Apple & Cheese Sticks for Tots

2016-12-28-11-10-26

This is a fun snack for toddler around 2-3 years old.  It just like adult fruit and cheese pairing with crackers. I decided to dice some apple and baby bel cheese, then throw in some whole wheat gold fish crackers in it to entice the little eyes.

So this snack is simple and easy to assemble. You can also have your toddler help you assemble it and make it fun.

Ingredients:

1/2 apple, slice and dice into 20 bite size chunks

1 baby bel, slice and dice into 10 bite size chunks

10 tooth picks

2 tablespoon Gold Fish Crackers

Instructions:

  1. Assemble as shown on picture above. Slide apple into tooth picks, add in cheese and top off with another apple cube.
  2. Use a small cup (dixie cups works too) and add in 2 tablespoon Gold fish crackers and arrange the kebabs on top.

Facts and Myth of Most Common Alternative Uses of Breast Milk

We all know that breast milk is often refer as “liquid gold” but do you know why? It’s not because the color of the milk looks like gold but it is the price of breast milk cost more (400x more) than crude oil per ounce in weight.  Hence the liquid gold term. Crazy isn’t it. Not only breast milk is the superb choice to feed our precious little ones but it has many benefits for both baby and mother as we already know.

Though, there’s always the common advice from breastfeeding and mom’s support group suggesting other uses of breast milk to cure infant common illness (ear infection, pink eye, blocked tear ducts etc). So, let’s examine what actually works based on research studies.

Myth: Breast feeding / Breast Milk can prevent or cure ear infection

Facts: Breast feeding will reduces the risk of getting ear infection. Not completely prevented it.  On the other hand, dropping a few breast milk into the ear of the baby during ear infection doesn’t support by the research. Most ear infection (otitis media) is a middle ear infection, which is behind the ear drums. So, the breast milk doesn’t reach the inflamed area behind the ear drum to be beneficial to treat it. However, if the infection is an outer ear infection (swimmer’s ear), then breast milk will work. Remember one important fact is that most ear infection will clear on its own within 48-72 hours without antibiotic treatment. If your child has recurrent/frequent ear infection, it is best to seek medical advice.

Myth: Breast milk is great for atopic eczema/ diaper rash

Facts: Truth ! Yes, breast milk has been proven in a randomized clinical trial (Kasrae et al 2015 and Farahani et al 2013) treat atopic eczema and diaper rash respectively. Breast milk works just as effective as the 1% hydrocortisone cream. So, you can definitely try dabbing a few drops of breast milk to the affected area.  One side note is that this will only works on infant with mild to moderate atopic eczema (or dermatitis) and bacteria diaper rash. If the diaper rash are caused by yeast, breast milk will make it worse due to the milk sugar content.

Myth: Breast milk can be use to treat conjunctivitis (pink eye)

Facts: Maybe. Mixed review noted in two separate research done in 2012 (studies in British) and 2014 (studies in Iran with neonatal infant). Breastmilk was noted to be effective in inhibiting growth on gonorrhea, which is the most common bacteria that causes pink eye. However, when comparing to antibiotic ointment, breastmilk comes in second. So, if you live in a rural area without quick access to medical care, then breast milk will not be a bad idea and will not hurt your infant.

Myth: Breast milk can help clear block tear ducts

Facts: False claims. There’s a studies published in the Journal of Tropical Pediatrics in 2007 indicates that most blocked tear ducts cleared on its own with or without treatment. However, if you do choose to use breast milk vs antibiotic, it is probably safe as well. Just make sure to clean the gunk from the infant eyes and massage the corner of the eye with warm compress.

Myth: Breast milk can help with infant acne and adults too

Facts: Likely ! Studies have shown that breast milk contains lauric acid, which is a component to help combating acne. Put a few drops of fresh breast milk on the baby’s acne area, leave it air dry for about 10 minutes, then clean the face with some water. As breast milk contains lactose (milk sugar), which may cause the face becoming sticky and causing other irritation to occurs.

Myth: Breast milk is great for sore nipple

Facts: Although there’s no research to back this up but it has been the gold standard from breastfeeding organization (Le Leche) across the world to recommend hand express a few drops of breast milk and apply around the areola area to lubricate to prevent drying and cracking of the nipple.

Well, as you can see breast milk really is a powerful resource. Even the latest research has shown positive association between breast milk properties with cancer treatment and C-difficile. More clinical trials are underway !

Hope you all enjoyed this findings as much as I did. As a mom, I’ve tried it all and some works better than the other. Just remember, even though breast milk is great for many uses, it still harbor quite a lot of bacteria in them, most of them are beneficial to the gut of babies. Make sure to practice good hygiene when hand expressing and storage to reduce as much contamination as possible.

 

 

Understanding Nutrition and COPD

I know this is not an article about pediatric populations but it is a topic that is dear to my heart when my own father was officially diagnosed with COPD. I’ve suspected that earlier last year but he wouldn’t let me take him to the doctor until he was critically ill this time around. You, maybe just like me have a loved one who suffers from COPD and wondering how you can help.

I worked with adult populations before and know how much nutrition is important for COPD patients. Most COPD patients who are admitted to the hospital are malnourished and it increases their mortality rate. Nutrition really plays an important role in keeping a person with COPD healthy and to help them recover from malnutrition and improving their chances of survival. A person with COPD exacerbation can be malnourished in 1 month but it will take almost a year to totally recovered from it if they do what the doctors, physical therapist, respiratory therapist and registered dietitian say. It takes a team effort to manage this disease.

What is COPD exactly ? 

According to American Lung Association, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease that over time makes it hard to breathe.With COPD, the airways in your lungs become inflamed and thicken, and the tissue where oxygen is exchanged is destroyed. The flow of air in and out of your lungs decreases. When that happens, less oxygen gets into your body tissues, and it becomes harder to get rid of the waste gas carbon dioxide.

COPD is most common with adults over 50, men and women can both get COPD especially if they are a smoker. People who works closely with fumes, chemical and pollutant will contract COPD as well.

COPD foundation website has a wealth of information regarding the details of the disease.

And why is nutrition important ?

COPD patient often have shortness of breathe or dyspnea in the medical world and it takes them twice as much effort to breathe in oxygen. The patient themselves might not realized the increase work of breathing especially during the early stages of COPD.  Increased work of breathing translate to increased energy expenditure. Depending on the severity, you can easily burnt additional 400-700 calories daily. So even if you felt that you are eating adequately, but you will start noticing weight loss and when exacerbation happens, it will spiral down very quickly.

So, if a person did not consume adequate calories. The body will start utilizing muscle and fat stores for energy, therefore weight loss occurs and then slowly leading to a malnourished state.  With the loss of lean muscle mass, a person will get weaker, and the more breathless they become and the harder it becomes for them to eat. This is because it is hard for them to catch their breath and eat at the same time.  The less they eat, the weaker they become, the harder it is for them to maintain a good weight, which is a vital key to managing COPD.

What can you do nutritionally if you have COPD?

  • Eat small frequent meals. Ideally 6-8 meals per day averaging 300-350 calories per meal to help you regain the severe weight loss you have experienced.
  • If eating solids are difficult, try to look into high calories/ high protein supplement drink (Ensure, Boost, Orgain Or Vega ( Both Vegan option), Muscle Milk, etc.
  • Eat more when you have the most energy, usually in the morning.
  • Choose higher fat foods because it gives you the most calories with the least volume. Plus, fat produces less carbon dioxide when digested, so it is better for the COPD patients.
  • Aim to have 35-40% calories from fat, 35-40% calories from Carbohydrates and 20-25% of calories from protein.
  • Consume high antioxidants fruits and vegetables. It can help improve some pulmonary functions. If not a big fan of fruits/veggies – you can try juicing or buy antioxidant powder drink. or take a MVI daily.
  • Chew and eat slowly to avoid swallowing too much air.
  • Avoid food that produces too much gas (cabbage family, onions, broccoli, cauliflower beans) as bloating can make eating uncomfortable.
  • Limit salt if you can. Swelling/Edema or water retention in body can make breathing difficult.

What other options if eating becomes increasingly difficult?’

  • Tube feeding usually is our recommendation to help a patient combat malnutrition associated with COPD. If the prognosis with the lung disease is not terminal, there is still a chance to improve mortality rate with good nutrition through tube feeding if you or your loved one desired.

Always remember, food is just as important as medication !