#DearCinnaMoms Nov 21'
November came and went in a blink of an eye; I guess that is what happens when we look forward to something so much. Whether it was our families coming together again or the most amazing foods we reserved for these special occasions, there is much to be thankful for nowadays.
This has been one wild roller coaster but we have a long way to go before the ride is over.
Feeding your Older Infant Holiday Foods
Candice, our resident RDN here at PHFE-WIC, took the reins today to talk about the cultural foods we introduce to our little ones. I say cultural foods because those are the ones we have been offering since they were in utero. As our infants grow, their needs change, and with the changes to their nutritional needs come new levels of stress.
Have you asked yourself, when should I begin offering solids? What should I offer? How much should I start with? Should I start with fruit since they are sweeter?
More than 40 individuals came together in our November 6 gathering to discuss baby-led weaning and the offering of our cultural foods. She discussed the signs of readiness, texture, and appropriate foods to offer. Candice also covered the behaviors we may be mistaken for rejection, for that of independence.
Providing meats helps with iron intake
An interesting diagram was presented in the slides laying out the progression of food introduction, like a roadmap of nutrition. It listed the behaviors to monitor for signs of readiness as well as ideal minimum weights i.e. 13lbs and double the birth weight for that introduction to begin. The thing is, when talking about the foods we begin with, fruits weren’t on the list. Here at WIC, we recommend offering in this order of textures, beginning with cooked pureed, shredded, minced, mashed, tender meat, poultry, or deboned fish and iron-fortified infant cereals.
It is absolutely okay to offer our own cultural foods prepared in-house! We only recommend keeping it simple, do not add salts, sugars, and no spices.
Foods to hold off on
Eggs yolks are great but do not offer egg whites just yet. Egg yolks contain less protein than egg whites so they are generally safer. Once we have assessed for tolerance, we can then offer by mixing with rice like fried rice or with broth to have a soup consistency. Infants aren’t used to chewing, but gagging is a natural reflex. It is encouraged to watch our infants attentively as we are feeding them, to prevent choking.
Word of advice from Candace: “Try it, if they don’t like it, go back to it.”
Now let’s talk about cow’s and goat’s milk, which can be found on the naughty list and other beverages like plant-based milk or fruit juices are also not necessary. We want to avoid foods and beverages with added salts and sugars, foods that may present choking hazards, and especially honey (which can cause botulism if given to a child under the age of 1).
H20 H20! Should I offer water?
Whether offering your baby breastmilk or formula, there is enough water there already.
Are you offering fruits and veggies?
Yes, there is water in there as well. If your baby is struggling with constipation, we first want to assess if there are any missing feedings, for both breastfeeding and formula feedings before we talk about offering water. With tummies so small, it can be very easy for them to overdo it and get full of water. Always consult with your doctor, WIC nutrition assistants, nutritionists, or lactation consultants as they will be able to offer you more appropriate recommendations.
Looking for resources for infants and children?
Allergenic foods and their reactions
The current recommendations are to offer one new food every few days. The eight common allergens come from milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. Try offering these foods only after trying other solids. It is important to watch if any allergic reactions occur. If you notice any of the following symptoms such as skin rashes, hives, coughing and wheezing, respiratory symptoms, ear infections, abdominal pain, loose stools, gas, and vomiting, stop and contact your medical professional immediately.
This new phase is an exciting time, and we can still have fun with these introductions; we only have to take it slow and take precautions.
During our second gathering, the theme of feeding our little ones continued with a great question: How much are our babies supposed to eat?
Reina is one of the newest additions to our CinnaMoms team as a project specialist; she is currently working on getting her nutrition degree to become a registered dietitian. She dove right in and helped us understand the dietary guidelines and patterns for 12-24-month-olds.
Fresh before the rest
When we cook our fruits and vegetables, the cell walls are broken down, and though it makes them soft and easier to consume, the process causes many of the nutrients to be lost. We recommend eating fruits and vegetables fresh whenever possible and to avoid overcooking them to decrease the loss of nutrients.
What is your child’s favorite food group?
Reina presented this question to the group and the chatbox blew up with responses! It was not until Reina pointed it out that we all realized, not a single response had veggies as the answer. “That is usually the case with veggies.” “Make sure you are providing your child with a variety of fruits and veggies, to eat the rainbow.” Wise words indeed Reina.
Danille mentioned the high amount of dairy recommendations through advertisements in the 1980s and 90s and yes, dietary recommendations evolve as we continue to learn about our nutritional needs thanks to the nutritional sciences. Too much milk can block our iron consumption and can increase weight gain, 100% fruit juice has many vitamins and minerals but drinking too much of it leads high intake of sugar.
Balance is the key, even too much of something good can be bad for us. Truthfully, “all kids should eat more veggies, and as parents, we decide what we offer and they decide when and how much to eat.” Remember, we control what options are offered.
Getting our families to eat better can be an enormous undertaking. Understanding the nutritional values and foods to offer presents its own challenges. We also have to consider the foods themselves and if our families are willing to try. www.Myplate.gov is a great tool that shows ways to keep our meals balanced and a great visual aid to interpreting portion and serving sizes. Our very own www.WIChealth.org is another great resource, not only to complete our WIC classes online but also to find a great selection of recipes. If you are looking for quick breakfast ideas or a new way to offer the same boring veggies, this is the site for you.
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Until next time CinnaMoms, stay happy and safe.
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