Special Diets and Picky Eaters


It is important that you introduce new foods to baby’s diet slowly so you can check for allergies along the way. Wait a few days before introducing each new item.

Keep an eye out for evidence that your baby is allergic. Clues include:

  • Continual fussiness post feeding
  • Crying
  • Obvious discomfort
  • Excessive gas
  • A red ring around the rectum that a zinc oxide preparation doesn’t help
  • Unusual stool
  • Excessive spit up
  • Eczema
  • Hives
  • Swelling
  • Trouble Breathing

If any of these occur, speak with your baby’s doctor about changing baby’s diet.

These symptoms will show up within two hours of baby ingesting the allergen. Some allergies can be life threatening, so do not hesitate calling your doctor. Swelling of the face, lips or area around the eyes can be deadly, or if your baby begins vomiting severely or has diarrhea after eating, call 911 or your local emergency number right away.

There are even certain food allergies that won’t show up the first time, or even the first few times baby eats the item. Always watch for changes – symptoms may arrive later, especially if they are inherited.

Vegetarian/Vegan vs. Meat- and Dairy-Eating children

Many children these days end up on vegan diets due to allergies and food sensitivities or by the parents’ choice. If you make the decision to feed your child an exclusively vegan or vegetarian diet, the first thing you’ll want to do is speak with your doctor. Though both a vegan or vegetarian diet can give your child all the nutrition and vitamins of a non-vegetarian child’s diet, it will not be as easy.

By eliminating certain food groups like meat, milk or dairy, you’ll need to make sure they are receiving the proteins, calcium, iron and other nutrients their new diets may lack. Even vegan babies have a recommended 6-month diet of breast milk alone, but things get tricky as solids are introduced. Tofu, beans, healthy fats and calcium-rich vegetables will all be important. You may even want to see a nutritionist to make sure baby isn’t missing out on anything she needs to grow. Soy milk and rice milk can both be good substitutes for cow’s milk, but baby may need to take supplemental vitamins such as D and B12 as well.

Vegan and vegetarian babies can develop into healthy kids just as their friends with non-restrictive diets do, though some studies have shown that vegan babies may grow slower. The best way to assure your child achieves the ideal rate of growth is to guarantee they consume adequate calories, meat-eating or not.

Organic vs. non-organic foods

Buying organic means limiting the amount of chemicals you feed your family. Consult your doctor if you’re thinking about incorporating organic foods into your family’s diet.

If you do decide organic is the right choice for your family, do research on the products you buy, as even eggs can be organic. Look for packaging that says 100% Organic or has a USDA Organic sticker. Even a package that reads “Made with organic ingredients” can be 70% organic. Organic foods may cost you more money, but ultimately they are safer choices for your family.

How to get your fussy child to eat

Some mothers sing songs, others do dances, but sometimes the best thing to do with a picky eater is just keep trying, providing your baby with a wide variety of healthy foods and reintroducing ones previously rejected. If a baby is hungry, he will eventually eat what is in front of him, but most children won’t try new foods until they’ve been introduced a few times. Here are a few tips if you feel like you’re just trying again and again and again:

  • Introduce new foods one at a time.
  • Take all distractions away from the eating area.
  • Offer one thing your child likes with each new food he or she has struggled with.
  • Use portions appropriate for your child – very little pieces for very little ones.
  • Accept that there may simply be some foods your child will never like. Don’t stress about it.
  • Try to boost the nutritional value of the foods your tot already loves.
  • Don’t give in and offer sugary foods as bribes.

Preventing Obesity

There are many theories about what leads to childhood obesity and obesity later in life. Some think starting solids too soon may be the culprit. Theories include too much sugar, eating the wrong fats, overly enriched formulas, an unbalanced diet or simply a baby not getting enough sleep.

Any or all of these could be true, but here are the most reliable things you can do to prevent obesity:

  • Exercise during pregnancy, specifically aerobic activity
  • Try to keep a healthy diet during pregnancy, despite cravings
  • Don’t smoke during pregnancy (though we often associate this with the premature birth of low-weight infants, it can have the opposite effect as baby grows up)
  • Make sure baby gets enough sleep
  • Wait to start solids until baby is 4-6 months old and you have checked with baby’s doctor
  • Breastfeed for at least 6 months; continue to a year if possible
  • Keep a calm household
  • Limit bottles at bedtime
  • Watch baby’s sugar intake, especially with juice
  • As baby gets older, make sure she is getting enough exercise

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23 thoughts on “Baby Feeding Guide: From breast- to bottle-feeding to first solids

  1. amanda says:

    Why did you omit breastfeeding from 24+ months? Children naturally wean at 2-7 years. Breastmilk doesn’t lose it’s nutritional value at 24 months.
    Not to mention the other crap about rice cereal and juice. Rice is not digested properly and nutritionally void. If a child gets proper amounts of fresh produce why give them unnecessary sugar in juice?
    Your list is ridiculous, and shame on you for leaving out breastmilk, and adding in so many obesity-related foods.

  2. Taylor says:

    Breast feeding should be omitted after 24 months. Whoever is still feast feeding after 18 months needs help. If you still have your child weaning at 24 months stop it. It’s not recommended or encouraged. However, in regards to the rice, why do you think it’s such a small portion. In addition, the juice is to be mixed with water to take away from the sugar intake.shame on you for wanting to breast feed a child for so long. It can interfere with your child’s teeth.

  3. Amanda says:

    Taylor what an ignorant comment! Breastfeeding past 24 months is healthy and natural and not unhealthy for teeth in anyway. They’re called milk teeth for a reason! Juice (in any amount) on the other hand is HORRIBLE for teeth.

  4. Jill says:

    I agree with Taylor, if you breastfeeding past 24 month you have issues. Don’t criticize others unless you are willing to be criticized. I am on my 3rd child and my oldest is 9 and is much healthier that the other 2 that were breastfed. Breastfeeding is not the end all be all of child/baby nutrition.

  5. sweetu tabbu says:

    I m totally agree with taylor.ur food chart is parfect for every babies.thnks a lot.

  6. Ify says:

    Ok ladies, breast feeding btw 2-7 is just wrong. @Amanda, how would one coordinate herself to breast-feed a child that old? I suggest to cut the apron string while you still can. Breast milk is great for babies, I agree. But it’s not the ultimate food for toddlers

  7. Sarma says:

    Although I am a firm believer in “live and let live”, I have to throw in my two cents. Breastfeeding up to the age of 7 is absolutely not normal or natural. You are not benefiting your child’s health by breastfeeding beyond 2 years of age. I am a dental hygienist, and they are called primary teeth, “milk teeth” is old wives slang. To be honest the “old wives” would roll over in their graves at the thought of breastfeeding a child to the age of seven! Juice in and of itself is not harmful to the child’s teeth, high frequency exposure and improper home care cause cavities! Milk, juice and even breastmilk can cause a cavity the same way.
    To shame the author for providing information about balanced nutrition is out of line. There is a very broad spectrum of what the general public understands about nutrition, although rudimentary to some, the information in this guide is invaluable to others.

  8. Jenn says:

    At Amanda I totally agree wuth you.Americans are the ignorant ones. Look at Europe , they believe in breastfeeding till 3-7 yrs. And its an acceptable thing there. They are more about family. And their children are smarter then American children . I’m in total belief its due to breastfeeding . I’m on my fith child. The oldest 12 and my youngest 2 4 months. I breastfed them till they were 3. They’ve never had an ear infection . Never any serious illnesses . Normal colds and flu bugs. But only when they started school. They are very smart. My 12 yr old has been on high honor every year. My 8yr old is excelled in math.. And I 100percent owe it to breastfeeding . They don’t have major cavities either . IF. you wash babies gums they’ll be fine. The problem with America is the think that breast are a sexual thing and get grossed out when babies due what’s natural and intended for them to do. Breasts were not given to women to please others they were given to nourish ones child, andd if you believe anything else you are the ignorant one and need you head examined !!!

  9. Laurie says:

    Not EVERY food list is PERFECT for EVERY child. Breasfeeding “is” natural and if possible for mother and child the PERFECT food. I breastfed my middle child till 19 1/2 months. Great in school and particularly healthy. Youngest child I breastfed till 3 years and 10 days. He is in gifted and talented classes at school, excellent at math and has been since he was little. They both are creative and still healthy. Americans are “afraid” to breastfeed. I contribute a LOT of their intelligence to the breastfeeding. Compared to other countries, we are behind. I gave what I could to my kids to set them ahead. One mother should not criticize another mother ~ it is not easy!!!! You have to be dedicated and sometimes, it just doesn’t happen. But if you can do it ~ it is wonderful :-) Promote Positiveness <3

  10. Faosiyat says:

    It very good to breastfeed I agreed!but,i don’t understand one thing ooo is it only breastfeed for 2 years or with fomula inaddition?please

  11. andrea says:

    at the end o the day we are all given the blessing if raising these little ones to grow to be healthy and strong and to feel safe and loved who are we to judge one anothers ability to do so if you feel nursing till 6 is in your childs best interest that thankfully is your and i would hope at that age your child decision to make we as mothers should be encouraging eachother parenting is hard enough without judgement being passed i have seven children and i thank the lord every day that despite all of my shortcomings they all turn out okay good luck to you all and just enjoy the ride years from this stage this will all seem so irrelavant

  12. Becca says:

    Europeans are smarter than Americans ? Wow that was insulting how rude leave America since everyone’s so much smarter everywhere else anyways I have breastfeed all my kids but beyond 2 ? that’s really weird and bad for ur child’s self esteem you know kids start getting made fun of once they start school and my kids are very smart btw & I stopped breastfeeding once they turned one and about the teeth thing my. Hubby was formula fed and is almost 30 and has not have had one cavity the dentist said he has perfect teeth but that’s ur decision ur gonna do what ur gonna do just please don’t insult the people in this country that I love very much

  13. WOW says:

    The ignorance of these comments is horrible, but Taylors is the worst!

  14. Beth says:

    you guys are just looking at the health benefits of breastfeeding a child that old, even though there really are none. What about the psychological issues that a child gets from remembering about sucking on their own mothers breast? I have a friend that is traumatized by the fact she can remember breastfeeding off her mother at the age of 2. She didn’t even bf her own baby because of it. I think it is creepy. I am currently bf my 4 month old and plan to stop long before he will remember that it happened.
    Also just because your children excel in school probably doesn’t have anything to do with the milk.. did you ever just stop to consider you have good kids?

  15. Sam says:

    Bf after 2 years should be considered child abuse. You leave emotional scars when your child remembers sucking on your breast. I have a friend that remembers bf. She gave her baby formula because of it. Its probably more dangerous for little boys, i would be fully creeped out if my husband told me he remembered sucking on his mother. I am currently bf my 4 month old son and plan on stopping a little after 1 year. I would definitely be creeped out if as an adult he told me he remembered.

  16. Nazr Yani says:

    What should i do for my son who suddenly drops his appetite from drinking quite a num of bottles per day to 2-3 bottles perday and from eating three meals per day to one meal per day.. sometimes none…

  17. purplishkei says:

    Sam, Beth and Taylor? On what earth were you born in? Child abuse? Creepy? Oh lord, the people in this world. I knew sexuality was a major taboo, but so far as to Bf being considered child abuse or molestation ? This is beyond reasoning and logic. A breast in a woman’s anatomy is there to produce milk just as rhe uterus is there to carry a baby. I am beyond disgust at these remarks of bf trauma. Omg as if a mother bf for sexual pleasure or influence of sexual orientation confusion? What in. The world is wrong with you three? Lord enlighten these people’s ignorance and bless them with reasoning . Btw I’ve done fm and bm.

  18. Kunle says:


  19. Ryan says:

    I was bottle fed my whole life. I had perfect ACT and have a doctorate in biomechanical engineering. It has nothing to do with breastfeeding. My newborn is 100% bottle fed and the doctors are amazed at her development at 8 weeks.

  20. jasiya says:

    U guys hav wrong concepts, breast feeding is nt ultimate source of nutrition after 2 yrs…it helps immunity….wts ths crap babies vl be intelligent, smater, u give balanced diet to ur child….thy vl be absolutely healthy

  21. hannah says:

    Regardless of the breastfeeding issues being focused on here, this list isn’t reliable. For a 12+ month old baby you have them set for 3 servings of fruit and only 2 servings of vegetables. At no stage in life is it recommended to consume more fruit than vegetables. I notice that this disparity is corrected in the 24+ month section, but frankly at that age their vegetable intake should be HIGHER than their fruit intake.

  22. Jennifer says:

    Some of these comments are unbelievable. Jenn- you’ re comments are extremely offensive. People who think their children are smarter purely because of breast milk doesn’t make sense- correlation does not equal causation- usually there is a 3rd factor involved. Europeans are smarter than Americans- really? Is that we are one of the worlds leading nations? And what is your research to prove that they are smarter? There is no standardized test that crosses nationalities. Also, do you really think all Americans are “grossed” out by breastfeeding? We do not all look at them as purely sexual. Have you asked all Americans? taken a poll? You are completely ignorant!

  23. amy says:

    You are very rude and your comments are completely invalid my dear. It is in bad taste to criticize based on place of origin. I am not even an American and your comments offend me! And breast feeding isn’t for everyone! I was unable to breast feed my son and he is perfectly healthy!

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