What fish should I eat? What’s for dinner tonight? Oh, I need to go to target and make a baby registry! Am I going to be a good mother? Does breastfeeding hurt? Should I get an epidural or not? Is bread bad for me?
There are endless questions flooding through a women’s brain while she is pregnant. Nutrition and nourishing her body should not be adding to that stress. The goal is to simplify nutrition into an attainable and sustainable menu for success.
Whole foods first and foremost.
I will say this once, a colorful plate is your best friend. The more variety of foods you consume the better! For example, a red bell pepper is high in vitamin C, carrots are high in Vitamin A, and chicken is high in Vitamin B12 and protein of course. Every food serves a purpose in your diet, therefore the more diverse your plate looks at every meal ensures you are meeting all your and your babies’ nutrient needs.
On the other hand, you are growing a tiny human which is hard work! And I completely understand that no one has the perfect diet. That is why it is recommended to take a prenatal vitamin during pregnancy as well. This vitamin is a supplement, simply a catch all for the nutrients you are missing or not getting enough in your diet. Prenatal vitamins, however, are not a substitute for a well-balanced diet. They work harmoniously to provide mothers with the optimal nutrition needed to grow a healthy baby.
Additionally, your prenatal vitamin should include approximately 27mg-45 mg of iron and 400 mcg of folate (folic acid) as well as the other vitamins/minerals.
The overall goal is to keep nutrition and food simple. Especially when there are a variety of different things grabbing at your attention. Food should bring you joy, not more stress.
Important tips to remember:
Limitations to remember:
By Dr. Kathleen McCue
Feed your baby what you would want to eat….
Do not overthink it.
You like food with spices and herbs, they will too!
I have sessions with so many parents who stress and stress over what their child is eating… I am here to tell you to take a deep breath and trust your instincts. There is no right or wrong way to feed your baby. Embrace the foods you enjoy eating and share them with your baby, simple as that. The overall goal here is to encourage a healthy and happy relationship with food. Not a relationship filled with stress, structure, and unattainable routines.
Listen to your body. And allow your baby to do the same.
Your child will eat when they are hungry. I know this is a hard truth to accept, yet they are the ones experiencing their bodily needs and will instinctually listen to that. Therefore, they will eat when they are hungry, they will decide how much to eat, they will decide when to eat, and they will decide what they want to eat.
A parent’s job when starting solids is to emphasize support and patience during the process. A big no no is force feeding your child as this will foster an unhealthy relationship with food. The parents who role model healthy eating habits and wholesome relationships with food tend to pass these onto their children as well.
Exposure is key when starting solids with a baby. Reminder that this is their first time trying everything, so it is vital to be patient and allow them to explore the foods with all their senses.
Release control and expectations of how the experience is supposed to happen. Stop obsessing over the mommy blogs portraying this perfect image of starting solids. It will get messy, like many things in life, so please don’t fret and embrace the beautiful journey of watching your baby try new foods and learn to love nourishing their bodies.
By Dr. Kathleen McCue