Infant feedings: Don't rush the transitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/infant-feedings/MY00366
- With Mayo Clinic nutritionists
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.Katherine Zeratsky and Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer K. Nelson, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.N.S.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, she plays a vital role in bringing you healthy recipes and meal planning.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
A St. Paul, Minn., native, she has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978, and is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 60 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees nutrition services, staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the "Mayo Clinic Diet" and the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook." She has been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books, including "Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody," "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook." She contributes to the strategic direction of the Food & Nutrition Center, which includes creating recipes and menus, reviewing nutrition content of various articles, and providing expert answers to nutrition questions.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, she is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She's active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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Nov. 5, 2008
Infant feedings: Don't rush the transition
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
In the span of the first 12 months of life, the changes an infant experiences in growth and development are extraordinary. It is exciting for everyone — infant, parents, grandparents, and extended family and friends.
Parents guide infants through the feeding transitions from exclusively breast milk and/or formula feedings to a diet of complementary foods. And feedings, like any other developmental milestone, invite advice, some in line with current recommendations, some not.
If it worked 10, 20 or 40 years ago, and we turned out OK, it is still good advice, right?
A large survey of mothers of infants was conducted recently to assess the feeding practices during the first year of life. I was surprised at some of the results — early solid food feedings were associated with decreased length of breast-feeding (both unfavorable), delay of nutrient dense foods and introduction of high sugar, fat, and low nutrient dense foods sooner.
As a parent, there is not a month that goes by that I don't receive a mailing or link to a Web site with infant feeding information. Beyond the colorful advertisements, product endorsements, and coupons, the information is generally appropriate. Does the "good information" get lost in packaging? Are parents getting the information but deferring to family and friends for "tried and true" advice (well intended but not necessarily ideal)?
Are parents too sleep-deprived or overwhelmed to retain the appropriate information? Are they so anxious to get through the first year that breast-feeding is dropped and feeding transition is sped up?
Glossy advertisements aside, here are highlights of appropriate feeding practices in an infant's first year:
- If you unable to provide breast milk, use an iron-fortified formula for the full first year of life.
- Do not provide solid foods before 4 months of life. No need to rush, they do not require another source of iron and zinc until 6 months.
- First food — single grain, iron and zinc fortified cereal.
- Second food — consider meat over vegetables and fruit. Meat is a better source of protein, iron, and zinc.
- Feed single ingredient foods.
- Feed your child every 2-4 hours; frequent, nutritious meals ensure varied and adequate nutrient intake.
- Babies don't need juice.
- A starting portion for solids, 1 tablespoon. Feed this and offer more until the baby turns its head away, pushes away, or gives a cue that the meal is complete.
- Transition textures gradually after 8 months.
- Avoid foods that are a choking risk.
While in the midst of parenting, you may be tired, anxious, and missing details. Feeding/meal time is a perfect time to sit, relax, enjoy, and reflect on all the remarkable moments that you and your baby are experiencing. Don't rush; it will go faster than you'd like it on its own.blog index