Friday, September 6, 2013

On Feeding Parker

So my baby girl is, as of yesterday, a year and a half! She's getting sooooo big and I can't believe where the time has gone! Just yesterday she was still nursing...well, it was literally almost yesterday but I'll get to that in a few. 

I've never been a super health nut but I've always maintained a balanced diet. It is definitely the doing of my mother who cooked everyday and made sure all the food groups were present...including dessert :). So even as I made my way through the broke college life, I still drank plenty of water and made sure I had something like a vegetable at least every other day. When I found out I was pregnant during my senior year, I knew I needed to adopt a healthier diet (especially since I threw up my prenatal vitamins). I also knew that I didn't want to be the pregnant woman that gains like 80 lbs and have a hard time losing offense mamas! Anyway, this began my journey of feeding who came to be my daughter Parker...

So like I said, I'm not a health nut and I have an extreme sweet tooth so I probably eat more sweets than the average bear. During pregnancy I craved pop which I never drank before, literally I had probably only had pop a handful of times since high school and when I did it was Sprite/Sierra Mist. When I was pregnant I craved the strong stuff...helloooo Coke :). Besides the coke and my Wendy's fully loaded baked potato fetish, I snacked rather healthy. I love oatmeal so I'd eat it multiple times a day (thanks McDs), I also snacked on apple slices. Omg, best food ever! I'd eat a whole family sized bag every day. I also ate lots of green things because those have always been my favorite veggies anyway. It's not that hard to eat good while pregnant, you're hungry all the time anyway just make sure something green goes into the stuff you shove in your mouth. I had Parker at a healthy 6 lbs, 3.4 oz. (Btw I gained 30 lbs during my pregnancy.)

I made one of the most important decisions, what to first feed my baby girl...I chose breast milk. I'm sure you're all aware of the health benefits of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has been linked to reduction in allergies, obesity, childhood illnesses, etc etc etc. Now this is not to say I necessarily believe every thing claimed to be a benefit of breastfeeding (*cough* obesity reduction *cough*) but it does help the immune system. Breast milk contains antibodies that fight off disease. Grown people have been exposed to lots of germs so we have lots of immunity to everyday things, babies are new so they don't. Mothers can pass their immunity to their children through breast milk. [Disclaimer: I'm not saying breast milk makes babies immortal, your child can still get sick. Note you also can't pass on immunity to things you aren't immune to.] According to the CDC and WHO, the longer you supply your kid with breast milk the (for lack of a better word) healthier they'll be. So I breastfed Parker for 14 months. (If you're curious, so far Parker has had 1 ear infection and 1 cold, other running noses/fevers were due to teething.)    

Solid food has been the hardest part of deciding what to feed my baby. At 6 months, I started giving her baby food...the normal stuff: sweet potatoes, bananas, oatmeal, apples (which she's allergic to), green beans, etc. She enjoyed most of it except squash and peas...I don't blame her. On her first Thanksgiving, she was 9 months so we gave her table food and she never turned back. This is where I have spent the most time monitoring what she eats. My family thinks it's because I don't want her to be fat, which is true but I'm less worried about obesity at this age (not that it can't happen). I'm more concerned about if what goes into her body is going to sustain an active toddler's lifestyle. I don't avoid fat, she needs fat for her brain growth...I just avoid unnecessary, unhealthy fats. I'll list some of the things she's never had and some of her favorite snacks.

She's never had: pop, juice (maybe 4 times watered down), candy, sugary cereal or Cheetos. She occasionally has cake (mainly on birthdays), ice cream (see aforementioned), chips (my mom and Parker's dad are serious chip eaters, they've given her some to my chagrin) and popsicles.

I've traded some of the yucky snacks for healthier options: 

- Frozen yogurt instead of ice cream (still occasional). 
- Fruit! My daughter LOVES fruit. Her dad will go to the store and buy a bunch of fruit, he'll make a big fruit salad and it'll be our snack for the week. I don't limit how much fruit she eats...except close to dinner time or the really acidic ones (tooth health). He makes sure to cut everything into baby friendly pieces.
- Frozen blueberries. I buy fresh blueberries, wash them and put them in the makes for a healthy snack and some relief for swollen teething gums. Keep this one in the arsenal mamas, Parker goes crazy for them!
- Yogurt. She looovesss yogurt. She could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I let her. I make sure to buy whole milk yogurt, not the fat free stuff again she needs the fat for brain growth and development. She eats fruit and/or granola in her yogurt. Watch out for the sugars though...some have more sugar than candy bars!
- Granola. Get the raw stuff not the sugar covered stuff.
- Peanut butter crackers. Ok, these aren't the healthiest but there are worse snacks. Really the bad thing is the salt covered crackers, not the peanut butter but you have to take some bad with the good right?
- Fruit thins instead of crackers. If you haven't heard of them they're new. They're basically whole wheat crackers with dried fruit bits in them! The blueberry ones are great!
- Yogurt filled crackers. These are new too...exactly what they sound like. Yogurt sandwiched between graham crackers. We don't do these often either because of the sugar content but it's an option.
- Babybel cheese. Good source of good fat and dairy. Parker gave up drinking milk when it stopped coming from the tap (lol) so I have to find other ways to get dairy in her. They're just the right size for little toddler hands too!
- And the biggest one: WATER! That's all Parker drinks since she gave up milk. Babies don't NEED juice. My family has the hardest time accepting this, I'm not sure why people think of juice as a kid food...? I've heard of so many grown people who don't like water, you know why? Because you know there are other options out there, Parker doesn't. I believe strongly in education but the longer I keep her in the dark about juice and pop the longer she'll love her sippy cup of water ;)    

These are just the snacks, obviously meals are also monitored. Mainly in how you prepare your foods, swap out your Cisco for some olive oil and your white rice for brown tastes the same. Pan grill instead of frying, try white wine sauces instead of gravies. Parents or parents to be I urge you when you have your children to ask yourself this question "Does a baby/toddler/child/person need that?". If the only answer you can come up with is "it tastes good" you should probably rethink the decision because once you start, it's hard to go back. Also, you don't have to eat all organic things to be healthy. Healthy kids are good kids :) 

No comments:

Post a Comment