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My Nutrition Advice for the New Royal Baby

Posted by Joan Salge Blake  July 22, 2013 09:40 PM

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Source: CDC
Dear Kate and William,

Congratulations on your new bundle of joy.  I know you are overwhelmed with excitement and nervousness about the next step.  As a nutrition expert and a mother who has “been there, done that,” I jotted down a few tips on how best to feed the newest heir to the throne:

Do Consider Breastfeeding:  Breast milk is considered the superfood for infants.  In fact, infant formula was developed using the nutrient composition of breast milk as the gold standard.  Nutrition aside, breastfeeding has also been shown to reduce the baby’s risk of ear infections, gastrointestinal problems, respiratory infections and possibly asthma in the short run and heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity in the long run.  For mom, nursing can help reduce the risk of certain cancer and diabetes as well as allow her to shed those extra pounds that were put on during pregnancy.  Breastfeeding is a double win for both the Duchess and Prince.

Don’t Overdue the Caffeine:  Trust me, he may be a prince but sleep is king for newborn parents.   While only a small amount of the caffeine that the mom drinks is actually passed into the breast milk, it will be consumed by the baby, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).  The last thing you need is a wide awake baby at 3 am.  The AAP recommends that moms consume no more than 3 cups of caffeinated coffee spread throughout the day but keep in mind that tea and some soft drinks contain caffeine.

Do Skip the Swordfish:   Avoid large bottom-dwelling fish, which include swordfish, shark, mackerel and tilefish (golden bass and golden snapper).  These fish feast on smaller fish and end up bioaccumulating a fair amount of methylmercury from polluted waters.   This contaminant can damage the baby’s nervous system, which includes the brain.  Since albacore tuna can also contain a a hefty amount of methylmercury, keep it to a maximum of 6 ounces a week.  However, feel free to eat up to 12 ounces of other types of fish weekly, such as salmon and cod, which are lower in methylmercury, and at this level, are not shown to cause harm.  If Queen Elizabeth wants to drop off her famous tuna casserole, tell her to use light tuna, instead of albacore. It is lower in methylmercury.

Don’t Forget the Vitamin D Drops:  While breast is best, as the saying goes, breast milk will fall short of meeting the baby’s daily needs of bone-strengthening vitamin D.  The little prince will be able to make vitamin D from adequate exposure to sunlight; however, there is a tradeoff.   The harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer.   Give him 400 IU of vitamin D daily instead.

Be well, Joan

PS:  Call if you need a babysitter. 

                                                    Follow Joan on Twitter at: joansalgeblake
Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »

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