5 Health Benefits of Figs

5 Health Benefits of Figs

Figs probably aren’t the type of fruit you feed your kids every day. In fact, when you think about figs, you probably think fig Newtons—the cookies you used to enjoy as a kid and maybe feed your kids now. Although those cookies are delicious, they aren’t the healthiest treat to eat.

Yet real figs—fresh or dried—are, plus they’re tasty, sweet and have a chewy and slightly crunchy texture at the same time.

While apples, pears and pumpkin get all the attention this time of year, consider serving up figs at your kids’ next meal. Here’s why.

Filling fiber

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 9 out of 10 kids don’t eat enough vegetables and 6 in 10 don’t eat enough fruit—two of the best sources of fiber. Since fiber slows digestion, it keeps your kids feeling fuller longer and may prevent weight gain and obesity.

Adding figs to your kid’s diet can be a great way to add more fiber. A half-cup of raw figs contains nearly 3 grams of fiber while the same portion of dried figs has more than 9 grams.

Rich in vitamins and minerals

Both raw and dried figs are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals, yet dried figs have higher levels. For starters, figs contain calcium for strong teeth and bones and potassium which supports your child’s growth and the function of nerve cells in the body and the brain. Potassium also lowers blood pressure, which can help the 2 to 5 percent of kids who have hypertension but often go undiagnosed. Figs also contain other important key nutrients like magnesium and vitamin K.

Prevents colds and infections

With cold and flu season upon us, feeding your kids figs may prevent them from getting sick. In fact, a 2015 study conducted with grass carp suggests figs may have an immune boosting benefit.

Treats common ailments

The fruit itself as well as extracts and components of figs have been used to treat more than 40 types of ailments of the digestive, endocrine, reproductive and respiratory systems in the body as well as gastrointestinal tract and urinary tract infections. Although serious health conditions aren’t a problem for most healthy kids, the research speaks to the healing properties of figs and may give your kids an edge.

Prevents constipation

If your kids aren’t eating enough fiber, there’s a good change they are frequently constipated. Because of their high-fiber content, figs are among the many foods that prevent constipation. In fact, participants who consumed a paste made from figs saw a significant improvement in constipation, according to a 2016 study.

How To Eat Figs

There are so many ways to incorporate figs into just about any meal. Here are a few to try:

  • Swap your regular fruit for figs in lunch boxes or as an after-school snack.
  • Chop figs and add them to oatmeal, salads or plain, Greek yogurt.
  • Roast figs for a side dish or an after-dinner dessert.
  • Slice bread and make a crostini with a bit of goat cheese, figs and a drizzle of honey.
6 Surprising Health Benefits of Pumpkin

6 Surprising Health Benefits of Pumpkin

When you think about pumpkin, you probably think about carving a pumpkin with your kids, baking pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, or savoring a warm, sweet pumpkin spice latte.

This time of year, you’ll find pumpkin-flavored everything but the real kind of pumpkin—yes, it’s a vegetable—is one of the healthiest foods you can feed your kids. Even better—there are ways to serve it so even the pickiest of eaters will devour it.

1. Packed with nutrition

Pumpkin contains 22 vitamins and minerals and is rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant and plant pigment that gives pumpkin its bright orange color and converts to vitamin A in the body.

2. Improved immunity

Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and zinc, which may boost the immune system, particularly important when your kid is swapping germs all day in daycare and school.

3. Filled with fiber

It seems brands may vary but one cup of pumpkin has only 50 calories and 3 grams of fiber. Since fiber is slowly digested, it helps your kid to feel fuller longer. The fiber in pumpkin also promotes digestion, can prevent constipation and may improve gut health. Having a healthy gut improves the immune system and helps the body to stave off a slew of health conditions and diseases.

4. Loaded with lutein

Lutein, a carotenoid or antioxidant, is well known to be beneficial for eye health. Yet in recent years, new research suggests lutein may also improve brain health and cognition which could give your kid a boost in learning, memory and concentration.

In fact, two recent studies from Abbott and the University of Illinois found children who had higher levels of lutein performed better when they were faced with tough cognitive tasks and had higher scores on standardized tests.

5. May prevent type 2 diabetes and heart disease

According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 193,000 kids and teens under age 20 are diagnosed with type-2 diabetes and experts agree, those numbers are on the rise.

Studies suggest along with a healthy diet and exercise, eating pumpkin may also ward of type-2 diabetes. A 2009 study in mice suggests pumpkin may be effective in improving glucose tolerance and insulin resistance. Another study in mice published in 2012 in the Journal of Medicinal Food suggests pumpkin seed oil may reduce high blood pressure and be protective of the cardiovascular system.

6. A better night’s rest

Tryptophan is usually associated with turkey and responsible for that post-Thanksgiving dinner slump, yet tryptophan is also found in pumpkin seeds. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that converts to serotonin, a chemical in the brain that’s responsible for sleep and a happy mood. Although there’s no guarantee, feeding your kids pumpkin for dessert may help them sleep through the night.

How to Enjoy Pumpkin

Add pureed pumpkin to smoothies, breads, muffins, pancakes and waffles. Pumpkin is a moist, tasty alternative to oil and eggs in baking recipes.

Set aside individual portions of pumpkin seeds for school lunches or after-school snacks.

Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top of salads, savory soups and oatmeal.

Spread pumpkin seed butter on sandwiches for a nut-free alternative.

Mix dried fruit, pumpkin seeds and nuts for a healthy trail mix.

3 Reasons Why Rice Cereal Shouldn’t Be a First Food for Babies

3 Reasons Why Rice Cereal Shouldn’t Be a First Food for Babies

When my first child started solids at 6-months-old, the pediatrician said we could start to feed her rice cereal mixed with some breast milk. At that time, the concern over arsenic in rice hadn’t yet surfaced and most moms I knew were feeding their kids rice cereal too.

As a new parent, I assumed it was a healthy choice and after initially mixing it with breast milk, I started to mix it in with homemade vegetable and fruit purees at every meal. Later on, I also introduced store-bought oatmeal and multigrain cereals but I also milled a few types of grains at home.

Infant cereals are so easy to bring along in your diaper bag whether you’re headed to grandma’s house or to a play date. They mix in with just about any type of baby food puree and they’re so cheap.

Pediatricians recommend rice cereal in particular because it’s well tolerated, easy to digest and unlikely to be a food babies will be allergic to. It’s also fortified with zinc and iron, which is important when a baby starts solids. Iron stores in breast milk start to decrease around 6-months-old yet all infants—whether they’re breastfed or not—need these nutrients to support their growth.

Although the norm has always been to start babies off with rice cereal, in recent years experts say it may not be the best idea—and it’s not only because of arsenic. Here’s why.


1. It’s not the healthiest option.

 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, rice cereal isn’t as nutritious as other types of baby food. They also say there’s no medical evidence that starting solids in a particular order has any advantage for babies.


2. Babies aren’t ready for it.

Another reason rice—and other types of infant cereal—might not be the best first food is because babies don’t have amylase, an enzyme, in their saliva which allows them to break down and digest grains, until their first molars appear—between 13 and 19 months. Babies who eat rice cereal too early may even have pain, constipation, or stool changes.


3. Babies may not need grains.

Although babies need complex carbohydrates from foods like squash, sweet potatoes, zucchini and pumpkin, they may not necessarily need grains.

To make sure your baby gets iron and zinc, egg yolks, chicken liver and beef are all good sources. In fact, according to a study published in February 2006 in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition, exclusively breastfed babies who ate pureed beef had higher levels of iron and zinc than babies who were fed an iron- fortified cereal.

Should you feed your baby rice cereal and other types of grains?

As with anything when it comes to being a parent, it’s up to you. With this new way of thinking, however, it seems that it’s a good idea to wait until your baby is older than a year. And like everything else, moderation and variety are key to give your baby a variety of vitamins and minerals, tastes and textures.

10 Ways To Get Your Kids To Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

10 Ways To Get Your Kids To Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

We all wish our kids would eat more fruits and vegetables but getting them to do so is no easy task. Between picky eaters who refuse to eat green leafy vegetables to those who only eat certain fruits or none at all, mealtimes can make you want to pull your hair out.

You’re not the only one. According to a survey published in 2014 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 6 in 10 children don’t eat enough fruit and 9 in 10 don’t eat enough vegetables.

Laying the foundation for healthy eating when kids are babies is one of the best ways to prevent picky eating and raise healthy kids who will eat just about anything.

Unfortunately, most kids aren’t getting the opportunity to learn how to eat healthy when they’re young. According to a recent survey in the journal Pediatrics, 1 in 4 babies between 6 and 11-months-old and 1 in 5 one-year-olds didn’t eat any vegetables over the 2 days their parents were surveyed.

Regardless of your child’s age, you can still raise healthy, adventurous foodies and get your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables—without sneaky tactics, negotiations or angst. Here are 10 strategies to try.

1. Start small

Instead of overhauling your entire kitchen and making drastic changes to your kids’ meals, start with one small change each week.

Mix leftover vegetables into a breakfast frittata. Swap packaged snacks for a piece of fruit. Offer two vegetables at dinner instead of one. Then gradually continue the same pattern until your kid is being offered fruits and vegetables at every meal and snack. They might not eat more initially but the more consistent you are, the higher the chances they eventually will.

2. Chop up salads

My kids love salads. Whether we’re at home or out to eat, they’ll ask for a salad. For lunch every day, they get a salad in their lunch boxes too.

Salads are a great way to get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables because you can let them choose what they want every time you chop it up. Kids love colorful food so carrots, peppers, celery, cucumber, beets, radishes, strawberries and grapes all work well. One of the fastest and easiest ways I’ve found to make salads is with a Solid Wood Chopping Bowl & Mezzaluna Knife Set.

3. Incorporate vegetables into breakfast

Start the day off on a healthy note by serving vegetables for breakfast. Eggs lend themselves to so many different types of vegetables but you can also add pumpkin puree or shredded zucchini to muffins, pancakes or waffles.

4. Add a dip

Kids love to dip their food and serving dip alongside vegetables is an easy way to get kids to try and enjoy new varieties. Try carrots or jicama with hummus, slices of peppers with black bean dip or celery sticks with salsa.

If you’re not making the dip yourself, remember to read labels and stay away from those brands with strange ingredients, additives or added sugar.

5. Serve a bite, not a plate

Studies show it can 10 to 15 times for kids to accept new foods but when these studies were conducted, kids were actually given only a pea-sized amount, not the entire portion we often serve kids. A bite-sized amount is a no-pressure way for kids to decide whether they’ll try it or not and consistency makes them realize: this is how our family eats.

6. Make green smoothies or fresh juice

I’m not a fan of hiding vegetables to make sure your kids get what they need but when your kid watches you make a green smoothie or juice, there’s no hiding the vegetables. Even better—let your kids help you and they’ll be more apt to try it. If they continue to drink it, it can be a great way to get a lot of fruits and vegetables at one time.

7. Model healthy eating

I’m convinced that my kids love to eat fruits and vegetables because they always saw my husband and I eating healthy. In fact, when I would chop up my salad for lunch, or they would see me cook or nosh on a new type of vegetable, they were always curious and asked to take a bite.

8. Make soup

There’s nothing better than a warm bowl of soup on a cool day and serving your kids soup is also an easy way to get a bunch of vegetables into one meal. Make a large batch of vegetable soup and freeze leftovers to be reheated for another meal. Store-bought might be OK, but many of the soups are filled with too much sodium, not to mention eating out of can or a box will never taste the same than when you make it yourself.

9. Take your kids shopping

Bring your kids to the grocery store or the farmer’s market and let them pick out a new fruit or vegetable they’d like to try. Letting them have a say in what they eat increases the chances they’ll actually eat it and empowers them to make healthy choices throughout their lives.

10. Leave the room

Sometimes all it takes is for kids to be in a new setting—or have their parents leave—for them to try and love new vegetables. My friend told me that when she was living in Brussels, Belgium her toddler started to eat raw vegetables after the daycare served them for a special event. My own daughter grew to love cucumbers after my mother-in-law served them to her. This could also work well on a play date if your child’s friend is eating something he’s never tried.

10 Ways To Prevent Childhood Obesity

10 Ways To Prevent Childhood Obesity

We all know the staggering statistics: childhood obesity in the United States has more than doubled in the past 30 years and today, 30 percent of children are overweight or obese.

Perhaps even more alarming is that the epidemic is affecting kids at earlier ages than ever before. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 8.4 percent of 2- to 5-year-olds are obese.

 

Whether you’re pregnant, just had a baby or have a big kid, there are things you can do to prevent your kid from being overweight or obese, even if genetics aren’t on your side.

1. Watch your pregnancy weight gain

When I was pregnant with my first child, I gained too much weight because I didn’t pay attention to what I was eating and how much.

Not only can gaining too much weight during pregnancy increase your risk for things like high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, miscarriage, preterm birth, and birth defects, but studies show pregnancy weight gain is also linked to childhood obesity.

According to a recent study published in the journal Obesity, babies born to women who gained more than the recommended amount of weight before 24 weeks were 2.5 times more likely to be born large.

Of course, every pregnancy is different and sometimes you can’t control every last pound, but do your best to stay within the recommendations for pregnancy weight gain.

  • 25 to 35 pounds if you have a normal weight.
  • 15 to 25 pounds if you’re overweight.
  • 11 to 20 pounds if you’re overweight.

2. Breastfeed

Breastfeeding has so many benefits and studies suggest it can even prevent childhood obesity. In fact, babies who are breastfed have a 22 percent lower risk of childhood obesity than those who were never breastfed, a 2014 meta-analysis published in BMC Public Health found.

3. Don’t add cereal to baby’s bottle

 

If you’re formula feeding, you may have heard adding rice cereal to your baby’s bottle before he starts eating solids is a good idea if he’s overly hungry or to help him sleep through the night, but the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says this isn’t a good idea. Not only are babies not ready, but it may increase their risk for food allergies and cause them to take in too many calories.

Pediatricians, however, may recommend the practice for babies with GERD, so you should always speak to your child’s doctor first.

4. Start with healthy solids

The best way to ensure your child will eat healthy whole foods as he gets older and reduce his risk for childhood obesity, is to offer a variety of whole fruits and vegetables when he starts solids.

Consistency is key so if your baby shuns broccoli the first few times, stick with it and chances are he’ll eventually learn to love it.

 

5. Eat whole-foods

It’s no surprise that fast food and processed, packaged foods are high in calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar which are all linked to childhood obesity.

Even if your kid is stick thin now, eating this way conditions his taste buds for this type of food and creates unhealthy habits that could continue throughout his lifetime.

Instead, do your best to have a diet made up mostly of fruits and vegetables, lean protein whole grains and healthy fats which will give your kids the vitamins and nutrients they need to grow and fiber to keep them satiated and keep weight gain at a healthy pace.

6. Don’t bring junk in the house

So many families I know buy crackers, chips and granola bars for their kids. It seems that we have a belief in the U.S. that kids should eat this way and there’s really nothing wrong with it.

But make no mistake: feed your kids this way now and it will increase their risk for weight gain. They’re also more likely always eat this way throughout their lives.

Once you decide as a family that you’ll eat healthy and make changes, start today. This could be a huge shock to kids who have been eating this way for years so start small: nix one bag or box a week until you’ve entirely purged your pantry of junk.

7. Cut down on screen time

I’ll admit it: keeping my kids off the iPad is tough. When I have to clean the house or make a phone call, it’s really easy to put them in front of the screen. Yet the more time kids spend on devices, the less time they’re spending moving.

To cut down on screen time, set a timer, restrict the devices to weekends-only or set limits on when and for how long they’re allowed to use them.

8. Get moving together

 

Kids should get 60 minutes of exercise everyday but many families find this hard to do especially if both parents work or if kids are in after-school activities that aren’t sports. Although it can be challenging to find the time, your kids won’t be motivated to be active if you’re not.

My kids know that my husband and I both work out at the gym several times a week and as a family we do our best to take walks after dinner, have an indoor “dance party” on rainy or snow days or play Twister.

9. Cut sugar

Kids love their treats but over-indulging in sugar in everything from candy, soda and juice, to yogurt and energy bars has been shown to increase the risk for childhood obesity.

Kids should eat less than 25 grams of added sugar a day so start reading labels and be choosy about what you’re buying. The most common types of foods that contain added sugars are soda, sports and energy drinks and sweetened teas.

10. Make it a family affair

You can spend all your time and energy cooking healthy meals and running your kids around to after-school sports, but if you’re not living a healthy lifestyle, your kids may feel less motivated to do so. If you want to prevent your kids from being overweight, healthy has to be a family affair.

Instead of making drastic changes overnight, however, make one small change each week: maybe that means serving vegetables instead of chips for after-school snacks, cooking a healthy meal together or going for a family bike ride. The key is that the changes are realistic, manageable and consistent.

Sick Kid? How to Boost Your Child’s Immunity

Sick Kid? How to Boost Your Child’s Immunity

*This post contains affiliate links.*

 

If it feels like your kid is sick almost every week, you’re not imagining it.

 

Kids under the age of 6 in particular get 8 to 10 colds a year, not including the countless fevers, infections and stomach bugs they’ll get this year.

 

Kids are like little Petri dishes for germs, especially when they’re in daycare and school. They all touch the same surfaces, share the same toys and put everything in their mouths.

 

They all have to wash their hands after they use the bathroom and before meals but are they using enough soap and washing properly? It’s questionable.

 

When my daughters started school last year, I was prepared for them to get sick—

 

a lot. Although they had a few fevers and colds, and one had norovirus, for the most part they were relatively healthy.

 

Did we get lucky? Maybe.

 

But more likely, it was a because of a few things I did to improve their immunity which might help your kid too.

 

 

Cut the crappy food

 

 

Since the gut makes up to 70 percent of the immune system, making sure your kid’s gut is healthy can also boost his immune system.

 

If your kid lives on foods that come out of a bag, box, or package, however, he could be missing key vitamins and minerals that keep him healthy and his immune systems strong.

 

Experts say eating foods that are processed and filled with sugar over the long term could lead to intestine hyperpermeability or leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut occurs when the tight junctions in the large intestine open and allow undigested food particles and pathogens in, which in turn elicits an immune response.

 

Leaky gut syndrome has been linked to various conditions including allergies, asthma, fatigue, autoimmune diseases, migraines and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

 

Eat the rainbow

 

A whole foods diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables of all colors gives your kid the nutrition she needs for a strong immune system. Yet they also contain prebiotics, or non-digestible food ingredients, that work with probiotics, the live microorganisms found in the gut, to grow and work to boost your child’s immunity.

 

 

Add fermented foods

 

Kefir tastes too tangy for me but my kids love it and that’s a good thing. The probiotics found in kefir and other foods like yogurt, kimchi, naturally fermented vegetables, including sauerkraut and pickles can help improve gut health and boost your child’s immune system.

 

Take probiotics

 

Probiotics have become popular in recent years, particularly for their ability to improve gut health, experts say. Some studies show probiotics can shorten the duration of diarrhea associated with a stomach virus or a course of antibiotics and may reduce upper respiratory infections.

 

It’s important to note that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) hasn’t recommended regular use of probiotics in children because there’s a lack of evidence for their efficacy. Of course like any supplement, if you want to give your kid probiotics, check with his pediatrician first.

 

Move more

 

My kids are constantly in motion and they play at the park and the playground, take movement classes and after-dinner walks, but I still find getting them 60 minutes exercise a day a challenge. Nevertheless, I do my best to make sure they get some form of exercise in every day.

 

Exercise has so many benefits for kids, and as it turns out, can improve their gut health and immunity. In fact, a study in the journal Gut shows exercise may diversity gut microbes.

 

During the dog days of winter or on snow days when you can’t get out, put on music and have a dance party or enjoy a game of Twister.

7 Breastfeeding Myths

7 Breastfeeding Myths

Breastfeeding is one of the most frequent talked about topics for new moms. Despite all of the information available, there are so many ideas breastfeeding moms think are true but are actually myths.

Let’s face it: when you become a new mom, you’re clueless.

When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, I didn’t give much thought to what breastfeeding would be like. My perception of breastfeeding was that it was natural so how hard could it be?

Little did I know that although I didn’t have a lot of breastfeeding challenges, it still affected my body and my mind and it wasn’t as easy as it seemed.

Like many moms, I worried whether my milk supply was low, if my baby was getting enough and if that excruciating nipple pain was actually normal. As I continued to breastfeed, research and write about breastfeeding at Fox News, I was amazed by all of the ideas moms are told—and start to believe—about breastfeeding that simply aren’t true.

Here are 7 of the most common breastfeeding myths and the real truths.


Breastfeeding myth #1: Breastfeeding is easy.


Next to pregnancy and giving birth, breastfeeding is certainly the most amazing, natural thing your body can do but breastfeeding isn’t all butterflies and roses.

Like anything when you’re a mom (new or seasoned), there’s a learning curve. You can’t expect to put your baby to the breast and ba-boom!, everything is easygoing. You have to make sure your latch and position are correct, your baby is gulping, swallowing, feeding regularly and gaining weight.

If your nipples are inverted or your baby is tongue-tied, for example, breastfeeding can be challenging. And unlike bottle-feeding, your baby has to work harder to get the milk, you may find that you’re not breastfeeding according to a schedule and you might have to breastfeed more frequently.

The key to make breastfeeding easier is to get support—through La Leche League, a new mom’s group or from a friend who can help you out.


Breastfeeding myth #2: Low milk supply is common.

How many times has a mom told you she stopped breastfeeding because her milk supply was low and her baby was hungry all the time?

Low milk supply is actually one of the most common reasons moms through in towel early or supplement with formula. In fact, 49 percent of mothers said they stopped breastfeeding after two months because breast milk alone wasn’t enough to satisfy their babies.

Unfortunately, the data simply doesn’t add up, according to lactation consultant Rachel O’Brien. And sources I’ve interviewed have told me most women don’t have a low milk supply.

When you feed your baby a bottle, you know how much he ate but when you’re breastfeeding, it’s not so easy. Some of the ways to tell that your milk supply is just fine include your baby’s gaining weight, he has a certain amount of weight diapers a day and he’s hitting his developmental milestones.

If you’re uncertain, make an appointment with a lactation consultant who can weight your baby right after you feed him to make sure he’s getting enough breast milk.


Breastfeeding myth #3: Breastfeeding is painful.


You may have read horror stories of moms who say their nipples are cracked and bleeding and breastfeeding was painful.

Yet when your latch is correct, breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful. One reason it might be painful is tongue-tie, which from experience, is very painful.

If breastfeeding is painful for you and you’re uncertain why, talk to a lactation consultant.


Breastfeeding myth #4: Breastfed babies eat on a schedule.

During the first few months you might feel like you’re constantly breastfeeding and you’d be right.

When I had my second child, I saw a lactation consultant and told her the Babywise methodology, the eat, play, sleep schedule that had worked perfectly with my older daughter wasn’t working at all with my second. Instead, she wanted to eat all. the. time. and I was one tired mama.

Unlike formula-fed babies who eat on a schedule and can go longer between feedings, breast milk is digested quickly and the truth is newborns eat all the time.


Breastfeeding myth #5: The foods you eat can give your baby gas.


When my daughter was a newborn it seemed that she would often have gas, especially right before bedtime. I used to think maybe it was what I was eating, since I usually eat green leafy vegetables and beans but research doesn’t back it up. So go ahead and eat healthy—it’s good for your baby too.

There could however, be other reasons why your baby has gas that may or may not have to do with breastfeeding, according to KellyMom.com.


Breastfeeding myth #6: Breastfeeding will help you lose the baby weight.

The day I left the hospital with my first child, the neonatal nurse told me if I continued to breastfeed, “the weight would melt right off.” That was good news for a mama who had gained too much weight during pregnancy.

She was right. I exclusively breastfed, ate healthy and exercised regularly and I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight in just a few months.

Although breastfeeding can help you lose weight, how much you’ll lose and how fast depends on how long you exclusively breastfeed for, how much you gained during your pregnancy, as well as your diet and exercise habits after you give birth.


Breastfeeding myth #7: If you drink, you’ll have to pump and dum


If you want to have a drink when you’re breastfeeding, you may have heard that you have to “pump and dump” but that’s not true.

In fact, the same amount of alcohol that clears from your bloodstream is the same amount that leaves your breast milk so pumping your breast milk makes no difference at all. It takes about 2 hours to metabolize one serving of alcohol, like a 4-ounce glass of wine.

What you should know however, is that newborns will metabolize alcohol differently than older babies. You can use Milkscreen test strips, but they will only tell you if alcohol is in your breast milk, not how much.

Of course, drinking while breastfeeding is your own personal choice but if you do choose to, the safest way is to have only one drink and enjoy it right after you feed your baby.

5 Real Reasons Moms Stop Breastfeeding

5 Real Reasons Moms Stop Breastfeeding

When I was pregnant with my first child, I didn’t give much thought to whether I would breastfeed or not. Yet amidst all the parenting books and information I read when I was pregnant, I came across a fact sheet and learned about all the amazing benefits of breastfeeding. And right after I read it, I told my husband that I was committed to breastfeed. No. Matter. What.

I’m the type of person that follows through on a committment come hell or high water.

I’m grateful that breastfeeding was smooth sailing for me after I got some support from the lactation consultants at the hospital. My milk supply was more than adequate—I even had a freezer full of pumped milk—and my daughter even slept through the night by 3 months.

 

Yet I know not all moms are so lucky.

Moms know breastfeeding is one of the best things they can do for their baby’s health and their own. Like childbirth, it’s one of the most natural things a mother’s body is made for but it doesn’t always come naturally or easily. In fact, studies show only about 50 percent of moms are still breastfeeding at 6 months.

So why is that? Here are some of the reasons I think moms stop breastfeeding.

 

1. Breastfeeding is a part-time job

Don’t get me wrong, pulling out your breast and putting your baby next to you is much easier than having to get up in the middle night to prepare a bottle.

But breastfeeding takes more time and more patience than bottle feeding. When I was breastfeeding, I always felt like I was “on-call,” especially in the beginning when there are 8 to 12 feedings a day. In the first few months, my husband would wake up to feed our daughter a bottle of pumped milk but I often woke up too to pump so my milk supply wouldn’t dwindle.

If you’re away from your baby, you still have to pump. And some moms can’t go far because their babies won’t take a bottle.

2. Breastfeeding changes your breasts and your body


My breasts are so small I’m barely an A cup. But when I was breastfeeding, I couldn’t believe how large my breasts were—porn-star big.

Because I was producing a lot of milk, my breasts would leak when my baby cried, when another baby cried and when I even thought about my baby. My milk would let down and come out so fast my daughter would often let go of the latch to catch a breath.

Since breastfeeding also causes estrogen levels to be low, sex can be challenging, even painful. And when you do have sex and climax, you breasts can leak then too.

 

3. Moms have to return to work


I was lucky to be able to work from home when I had my kids and have a babysitter at my house. If you work from home, you’ll probably have more flexibility to feed your baby or pump. Although the Affordable Care Act allows women the time and space to pump at work, the rules vary by state and many loopholes exist.

 

And what about moms who have long commutes or don’t have a place to pump? Like one of my friends who used to work as a pharmaceutical representative. Since she didn’t have an office and was always on the road, she pumped in her car in New York City parking garages in between sales calls!

4. Feeling sexy goes out the door overnight

 

There are beautiful satin and lace nursing bras that make you feel sexy when you’re not nursing your baby, but let’s be honest: those soft cup nursing bras and disposable nursing pads are what most moms are sporting.

I wore a nursing bra 24/7 for a year (see #2).

5. Breastfeeding can make you sick


When I was breastfeeding, I had a bout of mastitis and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. Not only did I have a large lump in my breast, but I felt like someone ran over me with a Mack truck.

I also battled a sneaky condition called D-MER and high levels of anxiety and nausea when my baby started solids and when she finally weaned for good.

These are just some of the reasons moms stop breastfeeding. Health, lifestyle, employment, access to healthcare and support networks are different for each woman.

Instead of shaming women for throwing in the towel early, we need to understand the reasons for doing so and give them the support they need regardless of their decisions.

Did you stop breastfeeding before a year? Why?

 

 

 

 

4 Ways Breastfeeding May Prevent Picky Eating

4 Ways Breastfeeding May Prevent Picky Eating

You already know the benefits of breastfeeding for both you and your baby, but in recent years, researchers have shed light on one more: babies who are breastfed by mothers who eat healthy foods are less likely to be picky eaters and may turn out to be adventurous foodies.

It makes sense. Not only do breastfed babies get all of their nutrients through their moms in those early months, they also get the subtle flavors of the foods they eat. So when it’s time to start solids, they may already have formed their own healthy food preferences.

1. A love of fruits and vegetables

Breastfeeding your baby may help him crave fruits and vegetables. Take a look at a 2007 study out of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, which included 45 babies between 4 and 8-months-old; 20 of whom were breastfed.

Both groups were fed green beans and peaches. The first time they were offered peaches, the breastfed babies ate more peaches and for a longer period of time than the formula-fed infants, which suggests they preferred peaches because their moms ate them.

What’s interesting, however, is that neither group of babies ate more green beans than the author perhaps because both sets of moms ate green beans infrequently, the authors explained.

The key therefore, is that if you’re breastfeeding and you want your kids to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, you also need to eat them.

2. A willingness to try new foods

The foods moms eat during pregnancy and while they’re breastfeeding affect the taste and nutrition of their breast milk, which in turn shapes their babies’ flavor and food preferences, a recent study out of Keen State College found.

“Studies show that toddlers, preschool, and school-aged children who were breastfed as infants are more likely to accept a wider variety of healthy foods and are more accepting of new foods and are less likely to be picky eaters,” Becky Dunn, the co-author of the study stated in this article.

3. Less mealtime battles

According to a 2012 study out of the University of Illinois, babies who were exclusively breasted for the first 6 months were 81 percent less likely to reject food when they became preschoolers, 78 percent less likely to develop a preference for how their food was prepared, and 75 percent less likely to fear trying new foods.

4. A smaller sweet tooth

Breastfeeding infants for longer periods of time is associated with a higher likelihood that kids will eat healthy, eat more fruits and vegetables, drink less sugar-sweetened drinks and more water at age 6 according to a 2014 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

So although your kid will probably love sweets, breastfeeding may be one way to keep those sugar cravings at bay.

What To Do When Grandparents Feed Your Kids Junk

What To Do When Grandparents Feed Your Kids Junk

*This post contains affiliate links.*

When your kids go to grandma and grandpa’s house, chances are they’re offered some sort of treat or type of junk food.

Fast food for lunch, baking and eating grandma’s favorite chocolate chip cookies and indulging in cotton candy and ice cream at the amusement park: isn’t it what childhood memories are made of?

Yes, according to a 2013 study out of the U.K., which found 83-percent of parents say their kids eat plenty of chocolate or cake while they’re with their grandparents.

Getting your kids to eat healthy not only requires you to plan healthy meals but you also need to be patient and consistent. So when grandparents put the kibosh on all your hard work, it can make your job that much harder.

A treat or two is OK, but when grandparents feed the kids junk food 24/7, what’s a parent to do?

When grandparents feed your kids junk: say something or stay mum?

I think it all depends on how much you care about what your kids eat when they’re at their grandparents house and how often they’re actually eating junk.

Since my kids eat a healthy, whole foods diet, I don’t mind if they have some cookies at their grandparent’s houses or they take them out for ice cream. Since we don’t live nearby to either family, they don’t see them every week so it really is a treat.

If getting your kids to eat healthy is already a challenge and letting it be a free-for-all at their grandparents’ house makes it harder, maybe you should talk to them about finding a middle ground. Perhaps your kids can indulge in a piece of cake but when they’re with their grandparents, all of their meals should be healthy.

Another thing to take into consideration is how much time your kids spend at their grandparents’ house. If they care for your kids when you’re working and you don’t pack their meals, what exactly are they eating? If most of their meals are packaged and processed and they’re still allowed to eat treats, then it’s probably a good idea to say something or start packing their meals and snacks.

If you both agree that your child’s health is important, then you can probably find a solution to make sure the kids are eating healthy most of the time. The key is not to criticize or attack, but to explain why it’s important to you that your kids eat healthy and hopefully the grandparents will agree. If you’re up against your in-laws, ask your spouse to be part of the conversation and back you up.

Think: do grandparents eat junk too?


If grandma and grandpa don’t cook and rely on grab-and-go meals or fast food or they eat out frequently, expecting them to feed your kids healthy isn’t realistic. If they make healthy eating a priority for themselves, then they’ll probably make it a priority for your kids too.

Both my mom and my in-laws cook and always serve vegetables with meals so I am confident that my kids are eating healthy even if they do eat some treats.

Good reasons to push back on junk food

If you know your kids will get hyper after eating sugar or something with artificial food dyes or they’ll get a stomachache or become constipated after eating fast food or over-indulging in treats, then you should say something.

I’m not suggesting you ban treats altogether, but ask the grandparents to be aware of how junk food affects your kids so they won’t go overboard next time.

What do you do when your kids’ grandparents feed them junk?

10 Foods That Relieve Constipation in Kids

10 Foods That Relieve Constipation in Kids

If your kids are picky eaters and you can’t get them to eat fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables or they don’t drink enough water, chances are they’ll become constipated.

Kids who are active and never sit down long enough to poop or those that are afraid to poop at school can also become constipated.

Constipation is common with kids. In fact, nearly 5 percent of pediatrician visits are because of constipation, according to a report in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care.

One of the best ways to relieve your kids’ constipation is by eating high-fiber foods. Here are 10.

High fiber foods: fruits


Raspberries

Kids love to pick up small pieces of food and raspberries are sweet little gems that taste delicious and are filled with fiber: one cup has 8 grams.

Add raspberries to a parfait, plain Greek Yogurt or serve them with breakfast for a delicious and filling way to start the day.


Asian pears

With 4 grams of fiber in one serving, Asian pears are a great way to relieve constipation.

I love to sprinkle cinnamon on top of pears and roast them but you can also grill them or pop them in the microwave. Since they’re so soft, they also make a great first food for babies.


Figs

If your kids eat Fig Newtons, why not see if they’ll eat figs? One large fig contains 2 grams of fiber and they’re delicious.

You can also try dried figs but they contain more sugar so it shouldn’t be a food your kids eat all the time.

High fiber foods: vegetables


Broccoli

Raw or cooked, broccoli is a good source of fiber—2 grams in every cup.

Serve raw broccoli with a bean dip, sauté it with garlic and olive oil or make a broccoli quiche for breakfast.


Sweet potatoes

Swap sweet potatoes for white potatoes because it’s a good way for kids to get fiber. One cup has 7 grams.

Roast sweet potatoes, make sweet potato fries or make a sweet potato hash for breakfast.


Brussels sprouts

A half a cup of Brussels sprouts has 2 grams of fiber and although they might be a hard sell for some kids, the more you offer them, the more likely your kids are to try them.

My kids like roasted Brussels sprouts but you can also blanch them or add a handful of raisins.


High fiber foods: beans and legumes


Peas

With 9 grams of fiber in one cup, peas are an excellent way to get fiber into your kid’s diet.

Serve peas as an appetizer, add them to stir fries or pasta dishes or pack them as a snack.


Black beans
My kids love to eat beans and with a whopping 15 grams per cup, they’re one of the best sources of fiber.

Black beans are also quite versatile. Add them to soups, stews and most Mexican dishes.


Chickpeas
Like black beans, chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, have plenty of fiber: 11 grams per cup.

Add chickpeas to salads, make your own hummus or roast them for a healthy snack.


High fiber foods: nuts and seeds

If your kids have food allergies, nuts and seeds might not be an option. But if your kids can eat certain types, it’s a great way to get their fill of fiber.

Add nuts and seeds to oatmeal, smoothies or serve as a snack.

5 Healthy Foods Your Kids Will Actually Eat

5 Healthy Foods Your Kids Will Actually Eat

When it comes to feeding your kid healthy food, you pull out all the stops. You beg, negotiate, and try to be sneaky. You make food into funny faces, add cheese to everything and cook the same old meal a different way. But no matter how much you try, your kids won’t even take a bite.

Getting your kids to eat healthy foods can be a challenge but if you’re consistent and do your best to provide healthy meals and snacks, one day your kids might surprise you not only by eating a new food, but loving it.

Here are 5 healthy foods my kids eat and I bet your kids will too.

1. Chia seeds
My kids love chia seeds especially when I make chia seed pudding. Chia seeds are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Two tablespoons has 4 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber, as well as omega-3 fatty acids which are good for your kid’s heart, brain, eyes and skin. Add chia seeds to cereal, oatmeal, muffins, yogurt or blend them up in a smoothie.

2. Avocado
Rich in healthy, monounsaturated fats, avocados are beneficial for your kid’s brain health and skin. They’re also so delicious and versatile: add avocado to salad, as a substitute for mayonnaise or make guacamole as a snack.

3. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A and a great source of fiber and potassium. Cut up and roast sweet potatoes, slice and bake them for a healthy alternative to French fries, or grate them for a breakfast hash.

4. Beans
I know what you’re thinking: there’s no way I can get my kids to eat beans!
But hear me out: kids love little pieces of food. They like to snack and they like finger foods.

Try packing a teaspoon of beans in their lunch bags, serve them for breakfast or offer them on taco night instead of meat. There are so many types of beans, I bet your kids will find a type they’ll love.

5. Jicama
Jicama, (pronounced HEE-kah-ma) is a root vegetable that tastes crunchy, starchy and a bit sweet all at the same time. Jicama is a great source of vitamin C, potassium and fiber to keep your kids feeling full. Cut up jicama and pair with hummus or roast them with a sprinkle of salt for a tasty, healthy snack.