ve been drinking the excess breast milk Spawn doesn’t need yet in hopes of perking my breasts up so they’ll be as firm and solid as they were when I was a young teenager.

          Damn it.

        • Sarah

          It’s your mother’s fault for having an epidural.

      • Young CC Prof

        Eating stem cells from another organism, too. Parent and child are not always compatible tissue types.

      • jen

        Stem cells in breast milk can differentiate Into cells from all 3 germ layers. They also contain transcription factors.
        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/stem.1188/full

        • Heidi

          “They centrifuged cells in breastmilk, and found that a subset of cells expressed genes associated with stem cells (it varied from sample to sample from ‘a lot’ to ‘basically none’).

          You could culture those cells in very artificial conditions and get them to show signs of differentiation into certain sorts of basic cells.

          It’s important to note:
          -this is basically incidental sloughing of cells from remodeling processes in the breast. They noted that the highest level was in a woman who was both pregnant and lactating.
          -The cells are going to get digested by the baby just like the cells in our food does. The stem cells are just a teeny tiny source of a tiny bit of protein and fat.

          The context is that there are often political barriers to embryonic stem cell research, so researchers are always very interested in getting cells that have some capability for self-renewal and pluirpotency from adults. That’s what they’re going for here.

          If this turns out to be an important source of stem cells, it will become selfish to feed them to your baby instead of donating them to science. :p :p” – Roadstergal

          I already was joking about some goofus sharing this on Dr. Amy’s FB page as proof of?? so we’ve already discussed it.

          • jen
          • Heidi

            So rabbits were fed isolated stem cells suspend in a cell culture medium and that means we can tell new moms what?? And that really proves what?? They weren’t fed rabbit’s breast milk; they were fed something derived from breast milk:

            “Ten newborn rabbits 2 weeks old fed on 2 × 106 PKH26-labeled rabbit milk derived-MSCs suspended in 2 mL Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium”

          • jen

            How else do you control the experiment if you don’t isolate and label the stem cells? The main point of the study was to show these rabbit milk stem cells were integrated into tissues by oral route. They weren’t digested.

          • Heidi

            Derp, derp, missed the point.

            There is nothing I can see that we can derive from this study that means anything important to a human mom. I’m asking what do you think we can tell a first time human mom about this study that will be true or meaningful?

            Furthermore, why didn’t they just let rabbits drink breast milk, consuming stem cells in their usual amounts in their usual medium? That’s how breast milk stem cells are consumed in real life. Women don’t submit their breast milk to a lab to isolate and concentrate stem cells then have the stem cells put in a cell culture medium to administer to their baby. Maybe one day we can do that and maybe it’ll be a great new treatment for something. Or maybe it won’t. Who knows?

          • jen

            they had to label the stem cells in order to trace them when studying the post mortem tissues. You did read the part where the animals were destroyed.? That’s probably why they don’t do these studies on humans. Derp derp

          • Heidi

            Point taken about the labeling stem cells. Upon googling labeling stem cells meant something different to me as a layperson than it would to a researcher.

            But yes, I read the abstract. You read the abstract. Yay go us. We read abstracts. What I didn’t do was read that abstract and make far-reaching assumptions about it. I have no idea how many stem cells would be found in rabbit breast milk so I have no clue if this study replicated that. I don’t know how comparable human and rabbit digestion are either. If you read the whole article and actually know what you are really reading and how we have something valuable to tell women in regards to breastfeeding their own children then please enlighten me. It would mean squat to me as a new mom to be told stem cells found in rabbit milk were found in their tissues.

          • Roadstergal

            You know, if Jen really believes that eaten stem cells are incorporated into human’s bodies – we eat a LOT more plant and animal matter than breastmilk over the course of a lifetime. She must think we’re chock-full of plant and animal cells, integrated whole into our tissues. Funny world she lives in.

          • Heidi

            I’ve invited her to debate with you, since she claims she has full access to the paper about the marked stem cells that supposedly went undigested (I gave her a chance to even tell me why they wouldn’t be digested but she ignored that.). I thought, at first, no she doesn’t. She is totally lying. But then I thought, no, she may very well pay access to journals because she’s totally stupid enough to think she knows what she’s reading.

          • Roadstergal

            Here’s the figure in question. They claim that the arrows are pointing at cells. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7583650019a61511c56158a50197be78c26000ef9b333804cbca4c9d9a42be28.png

          • Roadstergal

            In contrast, this is a membrane label I got recently from our path group, showing cells in tissue slices. This is the pattern I expect to see from a membrane stain. Now, if you don’t have a nice clear pattern of cells, you can make your case stronger by using, eg, DAPI, which is a DNA label that will show a nucleus. It’s a very standard and easy stain.

            Also, note that the non-stained areas in the below are dim to black. All of the red laced through the figure above represents a _lot_ of background. Not good.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/60199af64b8ef8efe75ccbe645d671cd9d5f5c9fa0c4b9574abf051e79f66ad6.png

          • Roadstergal

            Pro tip, research animals aren’t ‘destroyed,’ they’re ‘sacrificed.’ It’s an homage to the service that the animals do to advance our knowledge. No scientist says ‘destroyed’ about animals sacrificed for further research.

          • BeatriceC

            Not that I don’t believe you, but without explaining why and without using either of the words destroyed or sacrificed, I asked MrC what the proper terminology was. I like to have two unrelated sources independently say the same thing. Anyway, his response confirmed your terminology and for exactly the same reason.

          • Roadstergal

            That’s a very good policy!

            I’m not saying there couldn’t be some scientists out there that don’t use this phrasing, but I’ve come across so many differences in pronunciation and phrasing and preferred nomenclature in other things – but I have never in my life heard a scientist use any other terminology other than ‘sacrifice.’ It really jarred to read that comment.

          • BeatriceC

            Yeah, his response was quick and forceful. Unexpectedly forceful, actually. I think part of that must be a lifetime of defending his work. I think I got a little glimpse of how jarring the other terminology was for you in his response to my question.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            In my experience, sacrificing is how I’ve heard it described.

            I remember my first experience with it, when I was an undergrad and a friend was talking about her research with chickens at the NIH. “Sacrifice the chicken” was the line.

            It stood out to me then, and now I even listen for it because I expect it. It always gives me a chuckle “sacrifice the chicken” aka chopped his head off.

          • swbarnes2

            Said of the sacred chickens prior to the Battle of Drepana, First Punic War: “Bibant, quoniam esse nolunt.”

            Shoulda been more respectful…

          • Roadstergal

            Don’t forget the ex vivo differentiation and expansion.

            All that being said, I still didn’t see much going on. Their IF showed blobs of marker, but without a nuclear stain or some other type of stain, it just looks to be blobs of marker that were liberated from cells after digestion and sent along to the liver to be dealt with.

            Their control groups were all wrong. The control labeled with marker alone was distinctly missing. They never mentioned at any point that they labeled the fibroblasts before consumption, which would have been the correct control.

            The way they talked about the IHC was just weird, too. “H&E stained transverse section in duodenum of control group (Fig. 3g) and stem cells treated group (Fig. 3h) showing the intestinal mucosa is formed of villi and crypts. ” Um, yes, the intestinal mucosa has villi and crypts, why are you noting that they didn’t… go away in one of the groups, or something? IHC in general is _very_ prone to bias if not blinded, and they did not note blinding. It looks to me like they took pictures that supported their predetermined conclusion, and used no objective measurements or criteria. I don’t believe any of their IHC data at all.

            “Inner circular and outer longitudinal muscle layers which were grown thicker in stem cells treated group.” That’s just weird writing.

            They used Syber Green for the gene expression, which is a weird thing to use in this day and age, when TaqMan is so cheap and available. Syber requires that you do a melt curve to demonstrate that your product is unique, and I can tell you from experience that in a complex tissue mix, that’s really, really, really unlikely. I don’t believe their Syber data in the absence of those (and other) controls.

            Also, the two control groups conveniently turned in to one control group in the PCR. They did a cutesy ‘data not shown’ to handwave away doing that for the IHC, but even that crappy explanation wasn’t made for the PCR. Did they take the group that gave them the answer they want, and throw away the rest?

          • Heidi

            But Jen’s interpretation was so much easier to understand! 😉

          • Roadstergal

            I’m going to have business cards made up that say “Professional Buzzkill.” 🙂

          • swbarnes2

            So, can you show these cells had long term clinically relevant benefits? Because if you can’t, then it doesn’t matter, does it? If these cells are such magic, why don’t well-controlled breastfeeding studies see strong, significant effects? Why did the PROBIT studies find almost nothing? Why did the NSLY discordant sib study fail to find anything at all significant?

          • jen

            The genetic benefits are not yet known due to the recent discovery of these cells. Research takes time and since knowone profits from breast feeding, money for these studies will be scarce.

          • momofone

            Lots of people profit from breastfeeding. I spent a couple thousand dollars on it in the first year alone–way more than my formula-feeding friends spent.

          • swbarnes2

            Can you explain EXACTLY what you mean by “genetic benefits”? If you can’t do this in a way that a professional scientist thinks makes sense, the honest thing to do is to withdraw your claim, and the not-honest thing to do is to keep pretending you understand what you are talking about.

            (Everyone thinks you will do the not-honest thing…does that bother you?)

            And what about the lack of benefits to things like asthma rates, obesity rates…you know, actual benefits, not theoretical ones that you can’t explain or define?

            Do you understand that when you say there is not enough research, and co-lactivist Dr. Flanders says we do too many studies showing the benefits of breastfeeding…one of you is very very wrong? Are you going to honestly and straightforwardly claim it is him, and not you?

            And no…LCs and companies that make breastpumps, and companies that sell supplements and nursing accessories (books, clothes, bras, pillows) profit from research that shows benefits to breastfeeding. Or do you sincerely think that all those people do what they do out of the goodness of their hearts for absotuely no payment of any kind?

          • jen

            so, you claim stem cells in breast milk, HAMLET, miRNA, immunoglobulins dont benefit the infant in ways superior to cow milk based formula, and you ask for data to prove these benefits, but you dont think research on these discoveries should be done. In your mind the science is settled. Hmmm, i think you are to emotionally attached to the idea of formula feeding to be objective.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Show us evidence of babies who actually benefited. All you’ve provided is theories.

          • jen

            Do you really want me to cite the literature on how breast feeding consistently shows higher cognition? You will just say, it’s not randomized, the more intelligent, more affluent mothers breast feed. And than I will say, Smart, affluent mothers probably do smart things.

          • swbarnes2

            Right, I claim they don’t give any benefits, because we have studies that show no benefit (PROBIT, discordant sib). You are putting the cart before the horse. Show us your well-controlled studies (no shit where the breastfeeding cohort is also richer and better educated) where the breastfed kids have long term health benefits, and then you look for the causes.

          • jen

            Are you citing this PROBIT study, that showed higher cognition in breast fed babies.?
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18458209

          • Roadstergal

            “so, you claim stem cells in breast milk, HAMLET, miRNA, immunoglobulins dont benefit the infant in ways superior to cow milk based formula”

            Nope, that’s not what we claim.

            It’s what _you_ have, indirectly, claimed.

            We know, through the two existing studies that actually control for confounders, that breast milk has one very trivial benefit over formula in term infants where water is clean (a slight reduction in the risk of a GI incident, given the variable amounts of IgA in some women’s breast milk). Therefore, everything you find that is in breastmilk that is not in formula is something that, by definition, has no health benefits for a term infant.

            It’s like if you have two perfumes with the same basic backbones that smell just as good, and you dig into what ingredients are in perfume A but not perfume B. You are, by definition, homing in on the ingredients that don’t matter.

          • Sean Jungian

            AAAH HAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAH

            takes deep breath; wipes away tear

            “knowone [sic] profits from breast feeding” !

            Oh you are a stitch jen!

          • jen

            Why are you all always bringing up magic when discussing this issue? Just because we don’t know how certain biological functions work.? What does magic have to do with biology?

          • momofone

            So you don’t know how it works, can’t offer explanations/mechanisms of action, but we should believe in its power. That sounds like magic to me.

          • swbarnes2

            It’s also putting the cart before the horse. So maybe some stem cells do home into baby’s tissues from drinking breastmilk, and maybe change gene expression there, at least temporarily. The PROBIT studies and the discordant sib studies show that that doesn’t do anything that actually matters. Jen won’t even say what she thinks it does in the short term. (Probably not slightly reduce the likelihood of infections in the first year, which is the one effect of breastmilk that most of us will admit exists)

          • Roadstergal

            So, Jen, why didn’t they label the fibroblasts and make it a true control? Is it because they would have seen the same blobs of digested, liberated markers in the animals fed labeled fibroblasts?

          • Roadstergal

            Their data looks perfectly compatible with digestion to me.

          • jen

            Digestion is defined as the body breaking down macromolecules into monomers by enzymes, pH or mechanically to cross the gut in order to be used by the body. Since these are individual cells, there was question if the PL bilayer would be broken down. This study as well as the 2014 study by Hassiotou showed that these cells are integrated into the infants via oral route in 2 different animal species.

          • Heidi

            I don’t think anyone needed a definition of digestion. But way to distract and pretend you WTF is going on! So I take it you have access to the full paper and have something that proves they weren’t seeing “blobs of marker liberated from the cell after digestion”? Seems bizarre to me that we wouldn’t digest a stem cell. Maybe if a stem cell’s wall was made of cellulose but I’m pretty sure it’s not.

          • jen

            yes, i have full access, but you dont need it to understand the conclusion in the abstract. I think you should have a better understanding of the labeling process before you criticize this methodology. your conclusion that blobs of the marker are liberated from the stem cells and somehow incorporated into the infants cells is illogical.

          • Heidi

            Ah, you’re wasting your money then.

            But please, feel free to discuss with roadstergal. http://www.skepticalob.com/2017/01/of-peanuts-breastmilk-and-faulty-medical-recommendations.html#comment-3106751419

          • Roadstergal

            They’re not incorporated into infant cells. I very specifically said that they don’t look like cells.

            With your intense scientific knowledge of digestion, tell us what happens to a marker that is liberated from a cell during its jog through the digestive tract.

            With your intense scientific knowledge of relevant controls, explain why they didn’t label the fibroblasts.

          • jen

            So, the authors state the cells are incorporated into the infant rabbit’s tissues, and some were proliferated. However, you disagree with them because it doesn’t look like cells to you. ?

          • jen

            So, you say the dye is released from the cell membrane during lysis by digestion. How was the dye found in neurologic, cartilage, bone, spleen, liver ect.. By what mechanism. Why wouldn’t the dye be eliminated. If it was absorbed, why would it be found in these tissues instead of the lymphatics? Your argument makes no sense

          • Roadstergal

            Another pro tip for you. Using words you don’t fully understand might make you look smart to people who understand those words less, but they make you look really stupid to people who do. “Counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor” stupid.

          • Roadstergal

            Wow, woman, did you read this paper?

            (That’s not a ‘wow, woman’ as in you really showed us something, but a ‘wow, woman’ as in I’m pretty sure you didn’t read this paper and/or don’t know what you’re reading.)

        • Mel

          All cells – stem or not – contain transcription factors. That’s not a magical thing; it’s how cells make proteins.

          Likewise, all pluripotent stem cells can transform into cells from all three germ layers. That’s the definition of a stem cell.

        • Young CC Prof

          That’s fascinating, and potentially useful someday, but they don’t differentiate inside a baby’s body. They get digested. Breastfed babies do not grow up with bits of maternal tissue spread through their bodies at random (although, like everyone, they may have a few chimeras left over from the fetal period.)

        • swbarnes2

          You do understand that poorly differentiated cells multiplying out of the correct context is a pretty good definition of cancer, right? Do you understand that every time you use a scientific term you don’t understand, we can tell? And that doing so over and over again makes you look stupid and dishonest?

        • Azuran

          And that doesn’t matter if you eat them. stem cells in breastmilk aren’t going to get absorbed intact through the digestive system, then travel through the bloodstream and go somewhere in the baby’s body to grow whatever.

      • Sarah

        I like to stir fry them with that honey, garlic and ginger concoction that some of the anti-vaxers are into.

        • AnnaPDE

          Are they chicken stem cells? That marinade is perfect for them…

          • Sarah

            Mmm, or salmon maybe!

      • An Actual Attorney

        That’s why my diet is purely fetuses and kale.

    • Gæst

      “Doubt thou the stars are fire;
      Doubt that the sun doth move;
      Doubt truth to be a liar;
      But never doubt that breastmilk is magical.”

  • Madtowngirl

    And this is exactly why it is so important to be skeptical, and for those in positions of power that influence medical policy to learn to properly read research papers. Also, one should never rely on scientific reporting by non-science media sources, as it is almost always exaggerated and incorrect.

    Doctors and researchers are only human, and it’s inevitable that many of them will make mistakes or fall victims to their own biases. That’s why we don’t declare one individual study to be “proof” of anything – the experiments and results must be repeatable and reliable.

  • CSN0116

    Make to mistake, the “feed no peanuts until age 3 to prevent allergies” recommendation road nicely on the coattails of “delay solids and EBF for 6 months” recommendation. It was an overlapping phenomenon that I am 100% convinced was all intentionally constructed to promote EBF and make any and all foods or liquids outside of breast milk look scary and unappealing.

    Delaying peanuts was as bad of a recommendation as no solids for 6 months. Oddly, it’s actually 4-6 months, but that is never written nor any wider continuum ever discussed. When will the delaying solids repeal (or clarification) come out big and bold like the peanuts repeal just did?

    • sdsures

      I would have thought that one reasonable motive for delaying peanuts was that they could easily become a choking hazard for little ones. We’re advised to cut grapes into quarters to lessen the risk that a child might choke on them, and the quarters are much larger than peanuts. Just one anecdotal story here: my allergy to cow milk didn’t develop until my early 30s. Before that, I’d had no trouble with it.

      • CSN0116

        Well that would have made sense. Peanuts are hard to eat sans a full mouth of teeth, but peanut butter can be fed and mixed into so many foods.

        • fiftyfifty1

          This is what separates people from the USA from all other Anglophone countries. In the US, peanut butter is a common staple. Elsewhere, it’s not–if one consumes peanuts, it would be done in the whole form.

          • AnnaPDE

            Or crushed in Satay sauce, here in Australia. A favourite even with my picky kid at 6 months.

          • BeatriceC

            How do you live without peanut butter?!?!?!?

          • Charybdis

            Cashew butter. Or Nutella. Loves me some Nutella.

          • BeatriceC

            Nutella is good and all, but it’s just not the same. Peanut butter is amazing nectar of the gods, if you ask me.

          • Kelly

            I lived in Russia for six months and my mom sent me peanut butter. It was the only time I have eaten it out of the tub because it felt like a taste of home. Now, I eat one scoop and I am done. It was so hard to find. We did end up finding a very expensive and small jar in Sweden. I loved the Russian nutella much better than the actual brand but nothing beats peanut butter.

          • Mariana

            It’s very hard… But we manage. Until a couple of years ago peanut butter was very hard to get here in Brazil. Now, thanks to the fitness industry, we can get sugar free peanut butter at health food stores. It’s expensive… But I love it. I tried to get my kids to eat it, but they hate the texture… I can blend it in their smoothies… But since they are not crazy about it I rarely buy it (I tend to eat the whole jar myself in a few days…).

          • fiftyfifty1

            I never would! My family goes through nearly 2 jars per week.

          • BeatriceC

            MrC and I have strong differences of opinion regarding peanut butter. I prefer creamy, he prefers extra crunchy. So we compromise. I allow him shelf space so he can buy his own peanut butter (we also disagree on sugary fruit based congealed stuff…he says orange marmalade, I say strawberry jam…again, we compromise in that he’s allowed shelf space to store his wrong choices). The boys change their minds often and use both kinds.

            Between the two of us, I go through more, so long as we’re not counting what I use making birdie bread or peanut butter cookies. Counting those things, we probably go through 4-5 Costco sized jars of PB per month.

          • Gæst

            My pediatrician claimed that in other countries, peanuts are boiled instead of dry-roasted, and they are softer this way. I have no idea if this is true.

          • SporkParade

            Except in Israel, home of all this allergy research, where peanuts are primarily consumed in party snack form (and those party snacks basically dissolve in your mouth, so they’re fortified with iron and used as teething biscuits).

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        We used to cut our grapes in half for the kids. We quit doing it when they would take two halves and put them back together before popping them in their mouths.

        Both kids did this.

        • Aine

          Isn’t the grape advice though based on the specific combination of shape and texture of a whole grape, which has the perfect dimensions to block the child’s airway completely and the skin means it is nearly impossible to get any kind of purchase on it to remove it? So two halves already cut don’t have this problem. I’m not at all a neurotic parent but cutting grapes is definitely something that I always do. Or is my understanding completely wrong?

          On the peanut butter debate, as a non-American, I agree that it is foul horrid stuff and I have no idea why it exists. And I love actual peanuts.

          • Gæst

            I cut grapes into quarters. Hot dogs into long, thin strips.

          • Sean Jungian

            Gasp!

            😉

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Don’t worry. I mean, Australians eat vegemite, which doesn’t even have the “I love peanuts” motivation underlying it.

            There’s no accounting for taste.

      • Montserrat Blanco

        I fed my son peanut butter, every kind of fruit I could and grounded almonds on his fruit purée after 4 months corrected age. I read a NEJM on the peanut allergy matter and decided to go with science. He has no allergies so far. He is not eating whole peanuts yet as he is only two years old because they are a choking hazard but grounded nuts and butter have all the allergens and are not a choking hazard.

      • Young CC Prof

        Whole nuts ARE a choking hazard until 3 or so. But we wanted to get the “top 8” allergens in as soon as possible, so here’s what we did:

        Peanut butter and other nut butters, mixed into fruit puree

        Eggs: We mixed them in fruit raw, then stir-fried the whole thing until it was sterile.
        Milk, wheat and soy are easy.
        Shrimp: We found some shrimp chips. They dissolve in your mouth like baby biscuits.
        Fish: Pureed, with veggies.

        • Dr Kitty

          Prawn crackers are great baby snacks.

          Hummus and breadsticks will get sesame and wheat out of the way.

          I gave my kiddos scrambled egg and mashed hard boiled eggs- which both of them hated, and egg custard, which they both loved.

          I bought jars of baby food with fish- personally, I wasn’t wasting money on a nice piece of fish to cook it to death and purée it only to discover they wouldn’t eat it.
          They have “fisherman’s bake” and “tuna casserole” varieties of baby food- both of mine ate those happily before moving on to fish pie, tuna mac and cheese and the like (husband and #1 aren’t big fish fans, so I rarely cook it).

          #2 has peanut butter or Nutella on toast every morning for his breakfast, and has done since he was first able to shovel it in his mouth and steal it off his sister’s plate.

          #2 goes blotchy with strawberries, but as his father, aunts and several cousins all did as well (and all grew out of it eventually) I’m not terribly bothered.

          My family history is full of breastfed people with allergies to dairy, husband’s family is full of formula fed people with allergies to shellfish, citrus, berries and eggs. If either of them get to adulthood without a major food allergy, we’re winning.

          • Heidi

            I don’t think any American baby food makers do a seafood baby food.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            There’s a couple brands of salmon dinners in a pouch

          • Dr Kitty

            Really?

            I usually buy what is on offer. Heinz, HIPP, Cow and Gate and Ella’s Kitchen all definitely do fish recipes.

            Maybe the logistics of transporting fresh fish overland to the baby food factories in the USA make it economically unfeasible, maybe culturally Americans don’t like the idea of fish purée in jars?

            I probably like HIPP the best. It’s a German organic brand, which isn’t important to me, but their food seems to be the tastiest and unlike most of the others usually has herbs and spices on the ingredients list. My son will happily eat bowls and bowls of their spag bol and lasagna.
            https://www.hipp.co.uk/food-drinks/tray-meals/

            Of course, he’d probably happily survive on Bahlsen animal biscuits and Weetabix if left to his own devices. “Bix” was one of his first words.

          • Heidi

            I think it’s more of a cultural thing. Empress of the Iguana People said there are a couple with salmon but they aren’t anywhere I shop. I’m totally landlocked. Seafood is regarded as more of a treat and not exactly a staple by any means.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            You can get happy Baby or Ella’s Kitchen off amazon
            The cultural thing is probably right. We have pierogies all over the place here but i’d never heard of them back home. Meanwhile a good clam chowder is very hard to find

          • Heidi

            He just eats fish as it’s prepared now and loves it. He really likes smoked salmon, as do I!

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            lol, we tried one salmon puree on my first but it was a no-go. The fragment of baked Copper River salmon though, was *marvelous*

          • Heidi

            I made my son a salmon puree back in the day with some frozen salmon filets I didn’t end up caring for. He liked it pretty well. He is not a picky eater at all, and without fail, he goes for anything that is green first. I’ve found one thing he doesn’t like and that’s cottage cheese. I hated cottage cheese as a kid, too, but pretty much ate anything.

          • AnnaPDE

            What’s in baby food jars is definitely cultural.
            In Australia it’s Bolognese, some “orange veggies and beef/lamb” and “yellow veggies and chicken” purees and the dreaded “tuna mornay”. Maybe 4m of shelf space all up at the supermarket, including the pouch versions.
            I’m on holidays in Germany right now and the baby food section in the typical supermarket is a full aisle. Heaps of brands, lots of different meals, and the ones we tried taste like the actual food they’re supposed to be. In Hungary, the choice is similarly wide but there’s a strong tendency to make the meals a bit simple and bland as per old-fashioned recommendations. Still, some of them are quite tasty (IMHO at least).
            Obviously, kid has rejected almost every Euro jar we tried so far (but greedily ate the two pouches of Aussie stuff we had along for the plane ride). At least he’s happy to eat the normal food my mum cooks, cut small.

          • Erin

            We’re big HiPP fans too. I keep a supply of their jars for emergencies (i.e when my Husband gets up first and has to “make” breastfast) and am pretty fond of snacking on their cocoa and vanilla desert myself.

            https://www.hipp.co.uk/food-drinks/jars/cocoa-vanilla-dessert/

      • Kelly

        My pediatrician just told me to wait on peanut butter until they were a year old because of the choking hazard. I started both of my youngest on peanut butter sandwiches at 11 months. They were very hungry and had excellent chewing skills. My oldest on the other hand had a hard time eating anything chewy until she was almost four. So she didn’t start on peanut butter until she was about a year and a half.

      • Gæst

        Yes, and the choking hazard issue is still real. Plus, how many four month olds can chew a peanut? But you can grind them up and cook with them, or use peanut butter (also potentially a choking hazard if you give a giant spoonful, but a small lick off your finger works just fine, or dilute it in water. Boiled peanuts are apparently softer than dry roasted, although I don’t know where you find those in the US.

        • Young CC Prof

          You find boiled peanuts in Asian restaurants. They are softer, although not so soft I’d let a baby gum them, and they taste good.

      • Toni35

        My first three girls were born in the “no peanuts/peanut products before two” (or was it three?) era. I waited until after age one, but then I did give a small smear of peanut butter on toast from time to time. I figured allergies don’t run in our family (me or dh) and they had taken to everything else with no issue, so why not? With my youngest daughter, the new recommendation had come out, so I did let her have small amounts licked off my finger once it seemed reasonable that she wouldn’t gag (around 8-9 months, I guess).

        Now that I’m thinking about it – what about PB2 – that powdered peanut butter stuff? It’s just peanut butter with the oil removed. It’s the proteins they benefit from being exposed to, no? I imagine it would be pretty tasty mixed with baby oatmeal, or applesauce or mashed banana. And no choking hazard. My youngest is old enough now to have the PB on toast, but something for those with littler ones to consider…

    • OttawaAlison

      I remember the day that I without thinking let my daughter have a bite of a luna bar with nuts (not 100% sure if there were peanuts or not), she was 21 months old. Thankfully no issues, but I freaked out for a minute.
      Don’t get me started on the 6 month thing. My daughter was born at 41.5 weeks, had her pincer grip early etc, good head control etc at 4 months. That said she just wasn’t big on solids back then, but I still gave her little bites now and then before 6 months of purees.

      • LeighW

        We learned my daughter wasn’t allergic to peanuts when a friend asked if she could have some ice cream and gave her an entire caramel drumstick.

        A whole drumstick.

        I’ve never seen a kid so sticky in my life.

      • Mel

        My nephew started grabbing for food at tables when he was 3 months old and started making chewing motions when people were eating at 3.5 months old. His pediatrician recommended starting foods at 4 months because he was on the slim, but tall side and was clearly interested in eating.

        He’s been getting store-bought baby food purees and has not grown a second head to the best of my knowledge. 🙂

    • Madtowngirl

      Yep, we started giving ours solid food as soon as the pediatrician gave us the OK at 4 months. She was interested in what we were eating, and was physically ready, so why not? Of course, her main nutritional source was still formula, but there really didn’t seem to be any purpose to delay solids any further. Other than woo-y “virgin gut” crap (which by the way, makes no sense).

      • BeatriceC

        We started feeding MK solid foods at 5 months, after begging his pediatrician for approval. He was born at 32 weeks, so that was only 3 months adjusted and initially his doctor wanted me to wait until 4 months adjusted. MK was 5 pounds, 4 oz at birth, despite being 8 weeks early, and is now a 6 foot 1 inch 15 year old with an extremely large appetite under normal circumstances (and extremely active, so quite muscular and trim, and burns off all those calories). That kid has always been huge and active. Introducing solids was like somebody waving a magic wand. He was HUNGRY and breastmilk alone just wasn’t cutting it any more.

        • Gæst

          Yeah, I introduced solids at 3 months adjusted – but my ped okayed it. I think part of it is about how long the infant’s stomach has been digesting milk or formula (vs. not digesting anything), rather than literal age.

      • Heidi

        I am really skeptical you can feed babies solids too early, barring force-feeding. My baby had no interest in what we were eating and any attempts to feed him beforehand were pointless thanks to the extrusion reflex. For my baby, that happened to be fairly close to six months.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          I’ve mentioned in the past that I was visiting my 92 year old aunt about the time our oldest started cereal. She told me that her kids got mashed potatoes when they were a week old. That was like 70 years ago, of course

          • Heidi

            My mom says my grandmother fed me mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. Since I was born at the very end of September, I had to be under 2 months old. So I guess you can feed a baby too early, but I’m not sure if I was too young for the extrusion reflex or what. I evidently had a diaper blowout that about ruined a car seat.

          • SporkParade

            If my grandma got me accidentally drunk on champagne at one year old and now I can’t have more than one or two servings of alcohol nursed slowly over a meal without horrendous gastritis all night, what does that say about the ideal age to introduce alcohol to toddlers? ;P

          • Mariana

            Here in Brazil I’ve heard a lot older people telling me they used to feed their very young babies (1 month maybe) mashed bananas. And these people are in their 60s, so not so long ago. One woman I was close to said she would mash the banana, put it on her finger and let her newborn suck on her finger to get the banana. They would all insist I try this with my very skinny daughter who was combination fed (mostly formula). Others told me to cook a teaspoon of very fine oatmeal in her milk, cool it and feed it in a bottle (with a bigger whole, I guess…)
            I never did either… But the pediatrician told me to start giving her fruit at 4 months. My American friends were all concerned she wouldn’t like vegetables if I started with fruit… But she always liked vegetables just fine.

          • Sean Jungian

            Here in the US it’s also pretty common to start off with mashed bananas (I think so, at least it WAS common).

            My former m-i-l also mixed a very small amt of rice cereal in with the bottle of breastmilk for my son at about 2 months I think it was. At the time you could buy nipples with slightly larger holes, I would assume you still can.

          • Mishimoo

            I started my youngest out with mashed bananas at 4 months because he was so hungry. Unfortunately, they turned out to be the one food he was allergic to! Fast-forward 3 years, we were going to get him tested to see if he had outgrown the allergy and he took matters into his own hands by presenting me with a half-eaten banana one evening and saying that he was done. Thankfully, he didn’t react.

        • guest

          I agree with this. My second had a hard time with solids even at 6 months. We just backed of and kept trying periodically. She was well over a year before she could eat anything beyond mushed food, but once she was past the hurdle, she was fine. It is pretty obvious when they are ready for solid food, IMO.

    • yentavegan

      You know what? My DH developed a scary allergy to pine-nuts. HE had been exposed to pine nuts many times and never had a reaction to them until the day they became nearly lethal for him. So I would be hesitant to blame breastfeeding for the peannut allergy epidemic.

      • moto_librarian

        It will be interesting to see if the rates of nut allergy start to drop with this new recommendation though. My limited understanding of allergies is that you can develop them throughout your life. I’m sorry that your husband has developed this. It sounds terrifying.

        • Young CC Prof

          The most common times for allergy appearance are early childhood, when the immune system first forms, and early 20s, when it peaks. Males are more likely to have allergic disease as young children, but females are more likely to develop new or worsening allergies in adulthood.

          No one really has any clue why any of this happens.

      • Azuran

        It’s not really breastfeeding. It’s the recommendation to completely avoid the allergens. And even then, it lowers the risks, it doesn’t make it 0. So it’s not abnormal for a kid who was exposed very young to still develop allergies.

      • Young CC Prof

        We don’t know why adults suddenly develop allergies to foods they’ve eaten for years.

        • Sean Jungian

          I have always loved peanut butter and it has been a staple in my diet for years, up until the past year or two. While I wouldn’t call it an allergy, exactly, 2 things regularly happen now when I eat peanuts or peanut butter: 1) I get ulcers on the sides of my tongue within 4 or 5 hours, and 2) I get diarrhea.

          I would definitely call it a sensitivity, although it’s just uncomfortable and not life-threatening. I can still have VERY small amounts of it but nothing like I used to.

          • LeighW

            I feel your pain, except for me it’s mussels. I had no problem with them when I was younger and ate them on a regular basis, but now 1 or 2 will

          • BeatriceC

            I developed an anaphylactic allergy to chocolate last year. I posted about it here because it was just that awful.

          • Mishimoo

            That would be so frustrating! I’ve had to cut my peanut butter intake too, but that’s because it seems to contribute to pimples for me. The confounding factor for me is that I crave peanut butter when I’m about to get my period, which is also when I tend to get more pimples. It’s weird.

        • Roadstergal

          There are definitely sensitizing events…
          We lived in a rented house with black mold, and I started having sensitivities that I have never had in my life. I put my foot down, and we moved. I wonder often if I would have developed full-blown allergies if I had stayed.

      • CSN0116

        I didn’t mean that breastfeeding causes allergies. I meant that ebf with no introduction to anything else does. It’s the lack of allergens.

    • Vanessa

      I started both my babies on solids at 4 months, even gave them peanut butter. Now 11 and 8 yrs old, no issues at all. No allergies, no eczema, nothing.

    • Spamamander, pro fun ruiner

      Baby number one was on solids RIGHT after her 4 month checkup- the midwife said give that kid some food! She was downing 40 oz of formula a day, easy.

      • Kelly

        Agh, mine too. I have started all my kids at around four months but started to feed them consistently at five months.

    • Young CC Prof

      Probably about half of millenial kids with food allergy didn’t need to get food allergy.

      95% of kids aren’t going to get a food allergy either way, 1% are going to get food allergies no matter what you do (remember some babies show signs of allergy as young as 2 months or even need elemental formula to survive.) In between, there are kids who might or might not get food allergies, and timing of introduction seems to be a modifiable factor.

    • Heidi

      Another thing that seems to overlap with the EBF until at least 6 months is baby led weaning and I’m sure it’s having some impact on delaying solid foods. It would be one thing if it was sold as another option to feed your baby solids if it works but it’s sold as the *best* option, and that’s a load of crap, too! My baby wouldn’t have eaten a solid food until he was almost 9 months old, and if he had been exclusively breastfed, he would have needed a regular iron source before that. Besides the fact one has to be fairly privileged to practice it. I could afford to waste tons of produce and other food as baby hair gel and floor confetti, but I refuse to do so. While my son at 13 months is able to pick up food and feed himself, he still loves to be spoon-fed (he has no interest at the moment in using utensils) and I kind of like the convenience of it for at least a meal a day.

      • Young CC Prof

        Yeah, the way some people nowadays do BLW, baby’s nutritional needs aren’t being met. Exclusively breastfed babies must get an iron source by 6 months at the latest. Doesn’t matter whether it’s meat, fortified cereal, vitamin drops or plant sources, but it has to be something. The first birthday is not when babies first need solids, but when solids go from a supplement to the main source of nutrition.

      • C.

        Baby-led weaning sounds like it should mean watching for cues that your baby is ready for solids and acting accordingly, and I was surprised to find out that wasn’t what it was at all. In fact the majority of baby-led weaning information sources I looked at said that you ABSOLUTELY MUST delay solids until 6 months, which seems incompatible with letting a baby eat what it wants (my baby wanted tacos at 5 months; she did not get them because she wouldn’t have actually been able to eat them and it would probably have resulted in a big mess and frustration for all parties, but she was fascinated by them)

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          Both of my kids were grabbing at food at 4 months but suck in the hand-eye-mouth coordination. Daughter is a large and hungry baby; she needs solids

      • Dr Kitty

        Totally agree. BLW was not for me.

        Most people do not have the budget or the time to buy a wide variety of fresh fruits,veggies and meats, appropriately prepare them and allow an infant to pick and choose what to eat and what to throw on the floor. The amount of food waste it creates, at least at the start, is unacceptable to me.

        I also do not have the patience to tolerate food I have have worked hard to prepare being smeared in hair or thrown on the floor.

        If BLW worked for you and was something you found quick, easy and cheap, then obviously I’m very happy for you.

        But I think it is unrealistic for most people.

        I’d rather spoon feed my six month old a store bought jar of ratatouille, chicken and rice, knowing that they are getting fives types of vegetables, protein and source of carbs than to prepare steamed chicken, vegetable crudités and rice most of which will get thrown on the floor and the remainder of which will take an hour for the baby to eat.

        My 16 month old now eats a mixture of spoonfeeds (cereal, baby food, yogurt) and finger food (breadsticks, toast, fruit, cheese, chips, biscuits) depending on what is most convenient at the time.

        He’s deeply interested in trying to pull the spoon out of my hand, usually because he wants to be fed faster, but lacks the co-ordination to successfully spoon feed himself as yet.

        • BeatriceC

          I joke around that parrots and toddlers are pretty much the same thing. There’s so many similarities between the two groups! Wasted produce is the most expensive part of owning parrots. BLW sounds exactly like how my birds eat when presented with fresh foods. To avoid that, I shred/puree veggies and hide them in other dishes, which is exactly what I did with the boys when they were little.

          • Azuran

            The best is how they always want everything that you or any other bird has, even if they don’t like it.
            So they ask for food, you give it to them, they don’t like it and throw it on the ground, then proceed to ask for more because the others have it.

          • BeatriceC

            Charlotte has decided MrC is her human. Birds do this. They attach strongly to one person and that’s that. Lately, she’s decided that MrC must share EVERYTHING with her. She’s been eating off his plate, drinking from his cup, trying to figure out what’s so interesting about that flashy flatish rectangle thing (laptop). So one day she was being particularly insistent on his glass of water. She wouldn’t drink from her own bowl, but kept grabbing for his glass. So he got up and put water into an *identical* glass to give to her. Nope. No dice. She had to have his glass. Only the one he was actively drinking from would do.

          • Azuran

            That reminds me of when I gave my two parrots a peanut each. Kiwi (she’s a little bully, really not friendly to other birds) when she saw that Ramses had a peanut, dropped her own and went to steal hers (because it’s obviously better than her own). Ramses let kiwi have it, then went around and took the one Kiwi had dropped.
            So of course, when Kiwi saw that Ramses had a peanut, she dropped her knew one and went after the one Ramses had. So Ramses again let kiwi have her peanut, and went back to get the one Kiwi dropped. And this went on an on an on until I had to put kiwi back in her cage.

          • Mel

            We see that with our Holstein cows and calves a lot.

            Cow 1: I like this baby. It’s such a good baby. Hey, why does that cow have a better baby than I do! I want that baby!

            *Cows 1 and 2 fight. Cow 1 gets Calf 2 and Cow 2 gets Calf 1*

            Cow 1: I like THIS baby. It’s such a good baby. Hey, why does that cow have a better baby than I do! I want that baby!

            *Cows 1 and 2 fight. Cow 1 gets Calf 1 and Cow 2 gets Calf 2*

            Repeat from the beginning as often as you want. 🙂

          • Empliau

            Is this a Holstein thing? Do other cows do this too?

            I’m glad Spawn is doing so well, but I must confess I’ve been missing the dairy farm tales. We need more cowbell!

          • Roadstergal

            Ha! Our dogs do that with bones all the time. We yell, “Switch!”

          • StephanieJR

            One of my favourite rabbit stories is when Amy tried to steal a glass of ice and juice from me. We were sitting on the couch together, she reached over and literally grabbed the glass and yanked. It spilled everywhere and was hilarious. I tried to share an apple with her once. Tried.

            Once of the best things about bunnies is how they hate being ignored. Right now I have to be a giant pacifier and give her my arm to lick or she’ll cause mischief.

          • BeatriceC

            Last night I was eating Chinese take out at my desk. This dish had some green beans in it. I’m allergic to green beans but it’s not severe like some of my other allergies. I just shoved them aside. Leo’s cage is right by my desk. I decided to give him a green bean. About five minutes later, as I’m eating and surfing the web I looked down to see the small parrot standing on my plate eating the green beans with this “this was my food, not yours” look on his face.

        • Heidi

          I’m also a salt lover, not excessively so but I salt my food as I cook since I have no reason to especially watch my sodium intake. The most annoying thing I read on baby food reviews or on BLW websites is “If I won’t eat it, why would I expect my baby to? I tried a bite and hated it so I threw it away before even letting my baby try it. Only the best for my baby!” Really? No, I don’t like Gerber meat sticks, those stinky cheese broccoli twists, jarred baby food or baby cereal especially. The main complaint I have is lack of salt or sugar, though! I know it’s best not to feed an infant something high in sodium. I wasn’t aware that my son and I had to share the same opinions about food anyway.

          • Azuran

            Geez, what am I going to feed my baby? I don’t eat puree food or cereals or mushy things on general.
            Does that mean I also shouldn’t breastfeed because the idea of drinking my own breastmilk gross me out?

          • Heidi

            You should drink your own breast milk! I’ve seriously seen on a mommy forum a woman was thinking of drinking her own for the “immunity benefits,” and the nutrition and others agreed that would be a good idea! I am not sure how they thought drinking something your own body made would contain anything that wasn’t already in your own body nor how it would benefit them or how they didn’t understand that breast milk take nutrients out of your body.

          • Azuran

            The solution to world hunger: Drink your own breastmilk, you’ll never need to drink or eat again.

          • Heidi

            Nikki Lee would agree!

          • Juana

            I might contemplate that (only if I believed in perpetual motion), but the process would be cumbersome. You can hardly latch onto yourself below a certain cup size…

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I tasted everything before I fed it to the kids. The only thing I didn’t like were the meats. Everything else tasted like what it was. Green beans tasted like green beans, peas tasted like peas, etc.

            My favorite, by far, were the prunes. I loved the prunes.

          • Heidi

            My son likes all the meats and veggies. He really likes those Gerber meat sticks. I find them inedible, but hey, he likes it and it’s a good source of protein he can easily chew.

          • Roadstergal

            And, I mean – babies are allowed to have different taste from mom, right? They’re allowed to like x or y even if mom’s not hot about it? :p

          • Mel

            I had a school friend who brought fruit baby food jars to school with her as a treat. Honestly, they were pretty good.

            I’m not fond of meat purees myself, but I also have a full set of teeth. Babies have been eating pre-chewed adult food for millennia so I’m guessing they don’t hate meat goo as much as I do.

            When Spawn starts getting solid food in 5-8 months, we’ll probably do some home-made stuff – but mainly because my husband and I love to garden and cook so mashed (fill in a vegetable or fruit) is easier and more fun than driving to the nearest store for canned during the summer and early fall. When the frost hits, Spawn will be getting canned baby foods from the store and he’ll be fine with that as well.

          • Gæst

            I fed my kids commercial jarred baby food. I also tasted them all and I thought they were pretty good. It’s not what I would want to have for dinner, but the natural sweetness of the vegetables was surprising to me. The carrots weren’t bitter. The only one I didn’t like was the jarred chicken. My kids hated that, too.

          • Heidi

            There was one I found disgusting. It was a Sprout pouch and I think it was white beans, kale, peas and brown rice. At room temperature, it was too thick for the baby to eat and gagged him. But it thinned out when warmed up. The baby liked it fine, though.

          • Steph858

            So the view of the BLWs is that babies/toddlers should eat mashed up versions of whatever you eat, and of course you should be eating a healthy diet full of veggies etc.

            Fine. I’ll take them at their word. I eat quite healthily with plenty of veggies (mostly spinach, fenugreek, okra, aubergines, garlic and onions – apparently seen by some as ‘superfoods’; eaten by me as ‘yummy’). I even enjoy eating something that some people apparently forcefeed themselves or take in pill form; you can’t make a proper curry without a couple of teaspoons of turmeric!

            But the most essential ingredient is a vegetable (well, botanically it’s a fruit, but in culinary terms it’s a vegetable) which contains more vitamin C per gram than oranges: the chilli pepper. And not just one; I’d use half a dozen to make a mild (by my standards) curry.

            I’m sure that giving my son a bit of my dinner would be a much better idea than giving him baby food out of a jar. And anyone who suggests (as my health visitor did) that I separate off a portion for my son before I add in the chillies and spices doesn’t know how to cook a good curry (hint: the spices go in near the beginning, not the end).

          • Heidi

            What you eat, but you don’t mash it up and you don’t feed them with a spoon. They have to be able to pick it up and feed themselves; otherwise, they are obviously not ready and don’t need to eat solid foods. 😉

          • Steph858

            Wow. Seriously? If I’d followed that advice, he’d be living off chips and literally nothing else. Well, maybe the occasional lollipop or small bar of chocolate, but those don’t really count as food.

          • Heidi

            “The distinct advantage of weaning at around six months is that by then, our children are developmentally capable of feeding themselves proper food, in other words – no more mush!

            You just hand them the food in a suitably-sized piece and if they like it they eat it and if they don’t they won’t. (But they do, really they do… check out the baby with the pork chop).” -babyledweaning.com

            But I call BS on that. The pincer grasp does not usually develop until 8 months to 12 months. My baby was around 8.5 months I think before he could even grasp those cereal puffs and also not choke on them. I put one in his mouth at 6 or 7 months and he started gagging. So he needed to be spoonfed mush until then and he still likes mush just fine! He likes being fed because he basks in anything that involves paying attention to him. If I still offered a bottle, I know he’d still let me hold him like a newborn and bottle feed him. I put an end to that almost a month ago because I was over it.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            And I was proud of my daughter when she actually grabbed a piece of bread the other day and brought it to her mouth. It was enclosed in her fist so none got in her mouth, but hey, not bad for 7 months. She’s pretty good at grabbing *my* hand and bringing whatever food I’m holding to her mouth that way, though, lol

          • Tigger_the_Wing

            (Sorry, in case you get a downvote notification – after upvoting, I accidentally clicked that instead of ‘reply’).

            My husband likes his chilli and curries hot. By the time he was two, my eldest loved them hot, too. He shocked some friends we were visiting by polishing off his portion of a chilli which was too hot for me.

          • Steph858

            Guess there’s some hope that my son will be able to handle mummy’s curry then. I’ll try giving him a small amount to see if he likes it. If he does, it will be worth the effort of helping him acquire a taste for spicy food just to see the look on guests’ faces when they dig into a portion of food from the same pan my son just nonchalantly munched from only to discover that their mouths are on fire!

          • Heidi

            You can tell the people who don’t really cook. If you cook, you know first, you want to bloom the spices and then let the flavors all meddle together. Dumping the spices at the end would not be that good.

            I actually made my son a mild Thai curry to introduce peanut butter to him. It was Massaman curry (IIRC it’s the Thai take on a Middle Eastern curry. It’s flavorful but not intense heatwise) with sweet potatoes and lentils.

        • Inmara

          Oh, I’m so relieved to see that another children around mine’s age are not using utensils independently yet! I’m starting to slightly worry about it because kid is happy to eat finger foods and in fact can operate a spoon, but he’s more interested in playing with food than eating if I give him spoon or fork. My temper is too short to see him throwing food around so it usually ends with me wrestling the utensil back and feeding him (or him actually demanding to be fed).
          And don’t get me started on using cups instead of bottles or sippy cups, I’m so not ready for THAT mess…

          • Sean Jungian

            Don’t worry too much. Like I told myself when my son was learning the potty much more s-l-o-w-l-y than I thought he should, “Well, I know he won’t still be in diapers at age 30, so it WILL happen eventually”.

        • Sean Jungian

          Wow, I learned something today – BLW is nothing like what I THOUGHT it was.

          I thought it meant your baby kind of decides when he or she has had enough of breastfeeding (or, formula, but in my situation it was breastfeeding) and wants to go to more solid food.

      • Lurkerette

        I knew BLW wasn’t for me when I read an online discussion board debating whether it was ever, ever permissible to spoonfeed a child things that are eaten with spoons — too much of elevating common sense recommendations (babies can nom on table foods earlier than one might think, and it’s a great way to introduce them to flavors and textures) into doctrine (no spoons! spoons teach only dominance! no one who uses spoons gets into Harvard.)

        • momofone

          I’ve probably mentioned this here before, but I remember being told in no uncertain terms by a hard-line BLW supporter that I could not say I did BLW because we also fed purees and cereals (gasp!) with a spoon. She also told me that it was a violation of him as a person and a sentient being to “force” a spoon into his mouth. It was crazy. We fed purees and cereals and obviously did slacker-level BLW, but not as a religion, just as a way for him to eat. And therein lay the problem.

      • Inmara

        Hardcore BLW-ers would say that sure, your baby didn’t need any food besides breastmilk until 9 months of age. “My baby started solids only at 11 months and his iron levels were OK, how about that?” Sure, not all infants develop anemia if not getting iron from food timely but the rate of iron deficiency among EBF infants between 6 and 12 months was ~10% (IIRC) so actually very high.
        It’s sickening how another very practical approach to child-rearing has become sort of religion (similar to baby wrapping, co-sleeping etc.)

        • Heidi

          Or they’d claim I did something wrong, probably vaccines, and that’s why he is not advanced for his age and doesn’t feed himself, unlike their snowflake who definitely feeds himself at 6 months and has the vocabulary and conversation skills of a 12 year old.

          • Sean Jungian

            A 12 year old? Well, I guess they’re doing their best…

          • Heidi

            I’m pretty impressed my 13 month old knows how to use the safety latch I installed on our entertainment center. I went through a lot of trouble to drill holes and all that and as soon I’m done and marveling my work, he opens the cabinet and continues to remove all our DVDs, video games and CDs. However, he could care less about any of the many, many toys he received for his birthday and Christmas.

    • Gæst

      Four years ago, my kids’ pediatrician was reading the early research studies that said solids starting at four months is okay again, and give peanuts as soon as possible. I am so glad he onto these new recommendations back then, because starting solids saved my sanity (the babies started sleeping for four hour stretches). We’ll never know whether they would have had peanut allergies if I hadn’t given them peanut butter early, but it is a relief that whatever the reason, we so far have no sign of food allergies. I had to defend my choices to some people then. I didn’t do BLW, I didn’t wait for all the “signs of readiness” (I mean, they couldn’t sit up well because they were premature – but my daughter didn’t sit up well until she was eight months old – but when I spooned a small amount of puree in their mouths they didn’t tongue it back out). I fed them anything and everything except honey and drinks other than milk/formula. It was also fun, and that was important, too – there’s not a lot a four-month-old can do, but I imagined offering different foods to be sort of like getting to visit new places or listen to new music (we also did those things, but they seemed oblivious to them – they were clearly not oblivious to food).

      • EbbyBee

        How premature were your babies? I have almost three month old 28 weekers and I can’t imagine feeding solids in a month, but I really look forward to it.

        • Gæst

          Only one month. Obviously each preemie should be assessed individually for readiness, but solids shouldn’t be automatically withheld until they reach 4-6 adjusted.

          • EbbyBee

            Ah ok, I figured that they were probably less premature than my twins.

          • Gæst

            Talk to your pediatrician. I’m sure that more caution is warranted the more premature a child was born, but it’s mainly going to depend on their specific progress. As I said, I didn’t think waiting for them to be good sitters was important. They could sit in a bouncy chair strapped in, but they could not sit up unassisted. Although I didn’t know at the time, it would take my daughter many months more to master that – she had some gross motor delays, but they were unrelated to her readiness for solids.

          • EbbyBee

            Yeah, I’m going to rely on the advice of their pediatrician and speech therapist. What’s frustrating about preemies is that all the usual baby milestones are not as neat and tidy as they are with full terms babies. Of course for full term babies it isn’t always straightforward, but at least it’s somewhat more predictable.

          • Gæst

            That is true. Except for my daughter’s gross motor, mine had no diagnosable delays, and yet almost none of the milestones happened the way the development guides said, or other parents reported – not even when using adjusted age. It was as if they developed randomly – generally within the acceptable timeframe, but without the cues other babies seemed to give, or identifiable patterns.

      • CSN0116

        I never started solids based on age. Once they hit 30-32 oz of milk consumption each day, I started cereal, followed by other purees. 😉

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          Dr S asked how much my then 4 month old was eating. Kid had just drank 12 ounces. Doc said to start her in a couple weeks (ie 4 months after her due date, she was on the earlier side of term).

          • CSN0116

            Yeah, I just don’t get how much liquid you can shove down a kid who is still dissatisfied after? The bottles I own go to 8 oz, so I won’t feed bigger than that. If kid takes 8 and wants more food, we move to solids. They all started at varying ages. Three of the five before 4 months.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            I refill the recently emptied one. But yeah, she’s to the point where she’s fussy if we don’t give her a couple bowls full of solids a day.

          • myrewyn

            I also started one of mine on solids before four months. My mom kept telling me he was hungry (based on his cries post feeding) despite my copious breast milk and finally I gave in. She was totally right and my baby, who also hit all his other physical milestones early, was immediately less fussy with a little real food in his tummy. I can’t repeat this story many places.

        • Gæst

          That might work for some, but my kids were not taking in that much when I started solids. They were still ready.

        • Tigger_the_Wing

          All my five got tastes of various foods from about four months (mostly just a dab on the tongue), but started getting supplementary cereals from three months. They were fast-growing kids, they weren’t getting enough calories from milk alone, and even the ones on formula started waking up at night again until I mixed a little baby rice with milk as a late-evening treat.

          They practically hoovered it off the spoon.

          That, to my mind, has less to do with ‘weaning’ and more to do with comfort. There is a limit to how much liquid their little kidneys can process, after all. They all carried on drinking breastmilk or formula for months.

    • fiftyfifty1

      Yes, I bet that the recommendation of “4-6” months becoming interpreted as “not before 6 months” was due largely to lactivism. My BIL’s baby book from the early ’70’s has all the pediatrician’s notes and my MIL was instructed to start him on egg yolks at 4 weeks, and all sorts of solids by 2 months. We got taught 4-6 months in residency, but I never had the heart to push that on my patients. My advice is more like “start them whenever you start them in your culture and feed them whatever you feed them.” I do talk about avoiding choking hazards. Likewise with the whole hysteria surrounding THEY MUST BE OFF THE BOTTLE BY 12 MONTHS! It’s miserable and futile to try to impose this arbitrary rule, especially when dealing with the cultures where they routinely give a bottle past the age of 3. Instead I spend my energy on “nothing but plain water or plain milk in the bottle” (plain cow’s milk has low cariogenicity).

    • Merrie

      An acquaintance of mine has a peanut-allergic son and they successfully did a desensitization therapy under medical supervision. He received tiny amounts of peanut protein and gradually his dose was ramped up. For each new dose he would first get it in the doctor’s office and then he would go home on that dose and continue for several weeks before the next increase. He has finished treatment now and is still required to eat a certain amount of peanut every day going forward (I think they give him a few peanut M&Ms each day). He’s still considered to be allergic, but they no longer have to be worried that he’s going to die if he accidentally eats a cookie that was put on a plate that previously held a peanut butter cookie or whatever.

      • CSN0116

        I went to high school with a kid who was treated like this for peanuts and fish. He was no longer allergic by college (was anaphylactic allergic prior).