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IMPORTANT NEW RESEARCH ON FOOD ALLERGIES & INFANT FEEDING:
MARCH 26, 2015 THE PULSE
Lara Manogg, a music therapist and musician gives her son, Jagger, 5, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (Emma Lee/for WHYY)
Food allergies among children increased approximately 50 percent between the late 90s and now, according to the Centers for Disease Control. How did we get there?
Recent research on introducing food to babies may put some on the blame on advice given by pediatricians.
"For a very long time, pediatricians told people 'don't start food for six months, and then you have to start with rice cereal, and then fruits and then vegetables, and no eggs and no peanuts until age one,'" said pediatrician Alexis Lieberman of Fairmount Pediatrics in Philadelphia. "I have said this so many times, it comes out of my mouth very comfortably and happily."
But it turns out - all that advice was based on opinions and theories. "Expert opinions, which is the way we like to say - 'this is what we think,' we call it expert opinion," said Jonathan Spergel - the chief of the allergy section at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
"The idea was to avoid, avoid, avoid, so you would avoid the food, so you wouldn't get a food allergy," he added.
And now - the advice has changed. "Well, it's just the opposite of what we used to say," admitted Lieberman. "Earlier is better, the advice we gave 10 years ago was wrong," added Spergel.
"When the studies actually got done, it turns out we were dead wrong, and it's possible that a lot of the peanut allergy epidemic is because of doctors telling people to delay peanuts, which is a shame," she explained to Lisa and Micah Reyes who came in for a check-up with their four-month-old daughter Naomi.
Lieberman explained the new marching orders to them - which are when your kid is four months old, keep on breastfeeding, if possible, but bring on the food.
"Whatever you're eating, dip your pinkie in it, and touch her tongue, if you eat potato, smoosh it and touch her tongue, if you bite an apple, she can have a lick," Lieberman explained to Lisa and Micah Reyes.
Even foods previously considered an absolute no-no are OK.
"Let's say you made yourself African squash peanut stew - puree some of that, that's a great way to give her the peanuts for example," said Lieberman.
The Children's Museum programs in the Cafeteria at the PeopleCare Center 120 Finderne Ave.Bridgewater, NJ 08807 908-725-4677 http://childrensmuseumnj.org/
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is dedicated to preserving and promoting the work of the world's most famous playwright through incredible productions of his best works, as well as acting classes and camps.
- $8 ($21 value) for one ticket to "A Midsummer Night's Dream" on Saturday, April 18, at 11:30 a.m.
- $8 ($21 value) for one ticket to "Macbeth" on Saturday, April 18, at 2 p.m.
- Highly acclaimed, nationally recognized touring company
- One-hour, family-friendly adaptations of these beloved Shakespeare plays
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey:Website
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Speaking of Theater, Check Out this Fascinating New Research: Why Babies Love (And Learn From) Magic Tricks
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University set out to study how infants use what they already know to motivate future learning. --Len Turner, Dave Schmelick and Deirdre Hammer/Johns Hopkins University Office of Communications
"Consider seeing a ball pass through a wall right in front of your eyes," says Aimee Stahl, lead author of the paper and a doctoral candidate at Johns Hopkins. "If you were given that ball to explore, you might want to test its solidity by banging it on a solid surface."
Stahl says that's exactly what the babies did. They pounded it on the tray of their high chair.
And the babies who saw that car float across the stage? They just wanted to drop it — to see if it would float again.
In short, says Stahl, "[infants] take surprising events as special opportunities to learn."
This theory, that we're born knowing certain rules of the world, isn't new. We see evidence of it not only in humans but in lots of others species, too.
What's new is this idea: that core knowledge seems to motivate babies to explore things that break those rules and, ultimately, to learn new things. Read MORE.
Happy Passover & Happy Easter from the staff at Bridgewater Library!