If I could turn back time, here are five ways I would feed my kids differently.
If I could go back in time to when my kids were babies, I'd change a few things. I'd give cloth diapers a whirl. I'd invest in one of those fancy video baby monitors. And I'd accept every single offer of help instead of insisting that I could do it all.
I'd also change a few things about the way I fed my kids when they were babies and toddlers:
I'd skip rice cereal. When my boys were born, feeding advice was still pretty conservative. We were told to start with rice cereal, progress to green veggies, introduce fruit, then offer pureed meats last. A lot has changed since then! Now, I would opt for whole-grain baby cereal (like oatmeal) instead of rice and not fret about following any kind of prescribed order.
I'd try baby-led weaning. In all fairness, baby-led weaning wasn't really a "thing" back when I had my babies—or at least it wasn't talked about in mainstream media. Baby-led weaning—which involves passing over purees and letting babies have wedges of soft food to gnaw on instead—gives babies more control over how much they eat and may help raise more adventurous eaters in the long run.
I'd feed them foods I don't like. As a child, I was an extremely picky eater. I've come a long way as an adult, but there are still foods I'm wary of—like fresh tomatoes. When my kids were babies and toddlers, I tried to incorporate foods I disliked into their meals and snacks, determined not to repeat the cycle. But I admit, I got lazy. And now neither of my kids likes fresh tomatoes, and they don't eat other foods I don't like either, such as eggplant and baked beans.
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I'd give them more spice. My younger son's tongue goes up in flames with only a few flecks of black pepper (or at least that's what he says). So unless I want him to forego dinner every night, I have to season our food separately from his. I wish I had more heavily seasoned my kids' foods from an earlier age so they'd be used to a bit more spice.
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I'd schedule snacks. My younger son is a snacking fiend, always has been, and it took me a while to put some structure around it. For instance, he would routinely fill up on snacks before dinner before I figured out a solution that worked. If I could go back, I'd rein in snacking much sooner.
Would YOU change anything about how you fed your kids?
Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, educator, and mom of two who blogs at Real Mom Nutrition. You can follow her on Facebook Twitter Pinterest, and Instagram. She collaborated with Cooking Light on Dinnertime Survival Guide, a cookbook for busy families. In her spare time, she loads and unloads the dishwasher. Then loads it again.