News Roundup June 26

Study Shows Significant Decline in Free Formula Packs Given To New Moms Breastfeeding has a multitude of health benefits for both baby and mom which is why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life. Advocates have long complained that the practice of giving away formula to new moms in hospital discharge packs discourages breastfeeding and therefore is at least partly to blame for the low numbers of U.S. babies (19%) who are exclusively breastfed at 6 months of age.  A recent study shows a big decline between 2007 and 2013 in distribution of formula in hospital discharge packs which is considered good news by advocates for breastfeeding. Read more here.

Early Experiences and the Development of the Stress Response System Research out of the University of Washington finds that children’s early environments have a lasting impact on their responses to stress later in life, and that the negative effects of deprived early environments can be reduced — but only if intervention happens before 24 months. The study focused on children who spend the first years of their lives in Romanian orphanages and others who were removed from orphanages and placed in foster care. It is believed to be the first study to identify a sensitive period during early life when children’s stress response systems are particularly likely to be impacted by their caregiving environments. “The early environment has a very strong impact on how the stress response system in the body develops,” said lead author Katie McLaughlin, a UW assistant professor of psychology. “But even kids exposed to a very extreme negative environment who are placed into a supportive family can overcome those effects in the long term.” Read more about the study here.

Smoking Around Toddlers Negatively Impacts Their Health Researchers at the University of Montreal and its affiliated CHU Sainte Justine Research Centre have found that children whose parents smoked when they were toddlers are likely to have a wider waist and a higher BMI by the time they are 10 years old, which has potential serious long-lasting effects. Their findings emphasize the importance of public health initiatives and parental smoking sensitization aimed at reducing exposure to secondhand smoke during the critical early years of development. Click here read more about the study.

Antibiotic use in Infants is Strongly Related to Adulthood Illness A recent University of Minnesota study suggests that because antibiotics alter infant gut bacteria, including bacteria that enables the growth of allergen-fighting immune cells and microbiota that determines our vulnerability to a number of infectious diseases, when given in infancy they make us more vulnerable to adulthood illness. Antibiotics account for about 25% of all childhood medications and around 30% of those prescriptions are thought to be unnecessary. “We think these findings help develop a roadmap for future research to determine the health consequences of antibiotic use and for recommendations for prescribing them,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Dan Knights. Read about it here.


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