Q&A With Dr. Tanya Altmann on What to Feed Your Baby
As a mother of three and pediatrician, Dr. Tanya talks to parents daily about first feedings, helping navigate the right choices for their little ones to grow their healthy, tiny tummies. While understanding the importance of nutrition for your baby can be overwhelming, Dr. Tanya has provided her top five tips for parents to help ease their concern.
- Safe dairy for babies under 12 months. Shopping for dairy can be confusing when your baby has stopped taking breast milk but is too young for cow’s milk. You might think it’s safer to avoid any new dairy products until they are at least 12 months. But dairy is packed with essential nutrients (such as calcium and vitamin D) for growing bodies, and it is an important part of baby’s diet. The good news is babies as young as six months can begin eating yogurt, even if they’re breastfeeding. Not only is it a healthy option for their little bodies, you’ll find that infants love yogurt! Choose a brand made with organic whole milk, like Stonyfield Organic YoBaby.
- Exposing baby to healthy foods early. Introducing baby’s first solids is a stressful time for parents and I wasn’t surprised to learn that over half of parents (53%) feel overwhelmed by the varying opinions of early childhood nutrition*. There’s a lot of information out there!
To keep it simple, I have my list of trusted foundation foods that ensure your baby is receiving the proper nutrients. Some of my foundation foods are: eggs, prunes, avocados, fish, yogurt, cheese, nut butters, chicken, beans, lentils, berries, citrus fruits, green vegetables, whole grains, and water*. Mix and match these foods as your baby becomes more and more comfortable with solids.
*As always, check with your pediatrician before feeding these foundation foods and modify as needed to accommodate any food allergies.
- Protecting baby’s gut health. Let’s talk about your baby’s tiny tummy. Did you know that gut health is the foundation for overall good health as babies grow? To help protect your baby’s gut health, you want to ensure they’re getting enough probiotics. While naturally found in breast milk, probiotics are also found in yogurt, one of my foundation foods.
Stonyfield has added probiotic BB-12® to YoBaby. BB-12® has been shown to have a digestive health benefit when consumed regularly by promoting beneficial gut bacteria and regular, soft stools.
- Natural sugar vs. added sugar. Sugar is receiving a lot of attention in the news recently and many of my parent patients are looking more closely at labels when grocery shopping. Most importantly, we need to understand the difference between naturally occurring sugar and added sugar.
- Wholesome foods like milk, yogurt and fruit have naturally occurring sugar that is a part of a healthy diet.
- Added sugar helps to give different flavors their sweet taste and is what you should be on the lookout for. Many labels don’t differentiate between natural and added sugar but will begin to in the near future.
- Finger Food. Don’t be afraid to put down the spoon and let your little one try feeding themselves with some nutritious finger foods. My favorite way to start is with some cut up berries. The soft berries are easy for them to pick up and feel gentle against their gums. You’re helping to develop their fine motor skills and introducing a new and delicious snack.
Note: As with all young babies, monitor their eating closely to avoid any choking.
Survey Methodology: ORC International conducted this research on behalf of Stonyfield via an online survey of among 1,016 parents of a child two years of age or younger, fielded August 23-29, 2016.