Many parents don’t realize just how complicated feeding young kids can be until they have a baby of their own. When should babies start solid foods? What are the best early foods? How do we minimize the risk of developing allergies?
These questions and many more are answered in The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies & Toddlers, a compact guidebook written by a team headed by Anthony Porto and featuring pediatricians, dietitians, a lactation consultant, and a recipe developer.
This friendly, well-written book is divided into six main sections.
The first five sections focus on particular time frames of child
development—0-3 months, 4-6 months, 7-8 months, 9-12 months, and toddlers—while
the sixth condenses many common medical concerns and questions into one
concise chapter. Each developmental section talks about the basics of
physical and cognitive development, answers some pointed questions, and
gives guidelines for how much babies are generally eating. Each also
offers a selection of recipes perfect for growing babies (or, in the
case of the first section, perfect for lactating mamas and
sleep-deprived new parents).
The first section, which focuses on the first three months, discusses
both breastfeeding and formula-feeding relatively in-depth. While the
authors make no secret of the fact that breastfeeding is the best option
when possible, they also provide plenty of unbiased, non-judgmental
information about using formula for families who need or choose to use
The second section is all about early solids, while the next few walk
parents through the various stages of purees and finger foods that
follow. While a number of readers will disagree with the book’s taciturn
acceptance of starting solids as early as at four months old, this
section and the ones following it are, overall, a well-balanced approach
to the standard method of introducing a baby to solid foods. Parents
will get advice on different stages of purees, including advice on
making them at home, and every possible question is answered, including
how to introduce them, what to look for when it comes to allergies, and
even avoiding choking.
There is solid and standard nutritional information throughout,
including nutrient guidelines and calories. Parents will love the
recipes, which include simple single foods, intriguing blends, finger
foods, and dishes for toddlers that the whole family will find
themselves enjoying. These aren’t bland foods, either; the recipes are
rich in complex flavors and spices that will get youngsters excited
about “real” foods.
The final section really tackles the biggest medical concerns. While
some of this information is discussed to varying degrees in other
sections, parents who want to know more about constipation, eosinophilic
esophagitis, reflux, celiac disease and gluten intolerance, allergies,
and more will find their answers right here. There are also growth
charts—both CDC and WHO—reference charts for avoiding allergies, and tables listing the RDAs of various nutrients for the different age groups.
There are some other elements of this book that some readers may disagree with, such as authors’ discomfort with baby-led weaning,
their advice to seek a nutritionist before raising baby on “special”
diets such as vegetarianism or paleo, and their stock-standard advice to
start baby off with grains like oatmeal or rice, which many in natural
parenting circles feel is harmful to the developing gut. Other readers
may feel that a book like this only encourages the paranoia that for
many surrounds baby feeding; introducing a baby to solids doesn’t need
to be this complicated!
Still, the fact is that most parents do have a lot of questions about how to get their baby started with “real” foods, and The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies & Toddlers does an admirable job of coming to the rescue. Readers will be reassured by the wide range of experience of the authors—all of whom are parents, too—and will enjoy the friendly tone and straightforward information. This is a practical book that many will learn a lot from.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed within are completely my own.