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Archive for July, 2008

Coconut oil massage improves weight gain and height in infants

 baby massage

photo credit: myreado2

Irrefutably, the power of touch is immensely soothing for an infant.  After having spent many months immersed in a warm, fluid environment, the outside world can feel extremely barren, cold,  and unpredictable.  Infant massage has been shown to alter hormone levels in babies and reduce anxiety and stress while promoting relaxation.  Physiological effects of massage include mobilizing fluids, washing out metabolic  waste products (i.e. lactic acid) that build up in muscles, and promoting blood flow.  Muscles, after being massaged, have decreased spasm. The tactile stimulation can activate nerve fibers carrying touch sensation and the sensory input from those fibers can decrease pain signals to the brain via the Gate Theory of pain. Thus, reducing the perception of pain.

In many cultures, massage with tropical oils is routine.  The tropical oil massage provides multiple benefits.   Oil based substances improve skin barrier function and protect the skin.  Massage has been shown to improve thermoregulation.  A compelling study from India looked at the effects of massage with  coconut oil, mineral oil, and placebo (powder).  Coconut oil massage caused greater weight and height gain rates compared to placebo in preterm and term infants.  Read the rest of this entry »

Selective Organic Spending, thanks to EWG

organic carrots

Organic Produce by: Neal1960
The pressure to buy solely organic produce is heavy.  I am  often debating the toxins and  pesticides in the conventionally grown produce versus the exorbitant price tag of the pristine organic variety.  At other times, the organic version of the fruit or vegetable is unavailable, what to do?  One of my favorite organizations,  EWG(Environmental Working Group) has heroically come to the rescue.   EWG is a non-profit organization “which uses the power of public information to protect public health and the environment.”  They tested 43 fruits and vegetables  for their pesticide load  and ranked  them based on which ones absorb the most pesticides and those which absorbs the least.  Some fruits and vegetables simply do not absorb high levels of pesticides, therefore buying either conventional or organic will result in very low pesticide exposure. Read the rest of this entry »

Homemade Baby food (that you can buy)

Homemade Baby food

just apples so smooth

just apples, texture: so smooth

I had the good fortune of being able to sit down with Theresa Kiene of Homemade Baby and talk about a pivotal stage in infant development, starting solids. I was given minimal information from my son’’s pediatrician( a xeroxed copy from a page in a book), and not much else.

I was interested in experimenting with making my own baby food, but was also considering supplementing with Earth’s Best organic jarred baby food. After speaking with Theresa I was aghast to find out what comprised even the organic jarred baby food. The quality of produce used to make jarred baby food is usually labeled processor food. This is food that is on the verge of spoiling and can not be put on display as it is overly-oxidized. I was shocked and alarmed to learn that this produce, which would not even be fit for display, was being used to make baby food. Read the rest of this entry »