Nursing articles are filled with advice on how to ensure your kids have a healthy diet.
These tips can be applied to any age group, whether you’re the mother of a newborn, or a parent who’s trying to keep up with your kids’ diet and exercise habits.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re making the transition to an organic drink.
Make sure you’re using only water with a pH of 7.5 or higher, which means your baby should be drinking at least half of their daily fluid.
Your baby’s digestive system needs to be healthy for him or her to thrive.
“The GI tract is a very active part of the human body, so when the GI tract becomes active, it causes a lot of inflammation and a lot more stress,” says Dr. Sarah Wojcik, the director of the Institute for Environmental Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“We know that it’s important to get enough nutrients in the GI tracts of the infant, and that includes their stomachs.”
Avoid using a mineral-rich beverage.
“Many minerals are toxic to babies, so a lot depends on the baby’s age, sex, and whether they’re getting any supplements,” Wojcinski says.
“If your baby is young and breast-feeding, they need to be getting a lot less minerals and they need a lot fewer nutrients than they would have if they were breastfeeding.”
“You want to make your beverages as nutrient-dense as possible, and if you’re not getting enough nutrients from them, that’s a big problem,” Wodczak says.
Wojczak recommends avoiding sugars as well as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in infant formula, because they’re both high in calories and can make the gut more acidic.
Avoid the refined sugars found in sugary drinks.
“Most people who are feeding infants have an understanding of what is healthy and what isn’t, and they’re going to be consuming those foods and sugars in the diet,” says Wojcek.
“It’s not going to happen that way for your baby, because the gut is a much more active part.”
Make your baby drink water before feeding.
“They’re going through the process of digesting their food and digesting the food,” says Daphna Henn, MD, a certified lactation consultant and certified dietitian with North Carolina Family Practice.
“I’ve heard of parents who are getting very sick, who are vomiting, who have diarrhea, who don’t get any fluids from breast-fed infants.
That’s because their body is not getting the nutrients that they need.”
If you’re concerned about your baby’s gut health, it may be worth looking into adding a vitamin or supplement to your baby.
Limit their exposure to chemicals.
“Children are more sensitive to chemicals than adults, so it’s helpful to make certain that you’re keeping a very, very small amount of chemicals from your infant’s diet,” Wochschmidt says.
If you have a child under age 6, make sure that they’re not consuming any chemicals or food preservatives.
“Parents can use some of the products that are on the market to control the amount of things that they are putting in their children’s food, so they’re able to avoid the harmful chemicals,” Wohsen says.
Be mindful of your infant and your own body.
“When you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, your body needs to get energy from your own food,” Henn says.
You should also be aware of your baby and what you’re eating.
“Keep in mind that the amount you’re consuming from the food that you eat will affect your baby,” Wobenz says.
For instance, if your baby drinks more than a quarter of their water every day, they may not be getting enough of the nutrients they need from their food.
“As a parent, you need to take care of your own health and your child’s health,” Henschmidt says, adding that parents should also consider eating foods with little or no added sugar, especially when it comes to milk and eggs.
Know your baby better.
“In general, babies need a little bit more guidance from the caregiver,” Woycek says.
She also recommends keeping a record of the time each of your babies meals are eaten and checking in regularly on how your baby reacts to food.
The more you know about your child and their health, the better they will be able to make informed decisions about their diet and supplements.