Preventing Peanut Allergies

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Peanut allergies often develop in childhood and can persist through adulthood. Once a peanut allergy develops, there is no cure or treatment other than avoidance. Reactions can range from mild to life-threatening and can place a significant burden on the child and family.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have recently issued guidelines on the introduction of peanuts in infants to prevent the development of peanut allergy. A randomized controlled clinical trial involving more than 600 infants demonstrated that earlier exposure to peanuts helps build tolerance and decreases the risk of developing peanut allergies. The age of introduction depends on your infant’s risk factors.

For more information visit the NIH summary guidelines. Your pediatrician or pediatric gastroenterologist can assist you in formulating a plan to safely introduce peanuts to your infant.

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Poop smarter (not harder): Does the Squatty Potty really work?

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Does the #SquattyPotty really work? The truth is that it’s not the specific “Squatty Potty” step-stool that helps, it’s being in a squatting position that helps (i.e. any step-stool that helps your child be in a squatting position while having a bowel movement would help). People in certain parts of the world continue stool in the squatted position. For example, in certain areas of Asia, you may frequently encounter squat toilets. While the below 3 minute video is very cheesy and quite odd, it does accurately show why being in a squatting position helps with stooling. It’s very difficult to hold your stool in, as children/toddlers often do – if you are in a squatting position. Check out this video to see why the squatting position allows a person to evacuate stool more efficiently. Happy watching (and try to focus on the medical illustration)!

 

 

Are FODMAPs causing your child’s abdominal pain?

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One new diet trend that is becoming increasingly popular is the low-FODMAP diet. FODMAPs (Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols) are foods that are poorly absorbed by the human intestine and are very easily digested by bacteria that normally line our gut. The bacteria feed on these sugars and sugar substitutes allowing them to grow out of control and produce and excessive amount of gas. The high-FODMAP foods can cause inflammation along your intestine, excessive gas, bloating and discomfort. A well-balanced, low-FODMAP diet is recommended for some children with chronic unexplained abdominal pain. Consult your pediatrician or pediatric gastroenterologist before instituting any restrictive diet such as low-FODMAP.

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Picky Eaters 101

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One of the most common questions we get in our office is, “How can I get my child to eat more healthy foods?” While there is no magic pill, we will be posting some of our favorite tips over the next few weeks. Keep in mind, this is just a phase, things will get easier!

Quick Tip #1: It is normal for small children are afraid of trying new things, including trying new foods (food neophobia). Reassurance does not always work. But… the more familiar they are with a food the more likely they will try it and like it. It may take several exposures to new foods before the child will accept them and eat them – sometimes as many as 15 attempts! Neophobia peaks at age two years old. It is less of a problem at three, four and five years old. Continue to offer your child to foods they don’t want to eat, but never force them to eat it.

Remember parents are responsible for providing healthful food that is appropriate for the age of the child. Children are responsible for how much they eat or if they eat at all.

If all else fails, follow #mykidcanteatthis for some sympathy and a good laugh.

Perry RA, Mallan KM, Koo J, Mauch CE, Daniels LA, Magarey AM. Food neophobia and its association with diet quality and weight in children aged 24 months: a cross sectional study. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2015 Feb 13;12:13. doi: 10.1186/s12966-015-0184-6. PubMed PMID: 25889280; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4335451.

Know Thy Poop

The Bristol Stool Chart is a great way to get an idea of how well your colon is working (or not working). Type 1-2, likely constipated. Type 3-4, ideal consistency. Type 7 is diarrhea. A stool log including frequency, Bristol type and associated symptoms will help you and your pediatric gastroenterologist arrive at a diagnosis and help treat your child.

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References:
1. Lewis SJ, Heaton KW. Stool form scale as a useful guide to intestinal transit time. Scand J Gastroenterol. 1997 Sep;32(9):920-4. PubMed PMID: 9299672.
2. Saad RJ, Rao SS, Koch KL, Kuo B, Parkman HP, McCallum RW, Sitrin MD, Wilding GE, Semler JR, Chey WD. Do stool form and frequency correlate with whole-gut and colonic transit? Results from a multicenter study in constipated individuals and healthy controls. Am J Gastroenterol. 2010 Feb;105(2):403-11. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2009.612. Epub 2009 Nov 3. PubMed PMID: 19888202.
3. Russo M, Martinelli M, Sciorio E, Botta C, Miele E, Vallone G, Staiano A. Stool consistency, but not frequency, correlates with total gastrointestinal transit time in children. J Pediatr. 2013 Jun;162(6):1188-92. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.11.082. Epub 2013 Jan 11. PubMed PMID: 23312678.