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Breastfeeding may not reduce obesity risk
March 12th, 2013
04:00 PM ET

Breastfeeding may not reduce obesity risk

We've heard a lot about the benefits of breastfeeding, and the idea that it reduces the risk of a child becoming overweight or obese has been around for decades.

But a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association contradicts that idea. It suggests that though breastfeeding has many benefits, reducing the likelihood that a child becomes obese or overweight may not be one of them. The evidence to support this conclusion is strong as the study was based on a large randomized controlled trial.
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Obesity among young children declines slightly
December 26th, 2012
03:26 PM ET

Obesity among young children declines slightly

The number of young children who are obese and extremely obese is going down, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In what researchers say is the first national study to show that the prevalence of obesity among young children may have begun to decline, scientists analyzed data from more than 27 million children from low-income families between the ages of 2 and 4 in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

"The results of this study indicate modest recent progress of obesity prevention among young children," according to the study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). 

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May 11th, 2012
01:46 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Breast-feeding toddlers

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

When we woke up this morning, “Time breast feeding cover” was the top trending topic on Google. Throughout the day, variations of that search have taken up four more of the top 10 spots.

What is it about the photo of a 3-year-old breast-feeding on the cover of Time magazine this week that’s caused such uproar? CNN.com readers had a lot to say about the subject.
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May 10th, 2012
04:37 PM ET

Breast-feeding: Too much of a good thing?

It's hard to avoid staring at the cover of Time Magazine this week. If you're on social media like Twitter and Facebook, the widely shared image may have arrived on your screen before you ever saw it in the supermarket.

The provocative cover shows Jamie Lynne Grumet, a 26-year-old mother from Los Angeles, breast-feeding her son. This isn't your typical mom-and-baby shot: Grumet's son is 3. In case you were wondering, Grumet told CNN's Erin Burnett that her son is actually breast-feeding in that now-iconic image.

Grumet said her own mother breast-fed her until age 6, and Grumet still remembers it. "I'm proud of her," Grumet said.

The picture promotes an article about the growing popularity of "attachment parenting", a theory first advocated by Dr. Bill Sears and his wife, Martha, in their 1992 best-selling guide “The Baby Book.”

The Searses argue that co-sleeping, “baby wearing” (where the baby is attached to the parent with a sling) and extended breast-feeding will help parents respond better to the individual needs of their babies.

Celebrities such as Mayim Bialik of "The Big Bang Theory" are also promoting ideas about attachment parenting. Bialik said on Friday that she still breast-feeds her 3-year-old son. "He's not done breast-feeding, and I'm not ready to tell him not to," she said.

Many moms and dads have strong opinions about these practices, especially the breast-feeding advice.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies be breast-fed exclusively for the first six months of their lives.

"We don't all nurse older kids," Bialik said of mothers who subscribe to attachment parenting ideas. "But the notion that a child's voice matters, that every child is different, that's the basis of attachment parenting."

Heather Curtis, wife of Fark.com founder Drew Curtis, told CNN's Geek Out that she practiced breast-feeding for an extended period, carried her babies in slings and practiced co-sleeping, as Bialik did. So did Caryn Rogers, a science writer for the Preeclampsia Foundation.

"I didn't really choose to eschew conventional care so much as chose to get what I believed was the most evidence-based care," Rogers said.

Grumet said that sleeping with her baby does not affect intimacy with her husband.

Watch: Breast-feeding cover-mom defends pose

"I think intimacy is extremely important in a marriage and I think a strong marriage is going to be a great foundation to show your children how to be raised confident and happy and I had that with my family, too," she said.

Time: Extended breast-feeding is more common than we think

CNN.com readers expressed mixed views on the subjects of the best age to stop breast-feeding and the appropriateness of the Time cover in general. See what they said.

We want to know what you think.  Is it OK to breast-feed well past toddler-hood, or is it too much of a good thing?


Research questions impact of pacifiers on disrupting breast-feeding
April 30th, 2012
12:05 PM ET

Research questions impact of pacifiers on disrupting breast-feeding

Pacifiers can soothe agitated infants, but some experts - including those at the World Health Organization (WHO) - discourage pacifier use in the first six months of life because of concerns that it may interfere with breast-feeding, widely seen as the best way to feed a newborn.

New research, however, casts doubt on the notion that pacifier use disrupts breast-feeding. In an analysis of feeding patterns among 2,249 infants in a single maternity ward over a 15-month period, researchers found the proportion of infants who were exclusively breast-fed dropped from 79% to 68% after pacifier use was restricted in the ward.

Meanwhile, the proportion of infants who needed formula in addition to breast-feeding jumped from 18% to 28% after the change in policy, according to the preliminary results of the study, which were presented today at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, in Boston.
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Fewer hospitals giving away free formula
September 26th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

Fewer hospitals giving away free formula

An increasing number of hospitals are no longer giving new moms industry-sponsored baby formula samples when they leave the hospital, and that's a good thing,  health experts say.

The number of hospitals choosing to discontinue this practice doubled, on average, in the past four years according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

However, most hospitals still send new parents home with samples of formula, even though major health organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend mothers try to exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life.  Breast milk is considered to be the best source of nutrition for newborns and infants.

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Fortified breast milk helps preemies grow
August 15th, 2011
03:02 PM ET

Fortified breast milk helps preemies grow

About one in eight babies in the U.S. are born prematurely, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Godswill Keraoru is one of those babies.

"He was so tiny," said Godswill's mother Rosemary Keraoru, who could hold him in the palm of her hand. "It was 50% chance that he was going to survive or not," she said.

Keraoru gave birth in April at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Los Angeles. She was roughly six months into her pregnancy,  and her baby weighed only 1 pound, 9 ounces. Extremely premature infants, born before 30 weeks of pregnancy, have small stomachs, and have a hard time consuming enough milk.
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Hospitals need to do more to help moms breastfeed
August 3rd, 2011
12:55 PM ET

Hospitals need to do more to help moms breastfeed

Hospitals could and should do a lot more to help women succeed at breastfeeding, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Hospitals need to greatly improve practices to support mothers who want to breastfeed," says Dr. Thomas Frieden, the CDC's director. "If they don't, at current trends, it will take more than 100 years before every baby in this country is born in a hospital where the hospital fully supports a mother's desire to breastfeed." FULL POST


June 13th, 2011
08:01 AM ET

Is a used breast pump safe?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Mondays, it's pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu.

Asked by Andrea from San Francisco, California

I'm eight months pregnant and plan to breastfeed. I will go back to work after a few months and am thinking about getting a heavy-duty double breast pump, but the new ones are very expensive. Is it safe to buy or rent a used one? I'm worried about the germs that might be inside the pump but can't really afford a new one.
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Feeding babies solids too early may make fat toddlers
February 7th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

Feeding babies solids too early may make fat toddlers

Feeding a baby solid foods too early in life may increase his risk of becoming obese before reaching preschool, according to a new study in Pediatrics.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that new mothers breast-feed their babies for at least six months and introduce solid foods between 4 and 6 months. This new study finds that among formula-fed babies, those who were given solid foods before age 4 months had a higher risk of becoming obese.

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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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