Eatting healthy can be intimidating and over whemling, like a ridiculous science… some days it feels like I’m sitting in school again, with equations swimming in my head like, 2 T of spinach contains 1,800 I.U. of Vitamin A, & my baby needs about 1,500… So okay, that’s good… Now what about if I give her kale later? What if she doesn’t like spinach? What if I give her sweet potatoes… okay that’s 3,610 of Vitamin A…
If you are interested in getting the specific I.U. breakdowns of foods there are many sources for this. One great source is a book I used when making my daughter’s food as a baby & as she grows into a little girl: Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron. (Overall a great book, but it is by no means perfect though as I don’t agree with some of the adivce given in the book about feeding times, portion sizes, & some of her thrifty advice.) When I read this I tried to do it perfectly, but then I realized that learning the vitamin content of food allowed me to make my own recipes that provided excellent balanced nutrition. I learned that I didn’t have to count I.U.s or daily percent values, I just kept in mind which foods were high in what or contained what, and cooked!
Now, I say this from experience though: remember, if you do take into account the exact amount of each vitamin from each morsle of food the stress it causes you is not good for you or your baby (even after you’re pregnant that sentence works because when we’re stressed we have less patience, less happiness, and less affection to give to our baby).
If you are breastfeeding, which is the best thing you can do for your baby & your toddler, you can rest assured that she is getting nearly everything she needs nutrition wise. Our bodies work together, mother’s and child‘s, to give her the vitamins you’ve taken in so when you add up that she’s had her exact amount of vitamin A, K, B6…etc… you haven’t taken into account her breast milk portions. And how do we keep track of that? Well, we just can’t. And it’s a good thing too, because if we could we just might and then our heads just might explode, haha. =)
So the best advice I can give is to read what foods are good sources of each vitamin and give your baby more of these healthy sources. Additionally, you can follow the recipes I’ll be periodically posting up here on the site which give you nutritional information at the end of each, listing what vitamins are in the meal and coming from what sources. It is a good idea to be aware of what vitamins are in what you’re giving her to be sure that she gets her conrocopia of vitamins and not just Bs and As every day for example (or none if everything’s canned or processed).
While giving a baby vitamins is a good healthy decision, it must be done responsibly. Don’t be tempted to give up, feed her whatever is in the fridge, and just give her prescription vitamins. For instance, giving a baby vitamin drops and feeding her mac n cheese & crackers all day is not doing the best for your baby. If you feed your baby a variety of vegetables, whole grains, natural & super nutritious additives & dairy products you are likely not to need vitamins at all. Please be careful if you do choose to give your baby vitamins, as vitamin toxicity is just as dangerous as vitamin deficiency. Vitamin toxicity is nearly impossible through eating the foods that contain these vitamins but can & does occur from vitamin supplements. Of course, vitamin deficiency is dangerous, which is why we need to feed our babies & children nutritious food to protect their developing bodies. Good luck in your endeavors: Now, to the mixing bowl! Or if it’s baby’s breastfeeding time, to the rocking chair!