Help with a Fussy Infant?
(ARA) - Carbohydrate malabsorption may not be on the tip of every parent’s tongue, but it is a commonplace yet often undiagnosed condition that can significantly affect the health of your baby, according to authors of a preliminary study published in the journal “Nutrition.”
Carbohydrate malabsorption is the inability to fully digest the naturally-occurring sugars in foods and beverages. It is often silent and may not be associated with easily recognized signs or symptoms, but it can make babies restless, fussy, and less likely to sleep well. In more severe cases, carbohydrate malabsorption can lead to diarrhea, colicky behavior, or potentially slowed growth performance.
In the study, infants five to six months old who were less able to digest the sugars in one 4-ounce juice serving expended more energy for the next three hours than infants who tolerated the juice they were fed. The combination of less energy absorbed and more energy expended when infants are fed a juice that contains hard-to-digest carbohydrates could contribute to concerns about any child who has subpar growth performance.
“The inability to tolerate certain carbohydrates can be serious in babies and toddlers,” explains Dr. Fima Lifshitz, director of pediatrics and senior nutrition scientist, Sansum Medical Research Institute, Santa Barbara, Calif., and senior author of the study.
“In our study of 32 babies, we observed that the babies who malabsorbed carbohydrates spent more energy, had a higher calculated metabolic rate, and had a trend towards reduced growth performance as measured by their weight/length ratio. In previous studies we showed that even for children without obvious symptoms, the restlessness and discomfort associated with the condition can adversely affect parent-to-child interaction and the enjoyment of a happy baby.”
“The good news is that carbohydrate malabsorption may be controlled by making the right dietary decisions,” adds Lifshitz. “We have seen in several previous clinical studies a clear connection between perceptible carbohydrate malabsorption and the type of juice the child is fed.”
Juices like apple and pear juice contain several sugars that make them less digestible. They contain sorbitol and have an imbalance of fructose and glucose, which contributes to the problem of carbohydrate malabsorption, according to the researchers. White grape juice, on the other hand, contains no sorbitol and has an even balance of fructose and glucose.
Sorbitol is an indigestible sugar alcohol found in many fruit juices. Fructose, when not balanced by a similar amount of glucose, is also difficult for young children to digest. Researchers attribute the symptoms of carbohydrate malabsorption to the bacterial digestion of these undigested carbohydrates in the lower intestine and colon. This creates gas, which may then lead to restlessness and colicky-like symptoms.
“Were I advising a parent of a young child on introducing a juice as a weaning food,” says Lifshitz, “I would recommend the one containing the appropriate blend of sugars -- white grape juice. The literature clearly shows that babies are less likely to experience digestive problems with this juice than with those with a more problematic carbohydrate profile.”
Dr. Lifshitz emphasizes that juice should be consumed in moderation, and encourages parents to consult their pediatricians to find out the best age to introduce juice to their babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against introducing juice prior to 6 months of age.
Courtesy of ARA Content
Date Submitted: 02/20/2004
Feeding Your Infant
A guide for the first few months
(Family Features) - Motherhood comes with a host of accessories and a whole bunch of questions. One of the most common worries new moms face concerns feeding their new bundle of joy. Breastfeed or bottle feed? Can I do both? What if the baby doesn't like the bottle? Is formula ok?
"All these questions are normal," explains Nikki H., a UK qualified midwife and one of the infant feeding experts at Tommee Tippee, the number-one brand of infant and toddler feeding products in Great Britain now available in the U.S. "New moms are often surprised at how much they already know intuitively about feeding their babies."
Still, questions abound. So Tommee Tippee offers the following advice.
Ask any expert and they'll tell you: breastfeeding is best. That's why virtually every new mom is encouraged to give breastfeeding a chance at the outset, even if they are unsure whether they want to breastfeed or indeed will be able to. The advice is at least to try and then go from there, knowing that you do have other options.
Breast milk itself is packed with nutrients to help your baby grow, develop and stay healthy. That's why experts often recommend breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a baby's life and even longer if possible. But some moms might not realize that breastfeeding also benefits them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that breastfeeding can help moms lose pregnancy weight more quickly. It also helps reduce postpartum bleeding by releasing the hormone oxytocin. Over the long term, breastfeeding may also help reduce the risk of ovarian and breast cancer and may help increase bone density, which can protect against osteoporosis.
"Some new moms are unsure about breastfeeding," explains Nikki. "But with some simple hints and a bit of practice, soon mom and baby will find their comfortable position and a natural rhythm."
Moms should keep the following tips in mind while breastfeeding:
"It's a fact that some women find breastfeeding difficult, nor do all moms want to breastfeed," explains Nikki. "It is a personal choice. But one of the great learning experiences of motherhood is being able to politely listen to the unsolicited advice and opinions of others. Bottle feeding, either with expressed milk or infant formula is a safe and practical alternative for mother and child."
Introducing a bottle, and therefore more help in caring for her baby, can be liberating for a mom. Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature baby bottles are designed to allow baby to switch from breast to bottle, and back again. To make introducing a bottle easier, here are some suggestions:
Expressing simply means removing milk from your breasts so that it can be safely stored and given to your baby later. Expressing allows you to continue to give your baby all the nutritional benefits of your breast milk, even when you can't feed your baby yourself.
"Like bottle feeding, expressing milk can be a huge benefit for moms," explains Nikki. "You can safely store a supply of milk for those times when you know you won't be available to breastfeed. Plus, you give your partner an opportunity to participate in feeding, an important bonding time with your child. From a practical standpoint, expressing can help relieve engorged breasts, while stimulating your body to produce even more milk for your baby."
Unless recommended by a healthcare professional, it is typically not advisable to express milk until baby is about four to six weeks old. This gives you plenty of time to establish breastfeeding and to resolve any little difficulties that may arise.
Sold in 45 countries around the world, Tommee Tippee is now being offered in the United States and Canada exclusively at Babies "R" Us and Toys "R" Us. For more helpful advice and product information, please visit www.tommeetippee.com, or find them on Facebook.com/tommeetippeenorthamerica and Twitter.com/tommeetippee_na.
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