We talked to hundreds of parents about what it’s like trying to raise a healthy baby. Parents shared their burning questions, biggest challenges, and best strategies.
We know how important the first years are for getting your child off to a healthy start. We also understand that being a parent is an important — and hard — job! So we talked to hundreds of parents to get their tips on parenting.
Below you’ll find some of our expert tips on raising a healthy baby. Keep reading to get more information on these topics and questions:
"I used to drink a lot of soda, and my daughter was always grabbing for it. I switched to water because I didn’t want her to think soda was a healthy choice. Now when she wants what I’m having, I feel good about it."
If you make healthy choices, your baby will grow up thinking this is the normal way to live. Ask your baby’s doctor about parenting groups that meet near you to get advice from other parents about tips that have worked for them. Get more ideas.
While you are working hard to do what’s best for your baby, don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. It may not be easy to find the time and energy to eat well and stay active, but your baby is watching what you eat and do.
You hear all the time about reading to your kids; so let your kids see you reading. It’s the same thing with food and physical activity. Give your baby healthy foods and ways to be active, but also let her see you eating healthy and moving.
If you make healthy choices, your baby will grow up thinking this is the normal way to live. It can help to get advice from other parents and family members about tips that have worked for them. You can also ask your baby’s doctor about parenting groups that meet near you.
"I don’t have time to go to the gym or the YMCA; taking care of my daughter feels like a full-time job. So, I find exercise programs on TV and do them in my living room. My daughter loves to watch mommy work out and now even tries to follow along with some of the stretches and things."
"When we go out to eat, I skip the chips or French fries and instead ask for a salad or fruit. It took a while to get used to not having the junk food, but I have a lot more energy without it."
It can be frustrating if childcare providers or family members are feeding your baby unhealthy foods. It can be difficult to speak up — but you’ve got your baby’s health in mind! Try saying something like “I'm trying to limit the amount of sugar and juice that Ana is having. Breast milk or formula is best." Find out more.
We hear a lot from parents who are working hard to make healthy choices for their babies. Many parents find they need to get other people — like grandma and childcare providers — on board with these choices. You don’t have to do it all alone!
Remember: You are not being annoying or pushy when you tell people what you want for your baby — you are the parent!
It can be frustrating if your friends or family members are feeding your baby unhealthy foods. It can be difficult to speak up — but you’ve got your baby’s health in mind! Try saying something like “I'm trying to limit the amount of sugar and juice that Ana is having. Breast milk or formula is best." If you want help thinking about what to say or how to say it, practice with your child’s doctor.
Remember: A baby can’t have too much love, but a baby can have too much food!
"I sat with my mother-in-law and talked to her about how I wanted my child to be fed. I was positive about it, and I showed her I was serious. I said, ‘We both love this child, and so we both want what’s best for him."
"I pre-pack my baby’s food when my sister is watching him so that I know what he is eating. I just tell her I do it because it’s easier for her."
If your baby is in childcare, talk to the teachers so they know what foods you want your baby to eat. Different families have different rules, and teachers are used to balancing these. But don’t worry if you have to have some conversations more than once.
"When I bring my baby to childcare in the morning, I write down what she’s eaten already that day. Then they write down what she eats while she’s there, so we all know how much she’s getting throughout the day."
"I ask my childcare to share the monthly infant/toddler menu with me, and then I cross off the items I don’t want my baby to eat. On the days they serve something I don’t want her to have, they give her something else that I’m okay with."
It helps to talk to other parents to get tips about breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, and healthy snacks. You’ll probably have creative ideas for them, too! See some tips from other parents now.
It helps to talk to other parents to get tips about breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, and healthy snacks. You’ll probably have creative ideas for them, too!
"I pump my breast milk during the day at work and store it in containers with my son’s name on them. Then when I pick up my son that night at childcare, I bring in the breast milk for the next day so I don’t have to worry about remembering it in the morning."
What do eating and sleeping routines have in common? They can both help your baby stay at a healthy weight as he grows up! Find out more.
"With multiple children, homework, sport games, and a new baby, it's really difficult to keep the same routine every day."
Parents are busy people. And if the idea of setting a routine feels out of reach at first, you are not alone. But it may help to know that, with some effort, routines can help you and your baby in lots of ways. For example, what do eating and sleeping routines have in common? They can both help your baby stay at a healthy weight as he grows up!
So even though it can be a challenge, starting a routine can help you and your baby stay healthy and happy. Routines help you prepare for mealtime and help your baby be a better sleeper — which helps the whole family!
Did you know that babies who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight or obese as children?
Most babies settle into a routine of 2 to 3 naps per day.
"Every night, we turn down the lights in our baby’s room and put on some soft music. My husband and I take turns rocking her, and then we put her down in her crib right before she falls asleep. We look forward to this quiet time together at the end of the day."
Remember: Just like everything else, routines don’t have to be perfect. But babies and young kids — just like grown-ups — do better when they know what to expect.
Talk to your child’s doctor about your successes, questions, and concerns about parenting at each well-child visit. You and your child’s pediatrician are partners in helping your child develop healthy habits.
Being prepared for well-child visits can help make the most of your time together. Write down a list of questions for the doctor and take it with you — leave space to write down the doctor’s answers.
Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions. If you have a question, chances are another parent has asked that same question before!
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