Sunday, May 6, 2012

Feeding Baby - General Guidelines

This post is sixth in a series:

Always choose natural, organic, colorful foods.  Eating organic dairy and produce has shown to decrease toxic pesticide exposure from food an average of 97%.

If feed jarred food, choose organic with no sugar added.

Avoid snacks with more than 1 gram of sugar per 25 calories.

Avoid sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, malt syrup or maltose in the ingredients.

Avoid food dyes and artificial colors, as their effects are not known.

Avoid processed foods, added sugar and salt.

Use olive oil or organic canola oil; avoid corn syrup and hydrogenated (or partially) oils.

Baby should get 400 IU vitamin D/day.

Baby will be more likely to try things from six months until she’s walking, so take advantage and push a variety!

Pull baby’s high chair up to the counter so she can watch you make her foods.

Be a good role model!  Baby will want to eat what you eat!

Offer baby a food, let her see you eat and like it, and hopefully she’ll try.  If she rejects it, don’t push it, just offer another day (may take 6-16 times on average before a food is accepted).

Make your own baby food!  Nitrates are not a concern.  The AAP says to avoid homemade baby food until at least 3 months old, but shouldn’t be feeding solids by then anyway!

The primary source of nutrition for the first year is breastmilk/formula – this is mostly a time to introduce solids, but don’t rely on them.

Add omega-3s by adding ground flaxseed or wheat germ to foods (like oatmeal, applesauce, yogurt) once baby has tried a wide variety of foods.

Avoid juice until 1 year.

Never give an unhealthy food just so they eat something.  Be firm and keep trying healthy foods.

Good rule of thumb once baby has tried a variety of foods and is eating three meals a day: feed something green at every single lunch and supper, and feed 1 bright color at all 3 meals.

Use similar flavors to transition between similar foods (ex. add garlic and olive oil to pureed spinach and later also to whole spinach leaves).

Take a food baby likes, such as carrots, and mix it with a new vegetable to encourage it.

Main drink other than breastmilk should be water in a sippy cup.  Avoid juice until 1 year.

Let baby see the real food she’s eating (banana, avocado, etc.), not just the puree that looks nothing like the real deal.

Start each meal with veggies, then move on to fruits.

Give whole-grains.

Kids 3 and under should get 1 Tbsp. from each food group per year of age (at each meal).

Never push or coax foods – will make baby suspicious of them and reject them.  Take a food on your plate and nonchalantly transfer it to hers, without appearing to try to push it.

Have them point at foods, playing “Where’s the apple?  Where’s the broccoli?” etc.

Offer baby a variety of foods, tell her to try just one bite, if she doesn’t like doesn’t have to eat.

Avoid choking hazards under 4 years of age: nuts, seeds, popcorn, raw carrots, whole grapes, raw apples, whole sausage links/hot dogs, hard candy, large chunks of meat or hard foods, chewing gum, marshmallows, gummy/jelly/hard candy.

Until get molars and improve chewing skills, food chunks shouldn’t be larger than pinky fingernail.

Once baby is eating three times/day, offer 3 foods at every meal – one they’re sure to like and two that everyone else is eating (or you want them to eat).  Don’t give seconds of favorite until has tried other two (often takes many exposures before child will eat new food).

Don’t leave unhealthy foods in plain sight and restrict them – will make baby want them even more!

Let baby feel she has a choice – offer 2 or 3 healthy options (Do you want an apple or banana?  Do you want to drink your milk first or eat your cereal first?) and let her choose.

Never coax, bribe, or reward baby to eat something.  “If you eat your spinach you can have dessert” teaches her to value dessert over spinach.

If you’re eating something you know she doesn’t like, put it on her plate anyway.  Say it’s there to taste if she decides she wants to, and eventually she may.

Don’t make baby clean her plate, as it teaches her to overeat.  Just serve less, and save leftovers.

Don’t allow her to skip a meal and then get a snack.  She should get 3 meals/day and small snacks (not within 2 hours of a meal).  If she tries to immediately get a snack, say “lunch is over, you’ll have to wait for snack time now”.

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