Choosing the Best Baby Foods: 5 Ways Pediatric Nurses Can Help New Moms

NursingApril 26, 2014


Moms often look to pediatric nurses for answers to common questions about their newborn. After all, infants don't come with an instruction manual. One primary concern is the amount and type of baby foods children should be exposed to during their first year of life.

Below are five key feeding tips pediatric nurses should discuss with parents.

1. Formula Choice

With so many types of formula available on the market, new moms often look to pediatric or neonatal nurses for initial recommendations. In particular, if a child suffers from reflux, a parent may express concern and request assistance selecting the proper nourishment.

2. How Mom's Diet Affects Breastfed Babies

Pediatric and neonatal nurses provide nutritional counseling to breastfeeding moms, especially in cases where the mother follows a special diet. During office visits, Moms who choose to breastfeed should be alerted to the ways their diet affects infants. In particular, caffeine, alcohol, and certain types of seafood should be avoided. If a baby shows signs of an allergic reaction or intolerance after breastfeeding, Moms should note what foods they have recently eaten and speak to a medical professional for further advice.

3. Signs of Allergies When Introducing Baby Foods

After a pediatrician recommends the introduction of new foods and drinks, moms often turn to pediatric nurses for further guidance. Nurses can advise patients on which foods to try first and amounts to be given at meal time. When signs of an allergy occur, parents may call the pediatric office for direction. Also, parents should be reminded not to give cow's milk to a child during the first year, as it can cause digestive problems and eczema.

4. Choking Hazards

Parents should also be educated on choking hazards during the child's first years. Babies cannot chew the same foods as older children, and their airways are much smaller. Alert parents to possible "choke foods" and discuss the proper consistency of cereal or baby foods for the first feedings.

5. Failure to Thrive

During wellness check-ups, nurses should measure height and weight increases in children and look for signs of failure to thrive. If a child is not following a proper growth trajectory, then a pediatric nurse should consider possible underlying causes, such as gastrointestinal issues or other illnesses.

Every child is different, and even seasoned moms can benefit from nutritional counseling when breastfeeding and introducing new foods to their babies. Pediatric and neonatal nurses can help parents by making themselves available to assist with feeding problems as they arise and by providing medical advice regarding new baby foods.

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