Study Updates:

Update from 7/29/2022: The study investigators (Drs. Arcaro, Sibeko and Sturgeon) and the entire research team wish you and your family an enjoyable summer! We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank you so much for spending time helping us with the New Moms Wellness Study!

We want to give you an update about the study and to share a summer recipe and helpful hints for new moms starting infants on solids.

So far, we have 255 mom and baby pairs taking part in our study and have over 50 more women awaiting the birth of their child to officially enroll. We are thrilled to have so many people give their time so generously to help us with this work that will contribute important knowledge on women and children’s health. We have collected and stored 1290 breast milk samples and 689 infant fecal specimens and many, many 24-hour food recalls!  Again, we couldn’t have achieved such great progress without your time and commitment to this important study. We are very grateful.

Congratulations to our 5 raffle winners for our monthly drawing that we have had, so far! We have given a total of $1000 in Amazon gift cards to raffle winners to date. Remember, you are eligible for the monthly raffle for the month after you complete each of study visits #3 to #5, and provide study samples.

Congratulations to our 11 raffle winners for our monthly drawing that we have had, so far! We have given a total of $2200 in Amazon gift cards to raffle winners to date. Remember, you are eligible for the monthly raffle for the month after you complete each of study visits #3 to #5, and provide study samples.

Recruitment has been challenging with the ongoing pandemic. We hope to enroll another 150 women to meet our study goal. We know that personal referrals are important to get us to our goal. Please consider sharing information about the study with family or friends, who live within 35 miles of Amherst/UMass, through social media, emails, parent groups, or word of mouth:

·         Our website: https://blogs.umass.edu/newmomswellness/

·         Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UMass.NMWS

Also, we are very excited to share that we are soon expanding our geographic radius to include pregnant and new moms that live within 10 miles of the City of Worcester, MA.

We also know it’s an effort to participate in all the parts of the study. Please reach out to us if we can help you navigate participation in the study.  

Please find some helpful hints for new moms and recipes on the next few pages.

We hope you enjoy the new year!

Susan Sturgeon, Dr. PH ssturgeon@schoolph.umass.edu

Kathleen Arcaro, PhD karcaro@umass.edu

Lindiwe Sibeko, PhD lsibeko@nutrition.umass.edu

Team email: newmomswellness@umass.edu

Starting Solids by Kailyn Woyak

So, it’s finally time to start adding solid food to your baby’s diet. How exciting! Can you imagine what it must feel like to try food for the first time? The countless textures, flavors, and combinations are such fun things to explore with your baby. However, while it may be exciting, it might also be a little intimidating. When do you start? How do you start? What do you start them with?

First, it’s all about knowing the signs for when your baby is ready for solid food. Some of these signs include your baby being able to hold their head up well when propped to sit, their tongue thrust reflex has disappeared, your baby reaches for and/or shows an interest in table foods, and your baby can open their mouth widely. When these signs start to appear, be sure to consult your doctor to ensure it is the right time for your baby to start exploring the world of food.

Once you make the decision to start solids, there are a few strategies that you can utilize for their very first feedings:

1.       Keep in mind that a happy, alert baby is more likely to accept food whereas a sleepy, fussy baby will be more resistant.

2.       Give yourself and your baby plenty of time to explore the new food they are trying. It can sometimes take quite a while to successfully get food into your baby’s mouth (let alone into their actual tummy).

3.       Make sure to use a silicone or plastic spoon because metal will be too rough on their gums. Also, be sure to have multiple spoons on hand. One for baby to hold and play with, one for you, and an extra one (or two or three) in case one (or two or three) gets thrown off the table.

4.       Allow baby to play! Instead of going straight to trying to spoon food directly into your baby’s mouth, first allow them to feel it, play with it, and examine it. Think about it, when was the last time you tried a new food without at least poking at it with your fork first?

5.       Expect rejection. Everything is going to be brand new for baby. Even bland food will be an acquired taste!

Okay, so now you know when and how to start. The only thing left to do now is figure out what to start with. Pureed meats, poultry, beans, iron-fortified cereals (mixed with breast milk or formula), fruits and vegetables are generally recommended as a baby’s first food due to the key nutrients that they provide. It is important to note that you should only try one new single-ingredient food at a time in order to monitor for any potential allergic reactions. After a few months of pureed, smooth, single-ingredient foods, you can take the next step towards finely chopped foods and so forth.

Overall, take your time with exploring new foods with your baby and above all, have fun with the process!


Helpful Hints for New Moms:

There is so much to prepare for and learn about before having a baby. You can all probably relate to the endless amount of baby books, blog posts, and familial advice about how to take care of your child and how to prepare for everything that is to come. But the one thing that people seem to overlook is the fact that, with your baby in one arm, that only leaves one arm and ten toes to do everything! So, without further ado, here are some tips on how to accomplish everyday tasks with just one hand:

1.      Buy foods that are already chopped/sliced. This will save you a ton of time and make things a lot easier to grab and go!

2.      Similar to the first point, buy foods that don’t take a lot of prep work. Buy things like apples, berries, baby carrots, granola bars, and individual snack packs so that you don’t have to fuss around with too many steps just to eat a quick snack.

3.      Break things down into smaller, simpler steps. When you had two free hands available, there were probably lots of things you could do in one swift motion, such as folding a shirt. With one less hand, that task gets a little more difficult. So, try breaking things down into smaller steps that you can manage with just one hand. Tasks may take a little longer, but it’ll overall save you the headache of doing a two-handed job with just one hand!

4.      Ask for help when you need it! Don’t feel like you have to do everything on your own all the time. It’s okay to ask for help from others!

5.      Work on prioritizing just a select few things. This will help you from trying to juggle too many things at once.

Overall, getting things done when you have a newborn in the house can be tough and a lot of the time, you truly will only have one hand to do certain tasks. If you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed by tasks you’re having a hard time accomplishing, remind yourself to slow down and take things one step at a time. Also remember to utilize the people around you and ask for help when you need it. Being a mother turns you into a superhero, but even Wonder Woman needs some help sometimes. You got this!

Monthly Raffle:

We’re excited to announce a new monthly raffle in which eligible study participants will be entered to win a $200 Amazon Cash Card.  Here are additional details. 

·         Drawing will occur during the first week of each month and winners will be notified immediately. 

·         Participants will be eligible if they completed a sample collection Visit 3 (16 weeks postpartum), Visit 4 (26 weeks postpartum) or Visit 5 (58 weeks postpartum) in the previous month.  

·         For example, if you complete study Visit 3 (16 weeks postpartum) in August, you will be entered into a raffle held in the first week of September. If you complete Visit 4 in October, you will be entered into the November raffle. You will have up to 3 chances to win. The odds of winning depend on the number of study participants that complete visits during the same month as you. 

·         An eligible visit will involve a breast milk sample and/or an infant stool sample.