Baby Food 101

By: Emily Schwartz, Festival Foods

Food introduced in the first year of life can impact future nutrition habits. For the first six months of life, breastfeeding is widely recommended. However, between six to eight months of age, most infants are developmentally ready to try pureed, mashed, or “lumpy” foods to compliment breast milk (or iron-enriched formula). These new foods and textures may take multiple offerings before acceptance. So to start, it is important to gradually offer a variety of foods one-at-a-time to help the infant’s palate and digestive system to adjust.

Jarred baby food is a quick and convenient way to help growing infants get the nutrition they need. It offers a consistent texture and flavor that may be better received by “picky eaters,” and they are produced under strict food safety guidelines.

Homemade baby food is another option. Compared to commercial baby food, homemade baby food may be a more affordable option and may offer a wider variety of flavors. Whether looking to supplement or replace commercially produced baby food products, one of the easiest ways to start is to simply mash foods that may already be on your grocery list, like bananas or avocados. Or, try incorporating nutrition-packed foods that wouldn’t necessarily be found in jarred varieties, like pureed eggs, broccoli, kiwifruit, or no-salt-added canned beans.

Regardless of the food served, infants and young children are very impressionable. The actions and behaviors of those around can impact the development of food preferences and eating behaviors. Whenever possible try eating (and enjoying!) the same food your baby is eating.

Steps for Making Baby Food

  1. Start with clean hands, cooking surfaces, and equipment.
    1. Even though infants and children are more susceptible to food-borne illness, it is always a good practice to wash hands with warm, soapy water and sanitize any surfaces or equipment before food preparation.
  2. Prepare food; washing, peeling, and trimming, as needed.
    1. Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Peel and trim, if necessary. If preparing meat or fish, remove all skin, bones, gristle, and excess fat.
  3. Cook and/or process food.
    1. Cook food, if necessary, until very tender. Boiling, steaming, or microwaving food with water is often ideal. When preparing meat or fish, cook to well done. Allow cooked food to cool slightly before pureeing or mashing to reach desired consistency. Adding a small amount of water may be necessary to achieve an appropriate texture.
  4. Serve or store.
    1. If food is not going to be eaten right away, store it in the refrigerator for up to two days, or freeze for use within a month. Freezing baby food in ice cube trays can help provide baby-sized portions when they’re needed. Small portion sizes are important because any leftover food, regardless if it is homemade or commercially prepared, should be thrown away due to exposure to bacteria.

Some combinations to try after introducing individual foods:

  • No-salt-added canned black beans (drained and rinsed) and avocado
  • Kiwifruit and banana
  • Baby cereal and berries
  • Sweet potato and applesauce

Emily Schwartz is a nationally accredited, registered dietitian-nutritionist (RDN) serving the Eau Claire and La Crosse communities as Festival Foods’ Western Wisconsin Regional Dietitian.

WIC Helps Keep Families Healthy

By Susan Krahn, MS, RDN, CD, CLC – Public Health Nutritionist, Eau Claire City-County Health Department

What does healthy eating mean to you? To the WIC Program, healthy eating means healthier moms and babies, happier families, and brighter futures. The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program is a public health nutrition program that provides wholesome foods, nutrition and breastfeeding education, and community support for low- and moderate-income women and children up to the age of five years.

There are more women in our community who benefit from WIC than you may think. In fact, over half of the babies born in the United States use the WIC program. WIC is the nation’s most successful and cost-effective public health nutrition program. Nationally, we know that when eligible families use WIC:

  • Moms are less likely to have premature or low birth-weight babies;
  • Moms are more likely to start breastfeeding after delivery;
  • Infants and children are twice as likely to see doctors for well-child care;
  • Moms, children, and infants are less likely to have anemia.

If you think your family may be eligible, contact your local WIC office. A visit to WIC means you will walk away with an EBT card to buy more healthy food for your family. But, did you know that WIC means much more than food? At a WIC appointment, parents are connected with people who truly care about the health and well-being of their children. Parents walk away with the feeling of support, connections to healthcare resources, and inspiration to make healthy changes in their home.

WIC gives you healthy food and teaches you how to use it. Good nutrition during pregnancy and in the first few years of life has long-term positive impacts on health. WIC teaches you about the benefits of breastfeeding and guides you through the process. WIC gives you free healthy food and teaches you how to shop for it, how to prepare it, and ways to help your child enjoy eating it.

We provide a community of support. At WIC you’ll find dietitians, a breastfeeding peer counselor, and others ready to listen, share information, and give guidance and support. WIC is a network built for moms. We connect them, we educate them, and we learn from them.

We connect you to care beyond WIC. Food and nutrition are only one piece of a healthy lifestyle. Through referrals we can connect you with resources outside of WIC, including public health nurses, doctors, dental services, immunization services, and social services. Referrals put you in touch with the care or resources you need to be healthy in every part of your life.

For more information, go to www.ci.eau-claire.wi.us/departments/health-department/wic/how-where-to-use-wic, visit the program office at 720 2nd Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54703, or call (715) 839-5051.

Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom and Baby

By Erin Kaspar-Frett, CPM, LM, MSM – Earth Mother Midwife

Finding Good Support
Sometimes a woman decides she wants to breastfeed and is met with opposition from her family or friends. Or, just as often, she wants to breastfeed and doesn’t find it as “natural” as others say it should be. Some struggle to latch correctly or are dealing with issues such as; thrush, lip or tongue tie, flat or inverted nipples. All of these can be worked around with proper support. A mother can contact a lactation consultant, a La Leche League (LLL) leader, a midwife, a pediatrician, or a friend that is experienced in breastfeeding.

Improvements in breastfeeding support continue. WIC offices and care providers are promoting and encouraging breastfeeding, lactation consultants are readily available to assist mothers that are having difficulties, many work places are providing pumping stations for their breastfeeding employees, and most areas have strong, supportive La Leche League groups available for moms to attend meetings and gain support.

I encourage all pregnant and breastfeeding moms to consider attending at least one LLL meeting to obtain or give support. Many LLL groups have lending libraries, speakers, play groups, and a great deal of information that benefits the breastfeeding mother. For more information on LLL contact LLL international at 1-800-LALECHE (US) or (847) 519-7730 or visit their website detailing how to find leaders in your area at www.lalecheleague.org/leaderinfo.html.

Getting Off to a Good Start
Studies have shown that breastfeeding progresses most smoothly when the mother is allowed full access to her newborn directly from birth, allowing her to pick up the baby herself when she is ready. When this happens, babies will typically begin breastfeeding within the first hour of their birth. That “golden hour” is the height of colostrum. Babies have a built-in instinctual ability to know how to nurse. Mothers that have prepared themselves can be relaxed and ready to nurse when they meet their new baby. The first few latches may be a bit awkward for both, but in time, both mom and baby will be pros! However, mothers who are separated from their newborns often feel anxiety during the separation. Babies who are separated from their mothers often cry and appear anxious. When the two are together they can bond and get to know one another, enjoying the creation of a lasting love. Safe-guarding the first hours after birth for freedom of nursing, and delaying all newborn procedures (if both mom and baby are healthy and proceeding normally!), will go a long way in maternal and infant health and security.

Nursing on demand is the ideal way to feed. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends feeding on demand at newborn cue’s, before beginning to cry.* A baby who is fed on demand grows confident in his mother’s ability to meet his needs when he requests them to be met. Feeding on demand also provides the cue that the mother’s brain needs to make the ideal amount of breast milk for her baby. Breastmilk is supply and demand in reverse: the baby demands, the mother’s body supplies. For a healthy mother/baby team, there is never too little milk when the baby is permitted to tell the mother’s body how much is needed, although it might take a day or two to catch up. Following the cues of the newborn will solidify this nursing relationship.

Nutrition during Breastfeeding
What goes into a mother’s body while she is breastfeeding her baby is what becomes the nutrition her baby receives. Whole foods, a well-rounded diet, and plenty of liquids will benefit both the mother and the baby. Avoiding caffeine, cigarette smoke, and recreational drugs is recommended during breastfeeding.

Remembering to take the time to eat is sometimes difficult for busy mothers. Frequent small meals are often recommended to the breastfeeding mother. Nursing mothers need at least 2,700 calories and 65 grams of protein a day. Having an easy healthy snack and fluids available at all times is helpful for mothers who are busy or on the go.

Some babies will be sensitive to certain foods, becoming fussy or spitting up after the mother eats them. As the mother pays attention to what she had to eat or drink prior to a fussing episode, she will often realize what is causing the baby’s discomfort.

What about the Other Parent?
The other parents sometimes wonder how they can participate in the child’s life if they can’t provide sustaining nourishment. For some families, it works to have the other parent bottle feed expressed breast milk. For some, however, this feels awkward or the baby doesn’t relax in the same way. And yet, for some families, bottle feeding isn’t an options due to baby’s unwillingness. And yet there are so many important roles a non-breastfeeding parent plays in the life of the child. Non-breastfeeding parents can hold, rock, bathe, feed solids when it is time, dress, and play with their children, creating a special time with their babies that provides a similar bond as the one breastfeeding mothers have during breastfeeding. Non-nutritive parents play an important role in the development of their child’s life. These special times together will aid in developing a lasting relationship between that parent and child.

Relax and Enjoy Breastfeeding

Above all I remind mothers that the breastfeeding period is a special time, a time like no other in the mother’s or baby’s life. The baby will have the opportunity to get to know the mother during the time they spend nursing. The mother and baby will discover how important they are to one another during this time. The housework will still be there when the baby is done nursing. Work will still be there when the mother is ready to return. Friends and family members will gladly resume closeness when the mother feels ready to invest in these relationships again. The mother can simply relax and enjoy this special time between herself and her baby.

*Documentation recorded in the American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement, Pediatrics Vol. 100, No. 6, December 1997, pp. 1035–1039. www.aap.org/policy/re9729.html.

For a list of resources on the topic, please contact Erin Kaspar-Frett, erin@earthmothermidwife.com.

Is Chronic Lyme Disease Real?

By A. J. Lindsley, Lindsley Chiropractic

The question of chronic Lyme disease is one I often answer in my office on a daily basis for my patients who have previously been diagnosed with Lyme disease and have been treated with antibiotics. Although they followed the standard of care for treatment and a course of antibiotics, many of their symptoms seem to persist for years after the initial diagnosis. Other patients may fall into another category that have symptoms associated with Lyme disease but have never been treated for Lyme disease due to the fact that they tested negative on the standard Western Blot test and did not have the bull’s-eye rash that is characteristic in some that have been infected by a tick. Often individuals seeking care by our medical system in these situations are told that all of their symptoms are in their head, and some are even referred to seek psychiatric help instead of the medical practitioner really listening to the patient and all of the symptoms.

One of the causes of chronic Lyme is the biofilms that bacteria and parasites are able to wrap themselves in during a normal course of antibiotic treatment, allowing many of the bacteria and parasites associated with Lyme disease to go hide wrapped in these biofilms, waiting for the immune system to become weakened before attacking again.

The truth about so many of these patients are suffering from a hidden case of Lyme disease is that the testing methods are not good enough to detect the chronic cases. A simple blood draw on a chronic Lyme disease patient may show they have made antibodies to the Lyme bacteria, but often the number of bands (five specific bands are required) to create a CDC (Center for Disease Control positive Lyme case) are not present. Chronic Lyme hides in the brain and joints, which is considered outside the blood stream. None of the testing methods that are standard actually test these tissues, and over time they turn into a chronic disease diagnosis with very little understand

Many of the bacteria and parasites associated with Lyme leave the blood stream and invade the joint tissue using the synovial fluid and cartilage as its long-term living quarters. These bugs secrete ammonia which is 46,000 times higher pH than our tissue. Our immune system recognizes these chemical toxins and reacts by creating superoxide and peroxide as part of our immune response to these invaders. Most of us have used peroxide on a cut because it is good at killing bacteria that may be in the cut. The body uses the same peroxide to help fight infections in our tissues. The problem becomes when we have a long-standing infection in our tissues (joint and brain tissue) with ammonia and peroxide reacting in these tissues, we often see the effects as many different diagnoses that are dismissed as part of the aging process.

Chronic Lyme exposure in the brain tissue often results in one of four common neurological diagnosis: MS (multiple sclerosis), ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis—Lou Gehrig’s disease), Parkinson’s, or some form of dementia. Many of these neurological processes are considered partially genetic but have a strong association with autoimmune issues where the body has become confused and overwhelmed to the point where it attacks itself. Slowly we are seeing the number of people with these diseases rising with no known cause and no real treatment. Today one in nine Americans (11 percent) at sixty-five years of age have a diagnosis of dementia, one in four (25 percent) at seventy-five years of age, and one in two (50 percent) at eighty-five years old. Currently 5 million Americans have dementia, and in twenty-five years 25 million diagnosed cases are predicted. Forget about nursing homes; we have a new business called memory care home facilities. Unless we begin to look for the chronic Lyme in the brain tissue and develop specific testing for these tissues, we will see these neurological diseases continue to rise and progress into younger and younger generations.

We are seeing, I believe, the same effects in chronic joint conditions. In the United States we are currently replacing over a million hips and knees per year! The prediction is 4 million joint replacements per year by 2035. Very few people are physically active enough to wear their joints out in a lifetime, so we have to ask ourselves what could be causing this extreme number of failures. Even more concerning is the number of non-contact sport injuries we are seeing in our young children. There have been over a million knee surgeries on children under the age of eighteen for ACL and meniscus tears in our young athletes. These injuries were unheard of just twenty years ago. I hear all the time in my clinic how these kids are pushed too hard in sports year-round. The truth is that a conditioned athlete does not get injured; an athlete with a hidden case of Lyme is chronically injured. Some of these injuries may be attributed to some trace mineral deficiencies but certainly not to overtraining.

Chronic Lyme, I believe, is the main factor involved in most of the “chronic disease processes” we are seeing affecting all generations and much earlier than ever before.

For more information, contact Lindsley Chiropractic Clinic & Natural Healing Center, 1565 195th Ave., Bloomer, WI 54724, 715-568-5058, www.lindsleychiropractic.com

Stress Relief and Your Skin

By Sarah Green, Owner & Licensed Aesthetician, CLT – Sakura Skin Spa

Stress. It’s something we ALL face. Some of the people most affected by stress? Moms! Just ask my mom, Patti! It was, of course, my other three siblings that caused her stress and not myself…. (she’s rolling her eyes at this moment, I can assure you, as she reads this!).

Stress affects everyone, and unfortunately sometimes when we need stress relief the most we are unable to do certain treatments or use certain products, such as during pregnancy.

Here are some excellent alternatives for everyday stress relief that are safe and effective for everyone!

  1. Organic or Natural facials. At Sakura we offer Organic Naturopathica or 97 percent Natural FarmHouse Fresh products. Both are centered on attacking stress with their luxurious and aromatherapeutic properties! Safe for everyone, including moms-to-be and nursing clients, help keep your skin in check with a fabulous facial. Facials are a great way to unwind but also to get a results-orientated treatment. One of our licensed aestheticians will help customize a treatment that is perfect for you. Some clients prefer to pick their facial from our very LARGE facial menu also.
  2. At home Naturopathica or FarmHouse Fresh products. They aren’t just for “in-spa!” Create your own peaceful escape within your own home. These products offer bath salts, oils, body scrubs, lotions, and masks to help you slip away into that world of relaxation! Melt away your stress without leaving your own house.
  3. A Fire & Ice facial. This Innovative Skin Care treatment will leave you with soft, exfoliated, and hydrated skin without any worry during pregnancy or nursing. This 18 percent sugar cane glycolic treatment gently, yet effectively, rapidly resurfaces your skin, leaving you with a polished skin. Throw on the rejuvenating mask, and you’re left with hydrated, polished skin. Perfect to do before an event or before tackling grocery shopping with the kiddos, as there is no downtime!
  4. Back Facials. While this isn’t always the best treatment for a woman who is pregnant, this is an excellent stress reliever. This treatment is a full “facial” treatment but for your back! While using warm steam and towels, your Aesthetician will cleanse, exfoliate and massage your back. They then will finish with customized treatment products to help hydrate and protect your skin.
  5. Who doesn’t love- or NEED- a fabulous massage? While we don’t personally offer massage at Sakura, we are proud to partner with Sans Souci massage of Altoona, Wisconsin. Owners Katie and Candace and their staff offer exceptional quality massages with years of experience in treating people in the Chippewa Valley. For our clients who would like to experience a facial AND massage, Sans Souci will send over one of their fabulous therapists to help us create the ultimate spa day! Looking for just a massage? We highly suggest giving these ladies a visit. They will help customize a massage that is just right for you and your needs. They also offer pregnancy massages. (Just ask my sister, Rachel, Katie was a life saver for her during her second pregnancy!)
  6. It is amazing what a little diffused goodness can do for you. We personally use a YoungLiving diffuser and essential oils at Sakura to help greet our guests with a welcoming and soothing atmosphere. I also personally use one in my home. You can find just the right blend to soothe your needs. Essential oils can be exceptionally effective in helping with insomnia, stress, anxiety, and even with those blues we can all get. These oils can be applied topically, ingested, diffused, sprayed, or dropped in a hot bath. Whatever fits your lifestyle and mood!

Finding just the right balance in our lives to help combat stress is so important. So many people view a “spa” day as just an indulgence or just for special occasions, but in reality in can be so imperative to be sure we are taking care of not just our outer appearance, but also our mental well-being. A great spa treatment can do both.

Cheers to a happy, stress free life!