Why solid food too soon is risky for your child’s health
Hooded seal mothers make 22 liters of breastmilk a day — and their thirsty pups are weaned in just four days, as they super-grow from 55 to 110 pounds. A black bear mom feeds her cubs for two years, but she sleeps through the first three months of breastfeeding.
These cases make human breastfeeding seem pretty middle-of-the-road: It’s recommended moms do it exclusively for six months; then add solid food while continuing to breastfeed for 12 months or longer.
Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 47 percent of babies are exclusively breastfeeding at 3 months, and about 25 percent are exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months.
That’s risky for your child’s health. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have discovered that when babies are given solid foods at or before 3 months of age it changes the mix of bacteria in their gut biome. That throws off metabolic and immune functions and increases the child’s risk of obesity, eczema, asthma and allergies to specific foods, pollen and more.
So, if possible, breastfeed exclusively for six months — or supplement with formula — only introducing solid food after that. Don’t use work as an excuse. Most employers MUST provide a safe, clean area for you to pump breastmilk, which can be placed in an insulated cooler with ice packs for up to 24 hours. It can be refrigerated at home for four days. Not going to use it in four days? Freeze it in 2- to 4-ounce single-serve containers. After thawing, don’t microwave or refreeze.
In the dark about weight loss? Turns out you should be!
Katy Perry has nyctophobia — and that’s not a fear of NYC. It’s fear of the dark. The singer-songwriter says she often sleeps with the lights on because “a lot of evil things go on in the dark.”
It turns out, when it comes to bedtime, a lot of things that are evil (for your health) go on in the light! When you disrupt your sleep-wake cycle — you should be awake when the sun is shining, asleep when it’s dark (emphasis on dark) — you set yourself up for depression, diabetes and an increased risk for some cancers.
If that isn’t enough reason go over to the dark side (of the bedroom), here’s another: Researchers from the National Institutes of Health say sleeping with a nightlight on or having light coming into the bedroom from another room or outdoors can pack on pounds. When they asked more than 43,000 women ages 35 to 74 about their nighttime light habits, they discovered that over the five-and-a-half years of the study, those who slept with the TV on or light in the room were 17 percent more likely to have gained 11 or more pounds! It seems changes to your metabolism are the cause, so that you don’t use calories or burn fat as efficiently as you should.
But, if you can’t relax enough to dive into darkness while you sleep:
■ Try 10 minutes of mindful meditation before bedtime.
■ Install a dim, red-light nightlight.
■ Invest in a full-coverage eye shade that creates a blackout (but you’ll know the room has light in it).
Yoga isn’t always the gentle healing practice you think it is
When Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith tried some goat yoga moves during “Inside the NBA,” the results were hilarious. Although we did worry a bit when, just to get his goat, the 325-pound Shaq climbed on Barkley’s back. That’s a yoga pose that could crack vertebrae or tear a muscle.
Well, it turns out for folks who have osteoporosis (brittle bone disease) or osteopenia (low bone mass) — as more than 54 million Americans do — certain yoga poses are risky business.
A Mayo Clinic study looked at 89 patients with vulnerable bones who did yoga and had painful injuries. The patients attributed their woes to 12 poses that had strained their back, neck, shoulder, hip, knee or a combination. Their diagnosed injuries ranged from overuse problems to aggravation of arthritis pain, compression fractures and changes in the proper positioning of vertebrae in the neck and spine.
The researchers’ conclusion: If you have osteoporosis or osteopenia it’s smart to avoid positions with extreme spinal flexion and extension; they put you at risk for compression fractures or deformities. So, say bye to the downward dog and check out the Cleveland Clinic’s “Two Minute Chair Yoga” at health.clevelandclinic.org and Destress Monday’s two-part Chair Yoga instructions (21 minutes total) on YouTube. You can do movements and poses that strengthen, lengthen and stretch major muscle groups and joints without risking injury. And, the researchers said, folks who modified their yoga practice gained relief from their discomfort.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.