By Dr. Carina Venter, PhD, RD, Associate Professor, Pediatrics-Allergy/Immunology, University of Colorado School of Medicine
For the first time in history, the 2020-2025 USDA Dietary Guidelines provide recommendations for all life stages, including infants and toddlers.
This guide is intended to help pediatric healthcare practitioners have conversations with their patients and provide tips for establishing smart, lifelong habits for babies when it can matter most -- at the start.
HELPFUL TIP: Parents can easily find vitamin D drops at any grocery store or online. Look for brands with 400 IU of vitamin D3 per drop.
HELPFUL TIP: It’s important that, once allergenic foods are introduced, they stay in the baby’s every day diet. Parents can buy products that are a blend of these foods to make daily feeding easy. Make sure to look for products that cover a wide range of allergens, especially difficult to feed foods like shellfish or fish.
HELPFUL TIP: Be encouraged to feed babies a diversity of nutrient dense foods in infant safe formats in their first year of life; however, make sure to stay away from honey, unpasteurized foods and beverages, and limit foods with added sodium and sugars.
HELPFUL TIP: Parents often wonder whether infants need to drink water. In fact, breastmilk or formula should provide the hydration a baby needs in the first 6 months of life! Half a cup to one cup of water may be given when babies are starting to eat solids. In order to facilitate transition from a bottle to cup or breast feeding to a cup, it is advisable to offer milk (formula/breast milk) and water randomly from a cup to the infant - that way, infants learn that cups are not only meant for drinking water.
About the author: Dr. Carina Venter is a PhD Registered Dietician and Associate Professor of Pediatrics in Allergy and Immunology at University of Colorado School of Medicine. She has focused her research and clinical practice over the past 20 years on the prevention, diagnosis and management of food allergies and other allergic diseases.