Does frozen breast milk taste bad?

You might have noticed that after thawing your milk it has a peculiar odor. This does not mean that it has expired, but its taste might have changed a bit, becoming more sour. This does not happen to all moms, but if it does happen to you, it’s possible that the lipase enzyme is to blame. Some babies don’t notice or don’t seem to mind the change in taste – while others reject it completely. If your little one is one of those who reject thawed or previously refrigerated milk, here are some guidelines that’ll help you prevent the change in taste.  Preparing milk for storage:  • After extracting your milk, slightly warm it to a scalding point by putting it in a saucepan and heating just until you see small bubbles appear in the corners of the pan. Do not boil it. By scalding the milk, it might loose some of its properties, but it’ll help prevent the change in flavor.  • When it reaches scalding point, remove the pan from the heat, let it cool down and then store it in portions of one or two feedings in clean, sterilized containers, suitable for freezing.  • If you are going to freeze your milk, store it at the bottom of your freezer and use within two to four weeks.  • Remember not to thaw in the microwave, it’s best to thaw in a container with hot water.

Steps for a happy and healthy weaning process

In different cultures the term weaning varies in meaning. However, in general terms, weaning begins at the introduction of the first solid food -as breastfeeding is no longer exclusive- and ends at the cessation of breastfeeding.

When solids are introduced, breastfeeding is still highly beneficial and recommended to continue until your toddler is at least 24 months of age but if you’ve decided it’s time to partially or completely wean your baby off the breast, the following steps can help make the process easier.

1. Choose a peaceful time where your baby is happy, healthy and there are no big changes going on in your family’s life (moving to a new house, beginning day care, etc.)

2. Talk to your pediatrician about formula recommendations. If you want your baby to drink breastmilk from the bottle, make sure you have an adequate supply stored.

3. Prepare the bottle and present it to your little in a loving manner. Explain to him gently that he will receive his milk through the bottle from now on.

4. If your baby resists drinking from the bottle, you can ask your partner or a family member for help. Your baby has learned to associate feedings with you, and may feel uncomfortable receiving it by other means at first.

5. As your baby gets used to the occasional bottle, begin to feed him yourself.

6. Continue supplementing breastfeeding with the bottle. Then slowly (or quickly) decrease breastfeeding every day until feeding him only from the bottle.

7. Practice lengthening the time between breastfeeding, so your baby gradually gets accustomed to weaning.

8. During this period, do not express milk unless you feel uncomfortable. If you eliminate only a few feedings each day, engorgement might not occur. However, if you speed up the weaning process, be sure to express some milk to prevent an infection.

9. Breastfeeding works under the law of supply and demand, as soon as you decrease feedings, your milk supply will decline too.

10. Try to introduce the sippy cup with a serving of water during the weaning process. Then gradually introduce milk in the sippy cup to prevent weaning your baby from the bottle later on too.

Remember that weaning may be a gradual or quick process. Listen to your baby’s cues. Some babies will be ready to wean even before mom is ready. It’s normal to feel a bit of sadness or nostalgia, but don’t worry, these feelings will pass when you see that your baby is completing new milestones in his development. Just don’t forget to be gentle with yourself and your baby during the process.

Expressing breast milk

One of the benefits of breastfeeding is that you can express it, and still produce more! In most cases when your breasts fill up quickly, extracting it will help reduce and prevent engorgement. Plus, you can store breast milk for a time when you can’t breastfeed.

How do I express milk? you might ask. There are two ways; you can do this by hand or with breast pump.

To express your milk by hand:

1. Wash your hands and prepare a clean and sterilized container to store the milk.

2. Gently massage all the areas of your breast while watching a picture or video of your little one, as this helps stimulate milk production.

3. Place one hand under your breast and the other above. Move down the hand you have above to reach the areola. Continue massaging the breast evenly until your let down reflex begins.

4. Now, with your dominant hand, place your thumb on top of your breast and the rest of your fingers -from the index finger to the little one- under. Press all your fingers towards the edge of the areola, being careful not to squeeze the nipple. With repeated movement milk will start to come out.

5. Repeat the above movement changing position of your fingers to extract milk evenly from all the milk ducts in your breast.

To express milk using a breast pump:

There are many types of breast pumps. Which should you choose? Try to pick a high quality pump with good reviews. A low quality one will not provide an adequate expression and might even hurt you. When choosing you can also select either an electric or manual breast pumps. The electric one may be more expensive but they are most efficient. If you would like to use an electric pump, an affordable way to do so, is to rent it from a lactation center or a hospital. Make sure the one you choose has the option of changing suction pressure levels. If you like, you can also choose a pump that expresses milk from both breasts at the same time.

How long does the expression last? The answer is simple. You can pump milk until one a few drops come out or at any moment you desire before that. When done, you can store the milk in the refrigerator and use it within 72 hours, or freeze and use it within the first 3-6 months after extraction. If left at room temperature make sure to store within the first 4 hours, as leaving out of refrigeration for longer may cause it to expire.

Preparing my baby’s bottle

There are different types of formula presentations on the market. Amongst all of the choices, you can buy formula in the form of powder or concentrate. No matter which type you choose, it’s very important to prepare according to the instructions of each specific brand. Below are the basic steps that will help you prepare a bottle in the best way:

1. Wash your hands thoroughly to avoid contamination.

2. Grab a sterilized bottle and place it over a clean area for preparation.

3. Add the adequate portion of sterilized/purified water to the bottle, verifying at eye level that you have the right quantity for the amount of formula you will use. (To sterilize water you can boil it or buy a specialized baby brand.)

4. Measure the powdered formula carefully with the scoop that comes in the package. Fill each scoop to the top, leveling with a knife so you don’t have surplus or lacking amount.

5. If you are using concentrated formula, measure the adequate amount inside your baby’s bottle, not forgetting to check at eye level. Continue adding an equivalent amount of sterilized water to the concentrate.

6. Shake thoroughly to make sure the formula is well incorporated with the water.

7. If you didn’t use all the concentrated formula, cover the container thoroughly and store it in your refrigerator; use it within 48 hours. Likewise, carefully cover your formula container and store in a dry place.

Once the bottle is prepared, you can feed your baby! There is no need to warm or cool the formula, just make sure to prepare with room temperature water. Remember to feed your baby within the hour or preparation if formula were to be stored at room temperature. If the hour passed or your little one did not finish his portion throw it away. If you know your baby will not drink his bottle within the hour of preparation you can safely store it in the refrigerator and use it within the next 24 hours.

Boosting my milk production?

All through pregnancy, your body has prepared itself for the moment you begin breastfeeding. As soon as your baby is born, you are ready to begin! But the let-down reflex (when milk production is released) may take a while after birth to stabilize. To help stimulate your milk production at home, practice the following tips:

• Bring your baby close to your skin. Skin to skin contact helps release prolactin and oxytocin, hormones that aid in milk let-down.

• Apply a warm moist towel to your breast a few minutes before breastfeeding.

• Make sure your baby’s position and latch is adequate.

• Seek a nursing position that is comfortable for both of you.

• Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, allowing your stomach to expand and slowly collapse.

• Play some soothing music.

• Try to breastfeed your baby every 2-3 hours (during the day) during the first months, instead of following a rigid schedule with long periods between meals. Breast milk production abides by the rules of supply and demand, the more you breastfeed the more milk you produce.

• If you can, avoid using formula to continuously produce milk.

• Consider extracting milk with a breast pump between meals, as long as you’re not too tired.

• Join a lactation support group. This groups provide support, help and great tips that help make breastfeeding easier.

• Make sure to rest when you can, and eat well. Exhaustion and a low-calorie diet can interfere with your milk production.

• Drink lots of water and liquids to stay hydrated. Fluids aid in milk production.

• Avoid smoking, surrounding yourself with secondhand smoke, consuming alcohol or drugs. These substances can affect milk production and they are also harmful for you and your little one.

• Finally, remember that the milk you produce will vary according to your baby’s needs and the number of times he feeds.

If I cannot breastfeed despite the above?

In some cases, breastfeeding is not possible. Sometimes it can cause too much stress. It may be that your way of life does not allow you to be consistent with breastfeeding, or there may be medical conditions that make it impossible. In case of a disease your energy to breastfeed may decrease, or if you may be taking a medicine that can be harmful to your baby. If you take a medicine that keeps you from breastfeeding, ask your doctor if there is another safe option so you can continue with lactation.

On the other hand, there are cases when the baby can’t be breastfed because his body doesn’t tolerate it. Such conditions include being born with galactosemia, a hereditary disorder that prevents the metabolizing of galactose, a sugar found in milk. Don’t feel bad if you cannot nurse; sometimes, in spite of all the support and desire, the body doesn’t seem to cooperate. However, there are many other ways to bond with your baby. You can caress him, touch his face, bring him closer to your body, cuddle him, sing and talk to him with a sweet tone of voice. This will give him lots of love. Finally, remember there is a vast variety of formulas in the market which can help you find the adequate nutrition for your baby.

Tips for successful breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a learning process that requires patience and practice. Experts recommend you try to be as relaxed and comfortable as possible, as being calm will help your baby feel calm too. Likewise, feel free to choose to breastfeed standing, sitting or lying down as long as you and your baby are comfortable.

If you choose to sit, you can try different breastfeeding positions such as the cradle hold (baby positioned in front of you with his head resting on your forearm), cross-cradle (baby in front of you, but held with the arm opposite to the feeding breast) or in a football position (as if you were carrying a football on your side). Whatever positions you choose just make sure that your baby’s whole body is close to yours.

According to La Leche League, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other experts the following steps will help make breastfeeding successful:

1. Make yourself comfortable assuring your back is fully supported. Having good back support will allow you to rest your baby on your body and not carry all his weight on your forearm.

2. Place a nursing pillow on your lap to help prevent arm pain. If you wish, you can place your feet on a foot stool to give your whole body support. For a hands free experience, you can also carry your little one in an appropriate baby carrier.

3. While breastfeeding, sip on a nutritional drink such as water, juice or milk and remember to keep hydrated as fluids help with milk production.

4. Hold your baby close to your breast and place him perpendicular to the orientation of your areola.

5. Make sure that your baby’s nose and chin are facing your areola, and his nose and the area between nose and mouth are facing your nipple.

6. When your baby opens his mouth, bring him close to the breast (if he doesn’t open his mouth, gently touch his cheek or lower lip with your finger or nipple to awaken his suction reflex). By this point your baby’s body should be up against your body.

7. Let your baby approach your breast rather than taking the breast towards him. Use your free arm to give extra support to your breast, squeezing it like a hamburger to make the latch easier.

8. Once your baby has latched on to your breast, verify that his mouth is closed around the areola, not the nipple as this can cause drying and cracking.

9. When done or when you wish to separate the baby from the breast, wait for him to stop sucking and then slide your pinky finger on his lips and gums. Don’t separate your baby if he is still latched on, as the suction is very strong and can hurt you and cause pain to your breast.

10. How did you feel? You may need to repeat the above steps to be sure the baby adheres well to your breast. Don’t worry if you weren’t able to breastfeed on your first attempt; both your baby and you are learning. It’s just a matter of practicing!

Why is it important to vaccinate my baby?

There are great myths that surround vaccines. So much information available at our fingertips can cause fear and confusion. However, doctors and health experts such as the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest that vaccines are safe and highly important.

Immunization protects our babies from serious illnesses which can lead to death. They are so efficient that their implementation has led to a dramatic decline in the emergence of infections. They work by creating immunity to various diseases; saving lives in this generation and the ones to come. Therefore, if parents don’t vaccinate their children, they can cause a disease outbreak that could have been easily prevented. Likewise, children who aren’t vaccinated can transmit diseases to other children who are too young to be vaccinated, to elderly people, or to those with weak immune systems.

Vaccinating your baby will help strengthen his immune system and protect him against diseases such as: tetanus, whooping cough, rubella, hepatitis B, polio and others. Thanks to vaccines, these diseases are now rare. Most are no longer longer known, even though they caused epidemics in the past. Furthermore, vaccines save you money as treating a preventable disease is very costly and if we avoid vaccination, diseases can reemerge and affect many people.

Secondary effects

Many parents have doubts about the side effects that may occur after vaccinating their children. Side effects do exist, but they are most commonly mild such as: pain around the bite or fever. There is a possibility of developing more serious side effects but they are extremely rare. Now, despite side effects, illnesses are always worse than the collateral effects that vaccines bring. Therefore, we must not be afraid and be very conscious about what the media informs us and the myths that surround vaccines.

Symptoms and treatment of an ear infection

Ear infections, also known as otitis or middle ear infection, are caused by bacteria, viruses or allergies; causing a blockage in the Eustachian tube (part of the ear) that affects the middle ear. They usually emerge after a cold or other respiratory infection. These infections are highly common in children and are one of the reasons they often go to the doctor.

When babies have ear infections, the middle part becomes swollen and may fill up with fluid. This can be very uncomfortable for children. Most of the time, these infections get better on their own. Usually, the symptoms subside in a few days and in one or two weeks’ time, there are no symptoms or discomfort present at all. Sometimes there is even no need to administer medication, but occasionally doctors may recommend antibiotics to treat the infection.

On the other hand, chronic ear infections may lead to a hearing problem. Therefore, it is important to notify your doctor if your child has an ear infection, especially if you notice that it occurs frequently.

What are the causes of ear infections?

Infections are more common within the first two to four years of life. This is mainly due to the following reasons:

• The Eustachian tubes are shorter and more horizontal, which makes the entry of bacteria or virus easier. In addition, if the tubes are narrow and soft it favors the obstruction.

• The adenoid, or throat tissues, are large and can cover and clog a portion of the tubes.

• Attendance at daycare or preschool may increase the risk of infection.

• They are more common in boys than in girls, especially in ones who have a family history of infections.

What are the symptoms?

• Ear pain

• Trouble sleeping

• Unusual crying and restlessness

• Lack of appetite

• Leaking or accumulation of fluid in the ear

• Your baby doesn’t answer to quiet questions or sounds

• Your baby pulls at his ears

• Fever

• Nausea

• Vomiting

How can I decrease the pain?

• If you notice that your child has an ear infection, don’t hesitate to take him to the pediatrician.

• Place a warm cloth on the affected ear.

• Follow your pediatrician’s instructions, like taking prescribed medication or drops in the ear.

How do I reduce the risk my baby acquires an ear infection?

• Remember to wash your hands frequently and make sure that your little one’s hands are clean too.

• Keep up with vaccines, some of which help prevent infection.

• Avoid contact with people with an infection, especially of the respiratory tract.

• If you smoke, make sure that your child doesn’t inhale secondhand smoke, as this can contribute to ear infections.

Remember ear pain is not always due to an infection; sometimes pain occurs when teeth are coming in, when your little one has an object stuck in his ear, or wax plugs. Whatever the reason, it’s best to contact your pediatrician to identify the cause and give you indications for an adequate treatment.

Autism: What is it and what are the first signs?

Autism is a developmental disorder that comes down to differences in an individual’s brain development. The causes of autism are still unknown, but it is believed to be due to several factors, including genetic components and environmental factors. Now, it is important to emphasize that upbringing and vaccines aren’t among the factors that cause autism.

Every person with autism is different; however, there are common features that unify them. These characteristics include social and emotional traits, like: difficulty to communicate, interact with others, make friends, perceive what others feel, make eye contact, detect sarcasm, among others. It is also common for an individual with autism to perform repetitive movements and seek routines. Certain noises or subtle changes can bother them, they may have a strong interest in a particular topic and may even be experts on it, but on the other hand they may have a learning disability.

Autism is so broad that it is part of a spectrum called autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Within this range there are different types of autism, among them there is Asperger Syndrome, which has similarities with autism in the need for routines, frustration over changes, difficulty to socialize, and a passion for a particular topic. The main difference is that there is no learning disability.

The diagnosis of autism is often late, most of the time it is not detected until a later age. However, experts have noticed that early detection is extremely beneficial because steps can be taken to help foster a greater adaptability and independence. We know that every child is different and develops at his or her own pace, but there are certain developmental milestones that if not met at certain age, may raise a flag. Below are a few signs related to autism, these milestones are normally reached by the time a child is 12 months old. If your child presents most of them and you are worried about his development, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor and talk to him or her about it.

Key signs after 12 months:

• Doesn’t respond to his name.

• Doesn’t socialize reciprocally with caregivers.

• Gets mad when small changes occur.

• Rocks his body, flaps his hands or turns in circles.

• Prefers to play by himself.

• Avoids or resists eye contact.

• Doesn’t show much facial expression.

• Doesn’t point to objects or responds when you point to an object.

• Uses little or no gestures, like to say “hello” or “goodbye”.

• Doesn’t answer or understand simple instructions like: “Show me the cat.”

• If he babbles, he doesn’t seem to be having a conversation.

• If he speaks, he talks in a robotic voice.

• He can’t say any words.

• There is a loss of milestones that were already achieved.

• Doesn’t look for things that he sees you hiding.

• Has obsessive interests (for instance, he can spend a lot of time watching objects that turn around, like a fan or toy tires).

• Plays with objects in the same way every time, and often shows interest in only part (for example, he may play with a toy with lights specifically only turning it on or off).

• Tends to follow a routine.

These are just some signs of autism. Your child meeting some of them doesn’t necessarily mean he has autism; however, if you are worried that your baby shows most of them, it’s best to contact your pediatrician and talk to him/her about it. That way, together you can see if your baby’s development is on track or if it’s a good idea for him to be evaluated by a specialist.

Anemia: What is it and how do I prevent it?

Iron is a very important and essential mineral in our diets because it keeps our body oxygenated. It is part of hemoglobin, the substance found in red blood cells that’s responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. It gives us our healthy skin color and is essential for a child’s healthy development.

It is important to provide a diet rich in iron because it helps us maintain a healthy level of red blood cells. If the body doesn’t obtain enough iron, the most common type of anemia can appear.

Babies that were born at term and with good weight have a reserve of iron that lasts during the first six months of age. However, at the end of this period it is essential to get iron from other sources because the body no longer contains it. It is very important to do so because anemia that’s not treated could lead to delays in growth and development.

What are the symptoms of anemia?

• Paleness

• Persistent irritability

• Drowsiness

• Poor appetite

How do I prevent anemia?

To prevent anemia, it is important to ensure that your child receives adequate amounts of iron through food. Here’s how:

• Offer your child a balanced diet with iron-rich foods such as:

o Red meat

o Fish

o Chicken

o Spinach

o Yolk

o Sweet potato

o Beans

o Peas

o Iron-fortified cereals

• Remember not to give cow’s milk to your baby until after his first year.

• If your baby drinks formula, choose one that is fortified with iron.

• Include solids rich in vitamin C in his diet because it helps the body absorb the consumed iron.

Remember if you suspect your baby has anemia, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. By means of a simple blood test, he can detect it and indicate the proper treatment.