As parents, you spend a good deal of time fretting over, well, everything. How is my baby developing? Sleeping? Pooping? Eating? While there is certain amount of worry that comes with the parenthood territory, when it comes to feeding your baby, it doesn’t have to be quite as nerve-wracking.
As both a Registered Dietitian and board certified specialist in pediatric nutrition, I am asked countless questions from local parents and pediatricians alike on infant feeding. They want to know how to introduce solids, and what to do when things don’t go exactly as planned…or imagined. I find there are a lot more questions than easy-to-find answers. That’s why Beech-Nut and I are teaming up to give parents a resource for navigating the sometimes tricky world of feeding babies. We know it’s not always easy, and we want to make sure you have the tools and information you need to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for both you and your baby.
When Beech-Nut shared the results of its recent survey, I was thrilled to see parents recognize that what their babies eat now matters for their future health and eating habits. Out of the 200 parents polled, an overwhelming 94 percent believe introducing their infants to a variety of vegetables will help them make healthy choices as adults, and 91 percent want their infants to grow up to be healthier and better eaters than they are. But, the doubt starts early – one out of four of the parents who have not yet transitioned their children to solids already anticipate that their children will not like vegetables!
The Beech-Nut survey highlights that parents all across the country want their children to be healthy eaters, yet are struggling to know when, what, and how to feed their children for success. 48 percent of parents surveyed agree that there is not a lot of information on infant feeding and transitioning to solids, and more than half agree that the information available is conflicting. So, if you didn’t know the answer, you are not alone. Parents do agree that they need trustworthy advice for their baby’s first bites, as two-thirds of parents polled feel there should be set dietary guidelines for children under two, and you can add my vote!
Instead of getting bogged down by exact timelines and portions for feeding, which all change as the baby grows, I encourage parents to learn about the key nutrients to focus on during baby’s first year. If parents know what foods contain these core nutrients (see infographic below), and offer them more often to their babies, that is the first step towards a future of healthy eating.
Consult your pediatrician for recommendations specific to your baby’s diet.