News Roundup

More Hospitals Following Breastfeeding Standards According to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, the percentage of US hospitals that follow international guidelines to promote breastfeeding (designating them “baby-friendly”) has grown from 29 percent in 2007 to 54 percent in 2013. The steps include 10 practices endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Examples of these practices include: communicating breast-feeding policy to hospital staff, helping mothers initiate breast-feeding within 30 minutes of birth, encouraging breast-feeding on demand, and giving newborns no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated, such as when taking a prescription that could be harmful. Hospitals also must not accept free formula from companies. These practices can make a difference in whether or not a mother breastfeeds as well as how long she will continue. Partly due to antibodies in breast milk, babies who breast-feed have reduced risks of respiratory and ear infections, asthma, sudden infant death syndrome, diabetes and obesity. The American Academy of Pediatrics says breast-feeding reduces postpartum bleeding in mothers and reduces their risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding also has been shown to help mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight. You can read more about the report here.

Women with Elevated Blood Sugar Levels During Pregnancy are More Likely to Have Babies with Congenital Heart Defects New research out of Stanford University School of Medicine and Stanford Children’s Health found that pregnant women who have elevated glucose levels that don’t meet the diagnostic criteria for diabetes also face an increased risk for having children with congenital heart disease.  While the risks of gestational diabetes have been well-studied, less attention has been paid to smaller metabolic changes in pregnancy. “I’m excited by this research because it opens up a lot of questions about how physiologic processes in the mother may be related to congenital heart disease,” said James Priest, MD, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral scholar in pediatric cardiology. “Most of the time we don’t have any idea what causes a baby’s heart defect. I aim to change that.” The article can be found here.

Smoking Around Young Children May Lead to Behavioral Problems Researchers from Inserm and Pierre and Marie Curie University (UPMC), in collaboration with the university hospitals of 6 French cities have found that pre- and postnatal exposure to tobacco can lead to behavioral problems in children.  The association is stronger when exposure takes place during pregnancy and after birth. “Our data indicate that passive smoking, in addition to the well-known effects on health, should also be avoided because of the behavioral disorders it may cause in children,” concludes the researcher. Read more about the study here.

Infants Benefit from Word Repetition Recent research from the University of Maryland and Harvard University finds young infants benefit from hearing words their parents repeat. “Parents who repeat words more often to their infants have children with better language skills a year and a half later,” said co-author Rochelle Newman, professor and chair of UMD’s Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences (HESP). “A lot of recent focus has been on simply talking more to your child — but how you talk to your child matters. It isn’t just about the number of words.” To read more about the study click here.


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