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There's No Miracle Cure for Obesity

"Breastfed infants grow exactly the way they should. They tend to gain less unnecessary weight and to be leaner. This may result in being less overweight later in life." So says the Department of Health and Human Services on its women's health Web site.

A new Harvard study says nope -- not true. "I'm the first to say breast-feeding is good. But I don't think it's the solution to reducing childhood or adult obesity," said the study's lead author, Karin Michels of Harvard Medical School, in an Associated Press story.

So, what can we do to help our children maintain a healthy weight? Some scientists believe adding the hormone leptin to formula is the quintessential hope in a bottle. In reality, though, the answer lies more in teaching healthy habits (fruits, veggies, no trans fats, whole grains, exercise) and giving kids healthy choices at home, at school, on the playground or soccer field. Lean Plate Club columnist Sally Squires writes that most kids who were offered fruit or fruit juice with their lunch ate/drank them.

One good place to start is, which has a game targeted to kids old enough to read. What I like best about the site, though, is the mypyramid plan, which lets you put in your child's information and gives daily portion sizes of the different food groups.

How do you instill healthy habits in your kids? Do you have any tips or tricks to raising a healthier generation?

I, for one, mix frozen spinach or hide a baby food jar of butternut squash into macaroni and cheese (made with whole grain elbow macaroni). The squash works well because it matches the cheese color and gives some extra nutrients. My husband makes seasonal "scenes" on their plates to encourage the kids to eat their veggies. They act out eating the "snow," "trees," "flowers," etc. And we bring Larabars as easy grab and go snacks and call them special cookie bars.

11:45 a.m.: Just saw this story in USA Today that is on target with today's topic. Food Games: Teach Kids 'Fake' vs. 'Real'. With that in mind, how many of you read food labels with your kids or talk about foods as "real" and "fake?"

By Stacey Garfinkle |  April 26, 2007; 9:00 AM ET  | Category:  Babies , Preschoolers , Teens , Tweens
Previous: Playing the Pediatrician Match Game | Next: The Debate: Toy Obsessions


ummmm, I dunno, exercise and healthy eating! Is this seriously a topic today?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Set an example and offer only healthy choices. We don't have junk food at home - no ice cream, cookies, chips, or soda. We do have fruits and veggies. We started our DD on fruits and veggies right off as soon as we introduced solids and ate them with her. She now often grabs peas or carrots to eat as a snack.

Posted by: Olney | April 26, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

See - now I think offering only healthy choices makes the unhealthy choices even more appealing - the forbidden fruit as it were. We offer healthy choices but there is definitely a sweet tooth than runs in our family - so candy and ice cream and soda are allowed - as treats and not an every day thing.

We offer fruit and veggies at every meal (okay - almost every meal) and I've learned that if I put fruit on the table while I'm making dinner and tell the kids they can all the fruit they want - but only one or two crackers - they'll eat all the oranges and apples and grapes - but I feel okay about it. In fact, leaving fruit out as an always available snack works really well...

And - turn off the TV - again - we allow TV - but with definite limits. Instead the kids are usually outside playing.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I agree with 9:58 -- we also allow fast food -- sometimes you just need it, but we explain that its a treat or an exception -- not the rule.

As for sneaking in healthy food -- great idea for picky kids. I will have to try the squash in the mac n cheese for ds. However, I tell a funny story to illustrate how this is not always a good idea. I went on weight watchers and my husband was adament not to go on a diet and eat rabbit food. So I cut down our portions, bought reduced fat crackers and put them in the regular fat box etc. One day I found him in the bathroom crying. I asked what was wrong and he said that he was sick -- he has cancer (he had a cancer scare earlier in life). I asked why -- he said because he had lost so much weight and he was not dieting. I had to come clean, but the point is that we want kids (older not that "no eating toddler stage") to know what the good choices are.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Avoid eating out all the time. Even if its not to "fast food" restaurants. So many hidden calories we don't know about.

And physical activity is very very important for all of us

I agree with those who say that "bad" foods are ok once in a while. But teaching your kids to choose healthier fare works.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Also agree with 9:58. Under normal circumstances, why 'forbid' the treats? Why the extremes? All or nothing? What happens when the kids go over to a friends house and is offered the treats? In school, are the kids sneaking stuff from the snack cart? And, before you answer that, how exactly would you know? We need to teach kids about the nutritional value of food so that they can make good choices themselves, when we are not there to make the decision for them.

Posted by: prairie dog | April 26, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

You idiot. Sorry. But get your story straight. You say the HHS says, "Breastfed infants grow exactly the way they should. They tend to gain less unnecessary weight and to be leaner. This may result in being less overweight later in life."

The HHS site is true. Breastfed infants DO grow as they should because they are not forced to drink excessive formula or that extra ounce that's left that you don't want to waste. Breastfed infants self-regulate, which MAY set up a healthy way of eating/not overeating later in life. It MAY. As the HHS website says. "This may result in being less overweight later in life."

And breastfed infants, at least in my experience, DO tend to be leaner, again, because they are getting excellent nuitrition in the amount they require, not too much, not too little.

So you are plain wrong to say that the Harvard study says this is not true. That's not what the Harvard study says.

Let's get our facts straight before we spew false rhetoric.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

We allow our kids to have certain sweet treats such as cookies and ice cream. We generally don't use them as a reward. We talk about healthy food and things that will help them grow big & strong, which they are interested in at this age. Soda is not allowed. Mostly they choose milk or "juice" (which is mostly water with a small amount of juice). Our kids generally refuse veggies but will eat as much fruit as they can find. For veggies we put them on the plate with lunch and dinner and use the "Sneaky Chef" ideas of mix pureed veggies into mac & Cheese, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, grilled cheese, etc. There is actually a cookbook with recipes for sneaking veggies into brownies and other treats.

We also encourage as much active play as possible and put limits on TV.

Posted by: Mom2LED | April 26, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I think setting a good example is the best way.

There is no gain to getting into food wars with your children. I believe the "loose reins" approach works best. Many adult eating issues are the result of un-resolved emotional issues that manifest themselves in overeating. If you set out to control what your child eats you lay the groundwork for these power struggles.

If YOU eat right and watch your weight, your children will follow. If you have emotional eating issues then work on changing those habits. Everybody has heard the one about "do as I say not as I do". In the long run children will "do as you do".

Posted by: RoseG | April 26, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I vote against sneaking healthy ingredients into food -- such as the squash in the macaroni and cheese. Calling a nutritious food a "cookie" is equally bad, in my opinion.

The ultimate goal is to teach kids to make healthy food choices as they grow up. After all, the older they get, the more the food choices will be up to them. The tricks mentioned in the column are actually counterproductive in the long term because they don't teach healthy choices.

Posted by: Kathy | April 26, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

If you dismiss the government and church for what they are, you are left with the family as the social body to raise children. It is the mother and fathers lifestyle that sets the stage for the childs development, idiots.

Posted by: mcewen | April 26, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Different issue here. The grandparents live with us. Before they came, junkfood wasn't banned, but it wasn't around very often.

Now, I'm having a hard time controlling what's in the pantry and the fridge. How to approach this without offending my parents?

My mother, brother, sis-in-law and nephew are all obese. Dad is slightly overweight, but not to the same extent.

I don't want my children to fall victim to the family curse.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

You can chew over stats and data until you are blue in the face, and there will still be a large number of children who don't fit the "norm". I bottle fed both of my kids and they are both thriving and are very healthy--no allergies, and only one infant ear infection a piece. We keep the junk out of our house and live an active lifestyle. The result? My 5-year-old daughter is smack in the middle of the curve for weight and height. My 10-year-old son is in the 90th percentile for height and the 50th for weight. The doctor told me he needed to gain 5 lbs. Go figure!

Posted by: dcmom | April 26, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

To anon at 11:29 -- that is a tough one --sorry you are in that situation. I dont see much alternative to having the serious chat with the 'rents about food (which will be uncomfortable). sorry

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I've never had a weight problem, fortunately, but I credit that entirely to being in a competitive sport throughour my childhood (figure skater) and NOT to healthy eating habits. My parents did the "banning all junk food" route, and that just made me more determined to have it, so that whenever they weren't around, I would go crazy, and when I went off to college, I developed, and still have, the worst diet of anyone I know. I'm still slim because I exercise constantly, but I would advise NOT going the total ban on junk food route, you just make it seem more attractive.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

When my daughter was a toddler, I never kept soda or candy around. As she got older, I would occasionally buy soda that she could drink, explaining that it was a "once in a while" thing. Now when I buy soda, she's happy and drinks it at one meal...then the next meal, she wants her milk again. As for candy and sweets, we keep them but they are almost always for after dinner. After she's eaten and cleared the table she can pick out a couple of cookies, etc. So she's eating pretty healthily but not deprived of indulgence foods. The problem is that my husband finds it hard to know that we have sweets and to not eat them. I try to buy things that he doesn't like as much.

Posted by: Angela | April 26, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

There was a great line from the Woddy Allen movie -- Sleeper, I think -- "didn't anyone ever tell them about meat and potatoes". Meaning that we can go overboard on the "healthy thing" and there's a lot we really don't know.

Fat nourishes the brain and helps us think and feel. Chocolate improves the mood. My skinny daughter wakes up hungry and grumpy all the time. I finally discovered that a chocolate milk shake in the morning quickly got her out of that funk.

I try to make sure we always have plenty of fresh fruit in the house for the kids to snack on. I also try to keep sodas away but my husband likes them. My son wouldn't touch a soda.

I worry a lot about nutrition for my kids. They're both active in sports and on the skinny side. But it seems to me that people can take it so far that they're not only depriving their kids of a bit of natural enjoyment, but they're also depriving their kids of some great and important nutrients.

Posted by: soccermom | April 26, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

to anon at 11:29 - make it clear that is the grandparent's food. The kid's have to ask first - discuss with grandparents what the house rules are (no snacking before dinner, only so many treats, etc,) make sure the meals are healthy, have healthy alternate snacks. Don't you or your spouse eat more of the junk food - this is especially important if you and your spouse are healthy weights (eat like mom & dad - healthy size - eat like grandparents - overwieght)
Talk to your parents gently - maybe you can come up with a plan where they don't feel deprived but there is less junk food available.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

And breastfed infants, at least in my experience, DO tend to be leaner, again, because they are getting excellent nuitrition in the amount they require, not too much, not too little.

Posted by: | April 26, 2007 10:29 AM

Actually, I tend to notice the opposite. It seems like breastfed infants are chunkier at first, but then that formula-fed infants eventually catch up.

How's this for a study? My wife was breastfed and her little sister was formula fed. Neither is overweight, because they were brought up in the same active, healthy-eating household.

Bob's Miracle Cure for Obesity:
You want skinny kids? Feed then nutritious food and play with them outside.

You want fat kids? Feed them mac 'n cheese and let them sit around and play with their Wiis all day long.

Posted by: Bob | April 26, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Stacey, the AP story about breastfeeding is wrong and, unfortunately, your conclusions based on it are wrong, though it's not entirely your fault. In fact, the quote from the lead author is misleading based on her own findings.

Let's examine that study for a minute. The study was a retrospective one (although it was part of a larger prospective study), in which participants' mothers were asked about their breastfeeding or bottle-feeding of their infants (i.e. now the participants). The participants' weights and body types were then either asked or measured. It's not clear how but the researchers also obtained the participants' body types from when they were ages 5 and 10.

So, already off the bat, we know that we should never use retrospective studies to overturn good evidence. Such studies can only point us in a direction that requires further study. So, we really shouldn't use this study to overturn everything else we know.

Now, second, the researcher DID find that breastfeeding for at least 6 months was associated with a leaner body shape at age 5, though this association did not persist into adolescence or adulthood. Thus, the AP quote from the lead author is misleading. Moreover, with a study like this, you simply cannot claim that this unequivocally demonstrates that breastfeeding has no relationship with obesity. In fact, that the researchers managed to find a relationship with body shape at age 5 is rather impressive considering how horrible the methods used were. Such a finding indicates there probably is a stronger relationship between the two but the nature of the study washes out the effects.

Anyway, I hate the way you media types are always quick to jump on the latest study, regardless of how well or poorly conducted, showing that what you thought was true turns out to be wrong. Often, it's just the newest study is wrong.

Oh, by the way, the size of a study has no bearing on the quality of the study or the believability of results. In an experiment (which this study was not), positive results with a smaller sample size indicate a stronger effect. With correlational studies (which this study was), you're more likely to get spurious correlations when you increase the sample size.

Posted by: Ryan | April 26, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Bob. I read (sorry, don't remember where) that breastfed infants are typically chunkier for the first 2-3 months, but as a whole are leaner than their formula-fed counterparts by 9-12 months. That's definitely the case for DD at least! :)

Posted by: StudentMom | April 26, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Obesity is an epidemic caused by bad parenting. Period.

Cook dinner at home.
Shut off the TV.
No candy-snacking between meals.
Serve smaller portions.
Make the kids play outside.

It isn't hard and I don't want to pay for your diabetes.

Posted by: JBE | April 26, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I've just read a few more of the posts, and I think that a couple of people are being very rude to Stacey. Apologies on their behalf, she did nothing to merit that kind of verbal abuse and condescension.

Posted by: StudentMom | April 26, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I guess I have to say, once again, that blaming parents isn't particularly helpful, and often isn't appropriate. I'm pretty sick of the sanctimony, often by those who don't even have kids.
Here's a story for you. I have two girls. The first has a slight build and can eat pretty much anything she feels like eating without gaining weight. The second has an entirely different body type and gains weight rather easily. Both were encouraged to eat vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and skimmed milk. When they were young we took both on hikes and encouraged swimming and lots of outdoor play. (Both were also breastfed by the way.)
It breaks my heart to see my younger daughter teased because of her size and I am at my wits end with trying to figure out how to handle it. As she is now a teenager, I have very little control.
I'm not a bad parent. I am, in fact, a very good parent and I could tolerate your sanctimony if you had any real answers for me.

Posted by: Vermont | April 26, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Hubby is diabetic - and the full-time parent, grocery-shopper, meal preparer, etc.

We don't have junk food in the house because it's too tempting for him. We have a small veggie garden in the back yard, and encourage the kids to forage in it.

Older son is a bit chunky, a complete couch-potato. Dragging him away from screens (tv, PS-2 and PC) is challenging. Younger son is slim, and loves being outdoors, playing with other kids in the neighborhood.

Posted by: Sue | April 26, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Teach moderation.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 26, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Go Rose G!

I have to say this really is one of those things that parents can and do have tons of influence over and one of the few things where outside influences can be nuetralized fairly easily.

Be the example you want your kids to be. Good foods in general, occasional fun foods, plan ahead, and get them active and loving SOME physical activity on a regular basis.

Posted by: Liz D | April 26, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

To Vermont - here is a real answer - your daughters have different biologies, so the one that's bigger needs to have more exercise and leaner foods in her life than the other one. Tough now that she's older, but if a parent has two kids and one of them is having a problem with math and the other sails right through - you'd get a math tutor for the one with the problem, right? Parents don't have to treat kids exactly the same when the children have differing needs. Your bigger daughter sadly, needs more help than the other one, probably, and even though she might blanch at the suggestion early on, when she loses weight, she'll be mocked less and probably be a lot happier (I say this as someone who is formerly overweight, with a very skinny brother).

Posted by: SouthVT | April 26, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know of a way to find the boundaries of the public schools in the District? (I have found a way to figure out which public schools we are currently assigned to, but how do I figure out where to live if I want to be assigned to different ones?)

Posted by: thinking ahead | April 26, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Vermont -- Have you tried softball? There's a sport where a little size isn't a bad thing and it still gets her outside and exercising. It could also help with the self-esteem and having peers who appreciate her for who she is.

Posted by: soccermom | April 26, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

10:29 AM is kind of funny because you just can't make this blatant statements. My daughter had breast milk but I pumped for three months because she wouldn't breastfeed and then she was on formual for the rest of her first year. She has been in the 20th percentile for weight (only 30th percentile for height she is small) since she was born. She is now 2 1/2. Formula fed babies does not automatically mean obesity. The majority of my friends only breast fed their babies and those babies are all big babies and very chunky. We all now we eat out too much, eat too much fast food, and watch too much TV. It makes sense that if the average American is overweight and/or obese that the kids are too. We spent too much inside and we are too scared to let our children run around unsupervised all day like I did as a kid.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Vermont - we have exactly the same situation with our two daughters. In my husband's family, very large-boned frames are the norm, and my younger daughter inherited that. She has been on the swim team for years, and always played outdoors as a youngster - we've never allowed video games or much TV. I provide healthy food and snacks and am very health/diet conscious. Yet she is is not thin, and has suffered much teasing. Like you, I am a good mom! and resent the sanctimonious tone of much of what I've read here. Children have different builds, different metabolisms, and different tastes - and our society worships a certain "look" that does not allow for the wide range of healthy differences. My daughter eats well and exercises - why should she be judged wanting because of her genetics?

Posted by: Sarah in NC | April 26, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Sarah and Vermont
I think most people are NOT talking about Big framed kids its about OBESITY and OBESITY comes from not eating right and not doing enogh exercise.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I worry about the food/obesity issue a lot. I'm fat, and I know darn well why, but I am trying my best to provide a good example to my DD (who's 17 months old). It's actually pretty funny how dramatically our family's diet has improved since DD started solids.

I have a practical question for those parents who have been through the toddler period -- how did you get a wider variety of fruits and veggies into your kids? DD used to gobble veggie burgers, fruit by the handful, and at least try most veggies we offered. But lately, she's down to eating carrots, peas and dried corn only for veggies, and has even stopped accepting kiwi, mango and canteloupe. I keep trying to introduce new foods, but am starting to feel like we could feed a small country with the food that we waste.

Do I just need to keep at it and turn a blind eye to the volume of food in the trash? Wait until she's older to go back to introducing new foods? Some other idea that I haven't thought of?

Posted by: NewSAHM | April 26, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

One thing I did when my son was a preschooler was to have picnics (we got the idea from a Barney episode). I'd make his favorite chicken and add fresh carrots and celery and we'd watch Barney while sitting on a blanket.

On trips to the park, pack some fresh fruit. When they associate healthy food to happy times they turn them more regularly.

I think when they're little that its best to find a few real winners and make sure they're available.

Posted by: soccermom | April 26, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Regular foods for meals, treat foods occasionally for treats. Get some exercise. Recognize that some people are going to be naturally heavier than others. Breast feeding is great but if it doesn't work out, that's the way it goes.

Why are apparently intelligent, educated people so mystified by the basics of living? This is almost as silly as the discussion about how to take blankies away from five year olds before the first day of kindergarten!

Posted by: di | April 26, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

At the risk of oversimplification, how frequently do you see slender parents with a fat kid? Never. That's because setting an example with diet and exercise works.

There are exceptions, yes. But that's what they are: exceptions. As a general matter, parental sloth and tubbiness beget youthful sloth and tubbiness.

The road to Arby's is paved with good intentions.

Posted by: Ted | April 26, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

To NewSahm,

I used to give my daughter her vegetables while I was making the rest of her dinner (or lunch), so she would have that healthy option when she was hungriest. Also, I served pretty small portions to start out with--you can always give more if she finishes the first portion. What's left in the pan after dinner, save for lunch tomorrow. Children sometimes need to experience a food 15 or 20 times before they decide they like it. Keep rotating through a variety of fruits and veg. Make sure your child sees you eating the vegetables. Children like cooked vegetables better than raw (easier to digest, softer for chewing). Steamed broccoli, carrots, cauliflower are good choices. Combinations can be good, because maybe she'll eat two carrot coins and a floweret each of broc and cauli--that's a pretty good serving for a toddler. Finger foods are good. Cherry tomatoes, cucumber sticks, etc. I buy "baby" size peas and petite whole beans. My girls both liked to pick the beans up with their fingers. Soups-pureed tomato soup, potato-carrot soup, chicken rice with carrots and celery, vegetable beef. All of these are relatively easy to make (and quick, except for the chicken rice). One of my daughters really likes split pea soup, very mild chili, black beans with rice. The other likes cream of broccoli. Both like spaghetti squash with tomato sauce. Hummus, bean dip, etc. Variety is the spice of life.

Flavorings: A dash of sesame oil in a pot of green beans goes a long way toward getting them eaten at my house. Some children will eat anything with cheese sauce on it, so that is an option if you are desperate. Salt and other seasonings in moderation are helpful. My mother cooks a sprig of mint in her peas because she says it makes them taste fresh. Dip- mix 2 parts nonfat plain yogurt with 1 part lowfat ranch salad dressing, and dip to your heart's content. Honey or orange marmelade on cooked carrots (not lots, but just enough to flavor them).

Preparation: I cut things small, for example, I cut baby carrots into matchsticks. Stirfried veg are well received. My girls love vegetarian spring rolls, which are cabbage and carrots. Try salads--you never know. Carrot raisin salad with a very light dressing. Fruity Beety, a recipe from Laurel's Kitchen is good. Try vegs that you might be wary of yourself--just see if you like them.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 10:25 PM | Report abuse

The reason children (and adults) are fatter now has three reasons: 1) Less exercise. Kids don't go out and play (climb trees, ride bikes, etc.) as muc as in the past. If my son is any gauge, he likes video games and legos and Bionacles and things that require him to sit, rather than move much more than his wrists and fingers. We have periods of the day where the TV MUST be turned off. He whines, but that is how it needs to be. And it is a battle (but one fought regularly) to get him out the door. 2) The availability of junk food. I don't know if there was as much junk to eat when I was a kid, but now there are AISLES of chips, candy, pastries, snacks, sodas and so on in the grocery stores. We limit what our son can have, and that has worked well... but he's just 8. What happens when he's 10 or 12 or 16, and we have less influence on what he eats when he's away from home. Parents of friends allow their kids to eat all kinds of junk... I hate that my son is exposed to that environment. All parents need to buy less junk and kids will eat less junk. What used to be a treat is now common food fair. Sad. 3) Kids don't have regular eating schedules, which means they aren't hungry for the "food" portion of their day because they've been filling up on snacks and drinks between meals. I don't find that it takes that much more effort to tell my kid, "No, you cannot have anything to eat now (even fruit) because we're having dinner in two hours." But then, I'm here to watch him. For parents who work and leave their kids home alone, well, that's a different story, In that case, perhaps they need not have anything but healthy food at home (no crackers, chips, candy, cakes, cookies, etc.) that they kids can access ... these would be bought especially for a specific purpose to eat, but none left over. Then, if the kids insist on eating a lot between meals, then all they have available are fruits and vegies. Maybe that would make a difference.

Parents need to TEACH children how to control their impulses to eat, and how to be active. Parents must model it and encourage it. Modern life conspires against a healthy lifestyle. We need to make it a point in our lives as parents to teach the right lessons and follow them ourselves. Not eaxy, but essential.

Posted by: BJ | April 27, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Breastfeeding is a great thing for the baby, because of immunological benefits. It also helps form a very strong mother/child bond.

And a great thing for the Mom. Free, unlike formula. No warming, no preparation, no bottles to wash. A formula-feeding friend complained that after the night feeding, her baby took an hour to get to sleep, because of gas. Breastmilk requires very little burping.

And, very pertinent to this article, breast milk helps the Mom to quickly return to pre-pregnancy weight.

The money you save by not buying formula and bottle warmers will make a great college fund. It is even an earth friendly choice. Fight global warming by breast feeding your baby.

Posted by: Klaire2001 | April 27, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure it's only our social conditioning that says that junk food is "treats". I have no problem giving my kids fresh fruit or home-baked fruit stuff as treats. My students are equally happy to get carrot sticks with peanut butter as they are to get a large sheet of wasabe seaweed.

Posted by: Kat | April 27, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Kat, good for you and your kids, but EVERY culture has special foods for special occasions, something sweet-rich-unnecessary. My kids love healthy foods, and that's what they usually eat. So what if they have an occasional cookie or ice cream? I like those things once in a while too!

I'm not going to serve zucchini-carrot muffins as "birthday cake," or freeze yogurt cups and lie to the kids and say they're ice cream, like some people I know. Nor will I humiliate my kids by sending them to school literally not knowing what a cookie is and having to ask, like one of my coworkers experienced in kindergarten. There's being healthy, then there is being peculiar on principle.

Posted by: di | April 27, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

why would you lie? The point is that you SHOULDN'T introduce the term "ice cream". If they hear about it at school, neat, and if they have some at a party, well, OK, although in this day and age, I'd be a little surprised if the parents at the party didn't ask if that was OK, but diabetes runs in my family, so Im not going to make it a point to explain why we don't eat ice cream to my kids. I just don't serve it. It never comes up. Frozen yogurt is frozen yogurt, but I'd rather get my kids used to the taste of real yogurt.

Posted by: di | April 27, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

In the family I was thinking of, Mom proudly announces that Dad has to have his bowl of ice cream for dessert every night after supper. Suzy Q wants to join him, but they don't want HER to have it. Hence the yogurt trick. Aren't they so clever? Meanwhile she is sucking down her Starbucks sugar bomb.

Posted by: di (the first one) | April 27, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

to Klaire2001:

Not all babies can be breastfed. I was one of the original formula babies, as I had a lactose intolerance!

Posted by: alex | April 30, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

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