Most adults are familiar with probiotics and the role they play in our overall health. But many people don’t realize probiotics are also important for babies and their growing bodies. A new study suggests that only 23% of parents currently incorporate probiotics into their young child’s diet. First introduced during breast feeding, probiotics are ‘good bacteria’ that support your baby’s digestive health and immune system. As babies grow, gut health is important for good overall health. So, parents should be sure to incorporate them in their baby’s diet.
Easier said than done…
53% of parents are both overwhelmed and confused by the varying opinions on childhood nutrition. With so many conflicting sources of information – friends, family, parenting books, mom blogs – it has become exceedingly difficult to determine what you should be feeding your child.
Dr. Altmann has provided 5 tips to manage your child’s nutrition:
- 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
. 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 our 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.
About the Author:
Dr. Tanya is a UCLA-trained pediatrician and mom of three boys. She is a best-selling author, network television parenting expert, and entertainment industry and child product industry consultant. As a health expert for numerous news programs and talk shows, including Today (NBC) and KTLA 5 Morning News (CW Los Angeles) and The Doctors (CBS), Dr. Tanya has discussed breaking medical news stories and controversial parenting issues.
Dr. Tanya has a broad understanding of the most recent medical developments. She is a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, an Assistant Clinical Professor at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA and is the Chief Medical Advisor for the Newborn Channel.
After 14 years in a busy group pediatric practice, Dr. Tanya founded Calabasas Pediatrics, a concierge practice providing innovative and personalized pediatric health care with an emphasis on nutrition, a healthy lifestyle and preventive medicine. She loves being able to spend more time with her patients and be available to them after hours and on weekends, when they often need her most.