Tag Archives: mothers

Dr. M’s SPA Newsletter Audiocast Volume 11 Issues 40 and 42

Audiocast #40 – Epigenetics

Humans, like most organisms on earth, grow and maintain their biological systems through a complex interplay between the environment and their genes. Epigenetics is the study of the ability of environmental signals to silence or activate these genes, thus effecting cellular function and species survival. I was once given an analogy, by Dr. Randy Jirtle, that your genes are like a computer hard drive. They do nothing until the software inputs change activity. The environmental signals like food, chemicals, stress and much more are the putative software inputs for us. Good lifestyle inputs have been epidemiologically proven to reduce disease risk.

Audiocast #42 – Stress, Psychiatry and the Intestinal Microbiome

Humans develop disease from many different routes including toxic exposures, genetics, poor nutrition, injury, microbial exposures and much more. One of the biggest risk factors for the development of disease is mental stress. Specifically, chronic stress of the psyche is traumatic to the cellular machinery of the body like the protective telomere tails of DNA strands or the functioning intestinal microbiome.
Dr. M

Hospital Pacifier Debate Continues (Article)

Breastfeeding is increasingly being recognized as the “gold standard” in infant nutrition due to its immense benefits for babies and new mothers. Breast-milk is packed with vitamins, nutrients, and disease-fighting components that will prepare your baby for his first months of life. Not only does breastfeeding help protect your baby from numerous illnesses, allergies, SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), and obesity, but the practice can reduce the risk of postpartum depression as well as breast and ovarian cancer.  What’s not to love?  So, in what seemed to be a relatively straightforward effort to increase breastfeeding, a hospital sought to decrease the distribution of pacifiers, which prior studies claimed decreased the amount of time babies drank breast milk. However, things didn’t quite go as planned.

Conventional wisdom claims that the more pacifier use a baby has in the newborn period, the less likely breastfeeding will be successful. Since exclusive breastfeeding is a major goal of newborn medicine, it seems logical that restricting pacifier use would increase the likelihood that a baby will be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life, right?  This theory was put to the test recently at a major hospital with a surprising result: decreasing the distribution of pacifiers did not increase the success of breastfeeding, rather, the paciless group actually ended up consuming more infant formula than their paci sucking counterparts.

The use of pacifiers continues to be controversial as this study highlights. Their use is probably not the big factor in whether mothers are successful at breastfeeding.  Lets face it, breastfeeding a small infant is a difficult endeavor, requiring 24 hour a day dedication. It is my opinion that the support, or lack of support by hospitals, doctors, families, and society in general are probably the big factors that determine whether a mother is ultimately successful at breastfeeding, not whether there are pacifiers around in the newborn period.  I think we all can agree that the common goal should be to have every baby get the very best nutritional start in life they can, pacifiers or no pacifiers.

I welcome your comments at www.docsmo.com.   Check out hundreds of posts while you are there on a myriad of pediatric topics. Until next time.

Smo Notes:




written by Keri Register and Paul Smolen M.D.