Your Nutrition Guide to Achieving Hormonal Harmony for Preconception

March 24, 2024

Explore our comprehensive guide and unlock the secrets to naturally balancing these essential biochemical messengers, setting the stage for a fulfilling path to parenthood.

Another health buzz term is “hormone balance”. This is something we see all over social media and hear a lot when it comes to fertility and women’s health. Hormone balance is when hormone levels and interaction are at peak performance, they are present in the right amounts in relation to each other. Hormones are chemicals that act as messengers in the body, they are produced by glands in our endocrine system, and play roles in many processes in our body including metabolism, growth and development, mood, sleep, and of course reproduction.

Hormonal balance plays a crucial role in fertility – affecting ovulation, egg quality, and overall reproductive health. When we talk about reproductive hormones, we are mainly referring to estrogen, progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and testosterone. Imbalances in these hormones can disrupt ovulation, menstrual cycles, and the ability to conceive.

There is no direct therapeutic diet to balance out these hormones, in an effort to conceive. However there are dietary strategies that can help keep your body and hormones in balance, and improve chances of conception.

What are some evidence-based dietary strategies to naturally balance hormones and optimize fertility?

Eat balanced meals focused on whole, minimally processed, foods. Including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Whole foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that will play various roles in regulating reproductive hormones and provide antioxidants to protect the reproductive cells from damage.

  • Put a spotlight on healthy fats when thinking about building your balanced meals. Foods like nuts, seeds, avocado, and fatty fish provide the healthy fats our body needs to synthesize hormones like estrogen and progesterone. This can support ovarian function and menstrual cycle regulation.
  • And highlight protein intake as well. Protein plays a key role in overall hormone synthesis and reproductive function. Additionally, protein helps maintain muscle mass. Strengthened muscle mass can help regulate hormones, in turn improve insulin sensitivity and sex hormone production. Protein sources include poultry, fish, lean red meat, eggs, low-fat dairy, legumes, and soy.
  • Sources rich in micronutrients that support balanced reproductive hormones: leafy greens, legumes, avocado, broccoli, brussel sprouts, eggs, lean red meat, eggs, nuts and seeds, fatty fish and seafood.

Maintain balanced blood sugar levels. Blood glucose levels that are consistently out of range, can lead to insulin resistance. This impact on the hormone insulin can then play a role in disrupting other hormonal functions related to reproduction. By choosing complex carbohydrates and foods high in fiber, as well as eating lean protein, and minimizing intake of refined carbohydrates and foods/drinks high in added sugar – you can promote insulin sensitivity and control blood glucose levels.

Avoid hormone balance disruptors. Known disruptors include exposure from environmental toxins like plastics, pesticides, and some personal care products. You can choose organic produce, glass or stainless steel for food storage, and natural household cleaning products.

Lastly, managing stress. Constant state of stress can take a hit on the balance of our hormones. When we are stressed our body produces a hormone called cortisol. Like a domino effect, when cortisol levels are high, this can impact the function of hormones like insulin, thyroid and reproductive hormones – disrupting metabolism, energy levels, and causing insulin resistance.

  • Manage stress by considering your day to day stress levels (micro scale) as well as the big picture impact of stress on your life (macro scale).

By adopting a wholesome diet rich in whole foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins, as well as keeping blood sugar levels maintained, and minimizing exposure to hormone disruptors, you can support optimal hormonal function and reproductive health. Focus on creating a personalized plan that slowly makes adjustments to your lifestyle overtime. 

Work with a Registered Dietitian to set realistic goals on your journey to a healthy lifestyle, emphasizing hormonal balance. To learn more about what Dining With Nature offers for infant nutrition care – take a look at our Services page.

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The Adventure of Introducing Solid Foods To Your Infant

February 14, 2024

Embark on the exciting journey of introducing flavors to your little one’s palate!

It’s a bit nerve racking to introduce solid foods to your baby. It can feel like there are a lot of unknowns – when is the best time to start? What foods should you try first? How should your baby be fed? etc.

This is an exciting time in your baby’s development that can be diminished by stress. This guide will help ease your mind so that you can enjoy this incredible stage – let’s explore introducing solid foods and ensuring a smooth transition for your baby!

What is the when, what, how of solid food introduction?

When: anywhere from 4 to 6 months of age, your baby will start showing signs of readiness for solid food. 4 months is on the earlier side, and 6 months is the recommended age by the American Academy of Pediatrics but it’s important to pay attention at the low end of the time range because every baby develops at a different rate. Signs to look for are your baby’s ability to sit up with little support, the ability to swallow, and of course their showing interest in solid food.

What: It’s commonly recommended to start with an iron-fortified baby cereal made of one grain, pureed fruits, softened vegetables, and protein sources like pureed meats, beans, and lentils. You can go for the traditional store-bought baby food, or make these yourself at home! There are many cookbooks on the market that guide new parents into making homemade nutritious baby & toddler food, that will provide the nutrients your baby needs for growth and development, as well as be safe on their immature GI system. 

  • Since you will neither be exclusively feeding your baby solids nor exclusively breastfeeding/formula-feeding, it is a good idea to also be mindful of your baby’s hydration. Allow for small sips of water during the solid food meals, from a sippy cup.
  • I also recommend reading our guide for introducing common allergenic foods.

How: start with one new food at a time. Give it some time, maybe a few days, before trying another new food. This allows for you to monitor the response to the food, allergies, or sensitivities. As your baby becomes accustomed to eating solid foods you will want to advance the texture from a puree, then to a mash, finely chopped, and end with small bite size finger food – this progression will help with oral motor development.

  • Most importantly, the atmosphere your baby eats in should be a positive one. The environment we eat in affects how the meal goes. Be sure it’s calm, sit down with your baby, offer them a diversity of foods as you incorporate more, give them textures to explore with their hands. Practice patience, and listen to your baby’s cues.
  • Avoid foods that can be a choking hazard like whole grapes, nuts, or chunks of meat. Be mindful of how much added sugar and salt are being served in the meals.

By being attuned to your baby’s cues, offering a variety of nutrient-rich foods, and maintaining a positive mealtime atmosphere, you are setting the foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating habits. Enjoy this special time with your little one as they embark on the delicious adventure of discovering new flavors and textures! To learn more about what Dining With Nature offers for infant nutrition care – take a look at our Services page.

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Protein-Packed Pregnancy: How To Meet Your Protein Needs During Pregnancy

December 7, 2023

Learn expert strategies to effortlessly meet increased protein demands for a thriving and healthy experience for both you and your baby!

When it comes to macronutrient needs during pregnancy, the focus is on protein and its increased needs during this time. Our carbohydrate and fat needs mostly remain the same as non-pregnancy. 

Protein needs can range between 75 to 100 grams per day during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy. Needs will vary based on individual factors like pre-pregnancy weight, health conditions, and physical activity level. But these high demands for protein can feel like a struggle to meet – let’s discuss!

What is protein and why do we need more during pregnancy?

Proteins are made up of amino acids, that play an essential role in our body’s function and structure, such as our hormones, enzymes, tissues and organs. 

During pregnancy, a woman’s body experiences an increased demand for protein to support the growth of the fetus, the placenta, and to help the mother’s body adapt to the changes occurring. The development of the baby’s tissues, muscles, organs, brain and central nervous system rely heavily on the mother’s protein intake. While the expanding blood volume, growth of uterus, and development of breast and uterine tissue of the mother require sufficient protein intake as well.

So how can you meet these high protein demands?

  • Know your protein sources. There are many sources of protein that are important to remember when planning your meals. Be sure to incorporate a diverse and variety of protein sources into your daily diet – to avoid becoming bored by options and ensure you are meeting your needs. Here is a short list to keep handy: lean meats, poultry, fish and seafood, eggs, dairy products, legumes, nuts, and seeds. 
    • When discussing food choices during pregnancy, we always add a quick reminder about food safety – choose reputable sources to buy your food from, clean your food before eating and cooking, and cook it well.
  • Aim for balanced meals. It’s not just about the protein source, but when planning your meals start with the protein source, and choose your whole grain/starchy vegetable, fruits or vegetables, and healthy fat that pair well with that protein. For example greek yogurt (protein) for breakfast with fruit, granola (whole grain) and nuts (healthy fat).
  • Use your snacks. Snacks are bridges to meals but they also serve as a way to help you meet your needs without having to put too much pressure on the meals. Snacks can pack a punch when it comes to nutrients and are very helpful in meeting your protein needs through food. Snack on protein-rich foods like hummus with veggies, a handful of nuts, or a boiled egg.
  • You may need protein supplements. In some cases, a doctor may recommend protein supplements to meet the increased demand. However, these should only be taken under medical supervision.

Protein is an essential nutrient during pregnancy, crucial for both the mother and the baby’s health. Meeting increased protein needs can be achieved by consuming a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of protein sources and taking necessary precautions for safety. Consulting with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian can provide personalized guidance to ensure meeting these needs safely and effectively. To learn more about what Dining With Nature offers for infant nutrition care – take a look at our Services page.



Introducing Allergenic Foods to Babies Safely: A Comprehensive Guide for Parents

October 23, 2023

Eliminate the worry and get set up with introducing common allergens to your baby!

When it’s time to start introducing solid foods to your infant, it’s normal to be concerned about potential allergens. But as a parent, you are working to create the best menu to provide optimal nutrition for the growth and development of your new baby.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore when and how to introduce allergenic foods to your baby, ensuring a well-rounded and nutritious diet that accounts for potential allergens and allows for a safe introduction.

Let’s discuss the who, what, when, where, and how of introducing potential allergenic foods to your baby.

  • What are the allergens: Most common allergenic foods for babies include: peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish. This is an important list to have handy in order to know where/when to actually be concerned. We always aim for less restriction when it comes to food and diet – therefore knowing specifically what to avoid/limit, if anything at all, allows for a more liberal diet.
  • What are the symptoms: Recognizing allergic reactions is crucial for your baby’s safety. Common allergic symptoms to watch for, including hives, swelling, and vomiting. Being aware of the symptoms is the first step in knowing how to respond in case of an allergic reaction, which is essential.
  • When: Parents often ask about the timing of introducing allergenic foods. Research suggests that earlier introduction may actually reduce the risk of allergies.
  • How: Take a low and slow approach to introducing these foods. Begin with small portions, monitor for any adverse reactions, and gradually increase the amount to build tolerance.
  • Who: Work with a pediatrician and/or dietitian. It’s strongly recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before introducing allergenic foods to your baby. We can provide personalized guidance based on your baby’s health and family history.

By following our comprehensive guide and consulting with healthcare professionals, you can ensure your baby enjoys a well-rounded and nutritious diet while minimizing the risk of allergies and worry for you. Remember to tailor your approach to your child’s specific needs because every baby is different and there is no one size fits all when it comes to introducing new foods. To learn more about what Dining With Nature offers for infant nutrition care – take a look at our Services page.



Sharing a Personal Update: Focusing on Physical Health in Difficult Times

October 10, 2023

Today is my 34th birthday. I am currently sitting on my porch in Tel Aviv, Israel writing this blog post. 

If you have been following the news, you know that war has broken out in Israel. One of the most serious and deadly in modern history. So what can a Dietitian say during wartime? In hebrew you would ask, מה הקשר? What’s the connection?

On Saturday morning October 7th, 2023, asleep in our apartment in Tel Aviv – we were woken at 7:30am by loud, blaring sirens. My roommate stormed into my room and we both jumped up and ran to our neighbor’s bomb shelter. Me, my roommate, her boyfriend and cousin who were crashing by us for the weekend, and our two neighbors crowded into the bomb shelter completely confused and bewildered. Frantically checking our phones to see what was going on. 

Saturday is Shabbat and would typically be a time of rest from using our devices but our safety was in question. We read that rockets were being shot from the Gaza strip in Israel by Hamas terrorists, into central and south Israel. And that hundreds of Hamas terrorists had infiltrated into Israel from the secured border. Within hours, we learned about hundreds of Israelis murdered, taken hostage, and missing, and that we were at war. We sat in our apartment glued to our phones and the news wanting to learn more and stay safe. Running in and out of the shelter as more sirens went off.

I was meant to fly out Saturday night to Denver, CO to be at the Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo and then out to New York a couple days later to see my family. No surprise that my flight was canceled. At first this was really difficult and emotional for me. And all I could think was Man Plans, God Laughs. But then slowly our apartment began to fill with other “Olim” (Jewish immigrants to Israel) friends in the community and we all were together comforting each other however we could. It happened to also have been our neighbor’s birthday that day (what a way to celebrate lol) and she had planned to have a nice sushi dinner out with friends. My roommate, being the incredible person that she is, wanted to make sure that she was still able to celebrate as she wanted to and made sure we got sushi delivery to our apartment that night. We all sat outside on our porch, ate sushi together. It seems like a futile, frivolous, thing in time of war but all I could think of was the importance of staying hydrated and nourished.

You can’t even begin to understand the constant state of fear, the anxiety, and running thoughts you experience in this time. What people do to cope can vastly range, and all you can do is be understanding. But one thing is true for all human bodies, we need food and water to help us even attempt to regulate. Over the last 3 days we have had the pleasure of hosting our friends for breakfast and dinners, feeding everyone healthy, nourishing homemade meals, in a relatively safe space with a nearby bomb shelter. 

Remember that many “Olim” here do not have extended family in this country, they do not have other homes to go to but their own. They have established roots with jobs, homes, partners, pets, children and families, medical needs etc. they cannot just walk away from the lives they built here in the Jewish state, nor should they have to. And they also should not feel, or be alone during this time. 

I tell my patients that when we are in a state of stress, there are 2 responses from our body. One is physiological, when we are stressed our body is releasing hormones that counteract healthy behavior. We can be doing all the healthy behaviors, but if we are stressed it’s as though it is canceled out. It is like walking up a down escalator. And 2, there is a mental barrier. When we are stressed, the last thing we want to do is cook a meal for ourselves – it seems silly and unimportant. And although making a decision like that one time may not be impactful, a decision like that many times can have a great impact on our health. That is why it is so imperative to do our best to find ways to be calm and manage the stress. 

Watching everyone helping to prepare these meals and then sitting down to eat the meal together, like a family, on our porch, has been one of the most comforting things to me. I feel helpless, sitting here mere miles from the homefronts, not able to be of service. Ensuring that people are caring for their physical health when mental health is struggling means everything to me. 

I hope that in the coming days and weeks, we see peace and an end to the violence. I hope we see more lives saved and comfort for those who have lost loved ones. In the meantime, take care of yourself – find support from others, take mental health breaks, and cook yourself a really yummy dinner.



Folate Fundamentals: Understanding Nutritional Needs of Vitamin B9 and Its Role in Pregnancy

September 21, 2023

Uncover the crucial role of folate in a healthy pregnancy and explore why optimizing folate intake is essential for expectant mothers. 

Getting deep into individual micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) is not the best approach to nutrition care. Food is complex. The body is complex. And to zero in on one nutrient does a disservice to you and your health. But in the case of folate during pregnancy, it’s important to highlight the need for this vitamin and why. 

Let’s delve into what folate is, explore its nutritional needs, and discuss its significance during pregnancy.

Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is one of the water-soluble vitamins that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions. It’s especially important during pregnancy due to its role in preventing birth defects and supporting maternal health.

Starting in our teen and adult years, we need 400 micrograms of folate per day. And during pregnancy this is increased to 600-800 micrograms per day, this is due to the additional demands of your developing fetus. 

As a result, most healthcare providers will recommend that people who are pregnant take a prenatal supplement in addition to a well-balanced diet rich in sources of folate. B9 is found in foods like greens (spinach and kale), legumes (lentils and chickpeas), citrus fruits, fortified cereals, and avocado.

So what is the significance of folate during pregnancy?

  • Folate is vital to the synthesis and repair of our DNA, and as a result is necessary for cell division and growth. This aids normal tissue growth during your pregnancy to optimize maternal health.
  • Folate supports the production of red blood cells, who are our transporters for oxygen throughout the body. This function helps you in the prevention of anemia during pregnancy.
  • And most significantly, folate is vital for the proper development of the neural tube, which eventually becomes the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Insufficient folate during this period can lead to neural tube defects like spina bifida.

Meeting folate nutritional needs, especially during pregnancy, is essential for both maternal and fetal health. It’s recommended to work with a healthcare provider like a Dietitian to help guide you in meeting your folate needs. Dietitians can provide personalized guidance based on your individual health and pregnancy circumstances – both in terms of diet and supplementation. To learn more about what Dining With Nature offers – take a look at our Services page.



Nutrition Strategies for a Healthy Pregnancy with Gestational Diabetes

September 13, 2023

Discover effective gestational diabetes nutrition strategies and management tips, helping you ensure a healthy pregnancy and optimal outcomes!

There are health conditions that impact women specifically during pregnancy. One of the more common ones is gestational diabetes (GDM). GDM is characterized by high blood sugar levels due to the body not producing enough insulin to meet the increased demands during pregnancy.

Doctors will screen for GDM at the 24-28 weeks mark of pregnancy, and if diagnosed, it is important to seek the care of a Dietitian for support in managing the condition and avoid further complications. Proper nutrition management will directly work to manage blood sugar levels to significantly improve outcomes for both you and your baby.

General nutrition requirements are similar to those during pregnancy. Energy needs, carbohydrate, protein, and fat requirements all stay the same with a focus more on the quality and distribution of meals. Let’s discuss nutrition strategies for GDM:

  • Monitoring blood glucose levels. With any type of diabetes, the goal is to maintain your blood sugar levels to avoid having super highs and super lows, frequently in the day. Take time to monitor your blood glucose levels as recommended by your doctor, keep a journal to track what you ate and how your levels responded. Start noticing patterns and how your body reacts to different foods and meals so you can best manage.
  • Food Choices & Diet Quality. Keeping your blood glucose within range and preventing any spikes & crashes, requires focusing on eating balanced meals to allow for a slower digestion process. Balanced meals include:
    • Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains like brown rice, beans and legumes like lentils, and/or starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes. Also focus on reducing intake of foods/drinks high in refined sugar.
    • Foods rich in fiber like whole grains, legumes, fruits & vegetables. Fiber works to slow down the digestion process and with that is able to prevent major spikes in blood sugar levels, and keep you feeling fuller longer.
    • Healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds are an essential part of the diet during pregnancy, providing important nutrients. They are also beneficial to our blood sugar levels after a meal.
    • And lastly, your meal should always include a lean protein like poultry, fish, tofu, or legumes. In addition to being helpful in managing blood sugar levels, protein will keep you feeling satisfied and provide essential nutrition during pregnancy.
  • Daily Meal Pattern. Another important element of managing your blood glucose levels is not only what you eat but how much and when. Create a meal schedule that works for you, aim to spread your meals out throughout the day – avoid extreme hunger or extreme fullness. Use your plate as a guide for how much to eat each meal. Consider using measuring cups and food scales too.
  • Physical activity. Aim to include pregnancy-safe movement into your daily routine. Avoid too much sedentary time and focus on light movement after meals as a way to help control blood sugar levels. **Speak to your doctor about what is safe/allowed for you during this time**

Having to manage a condition like GDM on top of being pregnant, can be challenging.  But with support and guidance from a Dietitian, as well as other healthcare professionals, you can create a personalized plan that works for you and properly manage and monitor your progress.

By making informed food choices, staying active, and following your healthcare provider’s guidance, you can optimize your health and the health of your baby. To learn more about what Dining With Nature offers – take a look at our Services page.



A Parent’s Nutrition Guide for the Preschool Years

August 1, 2023

As your child ages from a toddler to a young child, food and nutrition goes through many phases in their lives in just these few years. Use this guide to help you as you work with your child to develop their eating habits for life!

Co-author: YeaJin Kim 

I am personally so glad we stopped using the term “terrible twos”. These are actually some of the best years! Watching your child go through the rapid growth and development of ages 2 to 5 can be really fun and exciting. As they discover themselves and the world around them, and especially as they explore their eating habits and what activities they enjoy. 

Navigating the nutritional needs of your children at this age is dependent on your child’s preferences, their developing skills – motor and cognitive, as well as how they learn to communicate with you. 

Check out our nutrition guide below of what to keep in mind during these years. 

  • Cultivating environment. Where, when and how are just as important to a child’s eating as is the what. You can develop healthy eating habits in your child by focusing on:
    • 1) where they eat – at a table, minimal screens and with family
    • 2) when they eat – at designated meal and snack times, as in with boundaries, so they understand they are not always eating,
    • and 3) how they eat – with the proper utensils and table manners. 
    • And as a bonus – 4) with an understanding of what they are eating – discussing what the meal is and probing them to share their thoughts and opinions.
  • Quality of diet. The habits your child builds now when it comes to food will be impactful on them in their later years. Take this time to introduce them to a wide variety of whole foods – grains (e.g., wheat, rice, oats), colorful vegetables, fruits (fresh or frozen), low-fat dairy, and protein sources like lean meat, fish, nuts, seeds, peas, and beans. Be mindful of their intake, likes and dislikes, and prepare the food to meet their developmental age.
  • Avoid ultra-processed and high calorie foods. These are the years where your child is developing their taste preferences and the more exposure they have to a variety of whole, natural ingredients, will give them a better foundation for healthy eating as adults. Serving large amounts of energy dense, nutrient-poor foods such as soda and candy, can hinder this process. Educate your children about the importance of including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to all their meals. And be mindful to teach them that ultra-processed foods are rare treats.
  • Meeting their needs. Children are always in growth mode – some stages are more rapid than others. As a result keeping up with their micronutrient needs is essential. Focus on vitamins and minerals such as calcium (found in dairy & fortified products), vitamin B12 and iron (found in animal products), vitamin D (fortified dairy and eggs, and exposure to sun), zinc (meat and fish), and fiber (fruits, veggies, and complex carbs).

And lastly, don’t overlook the importance of how you talk about food and eating with your children at this age – not labeling food as “good” or “bad” rather using appropriate, open-minded language, encouraging them to express their preferences and hunger/fullness levels.

By creating a relaxed mealtime environment, offering a balanced and varied diet, being mindful of diet quality, and monitoring nutrient intake, during the preschool years – you can have a lifelong impact on your child’s eating habits and their overall health.

This is a learning process for you as a parent and for your child, don’t hesitate to seek out help and support during this period of dietary transitions. To learn more about what Dining With Nature offers for working with this population  – take a look at our Services page.



Year 1: What to Know About Your Baby’s Nutrition

June 21, 2023

Caring for an infant can be summed up as sleep, change, and feed. Since feeding is a top 3 task, let’s discuss what you should know about feeding your newborn infant 

Co-author: YeaJin Kim 

One of the first bonding experiences between Mom and Baby is feeding. It is emotionally rewarding but can be overwhelming. Your child relies on you throughout their childhood to feed them properly and in pace with their growth and development. 

Throughout the first year of life your baby will be rapidly growing and changing. An infant should double their birth weight by the time they reach 4 to 6 months of age, and triple it by 1 year. And with this rapid growth, their diet and method of feeding will also go through frequent shifts and transitions.

What should you know about feeding your newborn infant in year 1? 

If this is your first time caring for a newborn baby, it can be even more overwhelming to know where to begin. To provide you with some guidance, this blog post will focus on the general nutrition needs for infants aged between 0 and 1 year old.

  • Choose a feeding method. According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, exclusive breastfeeding is the recommended method of feeding for the first 6 months. However, do your research and decide what is best for you, your lifestyle, your family, etc. before choosing whether you will breastfeed or bottle feed your infant. This is not always the easiest decision and is also something worth taking the time to investigate before finalizing. See our latest post on The Ins and Outs of Nutrition & Breastfeeding.
  • If you opt for formula feeding, it is recommended to select an iron-fortified formula. Babies’ iron stores can vary based on maternal stores during pregnancy. And either way, after the first 4 months your baby’s iron levels will likely decline as a normal part of the growing process. 
  • Supplementation. Infants in the first year of life may need supplemented vitamins and minerals, depending on their situation and what method they are fed. Speak with your pediatrician about any supplement needs for your baby. It is common for babies to need vitamin D and iron supplementation during this time.
  • Introducing solid food. Anywhere from around 4-6 months your baby will start showing signs of ability to eat solid foods, and by 6 months for sure you will begin introducing complementary foods to your infant as you slowly wean them off breast or bottle feeding. You may try foods such as plain and strained, or pureed, baby food, vegetables like soft carrots or broccoli and cooked sweet potatoes, and over time start adding in fruit such as mashed apple or avocado
  • Foods to avoid. As your infant is still young and developing there are foods that may be difficult for them to eat such as stringy, sticky, or hard foods – including candy, marshmallows, hot dogs, nuts or popcorn. Also avoid slippery foods that are choking hazards such as uncut grapes. And for food safety purposes, it is advised that you not feed your baby honey or raw/partially cooked eggs and meat. Additionally, parents should consider a diet low in sodium, saturated fat, and ultra-processed food for their infant.
  • On a separate note, you may learn at this stage that your child has certain food allergies or intolerances, please speak with your pediatrician about this. And lookout for an upcoming post about managing food allergies in the home!
  • Cow’s milk. Lastly, it’s recommended to avoid serving cow’s milk to your infant in the first year. However, dairy products are OK. Cow’s milk lacks several essential nutrients required for infant growth and can burden the baby’s digestive system. Additionally, cow’s milk is a poor source of iron and can lead to anemia.

And that’s just the summary!

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or worry about whether your baby is eating enough. You can assess your baby’s nutritional status by monitoring their growth and development, by keeping up with their scheduled pediatrician appointments as well as working with a Dietitian during this time.  To learn more about what Dining With Nature offers – take a look at our Services page.



The Ins and Outs of Nutrition & Breastfeeding

May 25, 2023

Every stage of reproduction from prenatal to postpartum comes with nutrition implications for Moms, and when breastfeeding there’s more!

If you choose to breastfeed your baby there are other nutrition and health implications to be aware of. The decision to breastfeed is not an easy choice to make, but there are numerous health benefits to you and your baby that you can expect if you do. Babies will have reduced risk of infectious disease, reduced risk of asthma, obesity, diabetes, and crohn’s, and will promote mom and baby bonding. Mothers will have a reduced risk of breast and ovary cancer, reduced bleeding after childbirth, aids in weight loss post pregnancy, and reduces risk of diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

And that’s just to name a few! 

So with that being said, for the Moms that choose to breastfeed – what else should you keep in mind during your postpartum time?

  • Energy needs. During pregnancy your energy needs increase slightly – and during breastfeeding they also stay slightly elevated. An additional meal or snack per day, is about the amount you need to reach your needs. At the 1 year mark, as you have probably almost completely weaned your baby, is when your energy needs are going to reduce. Seeing a Dietitian during this time is a great resource for managing energy needs, and/or using a tracking app to help keep you balanced – eating what you need, not more or less.
  • Vitamins and Minerals. The important part of every stage of reproduction. After pregnancy, is a time to replenish your stores, whether breastfeeding or not. But in postpartum with breastfeeding, it’s important to think about replenishing your stores as well as the nutrients that will get passed to your baby such as vitamin D, vitamin B12, and iodine. More specifics to come on this in future posts, including food sources!
  • Stay hydrated. You will get thirsty while breastfeeding. And especially during the warmer months of the year, it’s imperative to be aware of your hydration levels both for your ability to breastfeed, as well as for your energy levels. Keep a water bottle handy, try using one that is insulated so the water stays at a temperature you like. Also sugar-free homemade popsicles or a nice fruit salad can be hydrating too! 
  • Physical activity. There is no reason why you should not be able to resume an exercise routine after your baby is born, even if you are breastfeeding. Starting with simple low intensity exercise, like taking walks or a stretch routine. Just as with pregnancy, be sure to choose postpartum safe exercises and speak to your doctor before starting any intense exercise routine.

Bonus: What to know about Nutrition & Milk Production 

Important health factors to keep in mind during the breastfeeding process:

Supply of breast milk is determined by the needs of the baby. The baby’s needs, in turn, are determined by the baby’s age and weight, and their health and nutrition status. Mother’s may experience low milk production from issues such as illness or fatigue. They may see slow milk flow if they are stressed or anxious. Milk may also be affected by the infant. If the baby has increased energy needs, or a low net consumption due to conditions such as malabsorption from allergies or gut issues, or low general consumption from incomplete emptying or being fatigued. 

There is a lot to manage when it comes to breastfeeding, and it’s a good idea to seek support from a Dietitian and a Lactation Consultant to guide you during this time. To learn more about what Dining With Nature offers – take a look at our Services page.