Healthy Eating Tips for Every Age and Stage of Development

mrdad - good eating habits

mrdad - good eating habits

Dads, listen up: Child obesity is out of control. Don’t let your child fall victim to this epidemic that affects nearly one in three children in America. What your children put in their bodies aids their mental and physical development. Begin feeding your kids nutritious food from day one and adjust to their needs during different life stages. Here are some healthy eating tips to implement in every stage of your child’s life.

Newborns

Breast milk is the best food for babies. It provides all the beneficial nutrients, according to the American Association of Pediatrics, which recommends exclusive breastfeeding until six months and a combination of breast milk and iron-rich complementary foods thereafter.

Not only does breastfeeding promote a deeper connection with between mom and baby, breast milk aids in protection from respiratory illnesses, infections, stomach problems, skin irritations and allergies.

New fathers can build their bond with baby by feeding breast milk from a bottle after mom’s milk supply is established (at about two to four weeks). Here’s the best approach:

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Babies Can Sometimes Bring out the Worst in Us

Dear Mr. Dad: I’m a new dad and I sometimes get incredibly angry when my son cries. Of course I haven’t acted on my anger, but I’m feeling really guilty that I get so mad in the first place. I’ve always been a pretty patient guy, but I don’t think I’ve ever had such intense feelings before. Am I a bad parent?

A: Babies have an amazing capacity to bring out feelings in us that are powerful, unfamiliar, and sometimes scary. On the positive side, we get to experience being on the receiving end and the giving end of unconditional love—something I don’t believe exists between adults. On the negative side, there are the feelings you described. We’d all like to believe that we’d throw ourselves in front of a moving train to save our children, but every once in a while they make us so furious that we think (very briefly) of throwing them in front of the train. I know that sounds horrible, but here’s a reality check: Everyone has feelings like that. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying to you or doesn’t have children. So, no, you’re not a bad parent at all.

That said, while there’s nothing wrong with feeling intense anger, it’s what you do with it that can be a problem. Here are some suggestions that can help you get your anger under control.

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Acing the ACT + Think Like a Baby

Elizabeth King, author of Acing the ACT.
Topic:
An elite tutor’s guide to strategies and understanding that make a big difference.
Issues: The ACT is now more popular than the SAT; difference between the two tests; advantages of the ACT; the difference between a tricky question and a trick question; strategies to ensure that you get the best possible score.

Amber Ankowski and Andy Ankowski, co-authors of Think Like a Baby.
Topic:
Learn to better understand your child’s developing mind.
Issues: Setting up simple research experiements to do with your baby; fun ways to get insight into what’s happening inside your child’s skull; the importance of talking to your baby; playing with reflexes; how music affects a child–before he or she is even born; many more experiments.

My Baby Doesn’t Like Me

Dear Mr. Dad: My two-month-old baby doesn’t like me. He’s perfectly content with my wife, but when I try to hold him, he gets upset and cries. I’ve backed off a little, thinking that he just needs a little time to get used to me, but that doesn’t seem to be working. I’m starting to think I’m just not a very good dad. Is it too late for me to build a relationship with my baby?

A: There’s not much in this world that can make a grown up man feel more incompetent than a baby can. The good news is that there are a lot of things you can do to get past those feelings—and no, it’s not too late. Not even close.

Before we get into the what-to-do part, we need to do something about the way you’re thinking. First, get the idea that your baby doesn’t like you or that he thinks you’re a bad father out of your head. Do you really believe that someone who’s a few months old is qualified to make a judgment about your parenting skills? What other dads could he possibly be comparing you to?
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Three Must-Have New Baby Items

SONY DSC

SONY DSCSo the day has come, and you’re holding that tiny, helpless, unbelievably lovable, and completely dependent-upon-you baby in your arms. Congratulations, and welcome to the journey of fatherhood. Whether this is your first baby, or the third or sixth, that old provider-protector instinct is already kicking in. But between trying to cope with those nighttime wakeups and adjusting to a new pace of life, it’s not always easy to make the right decisions for the newest member of your the family.

Don’t worry, dad. The fact that you want to give your baby the very best means you’re more than halfway there. Three of your most important activities are going to be feeding, schlepping, and swaddling–all of which require the right equipment (and technique). Unfortunately, it’s hard to filter through the dizzying array of products and the equally dizzying amount of misinformation Here’s an intro to the equipment and some info that will help you stay on the right side of each one.

Baby Bottles

You may have heard the phrase that “breast is best” when it comes to feeding your little one. Many studies have shown the myriad benefits of breastfeeding, so it’s considered all the better if your wife is able to nurse. Does mama work full-time? If she can pump, give her encouragement to do so—and kudos for the hard work it takes to make this happen. The key to giving a breastfed baby a bottle is finding a variety that closely simulates the breast. Styles like the line of NxGen Nurser baby bottles are regularly recommended by lactation consultants.

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Breastfeeding: Is There Ever Too Much of a Good Thing?

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife continues to breastfeed our two-year-old daughter even though she’s old enough to eat “real” food. I don’t have a problem with this, but some of our friends and even some coworkers are shocked that she’s still breastfeding. Is there a specific age at which you should stop breastfeeding? Are we committing some sort of social faux pas by trying to do right by our daughter?

A: Oh, boy, are you going to cause a firestorm. Deciding whether to breastfeed a baby and for how long, is something only the parents can decide. But, as you’ve noticed, a lot of people have strong opinions on the topic and they’re not afraid to share them—whether you want to hear them or not.

Let’s start with some background. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that, barring any medical problem, babies get nothing but breast milk for the first six months. Then it’s “as long as mutually desired by the mother and child.” Many pediatricians suggest that starting at six months, parents should gradually introduce appropriate food and simultaneously decrease breastfeeding. At the end of a year, most babies will be weaned. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a child nurse for longer than that—as long as you understand that the kind of nutrition if provides is mostly emotional.
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