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Have Questions about Feeding Your Baby During the First Year?

Have Questions about Feeding Your Baby During the First Year?

Washington Hospital Pediatrician is Offering a Free Online Health & Wellness Seminar

Making healthy feeding choices for your baby is important of course. But pediatrician Patricia Tenold, MD, will be the first to tell you that providing your baby with the proper nutrition does not have to be complicated or stressful. On June 14 at 1:30 p.m., Dr. Tenold is offering a free, online Health & Wellness seminar titled, “Feeding Your Baby During the First Year,” hosted by Washington Hospital Healthcare System (WHHS). Her hope is that the seminar will provide reassurance and helpful tips to new parents seeking guidance on nutrition and establishing healthy eating habits during their child’s first year of life.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for at least the first six months,” says Dr. Tenold, who plans on covering the benefits of breastfeeding in the seminar. From ear infections to asthma, breastfed babies have a lower risk of contracting a number of illnesses. “However, for moms that cannot make enough milk or for other reasons may choose not to breastfeed, I want them to know that baby formula can fulfill a baby’s nutritional needs in the first year.”

“For new mothers struggling with breastfeeding, seeking advice can be difficult around such a personal and intimate activity,” she continues. “I encourage my patients to take advantage of lactation support services, particularly if they do not feel they can go to a family member or close friend for guidance. Washington Hospital has a wonderful lactation support team that is available throughout the week and on weekends.” In the June 14 seminar, Dr. Tenold will review what lactation consultants offer and how to connect with their services locally.

Dr. Tenold’s presentation will include an overview of how often and how much breastmilk or formula a baby needs at different stages of growth, and when to begin introducing solid foods. “A lot of parents find the introduction of solid foods stressful because some babies take to it very well and others do not,” she says. “At the beginning, providing solid food is not so much about adding nutrition to a baby’s diet but about exploring the baby’s oral skills.”

A baby’s first foods are a personal choice for parents. Finely pureed fresh vegetables, fruits, cooked eggs and meats are all good selections. Store-bought, single-grain, iron-fortified infant cereals are another option that will support a baby’s health. However, every baby is different, so parents should not be concerned if a baby refuses some foods. It is helpful to expose a child to a wide range of flavors and textures, and to reintroduce healthy ingredients even when they may have been rejected in the past. The goal is to nurture a baby’s appetite for a variety of healthy options.

“There are many ways to introduce solid foods,” she points out. “I tell parents not to feel pressured to succeed right away. The mainstay of nutrition is still going to be breastmilk or formula throughout the first year. Parents should pick a time of day when they are relaxed and there are few distractions. It can be fun to show your baby how to explore spoons and bowls, and to test different flavors.”

Dr. Tenold is a strong proponent of families eating together. “Mealtime should be a communal activity. Family meals go a long way toward bringing families together and establishing healthy eating patterns.” She adds, “The important thing is for parents to model good eating habits starting when the baby is young. We cannot expect our children to eat vegetables if we do not do so ourselves.”

To learn more, join Dr. Tenold for “Feeding Your Baby During the First Year” on Tuesday, June 14, at 1:30 p.m. on Facebook at or Youtube at If you need further assistance to view the seminar online, visit or call 800.963.7070.