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The Basics: Common Questions About Feeding Your Baby

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The Basics: Common Questions About Feeding Your Baby

Mar 14, 2022

What formula should I give my new baby? When should I start introducing other food groups? What do I do if my child only wants to eat junk food? Parents have a lot of questions about the basics of feeding their child. Pediatrician Dr. Cindy Gellner covers The Basics.

Episode Transcript

One question I get a lot is, "What formula should I give my baby?" There are so many choices out there, regular or sensitive, one for spit-ups, one for soft stools, brand or generic. My answer always is there is no one formula I recommend. Some babies do just fine on milk-based. Some need a sensitive version or one that is more for babies with reflux. Only very few needs soy based or special formulas for premature babies, or babies who truly are allergic to milk protein. For many babies, generic formulas are just as good as brand name formulas. It may take some trial and error, but the one your baby takes best and seems to not upset their stomach is the one to stick with.

Speaking of infant formulas, some parents worry that their baby will be bored with formula. Babies really don't get bored of having the same thing over and over like we do. Also, formula and breast milk have the best nutrition that your baby needs when they are brand new. A baby's digestive system isn't set up for a lot of variety at birth, or even at two or three months old. Currently, the guidelines are for starting fruits and vegetables and grains at about four months old if your baby's ready. A baby will need to continue to have breast milk or formula until 12 months of age.

What about toddler formula? In most cases, once your child turns one, they can have whole milk and they don't need special formulas. For toddlers who are very limited in their diets, talk to your child's pediatrician to see if they would benefit from one of the toddler formulas.

Next, I get asked a lot, what sippy cup should I give my child? Whichever one they will drink out of. It took seven different sippy cups until we found one that my older son liked that didn't spill all over the place.

Finally, what do I do if my child really only wants to eat candy and cookies and soda and junk food? Two things. One, your child doesn't do the grocery shopping. If you buy those things, of course, your child will want to eat them and not the things that are more healthy. Your child should know that those are special foods for treats and not a main course item. Second, if you eat healthy, your children are more likely to eat healthy. Kids from little on wan to do everything their parents do. So show them by example. Unless we're having something really unusual, my husband and I aren't short-order cooks for our boys. Whatever we made, that's what we serve them. And now they eat, or at least will try, a huge variety of foods. They like fruits, vegetables, foods from other countries. And yes, they still get cookies and candy and soda. But those foods are not the mainstay of their diets and those are treats.

If you have feeding concerns about your child, go ahead and ask your pediatrician. Chances are we've heard your concern before and are able to help.