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I breastfed both of my kids – Scarlet until 15 months and Des until 12 months. I consider myself one of the lucky ones, in that there wasn’t much real trouble. Sure I struggled, especially with Scarlet, with pain and uncertainty. Clogged ducts and an occasional fever. I worried whether she was growing well, as you do when you are 100% supporting a baby with your own body. We had dips in the growth chart, and that was scary and disheartening for me, but ultimately our journey continued past one year. I was both sad and relieved when it was over. It was a mutual decision, but mostly she was ready to stop.
With Des, it was different. It was easier in some ways because I no longer feared growth chart dips and clogged ducts. I could wrestle most problems like a veteran parent. Breastfeeding was also harder because he was in the NICU after birth and was on heavy antibiotics for over a week. It took months of calling the doctor and changing my diet, before I realized he was actually ok – just with a sensitive stomach for several months. He grew up beautifully and strong, but with an occasional sensitive stomach, from potty-training, travel, or when he’s had to go back on antibiotics for any reason. Usually it’s an ear infection.
The Gerber Nutrition Journey is made up of five parts, and each one is supported by nutrition science and sound feeding guidance. It’s a unique, stage-based nutrition system of products, education, support and services, and is consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations. The journey starts with breastfeeding, because breastmilk is the ideal food for babies, and when your baby is ready, Gerber provides guidance on developmentally-appropriate feeding choices.
In my story, Scarlet went from breastmilk, to solid foods and breastmilk, to solid foods. Des went from breastfeeding to solid foods and breastmilk, to solid foods with formula supplementation. Gerber® Good Start® Gentle Stages are great solutions to use for feeding your baby, but you can also use them as a solution for feeding your toddler. Gerber® Good Start® Stage 3 Toddler Drink is for toddler tummies, and is made with probiotics. We feel strongly about probiotics for Des, and found this.
We go to Target quite a bit, because it’s a favorite place for us, and found Gerber® Good Start® Stage 3 Toddler Drink easily amongst other age-appropriate foods, formulas, and feeding care products for both babies and toddlers.
Gerber® decided to make their formulas without the use of genetically modified ingredients, based on what parents wanted. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the World Health Organization and National Academy of Sciences, and other regulatory agencies and organizations, have found that genetically modified crops are as safe as traditional crops. However, Gerber® listened to consumer feedback about their products to make their formulas.
While both of my babies breastfed well, and ate a lot of fruits and vegetables after their first birthday, I did wind up with pickier toddlers! Scarlet was more picky than Des, but we still use these five tips today – to ensure wholesome diets.
Five Tips For Picky Eater Toddlers:
- Consider supplementing, of course. Gerber® makes age-appropriate formulas and other products for toddler tummies.
Respect your child’s appetite, even when it seems they don’t have one! If your child isn’t hungry, don’t force the issue and potentially cause power struggles or anxiety with reading. Serve small portions to allow room for your child to ask for more.
- Stick to a routine, as much as possible. Des had a regular eating routine at daycare and I have been learning to honor that during the summer. He thrives on routine. Allowing him to fill up on juice, milk or snacks between meals hasn’t worked out.
Give new foods, but be patient. Children sometimes need repeated exposure to new foods. Make it fun with favorite dips or sauces. Cut foods into fun shapes with an assortment of cookie cutters. Serve a rainbow of colors! Lastly, ask your child for help. If I go grocery shopping with Des, he pushes his own cart and we walk the perimeter of the store so that he can help me pick out both old favorites of fruits and vegetables, and new ones to try. It really works! The perimeter has the produce.
- Set a good example! Of course, it starts with you. A challenge is to not present dessert as a reward, but sometimes that is difficult because we live in a world of rewards and desserts. Just be creative and do the best you can!