My wife and I were faced with a bit of dilemma tonight regarding our 7 week old baby. She's been spitting up after feeding although it varies in severity but enough to concern us. My wife visited to the doctor today who suggested instead of giving her Zantac to try mixing a little infant rice mixture into the bottle of breast milk. This apparently can help her keep the milk down and reduce the symptoms of GERD. On one hand I liked the sound of this and was glad the doctor was avoiding just pumping her with medications but I also worried about feeding her young, still developing body with rice. My wife also wanted to research it a little so we avoided giving her any just yet and have both been reading about the implications of feeding an infant solid food like rice. It turns out there are some studies which indicate an increased risk of type 1 DM when babies are feed rice or cereal. The interesting point that came from one of the studies (the second one) is that there seems to be window (between 3 - 7 months of age) when the risk is lower of rice or cereal causing the development of type 1 DM. That seems amazingly odd, there is a window of a few months, miss it and you have a significantly higher risk of developing type 1 DM. However, a couple of other points fell out of this:
1) In the first study the babies all had at least one parent with type 1 DM and were identified as carrying a gene that predisposes someone to type 1 DM. The second study showed an increased risk regardless of the genetic predisposition but it was highest if the infant first has the food at > 7 months and carries the gene.
2) If the babies were fed breast feeding while given the rice or cereal their risk was reduced. I'm not sure if their total risk was reduced or just reduced compared to the other babies in the studies, meaning they still had an increased risk.
My wife and I decided we would hold off for the moment. The bubs symptoms do seem to be improving on their own so we're going to monitor her for the time being.
Regardless these studies made me wonder why are we trying to hard to feed rice and cereal to babies. Shouldn't the fact that feeding them those foodstuffs results in an increased risk of type 1 DM especially given that there is this small window when the risk is lowest suggest that maybe they shouldn't be eating them at all? Especially since the second study showed an increased risk even if the baby wasn't predisposed, at least that was my interpretation.
I grabbed these links from Kellymom, great site btw.
Norris JM, Barriga K, Klingensmith G, Hoffman M, Eisenbarth GS, Erlich HA, Rewers M. Timing of initial cereal exposure in infancy and risk of islet autoimmunity. JAMA. 2003 Oct 1; 290(13): 1713-20.
Ziegler AG, Schmid S, Huber D, Hummel M, Bonifacio E. Early infant feeding and risk of developing type 1 diabetes-associated autoantibodies. JAMA. 2003 Oct 1; 290(13): 1721-8.
Interpretation of the studies: