By Dr. Mercola

Babies are born at considerable risk nowadays. Toxic exposures and lack of nutrition and beneficial microbes in utero and after birth can contribute to a wide variety of health problems. Here, I will cover four commonly overlooked infant dangers:

  • Poor gut health
  • Flame retardant chemicals
  • Insufficient vitamin D
  • Exposure to genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

Gut Bacteria May Influence Your Baby’s Growth

Research has demonstrated that microorganisms in the human gastrointestinal tract form an intricate, living fabric of natural controls affecting body weight, energy, and nutrition.

Most recently, a Norwegian study published in the journal PLoS Computational Biology1 found that the types of bacteria present in an infant’s digestive system influences the child’s growth.2

Your child’s digestive tract is quickly populated with a variety of bacteria originating from mother's vaginal tract (if delivered via vaginal birth), breast milk (if breastfed), and other sources, such as infant formula.

Toxic exposures and certain drugs can also alter your child’s microflora. Examples include pesticides like glyphosate, and antibiotics—both of which can decimate populations of beneficial gut microbes.

Understanding how infants’ microbiota develops over time is important in order to devise strategies to change it for the better; thereby benefiting children’s long-term health. Similar research is being done to determine the impact of different microbiota on adult health and disease through the American Gut Project.

In this study, they found that the presence of Bacteroides in male babies at 30 days of age was significantly associated with reduced growth. In contrast, the presence of E. coli species between the age of four days and one month was linked with normal growth in both boys and girls. According to the authors:

"We have created a new way of looking at the development of gut microbiota [the body's microbial ecosystem] over time and relating this development to health outcomes.

After applying our new method, we found an indication that the composition of early life gut microbiota may be associated with how fast or slow babies grow in early life although there is also the possibility that factors early in life affect both gut microbiota and how fast the baby grows."

Your Baby's Gut Flora Impacts Far More Than Just Growth

The health implications of variations in gut bacteria acquired from birth is exactly what Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride's research sheds light upon. Her research shows there's a profound dynamic interaction between your gut, your brain, and your immune system, starting from birth.

She has developed what might be one of the most profoundly important treatment strategies for a wide range of neurological, psychological, and autoimmune disorders—all of which are heavily influenced by your gut health.

I believe her Gut and Psychology Syndrome, and Gut and Physiology Syndrome (GAPS) Nutritional program is vitally important for MOST people, as the majority of people have such poor gut health due to poor diet and toxic exposures, but it's particularly crucial for pregnant women and young children.

Children who are born with severely damaged gut flora are not only more susceptible to disease; they're also more susceptible to vaccine damage, which may help explain why some children develop symptoms of autism after receiving one or more childhood vaccinations.

It's important to understand that the gut flora a child acquires during vaginal birth is dependent on the mother's gut flora.

So if mother's microflora is abnormal, the child's will be abnormal as well. GAPS can manifest as a conglomerate of symptoms that can fit the diagnosis of both physical disorders and brain disorders, including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), dyslexia, dyspraxia, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, just to name a few possibilities.

Digestive issues, asthma, allergies, skin problems and autoimmune disorders are also common outgrowths of GAPS, as it can present itself either psychologically or physiologically.

If you've taken antibiotics or birth control pills, if you eat a lot of processed or sugary foods, or if you were bottle-fed as a baby—all of these can impact the makeup of bacteria and microbes in your gut, which are then transferred to your child.

For instance, we now know that breastfed babies develop entirely different gut flora compared to bottle-fed babies. Infant formula never was, and never will be, a healthy replacement for breast milk, for a number of reasons -- altered gut flora being one of them (and this applies whether the infant formula contains genetically engineered (GE) ingredients or not, although GE ingredients may be far worse).

Maintaining optimal gut flora, and 'reseeding' your gut with fermented foods and probiotics when you're taking an antibiotic, may be one of the most important steps you can take to improve your health, and this is particularly important if you’re planning to become pregnant. If you aren't eating fermented foods, you most likely need to supplement with a probiotic on a regular basis, especially if you're eating a lot of processed foods.

Parental Saliva May Have Beneficial Effect on Baby’s Immune System, Cutting Allergy Risk

Infant growth is just one of many aspects affected by the composition of bacteria in your body. Another recent study published in the journal Pediatrics3 found that parents who clean off their child’s pacifier by sucking on it may be inadvertently reducing their child's risk of developing allergies4, 5. This appears to be a side effect of your oral bacteria affecting your child’s gut bacteria.

According to the authors:

"Exposure of the infant to parental saliva might accelerate development of a complex oral/pharyngeal microbiota that, similar to a complex gut microbiota, might beneficially affect tolerogenic handling of antigens by the oral/pharyngeal lymphoid tissues. Moreover, oral bacteria are swallowed and hence also affect the composition of the microbiota in the small intestine, which may in turn regulate tolerance development in the gut."

Other studies have similarly shown that your child’s microbiota may influence his or her risk of developing allergies as a result of leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut is a condition that occurs due to the development of gaps between the cells (enterocytes) that make up the membrane lining your intestinal wall. These tiny gaps allow substances such as undigested food, bacteria and metabolic wastes that should be confined to your digestive tract to escape into your bloodstream -- hence the term leaky gut syndrome.

Once the integrity of your intestinal lining is compromised, and there is a flow of toxic substances "leaking out" into your bloodstream, your body experiences significant increases in inflammation. Besides being associated with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, or celiac disease, leaky gut can also be a contributing factor to allergies.

Interestingly, the study also concluded that vaginal delivery and parental pacifier sucking were independently associated with a reduced likelihood of developing eczema. Prevalence of this skin condition was lowest—20 percent—among infants covered by both factors, and highest (54 percent) among those born via cesarean birth and whose parents did not clean their pacifiers by sucking on it.

"Thus, vaginal delivery, which is a source for transfer of a complex microbiota from mother to infant and parent and infant sharing of a pacifier might both lead to microbial stimulation, with beneficial effects on allergy development," the researchers wrote.

Parents, Beware of Toxic Flame-Retardant Chemicals

Next we get into toxins... Here, you could fill an entire library with information, but some toxins are more prevalent and/or more dangerous than others. For example, preliminary research findings6, 7 suggest that children exposed to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in utero are at increased risk for hyperactivity and lower IQ. PBDEs are fire-retardant chemicals that have been in use for decades in items like carpeting, upholstery, mattresses, baby strollers and electronics, just to name a few.

Animal tests have shown that the chemicals disrupt the endocrine system, and because their chemical structure resembles thyroid hormone, they may affect thyroid function. In children, thyroid hormone is important for proper growth and development, especially brain development.

The researchers measured PBDE levels in the blood of 309 pregnant women, and their children were later evaluated through intelligence and behavior tests once a year until the age of five. They discovered that PBDE exposure in the womb was associated with hyperactivity between the ages of two and five, and with lower IQ scores at age five. A tenfold increase in PBDE exposure during pregnancy was related to about a four-point IQ deficit in five-year-old children. Previous research8 has also linked PBDE exposure in utero to reductions in IQ, as well as deficits in fine motor function and attention. According to study author Dr. Aimin Chen, assistant professor in the department of environmental health at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine:

"In animal studies, PBDEs can disrupt thyroid hormone and cause hyperactivity and learning problems. Our study adds to several other human studies to highlight the need to reduce exposure to PBDEs in pregnant women... Because PBDEs exist in the home and office environment as they are contained in old furniture, carpet pads, foams and electronics, the study raises further concern about their toxicity in developing children.”

Preterm Infants Need Far More Vitamin D Than Currently Recommended

I’ve previously discussed how the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin D is grossly insufficient for most people, and that goes for young children and infants as well. Vitamin D insufficiency can lead to rickets (soft, weakened bones), and preemies are known to be at particularly high risk. At present, recommendations on how much vitamin D3 preemies should receive range from 400-1,000 IU’s depending on the medical organization you ask.

It was this lack of consensus that prompted the researchers to investigate the dosage necessary to correct vitamin D insufficiency in preemies. The study, which is said to be the largest study9 to date on preterm infants, was presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington, DC on May 5.

Ninety-six preterm infants born between 28 and 34 weeks' gestation were included in the study. Their vitamin D status was determined via blood tests, and the infants were randomly selected to receive either 400 or 800 IU’s of vitamin D3. At 40 weeks, the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency was 43 percent lower in the 800 IU group than the 400 IU group. According to lead author Chandra Kumar Natarajan, DM:

"The study results show conclusively that in preterm infants with high rates of vitamin D insufficiency at baseline, supplementation with 800 IU of vitamin D3 per day compared to 400 IU per day reduces vitamin D insufficiency at term equivalent age and at 3 months. There also is a trend toward a decrease in the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency even in the 400 IU group at 3 months. Therefore, 400 IU per day may be sufficient after 3 months."

Your Baby—A Lab Rat?

Allergies of all kinds, but food allergies in particular, are on the rise. For example, between 1997 and 2002 the number of peanut allergies doubled, and the number of hospitalizations related to allergic reactions to food increased by a whopping 265 percent. One out of 17 children now has some form of food allergy. Children are also at highest risk of death from food allergy.

What’s causing this rapid incline in allergies, especially in our young?

Well, when you consider that a food allergic reaction occurs when your body responds to a food protein as a foreign invader (just like a virus or bacteria) which triggers an inflammatory response, the obvious answer is that our food now contains something, or things, that were never in it before. Numerous chemicals are today used in processed foods—any of which can cause a problem. But even more insidious are genetically engineered (GE) ingredients.

Shockingly, despite the complete lack of long-term safety studies, infant formulas can contain GE ingredients, without being labeled. Common GE crops include corn, soy and sugar—ingredients that are frequently used in infant formulas. Your child is perhaps never more vulnerable than in the first few months of life, when his or her fragile body is still rapidly developing. Pound for pound, infants experience greater exposure to chemicals than adults, and have immature and porous blood-brain barriers, which allow greater chemical exposures to reach their developing brains. As stated by biologist David Schubert:

“Since children are the most likely to be adversely effected by toxins and other dietary problems, if the genetically modified (GM) food is given to them without proper testing, they will be the experimental animals. If there are problems, we will probably never know because the cause will not be traceable and many diseases take a very long time to develop.”

Take Action!

To correct this travesty, GMOInside.org10 has launched a campaign urging infant formula makers to phase out all genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from their infant formulas. The companies targeted are:

  • Abbott Laboratories, maker of Similac
  • Mead Johnson Nutrition, maker of Enfamil
  • Nestlé, maker of Gerber Good Start

As stated by

“Babies are particularly vulnerable when it comes to eating GMOs as their digestive and immune systems are not fully developed and GM crops have a much higher exposure to dangerous pesticides such as Roundup. According to pediatrician Michelle Perro, infant livers do not reach maturity for about two years and therefore are less equipped to process toxins in the body, such as the pesticides used on genetically modified foods Adding insult to injury, these companies all spent money to vote down GMO labeling in California last year, thus obstructing a parent’s right to know whether or not the first food they are feeding their newborns contains GMOs.”

If you agree that babies should not be treated like lab rats, please take a moment to sign the petition right now.

Protecting Your Baby’s Long-Term Health Begins in Utero

There’s no doubt that children are at grave risk these days due to toxic exposures, improper nutrition, lack of beneficial microbes, combined with increasing amounts of genetically engineered foods, the full health ramifications of which are still not understood.

As a parent, being vigilant about avoiding toxins, while simultaneously improving your own nutrition, gut health and vitamin D status can go a long way toward protecting your child’s long-term health. Then, once your baby is born, breast feeding while eating an organic diet with plenty of fermented foods, and making sure your baby’s vitamin D levels are optimized, can give them a healthier start.

Related Articles:

  Latest News on Detoxification

  Children's Diseases Linked to Chemicals Are on the Rise

  Scientists Find 'Baffling' Link between Autism and Vinyl Flooring

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By Dr. Mercola

In the average lifetime, most people spend 20,160 minutes kissing. A passionate kiss can burn up to five calories per minute. The longest kiss, recorded in Thailand in February 2013 by Guinness World records, lasted 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds. But these philamatology1 factoids2 don’t really explain why people kiss.

Kissing not only feels good, it’s good for you. It relieves stress and releases epinephrine into your blood, making it pump faster, which signals a reduction of LDL cholesterol. But while “swapping spit” in today’s culture most often denotes sexual attraction, there’s more to it than that:

“'Mucous membranes inside the mouth are permeable to hormones such as testosterone. Through open-mouth kissing, men introduced testosterone into a woman’s mouth' which 'is absorbed through the mucous membranes… and increases arousal and the likelihood that she will engage in reproductive behavior.3

But because some cultures don’t include kissing in their mating rituals, it’s possible the first kiss was given by a mother to her child rather than being shared between a couple.

Psychologists conjecture that kiss-feeding – exchanging pre-masticated food from one mouth to another was how babies received the nutrients needed to grow up strong and healthy (as they’re not always available from breast milk). This jump starts the digestion process and makes vitamins like B-12 more easily absorbable.

Actress Alicia Silverstone’s blog recently included a video of herself kiss-feeding her child4, nicknamed Bear, offering a clue to the meaning of mouth-to-mouth contact from a child’s perspective:

“I just had a delicious breakfast of miso soup, collards and radish steamed and drizzled with flax oil, cast iron mochi with nori wrapped outside, and some grated daikon. Yum! I fed Bear the mochi and a tiny bit of veggies from the soup from my mouth to his. It's his favorite... and mine.

He literally crawls across the room to attack my mouth if I'm eating."  

How Cuddling, Breastfeeding and Natural Weaning Relates to Babies’ Emotional Health

There’s a school of thought that contends that the cuddling, visual attachment and emotional bonding that takes place between mother and child during breastfeeding and/or kiss-feeding helps the child establish healthy attitudes toward food later in life. Subsequent baby-led weaning (BLW), which includes premasticating regular whole foods in lieu of serving processed baby foods and spoon feeding, is said to:

  • Enhance mealtime enjoyment
  • Help reduce the child’s obesity risk
  • Promote natural jaw development
  • Improve eye-hand coordination and dexterity

But it’s also said to help children develop confidence and security in their future relationships. Of course, what you feed your baby after breastfeeding also is crucial. Merging from breastfeeding on demand to gradually introducing regular foods is what humans have adapted to do.

According to Dr. Kevin Boyd, whose anthropological studies led him to ascertain that children’s dental health depends very much on this transition, as well as an absence of carbohydrates and sugar in their diets.

Interestingly, babies up to four months old can only focus on objects eight to ten inches from their faces – about the same distance between infants and their mother’s face when breastfeeding5 – suggesting that facial recognition is the beginning of emotional, not just physical, attachment.

The phenomenon of pareidolia – seeing faces in flowers and cloud formations – may reinforce the possibility that the search for emotional attachment may be one of mankind’s most elemental instincts.

Scientific Animal Testing Shows How Baby Monkeys Attach to Another 'Mother'

In the 1950s, Dr. Harry Harlow conducted experiments on attachment at the University of Wisconsin which today would undoubtedly be considered cruel. Harlow separated young monkeys from their mothers soon after birth and placed them in cages with two “fake” mothers.

One was an immovable doll made of soft cloth, while the second, mechanical “mother” was made of cold, unyielding wire which nonetheless provided food. The young monkeys were then confronted with a scary, threatening contraption. But rather than running to the mechanical food source, they invariably scampered to the soft, cuddly doll mothers, showing that comfort was more important to them than food.

Harlow also created a rejecting “mother” that used a blast of pressurized air to push the baby monkeys away. But they clung even tighter to these mother figures. The scientists observed that the “rejection” actually strengthened the baby monkeys’ determination to hang on, and essentially, attach. In the 1960s, similar experiments conducted by Dr. Eckhard Hess6 at the University of Chicago involved electric shocks to keep ducklings from attaching to figures they imprinted on. But this only strengthened the ducklings’ behavior and made them follow even closer.

Experiments by A.E. Fisher on puppies in 1955 divided them into three groups. The first was treated kindly, while the second group was treated harshly and punished whenever they approached the researchers. The third group experienced random kindness mixed with punishment, so they never knew what to expect. But the third group of puppies formed the strongest attachment to the researchers. Guy Murchie7 dubbed this the polarity principal, which says the stress of uncertainty is one of the strongest factors affecting attachment, love and dependence.

The Paradoxical Nature of Attaching… What Doesn’t Comfort May Make You Stronger

These clinical tests introduce a paradox, which can be valuable teachers into the human psyche. Like the baby monkeys, ducklings and puppies, uncertainty can affect attachments and the most deep-seated behaviors – including who and how you kiss.

But what happens when early attachment was “iffy,” if not altogether absent, or when later attachments or relationships leave you feeling neglected or even abandoned? This is just one type of stress you can address using the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which can help you eliminate emotional “scarring,” reduce the emotional impact of memories that trigger emotional distress and reprogram your body’s response to emotional stressors. EFT along with eating well, getting adequate sleep and exercising regularly, can help restore your energy meridians as well as your mind/body balance – whether or not you spend 20,160 minutes of your life kissing.

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By Dr. Mercola

As a parent, one of the best gifts you can give your child is a strong nutritional start. The first years of life represent a time of rapid development, during which your child's language, cognitive, social and motor skills are developed.

During the first three years of life, the brain also grows at its fastest rate, and this represents a crucial window of development during which proper nutrition is essential.

If your child does not get healthy foods (and ideally breast milk) during this time, his future intelligence could be impacted.

A 2010 study1 revealed just how big an impact a poor nutritional start can have on your kids. Those who ate a predominantly processed food diet at age 3 had lower IQ scores at age 8.5. For each measured increase in processed foods, participants had a nearly two point decrease in IQ.

As you might suspect, the opposite also held true, with those eating healthier diets experiencing higher IQ levels.

As a parent, it is important to carefully consider the types of foods you give your child at home and in restaurants, as research has shown that repeated exposure builds taste preferences very quickly.

Potentially reduced IQ is not the only health risk your child faces if he eats a diet consisting mainly of processed foods and snacks.

A junk food diet can also set the stage for obesity, asthma, eczema, and a variety of allergies, behavioral problems—from hyperactivity to aggression—as well as inflammatory conditions and autoimmune diseases. In fact, many of the top diseases plaguing the United States are diet-related, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The National Institutes of Health even states that four of the six leading causes of death in the US are linked to unhealthy diets.

So the importance of proper nutrition simply cannot be overstated. Yet despite all this knowledge, food and beverage companies and even supplement makers are foisting products on children that are FAR from health-promoting, making your role as an educated parent all the more important...

Girl Scolds McDonald’s CEO

At a recent shareholder meeting, nine-year old Hannah Robertson had some pointed questions for Don Thompson, CEO of McDonald's Corp2.

"Something that I don't think is fair is when big companies try to trick kids into eating food that isn't good for them by using toys and cartoon characters," Hannah told the attendees at the meeting.

"If parents haven't taught their kids about healthy eating then the kids probably believe that junk food is good for them because it might taste good... I make cooking videos with my mom that show kids that eating healthy can be fun and yummy.

We teach them that eating a rainbow of fruits and veggies makes kids healthier, smarter and happier because that is the truth... Mr. Thompson, don't you want kids to be healthy so they can live a long and happy life?"

Thompson’s reply? "... [W]e don't sell junk food, Hannah," he said. He also denied marketing to children. His response left her unimpressed, and rightfully so, if you ask me. Children are clearly a primary market for McDonald’s. In fact, America’s 52 million kids under the age of 12 represent one of the most powerful markets for American businesses, influencing adult spending worth $700 billion a year.

Children age 2-11 now see an average of more than 10 television food ads per day, and 98 percent of food advertisements viewed by children are for products that are high in fat, sugar or sodium, like McDonald’s and other fast food joints.

This is a Flash-based video and may not be viewable on mobile devices.

Absurd Lies Told By McDonald's CEO

A related article3 pointed out the many lies spouted by McDonald’s CEO during this shareholder’s meeting, including but not limited to:

  • Claiming “chicken nugget Happy Meals and fat-free milk” are healthy...
  • Chicken McNuggets contain roughly 30 ingredients, including: sodium phosphates, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate and calcium lactate. The “fat-free milk” Thompson touted numerous times is actually chocolate milk, containing 10 grams of added sugar...

  • “We provide high-quality food, we always have. It’s real beef, it’s real chicken, it’s real tomatoes, real lettuce, real fruit, real smoothies, real dairy, real eggs.”
  • Really? The “real eggs” in an Egg McMuffin are “prepared with” the following: Liquid Margarine: Liquid Soybean Oil and Hydrogenated Cottonseed and Soybean Oils, Water, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Artificial Flavor, Citric Acid, Vitamin A Palmitate, Beta Carotene (Color).

  • “Globally, we follow guidelines on responsible marketing to children.”
  • ... Just last month, McDonald’s was fined $1.6 million by the consumer protection agency in Sao Paulo [Brazil] for violating local laws on targeting children... A report from Yale University found that... “Although McDonald's pledged to improve food marketing to children, they increased their volume of TV advertising from 2007 to 2009.” Preschoolers saw 21 percent more McDonald's ads and older children viewed 26 percent more ads in 2009 compared to 2007...

  • “And we are not marketing food to kids.”
  • Two words: Happy Meals.

The author, Michele Simon, a public health lawyer specializing in industry marketing and lobbying tactics, suggests adding your voice by signing the petition created by Corporate Accountability International, urging CEO Don Thompson to stop marketing McDonald’s to children.

What’s in That Big Mac?

A cross-sectional study of 1,877 adults and 330 school-age kids who regularly ate at fast-food chains revealed that meals consumed at these restaurants were very high in calories, and that both children and adults underestimated the amount of calories their meals contained. As reported by Time Healthland4:

“The investigators collected receipts from the participants in order to calculate how many calories the participants consumed from their meals. They also asked the volunteers to estimate the number of calories they had just ordered. At the time of the study, none of the restaurant chains included calorie information on their menus, as many now do.”

On average, each adult fast-food meal came out to 836 calories, teens’ meals were about 756 calories, and kids consumed a whopping 733 calories in one sitting. But it’s not all about calories per se, because a calorie is NOT a calorie. What matters most is the source of those calories, and this is where fast food fails miserably. The ingredients used simply cannot be compared to whole, unprocessed foods.

As a general rule, "food" equals "live nutrients." Nutrients, in turn, feed your cells, optimize your health, and sustain life. Obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and heart attacks are hallmark diseases associated with a fast food diet – a CLEAR indication that it does not provide the appropriate nutrition for your body. And, if lack of healthful nutrition isn't enough of a deterrent, perhaps the fact that some fast foods have been found to be impervious to decomposition, even after more than a decade, will get you to reconsider feeding it to your children.

Thompson denies McDonald’s sells junk food. However, looking at the lists of ingredients in McDonald’s meals, I find this to be an undefendable stance. When you consider the fact that a large number of the ingredients in a fast food meal exist nowhere in nature, but are rather concocted in a lab, it’s just not ‘real food’; it's junk. As just one example, what kind of bread can lie out for years on end without developing so much as a trace of mold? According to McDonald's website5, their hamburger buns consist of:

"Enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, enzymes), water, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, yeast, soybean oil and/or partially hydrogenated soybean oil, contains 2% or less of the following: salt, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, wheat gluten, ammonium sulfate, ammonium chloride, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, datem, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated monoglycerides, monocalcium phosphate, enzymes, guar gum, calcium peroxide, soy flour), calcium propionate and sodium propionate (preservatives), soy lecithin."

Interestingly, analyzing this list of ingredients offers clues not only for how these buns remain unblemished for years on end, but also to some of the health ramifications you may experience when eating a McDonald's hamburger. For example, if you've ever felt it just "sitting" in your gut like a brick, perhaps the plaster of Paris, aka calcium sulfate6 isn't quite as digestible as you'd hoped. Or if you've had to run to the bathroom shortly after your meal, perhaps the ammonium sulfate and the ammonium chloride are to blame. Both of these chemicals cause gastrointestinal irritation with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Processed Food Contains Many Potentially Dangerous Ingredients

Fast food hamburgers are not the only type of heavily processed food that is questionable in terms of whether or not it should be considered real food. The following are just a few more examples, but you get the idea – any time a food is heavily processed, it typically ceases to be beneficial for your child’s health. Many processed foods also contain dangerous MSG, to give the otherwise bland mixture some flavor.

  • Chicken McNuggets, for example, have made it into mainstream news because of the potentially hazardous additives they contain.
  • Soda can contain any number of health harming substances, from high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to benzene and aspartame.
  • French Fries are loaded with the worst types of fat on the planet -- typically highly refined and genetically modified omega 6 oils, such as corn, canola, and soybean oils.
  • Breakfast cereals are little more than disguised forms of high fructose corn syrup and many are loaded with genetically engineered grains.

Diet Soda Found to Be as Bad as Meth or Crack Cocaine for Your Teeth

A recent article in the New York Daily News7 highlighted study8 findings that a steady consumption of diet soda can result in the same type of tooth decay and erosion as that caused by methamphetamines and crack cocaine:

“The report, which was recently published in the journal General Dentistry9, found that a woman in her 30s who drank two liters of diet soda every day for three to five years had eroded teeth similar to those of a 29-year-old meth addict and a 51-year-old longtime crack user. ‘You look at it side-to-side with 'meth mouth' or 'coke mouth,' it is startling to see the intensity and extent of damage more or less the same,’ said Dr. Mohamed Bassiouny, a professor of restorative dentistry at the Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia.

Diet and regular soda are highly acidic, like methamphetamine and crack cocaine. Paired with poor dental hygiene, the citric and phosphoric acid in soda can lead to substantial damage and decay, Bassiouny said.”

The American Beverage Association (ABA), which represents soft drink manufacturers, issued a statement noting that the woman did not receive dental health services for more than 20 years, and that “To single out diet soda consumption as the unique factor in her tooth decay and erosion — and to compare it to that from illicit drug use — is irresponsible.” The ABA also stated that these findings do not justify never drinking soda again; rather you should be aware that soda is highly acidic, and that you should rinse your mouth after drinking it, and brush your teeth twice a day.

I disagree. Soda, whether regular or diet, has no positive place in a healthy diet. There’s simply no reason to ever give your child soda. To learn more, please see this previous article, where I review my many reasons for this hardcore stance.

Why Do Kids' Vitamins Contain Aspartame, GMOs, and Hazardous Chemicals?

Another industry that is shockingly irresponsible when it comes to children’s nutrition is that of dietary supplements. Take Flintstones Vitamins, for example, which is marketed as the "Pediatricians' #1 Choice" of supplement for kids. A recent article by GreenMedInfo.com10 reveals several of the horrid ingredients in this well-known kids vitamin—ingredients that can have adverse health effects severe enough to warrant a trip to the hospital.

Flintstones Vitamins is produced by the pharmaceutical company Bayer. I’ve revealed some of the many skeletons in Bayer’s closet in the past -- including their numerous drug-related lawsuits and intentional selling of AIDS-infected drugs in Europe and Asia. With that in mind, perhaps it’s not so surprising to find that their wildly successful kids vitamin contains some shockingly unhealthy ingredients, including:

Aspartame, perhaps the most dangerous artificial sweetener on the market, aspartame converts into toxic methanol and formaldehyde in your body. The featured article lists over 40 adverse health effects of aspartame11 found in the biomedical literature, including neurotoxicity and carcinogenicity Cupric Oxide, listed as the 'nutritional' source of 'copper,' supplying "100% of the Daily Value (Ages 4+). However, the European Union's Dangerous Substance Directive lists Cupric Oxide as a Hazardous substance, classified as both "Harmful (XN)" and "Dangerous for the environment" (N)
Coal tar artificial coloring agents (FD&C Blue #2, Red #40, Yellow #6). All of these are well-known for their adverse effects on children and are banned in certain European countries for this very reason Zinc Oxide. Also widely used in sunscreens, the EU's Dangerous Substance Directive classifies it as an environmental Hazard, "Dangerous for the environment (N)." It causes the death of phytoplankton (the plankton absorbs it until they burst)
Sorbitol. Higher amounts have been linked to gastrointestinal disturbances from abdominal pain to more serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome Ferrous Fumarate, the form of iron used in Flintstones Vitamins, is actually an industrial mineral not found in nature as food. It is extremely toxic, and accidental overdose of products containing this form is "a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6"
Hydrogenated soybean oil. This is one of the most harmful ingredients in processed foods. Part of the problem with hydrogenated soybean oil relates to the health hazards of soy itself. An added hazard factor is the fact that the majority of soybeans are genetically engineered. Hydrogenated soybean oil has been linked to over a dozen adverse health effects, from coronary artery disease to cancer, violent behavior and fatty liver disease Genetically engineered corn starch. According to the featured article, the 'vitamin C' listed as ascorbic acid in Flintstones is likely produced from GMO corn. (Bayer's Ag-biotech division, Bayer CropScience, donated $381,600 to defeat California’s Prop. 37 GMO labeling bill)

Kids Chemotherapy Rebranded as ‘Superformula’

Yet another area where kids are being increasingly targeted for brainwashing is with regards to pharmaceuticals. One of the most shocking and recent examples is the rebranding of chemotherapy as ‘superformula’ for children. As reported by iO9.com12:

“Chemotherapy is never fun, but A.C.Camargo Cancer Center in São Paulo is trying to make it easier for children to accept the treatment. They're rebranding the treatment as 'superformula' and using comics to help kids understand chemo.... [T]he cancer center is working with ad agency JWT, which also works with Warner Bros. The idea was to help children believe in the power of chemotherapy to make them ultimately better. They're not just covering the chemo cases with superhero logos; they're also giving pediatric cancer patients comic books in which the heroes experience something similar to cancer and must receive a similar treatment formulated by doctors. And in the comics, the cases for the treatment bags look just like the cases the kids get over their own chemo bags.”

How Do You Determine Whether or Not a Supplement Is a Good Choice?

To optimize your child’s health, your BEST solution is to choose the highest quality foods possible, and serve a wide variety of whole locally grown minimally processed organic foods. But how do you pick a high quality supplement, should you or your child need one? For starters, make sure it has the following characteristics:

  • It is as close as possible to its natural (whole food) form, and ideally certified organic
  • Use independent third-party labs that check the raw materials for contaminants and correct dosage.
  • Follows industry standards for quality assurance including ISO 9001, ISO 17025 and Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP) certifications.
  • The utmost care has been taken in all phases of its production, from growing its ingredients, to manufacturing, testing for potency and quality control.
  • It works! I always try to select from companies that have a long track record of providing high-quality products that produce good clinical results.

Your Child's Healthy Diet Is Up to You

Children will simply not know which foods are healthy unless you, as a parent, teach it to them. Remember, wholesome food is "live" food, and the hallmark of live food is the fact that it will wilt and decompose. The fact that fast food burgers, buns, and fries do not decompose, even after a decade, is a clear sign that it's just not real food and serves no beneficial purpose as part of your diet. It’s very simple: Kids need real nutrients, not man-made chemicals that are nonexistent in natural food! These substitutes are NOT equivalent to the real deal.

Food is a part of crucial lifestyle choices first learned at home, so you need to educate yourself about proper nutrition and the dangers of junk food and processed foods in order to change the food culture of your entire family. To give your child the best start at life, and help instill healthy habits that will last a lifetime, you must lead by example. If you're not sure where to start, I recommend reading my nutrition plan first. This will provide you with the foundation you need to start making healthy food choices for your family.

The simplest way back toward health, for children and adults alike, is to focus on WHOLE foods -- foods that have not been processed or altered from their original state; food that has been grown or raised as nature intended, without the use of chemical additives, pesticides and fertilizers. You, a family member, or someone you pay will need to invest time in the kitchen cooking fresh wholesome meals from these whole foods so that you can break free from the processed food diet that will ultimately make you sick.

By doing this, and eating meals together as a family, your children will receive the proper nutrition their bodies need during the important developmental years while also developing a love for whole fresh foods that will last them a lifetime.

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By Dr. Mercola

The average U.S. home contains multiple sources of toxic flame-retardant chemicals (polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs), as they're widely used in

  • Carpets and textiles
  • Foam insulation
  • Polyurethane foam furnishings
  • Electronics and plastics
  • Motor vehicles

They outgas into your home regularly and are commonly found in household dust, where they are inhaled. PBDEs are also found in various foods, including wild and farm-raised fish and the most "pure" food of all, breast milk.

While the chemical industry maintains that these chemicals keep flames from engulfing your home as quickly, giving you valuable time to escape, the reality is that they have at best, questionable effectiveness, while exposing you and your children to undeniably toxic substances.

Health Risks from Flame-Retardant Chemicals Exposed

PBDEs resemble the molecular structure of PCBs, which have been linked to cancer, reproductive problems and impaired fetal brain development. Like PCBs, even though certain PBDEs have been banned in some U.S. states and the European Union, they persist in the environment and accumulate in your body – and often exist in products imported from other countries.

Higher exposures to PBDEs have been linked to decreased fertility,1 which could be in part because the chemicals may mimic and therefore disrupt your thyroid hormones. Research has suggested PBDEs can lead to decreases in TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone).2

When present with normal T4 levels, low TSH is typically a sign that your thyroid is being disrupted and you are developing hyperthyroidism, which can have significant ramifications both for you and your unborn child if you're pregnant.

As for cancer, one type of PBDE (decaBDE) is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), while the others remain largely untested.

A flame-retardant chemical known as chlorinated tris (TDCPP) was removed from children's pajamas in the 1970s amid concerns that it may cause cancer, but now it’s a ubiquitous addition to couch cushions across the United States. It can easily migrate from the foam and into household dust, which children often pick up on their hands and transfer into their mouths.

A recent study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley also revealed that both in utero and childhood PBDE exposures were associated with neurodevelopmental delays, including decreased attention, fine motor coordination, and cognition in school-age children.3

Flame Retardants May Not Even be Effective – and May Make Fires Deadlier

The chemical industry likes to downplay the proven health risks of these toxic chemicals by claiming that they can save lives in the event of a fire. But can they, really? In the CNN video above, you can see a comparison of two burning chairs, one treated with flame-retardant chemicals and one without. In less than a minute, the differences in visible flames between the two chairs are minimal. Inez Tenenbaum, chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, testified before the Senate that:

“The fire-retardant foams did not offer a practically significant greater level of open flame safety than the untreated foams.”

Andrew Mcguire of the Trauma Foundation also reported to CNN that flame retardants put into furniture foam are not effective because the foam is not ignited by a match, open flame or cigarette. Instead, it’s the fabric that ignites first, and the flames from the burning fabric overwhelm the flame-retardant chemicals.

Yet another study found that certain flame-retardant chemicals (halogen-based flame retardants) actually increase the amounts of toxic carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide gas released into the air during a fire.4 Inhalation of these gasses, not burns, is actually the leading cause of death in fires!

Chemical Industry Tugs on Legislators’ Heartstrings Using Phony Stories

Dr. David Heimback, a burn expert and star witness for the manufacturers of flame retardants, told the tragic story of a 7-week-old baby who was burned in a fire and died as a result, three weeks later, after suffering immensely. The fire was said to have been started by a candle that ignited a pillow that lacked flame retardant chemicals, where the baby lay. The story was heard by California lawmakers, who were deciding on a bill that could have reduced the use of flame retardant chemicals in furniture.

The problem, as we detailed in a previous article, was that the entire story was a clever hoax, a complete fabrication, from beginning to end. It turns out other tiny patients the doctor had described in testimony supporting toxic flame retardant materials didn't exist either. According to the Chicago Tribune:5

"...[Dr. David] Heimbach's passionate testimony about the baby's death made the long-term health concerns about flame retardants voiced by doctors, environmentalists and even firefighters sound abstract and petty. But there was a problem with his testimony: It wasn't true.

Records show there was no dangerous pillow or candle fire. The baby he described didn't exist. Neither did the 9-week-old patient who Heimbach told California legislators died in a candle fire in 2009. Nor did the 6-week-old patient who he told Alaska lawmakers was fatally burned in her crib in 2010.

Heimbach is not just a prominent burn doctor. He is a star witness for the manufacturers of flame retardants. His testimony, the Tribune found, is part of a decades-long campaign of deception that has loaded the furniture and electronics in American homes with pounds of toxic chemicals linked to cancer, neurological deficits, developmental problems and impaired fertility.”

Clearly, when it comes to making money many industries throw ethics and integrity out the window, and the chemical industry is a perfect example of this. Globally, flame-retardant chemicals gross more than $4 billion a year ... and despite the growing proof of health risks, and the fact that their actual value in saving lives is highly questionable, the industry is fighting tooth and nail to not lose one penny.

Gatorade Plans to Remove Flame Retardant From Sports Drink

Following an outpouring of consumer feedback, including an online petition that has more than 200,000 supporters, Gatorade said it would be removing brominated vegetable oil (BVO) from their products. BVO was first patented by chemical companies as a flame retardant. The chemical is presently banned in food throughout Europe and Japan, but BVO has been added to about 10 percent of sodas in North America for decades, even though it has resulted in soda-drinkers needing medical attention for skin lesions, memory loss and nerve disorders – all symptoms of overexposure to bromine.

Studies suggest that BVO can build up in human tissues, and animal studies have found it causes reproductive and behavioral problems in large doses. Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) is vegetable oil, derived from corn or soy, bonded with the element bromine. It's added as an emulsifier, to prevent the flavoring from separating and floating to the surface.

Bromines are known endocrine disruptors, and are part of the halide family, a group of elements that includes fluorine, chlorine and iodine. What makes it so dangerous is that it competes for the same receptors that are used to capture iodine. If you are exposed to a lot of bromine, your body will not hold on to the iodine that it needs. And iodine affects every tissue in your body, especially your nervous system, not just your thyroid. While Gatorade has plans to pull the ingredient from its products within the next few months, BVO can still be found in other beverages like Mountain Dew, Squirt, Fanta Orange and Fresca Original Citrus.

Flame Retardants in Your Couch, Mattress, Baby’s Carseat and More...

It’s quite difficult to avoid these toxic chemicals because of their abundant use in household goods and even in the foam insulation used in your walls. Research published in Environmental Science & Technology revealed that 85 percent of couch foam samples tested contained chemical flame retardants.6 The samples came from more than 100 couches purchased from 1985 to 2010.

As of July 1, 2007, all U.S. mattresses are required to be highly flame retardant, to the extent that they won't catch on fire if exposed to a blowtorch. This means that the manufacturers are dousing them with highly toxic flame-retardant chemicals like PBDEs, which do NOT have to be disclosed in any way.

And, even though children are among those most at risk from PBDEs' ability to disrupt and harm development, products intended for kids and babies are also those most likely to be doused in flame-retardant chemicals. For instance, such chemicals were recently detected in 60 percent of 2011 car seats tested by The Ecology Center,7 most likely in the polyurethane foam. A separate study in Environmental Science & Technology8 also detected flame-retardant chemicals in 80 percent of the following children's products tested:

Nursing pillows Baby carriers Car seats
Changing table pads High chairs Strollers
Bassinets Portable cribs Walkers
Baby tub inserts and bath slings Glider rockers Sleeping wedges


Since these toxins are not chemically bound to the plastics, foam, fabrics and other materials to which they're added, they easily leach out into your home where they accumulate in household dust9 – and are also contaminating air, soil and waterways during their manufacture, use and degradation in landfills.

Tips for Reducing Your Exposure to Flame-Retardant Chemicals

In case you’re wondering why there are so many of these toxic chemicals in use, it's largely due to California Technical Bulletin 117, which requires furniture sold in California to withstand a 12-second exposure to a small flame without igniting. Because of California's economic importance, the requirement has essentially become a national standard.

U.S. building codes established in the 1970s also require insulation to pass the Steiner Tunnel test, which measures how quickly the material burns through. Manufacturers typically use flame retardants to pass this requirement. The good news is that California is reportedly revising their flammability standards to help cut back on the use of flame-retardant chemicals, with a proposal expected in the spring. Until these chemicals are removed from use entirely, tips you can use to reduce your exposure to PBDEs around your home include:10

  • Be especially careful with polyurethane foam products manufactured prior to 2005, such as upholstered furniture, mattresses and pillows, as these are most likely to contain PBDEs. If you have any of these in your home, inspect them carefully and replace ripped covers and/or any foam that appears to be breaking down. Also avoid reupholstering furniture by yourself as the reupholstering process increases your risk of exposure.
  • Older carpet padding is another major source of PBDEs, so take precautions when removing old carpet. You'll want to isolate your work area from the rest of your house to avoid spreading it around, and use a HEPA filter vacuum to clean up.
  • You probably also have older sources of the PBDEs known as Deca in your home as well, and these are so toxic they are banned in several states. Deca PBDEs can be found in electronics like TVs, cell phones, kitchen appliances, fans, toner cartridges and more. It's a good idea to wash your hands after handling such items, especially before eating, and at the very least be sure you don't let infants mouth any of these items (like your TV remote control or cell phone).
  • As you replace PBDE-containing items around your home, select those that contain naturally less flammable materials, such as leather, wool and cotton.
  • Look for organic and "green" building materials, carpeting, baby items, mattresses and upholstery, which will be free from these toxic chemicals and help reduce your overall exposure. Furniture products filled with cotton, wool or polyester tend to be safer than chemical-treated foam; some products also state that they are "flame-retardant free."
  • PBDEs are often found in household dust, so clean up with a HEPA-filter vacuum and/or a wet mop often.


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By Dr. Mercola

There are many reasons why breastfeeding is a superior option to formula feeding for babies, however, a new study provides one of the most compelling to date.

Infant formulas are typically processed under high heat, and this leads to the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGES).

AGES are sugar molecules that attach to and damage proteins in your body.

Not only do they build up in your body over time, leading to oxidation and speeding up the aging process, but they also lead to inflammation, which in turn is linked to a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.

AGES Double in Infants Switched From Breast milk to Formula

If you're a breastfeeding mom who needs encouragement to continue nursing for one year or beyond, consider this fact: when infants were switched from breast milk to commercial formula within the first year of life, their levels of AGEs doubled to levels found in people with diabetes.

Many of the infants also had elevated insulin levels, which may be directly attributable to the AGEs in the infant formula.

While a woman's blood level of AGEs does impact her newborn's levels (the researchers found newborns' blood levels of AGEs were nearly as high as that of their mother's, which is yet another why pregnant women should cut back on their processed food intake), her breast milk is still a superior source of nutrition. Infant formulas processed with high heat may have 100 times more AGEs than breast milk.

As a result, formula-fed babies are being exposed to unacceptably high levels of these toxins, putting their health at risk -- completely unbeknownst to most parents!

Why Exposing Your Baby to High Levels of AGEs Could be Tragic ?

Glycation is a process in which the sugar in food bonds with proteins and forms so-called 'advanced glycation end products', or AGEs. It's a fitting acronym because ? along with oxidation ? it's one of the major molecular mechanisms whereby damage accrues in your body, which leads to disease, aging, and premature death.

When sugar is glycated, it contributes to inflammation, which activates your immune system defensively.  Macrophages are scavenger cells that are part of your immune defense system, and as such they have special receptors for AGEs, aptly called RAGEs (think: raging inflammation). These RAGEs bind to the AGEs and get rid of them.

Unfortunately, this process can leave its fair share of battle scars. Inside your arteries, for example, the scar tissue created from this process is called plaque. This also explains why there's such a strong connection between diabetes and heart disease, and why infants exposed to high levels of AGEs in infant formula may have had elevated insulin levels.

To avoid AGEs in your diet, you need to pay attention to avoiding foods cooked at high heat, including processed and pasteurized foods like infant formula.

In July 2011, the first study in humans showing that AGEs promote insulin resistance and diabetes was published. People with diabetes who ate an AGE-restricted diet (this included foods that were poached or stewed instead of cooked at high heat, such as grilling, frying or broiling) had a 35 percent decrease in insulin levels, to give you an idea of just how great an impact appropriate dietary changes can have on your, or your child's, health.

Many Infant Formulas are Loaded With Sugar

Tragically, many infant formulas are more than 50 percent sugar -- 43 percent being corn syrup solids, which means they're also high in fructose. Metabolically, consuming fructose is very similar to alcohol on a chronic basis, so there appears to be a surprising similarity between giving your infant a can of soda, or a bottle of most conventional infant formulas.

I've written numerous articles about the dangers of consuming fructose, including its ability to trigger glycation, disturb your metabolism, elevate blood pressure and triglycerides, cause weight gain, heart disease and liver damage, and even deplete your body of vitamins and minerals.

There is no way that a baby should be consuming any corn syrup whatsoever, and the fact that infant formulas are able to be marketed as nutritious for babies when they're loaded with corn syrup is incredibly deceptive. If you currently have infant formula in your home, check the label for corn syrup or corn syrup solids, and in the interest of your baby, throw the can away if you find it.

Infant Formula is Also Inferior to Breast milk Because of What it Does NOT Contain ?

Nearly all commercial infant formulas contain substances your infant is better off avoiding, like corn syrup and AGEs, but it also is lacking in other key components that breast milk naturally provides. Chief among these are probiotics, friendly bacteria that help your body to thrive. In Greek, the term pro means "for life," and the large amount of careful research surrounding these healthful microorganisms suggests that they are an integral part of your, and your child's, well-being.

Breast milk is a natural source of probiotics, so babies who are breastfed receive an ideal source of your first immune-building good bacteria, and as a result also tend to have intestinal microflora in which beneficial bifidobacteria predominate over potentially harmful bacteria.

Some infant formulas do contain added probiotics, but they are going to be inferior to those that are found naturally in breast milk. Others contain none at all. Ideally, you should be sure you are getting probiotics while you're pregnant, from eating traditionally fermented foods like kefir, natto and sauerkraut, which are rich in probiotics, or taking a high-quality probiotic supplement, and then continue these probiotic-rich foods in your infant's diet.

Make Sure You Baby is Also Getting This ?

The omega-3 fat DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an essential structural component of your brain and retina, is found naturally in breast milk and is missing entirely from many infant formulas. DHA is essential to your child's development and if your child is deficient in it, their nervous  and immune system may never fully develop, leading to a lifetime of unexplained emotional, learning and immune system disorders.

DHA makes up 15 percent to 20 percent of the cerebral cortex and 30 percent to 60 percent of the retina so it is absolutely necessary for normal development of the fetus and baby.

Because a fetus depends on mother's DHA sources, the constant drain on a mother's DHA reserves can easily lead to a deficiency and some researchers believe that preeclampsia (pregnancy-related high blood pressure) and postpartum depression could be linked to a DHA deficiency -- just one more reason why it's so important to maintain your levels during pregnancy.

After your child is born, it's essential that he or she continues to receive DHA either from breast milk or a high-quality animal-based supplement. In the past, the ideal way to receive these fats was from seafood. However in the last 50 years industrial pollution with chemicals and heavy metals has changed all that. In fact, babies exposed in the womb to higher levels of mercury, due to their mom's fish-rich diet, scored lower on skills tests when they became infants and toddlers. To put it simply, the beneficial effects of the omega-3s were cancelled out by the mercury.

The best alternative to seafood is an animal-based omega-3 fat supplement, of which krill oil and fish oil are the two major players. But there is reason to believe that krill oil actually offers superior benefits.

Fish oil is certainly more widely known, and this is related to the fact that the bulk of the published studies are done with fish oil and not krill oil. That is changing, but it will take many decades before krill oil catches up to fish oil in terms of popularity. That said, it just doesn't make sense that you and your family have to wait decades to get the benefits of krill oil, as it is, in my opinion, the preferred choice. You can read more about why that is here.

I believe all pregnant and breastfeeding women would be wise to supplement with a high-quality animal-based omega-3 fat like krill oil, and if your baby is formula-fed, you can give krill oil to them directly. Consult your holistic pediatrician for proper dosage.

Do You Need Help With Breastfeeding?

Unfortunately, the United States is not the most breastfeeding-friendly culture, so surrounding yourself with women who have experience in this area can be a great help. Whether you want to prepare beforehand, or find you're having trouble breastfeeding once your baby is born, Le Leche League is a terrific resource to consider.

Keep in mind that while there are certain medical conditions that can prevent a woman from breastfeeding, the majority of women are able to produce adequate supplies of milk and breastfeed successfully. Often, those who believe they cannot may be misinformed, and believe they don't have enough milk; this is a common misperception. However, in the vast majority of circumstances, all women have enough milk to breastfeed.

The more your baby nurses, the more milk you will produce. Mom needs to drink plenty of water and seek optimal nutrition while nursing, and the beginning weeks and months are critical in the process.

If you find you are unable to breastfeed, the next best alternative is donated breast milk from a healthy, trusted donor, which has been screened for hepatitis C and HIV. If that is not available, another option is to make a healthy homemade infant formula. There may be others, but here is one recipe for homemade formula created by the Weston Price Foundation, which I believe is sound.

As an aside, definitely avoid all soy infant formula, as it is loaded with toxic elements like high doses of manganese and aluminum, not to mention the hormone-disrupting potential of the soy itself.


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