If you are a parent with questions about an infant who will soon be switching to solid foods, an upcoming workshop may be helpful to you. The free two hour workshop will be led by Registered Dietitian Tanya Zimmerman at the Community Health Centre in Sylvan Lake Feb. 8 from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
“One of the struggles [parents face] is in knowing when to start introducing solid foods and what to offer,” she said in a phone interview.
The workshop will cover introducing solid foods, how to do it and why it’s important to add in a variety of food textures.
“[Introducing new food textures] helps with a better transition through the different types of foods so at six months they’re eating more of a puree texture and by 12 months they’re eating the foods the family would be eating.”
Part of the class will be spent in discussing the necessity of starting on iron-rich foods. Zimmerman says six months is the time to start introducing foods such as infant cereals, meat and alternatives.
The class is also intended to encourage interaction between babies and their parents in class to help establish a positive feeding relationship. Zimmerman says part of building trust in eating means the parent’s role is to offer healthy, age-appropriate food at regular intervals throughout the day.
Often it will take an infant some time to accept a new food as part of their diet. Zimmerman recommends offering a new food between ten and fifteen times to encourage the infant to try new options. The key is patience and persistence without forcing the food on the infant.
Zimmerman will be showing parents how to utilize what they already have in their kitchen to make their own baby food. Vegetables, fruit, meat and meat alternatives will be put through food mills and food processors as parents become comfortable with how to prepare their own baby food.
“We want to show that making your own baby food is economical, you know what’s in the homemade food and you can adjust it to where your baby’s at in terms of texture.”
The class will also include a taste comparison between homemade baby foods and store-bought baby foods to show the difference in taste and texture.
Alberta Health Services coordinates the infant nutrition classes which have been offered in Red Deer since 2003 and have expanded into 29 communities throughout the Central Alberta.
“We know there’s a lot of information out there so we want to provide the most up-to-date evidence-based information; teaching parents practical information on infant nutrition.”
The class will be offered at the Community Health Centre, 4602 49th Ave. For more information and to register to attend, please call 403-356-6374.