I just saw my latest happy, but tired mom of a newborn. I work with the Supplemental food program for women, infants, and children, commonly known as WIC. Whenever I see a new mom it brings back memories of my own sleepless nights, even though my kids are now 20 and 21 years old. I can still remember feeling my labor beginning while I was at the playground with my son. I kept wishing for one more night or a week of sleep before my daughter arrived.
My son never seemed to sleep, so it was tough for me to fall asleep in those early weeks. I hated just falling asleep and having him wake me up 15 minutes after I laid him down. In desperation, I put a heating pad on his bed to see if it was the cold mattress that was waking him up. The heating pad didn't help. I was breastfeeding by the book so I sat upright in a chair using the various nursing positions I had been taught, never getting a wink of sleep.
I might have gotten a little more sleep if I had known then, what I know now from my work with the parents of newborns in WIC and from our WIC breastfeeding peer counselors:
- Waking up 3-4 times a night is normal for newborns during the first six weeks. All the dreaming they do during their light or active sleep cycles is helping their brains develop.
- Holding your baby an extra 20 minutes until they are totally relaxed will help both of you sleep longer. When you lay a baby down while he is still in the active sleep/dreaming phase, he wakes up easily.
- Newborns love to be held skin to skin. Compared to babies who are swaddled or in a crib, babies held skin to skin are warmer, calmer, and cry less. Babies can lay on their mom or dad's chest with just their diaper. You can pull a blanket up or use a robe or hoodie to keep you both cozy and warm.
- Try the laid back nursing position. (See photo below). For our breastfeeding mom we have found this position helps them relax and get some sleep. Also newborns have natural instincts that help with nursing. In the laid back position, they are able to move and help with getting a good latch.
Trish Unruh Nutritionist with the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department
The National Restaurant Association surveyed 1800 professional chefs on trends they see for 2012. Check out the video for trends on Kids menus. Below are the top 10 trends for 2012.
- Locally sourced meats & seafood.
- Locally grown produce
- Healthful Kids meals
- Hyper-local items (produce grown on site or livestock raised under the supervision of the chef)
- Sustainability as a culinary theme
- Children's nutrition as a culinary theme
- Gluten-free/food allergy conscious items
- Locally produced wine & beer
- Sustainable seafood
- Whole grain items on Kids menus.
One of the best parts of my job is walking into restaurants and smelling the wonderful aromas. I love food so pouring over menus and seeing interesting and flavorful combinations of ingredients is one of the pleasures of working with LiveWell EatWell. Bambino's has some great choices from their homemade marinara sauce to whole grain pasta. If you are tempted by one of the richer sauces you can have it on the side to drizzle over grilled seafood or chicken.
I caught Roxana Sarraf at the right moment when she was revising Bambino's lunch menu. She decided to add fresh fruit as a side dish and low fat milk after we reviewed the LiveWell EatWell criteria. She also mentioned that they cater many events and are able to provide lower fat menu items and sugar free desserts.
I just learned my food personality is Fast and Fresh. I was roaming from one link to another this morning and discovered this great survey on Meals Matter under the healthy eating tab.
- Do you prefer to cook only with fresh food or do you use some prepackaged foods?
- How often do you cook?
- Do you prefer chicken, beef, fish or vegetarian? (or all of them)
The advice at the end of the survey is based on your responses. Very realistic and practical. The suggested recipes looked tasty too.
For the past week I have been pouring over menus to see if they meet the criteria to be included in the LiveWell EatWell restaurant challenge. I have learned that sugo is a traditional Italian sauce made from roasted tomatoes and vegetables that is simmered to make a thick sauce. Yum! I couldn't leave Local Burger without picking up some veggie burgers for dinner.
Besides drooling over menus I have learned that many restaurants will cut their servings in half for a reduced price. So if you don't want a platter of food for one person you don't have to. The key is asking. Ask for alternatives to fries, change the cooking method, or have the kitchen put the sauce on the side. I was impressed with how flexible restaurants can be. In my dreams a table full of customers would order half portions so restaurant managers and chefs would learn we are happy to eat their wonderful food in smaller portions. Less waste for them and less temptation for us to eat those extra bites we don't really need.
I expect to be very busy over the next few weeks signing restaurants up for the LiveWell EatWell restaurant challenge. Starting in January we hope to have a number of area restaurants displaying the LiveWell EatWell logo. When customers see this logo they will know that restaurant has met the criteria to meet the LiveWell EatWell restaurant challenge. Here are a few of the items we are looking for on menus;
- Fresh, frozen or canned fruits
- Steamed or fresh vegetables
- One menu item prepared with a lower-fat cooking method
- Smaller portions at a reduced price
- Sauces available on the side
- A substitute for fried side dishes
I could use your help finding restaurants that are already meeting this criteria or that you wish had some better options for you. I can pass the word on to restaurants that you may love their food but wish you could have a smaller portion or a substitute for the pile of fries on the side.
The challenge won't end in January. I am available to work with restaurants who are interested in learning more but may not meet the criteria yet. This challenge will be a process and I know we will all learn along the way. I will keep you posted on my progress. I expect to find some great food that not only tastes terrific but is nourishing as well.
I am still digesting a talk given last Monday by David Kessler MD on his book, Ending Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite. David Kessler was trained as a pediatrician, commissioner for the FDA for 7 years and Dean for the School of Medicine for Yale and the University of California at San Francisco. He set out to understand why we are so drawn to foods high in fat, sugar, and salt.
During his research he found that the ingredient in a vanilla milkshake that gets our attention is the sugar but when you add fat it has a synergistic effect. Kessler went on to explain why our brains are wired to desire foods high in fat, sugar, and salt. The areas in our brain that are stimulated are associated with memory, habit and emotion. Appetite is not the issue.
Once he began to see the response to highly palatable foods he started to look at how the food industry has designed products that encourage us to overeat. These products layer fat, sugar and salt so we eat more and more. He gave the example of buffalo wings that are fried at the manufacturer then fried again at the restaurant and served with sauces that add more fat, sugar, and salt. Each layer increases the response in the brain.
One of Kessler's solutions is to change how we view foods just like we have changed how we view smoking. No one would think of lighting up during a meeting. So can we change the social norm so eating is not a universal part of everything we do. Do we really need donuts or bagels and cream cheese at the morning staff meeting? Do kids need snacks during class or can they wait for lunch? At my church we have kids snacking during the Sunday morning service. Is that really necessary? Are we training ourselves and our children to always have food available? With snacks to buy at every checkout from the hardware store to the pet store we are in trouble.
Some of the scarier information in David Kessler's book included;
- Children as young as four are losing their ability to stop eating when they are full.
- On average 20 year olds are starting adulthood 18 lbs heavier than 20 year olds in the 60s.
- No pill can cure our desire to eat, to many areas of the brain are involved.
I would encourage you to read Kessler's book. I appreciate his efforts to understand why we eat when we are not hungry and why we can't seem to stop eating foods that are harmful to our health.
I work with a health department program that provides formula as one part of our services. As you can imagine we just spent a crazy few days fielding phone calls from parents who had to worry about whether their baby was drinking a formula that contained insect parts. There does not appear to be any concerns beyond a few days of GI problems if the baby was unlucky enough to drink the contaminated formula. Stores are exchanging the formula so things are returning to normal.
But what about next time? We spend so much time talking about the benefits of breastfeeding but how about the risks of formula? Almost every day I have a poor exhausted parent call whose baby is drinking formula and is fussy, spitting up, constipated or has some other complaint. We try one formula and then another hoping the baby will be able to tolerate one of them.
Often moms wish they never stopped breastfeeding. I know from my own experience that the first few weeks of breastfeeding can be tough. I taught classes on breastfeeding before I had my own child. It looked so easy on the video. My son fell asleep constantly when I tried to feed him the first few days. I knew to look for wet and dirty diapers as a way to tell he was getting enough. I panicked when I didn't have to change a diaper for hours. Fortunately I had a nurse who calmed me down and taught me how to wake David up and relax and breastfeed every 3 hours. My husband and I actually cheered when he had a huge poop that went everywhere, at least we knew he was getting enough.
We have a long way to go to support moms when they breastfeed. The best advice I can give is to ask for a lactation consultant in the hospital after you deliver. A lactation consultant can help you get off to a good start. Lawrence Memorial also has a breastfeeding support group on Monday mornings. click here There is nothing like talking to another mom who knows just how you feel. Also a lactation consultant is there to help if you have questions or problems. If you receive WIC, call our office. We have two WIC breastfeeding peer counselors who are kind and gentle and there to help especially those first couple of weeks. If you would like to learn more about WIC visit, click here.
Celebrate Family Day on September 27th by eating a meal with your children. It doesn't matter what you serve, only the uninterrupted time you spend with your children over a meal. This celebration started as a result of research that showed that the more often children ate with their families the less likely they were to smoke, drink, or do drugs. If you are looking for some quick recipes to serve on Family Day check out the Kansas Family website at link text
The most important aspect of Family Day is gathering together and giving everyone a chance to talk.
- Turn off the TV, radio, and cell phones.
- Involve the whole family in setting out the meal and cleaning up.
- Laughter is the best music at meals.
- Share favorite family stories.
- Make a goal to eat together at least once a week whatever time works for your family.