Parenting can be tough.
You’ll probably find yourself questioning your daily actions. Is my child eating the right foods? Is my kiddo getting enough sleep? How should I discipline my child?
If we covered all the questions that go through a parent’s mind during the day, this blog would take a looooong time to read.
So, we will focus mainly on nutrition and a few extras!
- Should I let my baby cry it out?
Before having kids, it’s super easy to have a list of things you will never do! I’ll never co-sleep with my child. I’ll never let my baby cry it out. I’ll never let my kids eat in the car.
And then your little bundle of joy arrives and you experience sleep deprivation comparable to a Navy Seal in training. You quickly throw out everything you said you’d “never” do!
A recent study on crying it out came up with some interesting results.
They had parents do something called “graduated extinction” aka letting their baby cry for just a minute before going in and comforting them, and then gradually increasing the amount of time they let their baby cry over time.
They compared the graduated extinction group with two other groups. One group did something called “bedtime fading” which means they delayed bedtime so their babies were more tired. And the final group was the control group that did nothing at all.
They then measured the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, in the babies’ saliva and also spoke to the mothers about their stress levels.
What were the results? They found that the babies in the graduated extinction group and the bedtime fading group both fell asleep faster and were less stressed than the control group. On top of that, their mothers reported being less stressed than the control group moms.
And good news, all three groups reported the same emotional and or behavioral problems. Meaning extending bedtimes and letting your baby cry won’t impact your baby any different then if you did nothing at all.
What this study makes apparent, is that a little sleep training can help both mama and child. Whether you choose to practice the “cry it out” method or other styles, you might see some great benefits. The choice is yours!
2. How much milk should my child drink?
Ages 0 to 6-month-old: For the first 6 months of your chid’s life all they will need is breast milk as it contains the perfect mix of fatty acids, lactose, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Most breastfed babies will need to nurse every 1-3 hours. Plan to nurse on demand (think 8-12 times per day in the beginning). If you choose to formula feed instead plan on feeding every 2-4 hours. In the first few days, your formula-fed baby will likely eat around 2-3 oz per feeding. It will increase from there.
Ages 6-month-old to 1-year-old: Some babies are ready for solid foods as early as 4-months-old. Breast milk and/or formula are still the most nutritious food you can provide. At this age, solid foods are more for taste and practicing new textures than for nutritious purposes.
Ages 1 to 2 years old: If both mama and child are still happy with nursing, feel free to continue. At the age of 1, you can introduce your child to whole cow’s milk. Whole milk is important as the child needs the extra fat for brain development.
3. How much protein does my child need?
Children ages 4-9 need 19g of protein each day. Children ages 9-13 need 34 grams of protein. For teens 14-18 it differs by gender as boys will need 52g and girls need 46g.
If your children get at least two servings of dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese) and one or two servings of lean protein (lean beef, poultry, fish) that should cover their daily protein needs.
4. How much screen time should my child get?
We all love a little (or a lot) of screen time but you might be surprised to see how much you and your kiddos are watching.
Recent surveys have found that kids and teens between the ages of 8-18 are averaging more than 7 hours of screen time A DAY! That’s a full-time job plus overtime (if you count the weekends).
The American Academy of Pediatrics has some recommendations for children’s media use:
- 0-18 months old: Avoid any screen time other than video-chatting.
- 18-24 months old: Slowly introduce high-quality programming and watch it with your child.
- 2-5 years old: Limit screen time to 1 hour per day of high-quality programming. Be sure to watch with your children so you can help them understand.
- 6 years+: Place consistent limits on screen time including types of media and for how long.
Screen time should never take the place of physical activity, adequate sleep, and other behaviors beneficial to health.
5. How can I get my child to eat veggies?
This is a tough one. But there are lots of creative ways to get your child to eat veggies!
Involve them! Take them to the store with you and let them choose some veggies. Then when you get home, recruit them to be your sous chef. Allowing them to help prepare the veggies will get them more excited to try them!
Try a veggie dip. Yes, some veggies can be boring… until you add some extra flavor in the form of a dip. A little bonus is watching your toddler learn the art of a perfect veggie dip!
Have them readily available. Prep veggies ahead of time and put them within reach (lower in the fridge) so your kiddos can grab and go. Chopped carrots and celery are good on-the-go snacks.
Give them options. Just because your child hates spinach doesn’t mean they will hate peas. Keep introducing new vegetables!
Switch it up. Veggie snack plate, a side dish at dinner or blended smoothie! They won’t even realize they are eating veggies all!
6. Can I give my child the same foods every day if they’re healthy?
The first two years of your child’s life are extremely important when it comes to exposing them to different types of foods.
Different foods mean various tastes, textures, and most important, nutrients.
This study found that preferences that babies develop in the first two years can last their lifetime.
When it comes to your child’s diet, a little variety can go a long way. Not only can it help prevent picky eaters, but it can help them get the proper nutrients needed for a happy, healthy child.
7. Does my child need snacks?
Snacks are a good thing! Let’s be honest, adults need snacks just as much as kids do.
Snacks help younger kids from getting cranky, helps older kids from overeating, and helps adults from getting hangry!
Of course, you don’t want your kids to be snacking so much that they aren’t eating their meals.
A good rule of thumb with snacking is to find a good sweet spot after one meal and before the next. Think breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner!
Snack time is a good time to expose them to fruits and veggies!
8. Does my child need a multivitamin?
Do you have a picky eater? Are you always looking for ways to ensure your child is getting all the nutrients they need?
A multivitamin made specifically for children can be highly beneficial. Preferably a multivitamin with natural vitamins and mineral sources but without all the sugars.
As much as we would love our children to eat all sorts of healthy foods filled with fruits and veggies, sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. A daily multi for your child can help fill some of the gaps.
9. Do I model the behavior that I want my child to exhibit?
This probably isn’t a question that you think to Google but it should be something you periodically ask yourself.
Are you eating your veggies? Do your kids see you eating them?
Your children are watching you all the time. You will notice they begin to talk like you, react like you, eat like you, throw a fit just like you!
If you want to raise your children to be the best they can be, are you showing them what that looks like? It’s never too late to start!