Friday, April 07, 2006

An Amazing Night & My Children's Diet

An Amazing Night

Hurray, last night was amazing. No, no, not in that way (though, don't I wish...).

Baby wakes up for her 2am feeding, and then I stay up reading because I can't go back to sleep. I'm already feeling miffed at this particular parenting book (more on that in another blog!), so my annoyance radar is a bit sensitive. I feel Jack's foot jerk - once, twice. I reach over to check, but he's cool. Is it a hypo or just an exciting dream?? I wait 5 more minutes, and there's the unmistakable foot jerk again. Oh s_, I think and shake him: "Jack, are you low?" A rhetorical question if there ever was one - he has no idea anyway.

Amazing happening #1: He wakes up right away: "I don't know, but I can go check if you want." His kneejerk reaction has always been: "I don't think so!" and then turn around to go right back to sleep.

Amazing happening #2: Last night, he immediately gets up, goes to the kitchen to check, I hear the clinking of a glass, fridge opening. He comes back to bed. He's quiet and lucid and calm. Turns out he was 41, but you'd never have known it. Strange - sometimes he's 39 and completely out of his mind. Then he's 41 and completely rational. So last night was amazing. If only all hypos could resolve like that!

On my children's chances of becoming diabetic

"If the father has it, the risk is about 1 in 10 (10 percent) that his child will develop type 1 diabetes." So my children have 10 times the risk of developing diabetes than the general American population.*

It's clear that genetics predisposes people, but only that and interaction with environmental factors actually causes diabetes. There has been a lot of speculation the last few years on those environmental factors. Some of those factors I can only ignore because they're out of my hands: body trauma, viral infections. Others I incessantly worry about because I do have control over them. This is the stupid part, though. There are no conclusive studies that prove that any one of these is a culprit: length the child is breastfed, time of introduction of soy and cow proteins, hydrolized vs. non-hydrolized infant formula, volume of cow milk injested in toddlerhood. Even the highly-respected Joslin Diabetes Center counsels parents: "To be prudent, mothers of infants at high risk of developing diabetes may want to breastfeed as long as possible and rely on cow's milk only in moderation after the baby is weaned."* Oh, and beware of folks who advocate against children drinking milk at all (I'm convinced they're not so much concerned about the kids' health as much as wanting to push a vegetarian agenda).

The best literature review I've found on this subject concludes: "The question whether milk is involved in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes still needs further clarification."**

Jeesh - What's a mother to do in face of such contradictory advice and findings??

Well, this mother drove herself a bit nuts with the first baby: paranoia about not letting anything but breastmilk pass his lips until he was 6 months. Goat milk until he was almost 3, questioning whether she's increasing his risk every time she fills up his bottle with cow milk now. Questioning whether the yoghurt she fed him at 9months will trigger it.

She hasn't learnt and is driving herself a bit crazier with baby #2: Fed her 4oz of soy-base formula at 4 months, and is now questioning whether that'll trigger it (thought at the time that soy had no risks). Is horrified that she fed her beef at 7 months (didn't think that beef contained cow proteins???!!!). Wondering whether she should feed her yoghurt?? It's so healthy & tasty & full of calcium! Should she be denied on inconclusive studies?

Well that's the crux, I suppose. None of these studies has proven anything - as we know, biology and the study of human biology is particularly fickle. If I were to believe and rely on the scientific method, I wouldn't be worried about feeding my children whatever. However, my nagging paranoia (oh, faithful companion) warns me to be cautious. What if one of those hypotheses turn out to be true? I could not forgive myself if either my children were to develop diabetes.

On the other hand (you see, so internally conflicted!), I wouldn't blame any other parent for their child's diabetes. Blame is simply not warranted where there is no intention to cause harm...just as I could never blame my husband if either my children were to develop diabetes.

So I just continue to worry about my children's diet. Not quite convinced that it has any impact, but not quite convinced that it doesn't either.

*Joslin Diabetes Center
**Milk and Diabetes (J├╝rgen Schrezenmeir, PhD and Alexandra Jagla, PhD - 2000)


At 9/4/06, Blogger Shannon said...

I'm going to guess at the book that miffed you (only because it miffed me too) "What To Expect The First Year"

For me, "What To Expect When You're Expecting" drove me nuts when I was pregnant (I was all paranoid), and so did the other book when I finally gave birth.

That sounded like a great night with your husband...hopefully it's a hallmark for things to come, or at least happens more often than not.

We've tested our other two kids numerous times when they didn't seem quite right. It's all part of the territory I guess.


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