Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Can’t Anybody Just Agree?

Yet another thing I’ve learned in motherhood is that none of the “experts” can agree on anything. It’s kind of like marketing in the way that we marketers can find a way to use the research to prove whatever outcome is in our favor. Pediatrician Recommended might mean that a company paid a pediatrician $100 to say sure, use that lotion. But for some reason, the public believes that if a pediatrician recommended it, it must be good. Who cares if the pediatrician is 90 years old, an alcoholic, and has never even seen the product he is recommending. You just have to use some common sense and your best judgment.

With that said, here are a few things I’ve found that articles, doctors and mothers can’t agree on and the stance I’ve taken on them. Maybe it will help save someone the trouble of trying to find the so-called right answer since it doesn’t exist. Caution: This is probably way too much information for some people (i.e. queasy men) so proceed with caution.

Allergies – Can you eat peanut butter while breastfeeding or not? My answer: Nobody knows. If you don’t have allergies in your family, eat the friggin’ peanut butter. If you are worried about it, don’t. I personally don’t think that the small quantities of peanut butter I eat are going to cause Ada to have peanut allergies. I’ve read studies that support both sides. I put peanut butter on my pancakes this morning and will deal with the consequences.
I do however think that you should avoid giving babies honey for their first year because it can cause botulism which can be deadly. Read more here.

Birth Control – Breastfeeding moms should avoid using birth control with Estrogen because it will lower the mother’s milk supply. My answer: I have recently read mixed reports on this. Most Dr.’s seem to prescribe the mini pill which has no estrogen. That’s great but after a few months it can cause depression, it isn’t as effective as other methods, you have to take the pill within 3 hours of the same time everyday or it loses its effectiveness, among other issues. I’ve recently been told and read that the patch and NuvaRing can be used since they don’t deliver the estrogen via pill so they don’t effect the milk supply as much if at all. My totally worthless and absolutely unprofessional opinion is to use the mini pill or some estrogen free method for the first few months until you get the whole breastfeeding thing under control and you have stockpiled some milk. Then give something else a try if you feel like it.

Breastfeeding will prevent you from getting pregnant. My answer: Not true all the time. It will reduce the chances of you getting pregnant but it isn’t an effect means of birth control. I know two people who have gotten pregnant while nursing. One intentionally, one unintentionally after her Dr. said she wouldn’t get pregnant. One of the not so widely known benefits of nursing is that you don’t necessarily get your period back for a few months, or even years for some people. I guess that isn’t a benefit if you are trying to figure out when you might be ovulating though. Hmmm…

Is there such a thing as nipple confusion? My answer: Maybe in the very beginning. Try to just use the boob to feed your baby in the beginning if they have trouble latching on. Once they get the hang of it, switch between boob and bottle, and have different people feed the baby from the bottle, including mom. My doctor freaked out that I was feeding her with the bottle and breastfeeding but I’ve found that it doesn’t make any difference.

For all of you pregnant women, some doctors still recommend episiotomies. My answer: Don’t let them do it. Studies show that it is better to tear instead of have the Dr. make a cut for vaginal births. Again I’m no expert but my Dr. said she won’t do them unless things get really crazy and that is the only option. The theory is that your body will only tear as much as it needs to and where it needs to but a Dr. might cut more than you need and it would take longer to heal.

Once you have the baby, some doctors will say to clean the area around the umbilical cord with an alcohol wipe. My answer: It will fall off if you do so or not. Babies born in other countries survive just fine without alcohol wipes so do whatever you feel like. It really doesn’t make a difference in my opinion.

Should you give your baby water? My answer: I don’t know but a tiny bit probably won’t hurt. A dietitian told me yes. Give them a little water so that they get used to it but never more than an ounce or two since they will fill their tiny tummies with water and not get the nutrients they need from their milk. My doctor recommends that I don’t give her water as she gets plenty from my milk. I don’t think an ounce here or there will hurt her as long as you pay attention to the fluoride content so you don’t mess up her teeth (even before they come in the fluoride can damage them.) And be sure that she is getting enough milk.

Are gas drops like Mylacon okay for babies? My answer: Heck yeah. They are a lifesaver. Some people think they haven’t been proven to work. Some think they are fine. Ada loves them and they do seem to help relieve her gas.

Do babies get sinus infections? My answer: I don’t know for sure since I’ve had two doctors tell me opposite answers but Ada had green snot coming out of her nose like mad and we put her on amoxicillin and now it is much better. So I’m assuming babies sinuses develop sometime around four months since that’s when the snot appeared. Don’t rule it out I guess is what I’m saying and if baby has green snot, do something about it.

Should I vaccinate my baby? Will it cause autism? My answer: I do believe in vaccinating your children because the benefits strongly outweigh the risks. The whole issue of autism is something that I’m not sure anyone understands. It seems to be related to diet on some level. There is one ingredient in certain vaccines that people think causes it. I’m not sure what that ingredient is but educate yourself and try to avoid vaccines that have that ingredient. Talk to your doctor and learn more about it. I just heard about a family (on Oprah’s Big Give) that has five children who are all on the autism spectrum. That makes me think it is genetic but I’m a marketing major with an MBA. I’m not a doctor or a specialist in this stuff. These are my best guesses on how to parent my kid. Take them or leave them but at least pay attention and educate yourself.

Moral of the story: Try to make educated decisions as best you can when it comes to parenting, your doctor probably doesn’t know everything there is to know about babies and the universe so feel free to double check or get a second opinion and question what they say, and follow your gut because intuition is too powerful to ignore.

1 comment:

Cass said...

The ingredient that people worry about causing autism is called Thimerosal and it's used as a preservative and contains mercury.

It's a super contentious issue with lots of arguments that it does and lots that it does not cause autism. I think we probably won't know for sure for a long time. BUT they are no longer allowed to use it at all in any vaccine given to a child under 6. so that might help to know.

I personally think some of the rise in diagnoses has to do with us having a better understanding of what autism is. A lot of children used to just be lumped into the group of mental retardation. but now autism is recognized as something much more specific. totally fascinating topic if you ask me.