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Feeding 411! Preventing ‘Picky Eater-itis’

by |  April 3rd, 2014
i am full sorryBefore jumping into your latest baby feeding questions, we posted an important Rule To Remember in our blog from last week (Feeding 411! Chewing, Swallowing: Baby’s Intro To Solid Food) that’s worth mentioning again…

Rule #1 Introducing solids foods to your baby is a process. Have patience. Babies have been learning how to eat food for generations and they don’t really need much help from us to accomplish it!

Now to the questions…

If my daughter rejects something does that mean she doesn’t like it?

Babies and toddlers often reject food. It might be the taste or the texture. Feeding is a process and it will take time to figure out likes and dislikes. Offer foods in a very low key way (patience!!) which means don’t pressure your child to eat something as it will always backfire. Keep offering her the food and let her decide if she wants to try it, and like it. On average, it takes 7 attempts at one food before a child accepts it.

Preventing the Picky Eater Toddler. After years of watching my baby patients grow up into picky eater toddlers, I can tell you that those who acquire a taste for mom and dad’s cooking early on eat a wider range of healthy foods in their toddler and pre-school years. If you’re a couple who ordered out frequently during your pre-pregnancy days, now is time to make changes in your food lifestyle. Remember, it takes a family to eat healthy.

It’ll also help your sanity if you don’t have to cook two meals.

Ari Brown, MD

Have a question? Ask us on Facebook or Twitter (@411Pediatrics).

April 24, 2014
Category: Pregnancy

Oh, how the beloved PB&J seems to ignite so much controversy!

Consuming peanut products is a common question I get from pregnant or breastfeeding patients. It’s understandable—parents are concerned about potential food allergies, which have been rising over the last decade and can be scary and life threatening if their child is diagnosed with one.

At one time it was thought that to prevent food allergies, mom should abstain from eating the allergen. But study data has put this myth to rest. (Click herefor a past blog on the topic.)Bottom line…it is OK to eat peanuts.


In fact, recent research says that early exposure to allergenic foods like peanuts is safe, and may even decrease the risk of developing a peanut allergy.

So go ahead and enjoy that PB&J!

Ari Brown, MD

Have a question? Ask us on Facebook or Twitter (@411Pediatrics).

April 23, 2014
Category: Parenting
Tags: Babies   Parenting   Dr. Ari Brown   Toddlers   Feeding

Feeding babies and toddlers can be stressful for parents. Kids are fidgety, throw or spit up their food, refuse to eat, cry, make faces—creating a fun mealtime environment of high blood pressure!

Let’s face it, we all worry…is my baby getting enough nutrients? Is she swallowing correctly? How do I keep her from becoming a picky eater? The anxiety is endless (!!) which is why we get so many questions on the topic.

Rule #1Before we jump in, remember that babies have been learning how to eat food for generations and they don’t really need much help from us to accomplish it! Patiencewill be a theme in many of our answers.

How do I teach my toddler to gum her food before she swallows?

You don’t teach her, she’ll learn on her own.

As babies mature, their mouth and tongue muscles also mature. They figure out on their own how to move food around in their mouths and then swallow it. Babies don’t need teeth to bite into food—they can gum just about anything (just like the old folks who take their dentures out at dinner time!). The process evolves over time with practice…so be patient. At this stage your job is to give your baby time and opportunity to practice.

How can I get my son to eat stuff like chicken when he has no teeth?

You can make it easier for your son by starting with softer, mashed or shredded food items. Foods like chicken salad or shredded meat are easier for your son to move around in his mouth and swallow. He doesn’t need teeth to break it down just make sure to start with small pieces.

Ari Brown, MD

Have a question? Ask us on Facebook or Twitter (@411Pediatrics).

April 22, 2014
Category: Medical

Cholesterol is something that only middle-aged adults need to worry about, right? Not so.

Screenings are now recommended for kids 9-11 years of age per the American Academy of Pediatrics updated well-child guidelines.

Why? Because high cholesterol among kids is a growing issue and getting a head start before your children become teenagers, may reduce heart, cardiovascular or other health issues down the road. And we all know that heart disease is a big issue for us older folks.

And, having high cholesterol can be in a child’s genes. Identifying children at risk at an early age can make a big difference down the road.

Skeptic? It’s in the Numbers

The new screening recommendations have their share of skeptics, many of whom say it’s just too young for kids to be tested for what is largely an adult health issue. But a recent studyprovides good reason to get the screening.

Based on a review of 13,000 pediatric charts of preteens in Texas, it was found that 1 in 3 had borderline or high cholesterol. Wow. These kids have no idea what clogged arteries mean yet they are showing early signs that may lead to just that.

While it’s true that obese children in the study were more likely to have high cholesterol, many normal weight children showed worrying levels, too.

Little Changes

No, your child probably won’t need to start Lipitor, or any other cholesterol lowering drug. Rather, if your child has high cholesterol, your doc may simply want to monitor it or recommend some lifestyle tweaks—more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats.

And if mom and dad have high cholesterol too, well, a few healthier changes will help everyone in the family. Living healthy takes a team.

Ari Brown, MD

Have a question? Ask us on Facebook or Twitter (@411Pediatrics).

411 Pediatrics


Dr. Ari Brown founded 411 Pediatrics and After Hours Care in Austin after two decades of education and experience in child development, behavioral pediatrics and pediatric healthcare. Our pediatric associates, consisting of pediatricians, pediatric nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and lactation consultants, share a common goal. We partner with parents to help children grow up healthy, happy, and resilient!

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