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Your Nutrition Guide for a Healthy Baby
Pregnancy is a wonderful time, but it can also be very stressful. You’re not only in charge of your own health, but your growing baby’s as well. It may seem daunting, but don’t worry. We’re here to help!
Disclaimer: Every pregnancy is different — just like every baby! Before making decisions about your health, consult your OBGYN or pediatrician.
Your Diet During Pregnancy
Healthy eating during pregnancy is critical to your baby’s growth and development. This means fueling your body with nutritious foods, so you‘ll both grow and thrive! Try these simple tips at meal and snack time.
- Eat a balanced diet. At every meal, aim to fill half your plate with fruits and veggies.
- Increase your vitamin intake. Folate, a powerful B vitamin, helps prevent premature birth. Calcium, found in most dairy products, broccoli and kale, strengthens your bones — and develops your baby’s bones!
- Drink plenty of water. Stay hydrated while pregnant by drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day!
Move When You Can
It’s also important to be active during your pregnancy. While physical activity has been shown to reduce overall discomfort, it’s best to not overdo it. Talk with your doctor about how much movement is appropriate for you and look into pregnancy-safe options like walking, yoga or swimming.
Infant and Toddler Nutrition
Mealtime with your new baby can be fun, but it can also be overwhelming as you learn their signals. Your newborn may show you they’re hungry by touching their mouth, crying or puckering their lips, while they may communicate that they’re full when they close their mouth, relax their hands or turn away from the food.
As you get closer to your due date, it’s important to consider all of the options for feeding your baby. Here are just a few:
- Breast feeding: Breastmilk is a great source of nutrition. Talk to your doctor about the best ways to prepare for and maintain your breastfeeding regimen, such as:
- Consuming more calories: Breastfeeding mothers generally need 300-400 additional healthy calories every day, such as those found in fruits, whole grains, veggies and proteins. It’s important to remember that every body is different.
- Upping your B12 intake: Breastfed infants of women who do not consume animal products face a higher risk of a B12 deficiency. If you are a vegetarian or vegan who’s looking to breastfeed, talk with your doctor about healthy ways you can supplement your vitamin intake.
- Lowering your caffeine intake: Stick to one caffeinated drink per day and talk with your doctor about how caffeine will affect you and your baby.As your baby grows, your breastmilk will change to meet your child’s nutritional needs. However, sometimes your baby will need additional vitamin supplements, so talk with their doctor at every checkup to ensure their needs are being met.
- Formula feeding: Baby formula can be purchased at the grocery store and is another great option to ensure your baby has the vitamins and nutrients they need to thrive. There are a lot of formula options available, so ask your doctor for recommendations.
- Food and drinks for kids: Once your kiddo reaches the 6-month mark, you can start introducing them to other healthy foods and drinks, commonly referred to as “complementary foods.” These foods include infant cereals, fruits, vegetables, grains and more. Always consult with your doctor before you introduce new foods and take it slow so you can monitor how your kid reacts.
- Micronutrients: Micronutrients, or vitamins and minerals, are what will help your kiddo grow big, healthy and strong! Vitamin D, iron and zinc are three that are especially beneficial for your child’s development. Keep them in mind as you introduce new foods and talk with your doctor before starting any supplements.
Build Healthy Habits
As your child continues to grow and learns to talk, it’s important to continue the healthy habits you started building in infancy. Maintain an open line of communication with your pediatrician about the foods your child eats, along with their physical health. Your child’s pediatrician will also be your go-to source as you transition from bottles and discover your child’s natural eating habits.
Remember: You’ve got this! Parenthood can be overwhelming — but by building a healthy foundation early on, you’re off to a great start!