They say it takes a village, and we want to support your parenting journey by providing solutions for life with littles. We recently launched an Instagram Live Q&A series where we feature industry experts from pediatricians and nutritionists to boss moms and family yoga instructors.
For your behavior and nutrition questions, we were able to steal time with Dr. Natasha Beck. More commonly known as @dr.organicmommy, She's a mom of three with a doctorate in clinical pediatric neuropsychology specializing in child and family health.
*Interview edited and organized for clarity*
- Are there any supplements I can give my little one to get rid of ticks? Quercetin or NAC?
- How do I encourage my boys to eat eggs?
- How to boost iron intake for an 18-month-old? He doesn't like poultry or meat.
- How do I administer vitamins to a 20-month-old?
- What are your thoughts on gummy vitamins? I give toddler gummy vitamins and he always wants more than one.
Are there any supplements I can give my little one to get rid of ticks? Quercetin or NAC?
You always have to run supplements by your doctor because a lot of supplements, unfortunately, are unregulated, and they can have interactions with other medications or other foods that you're consuming.
You can try and find a functional medicine doctor who takes into account your whole lifestyle, someone who looks at the child holistically. With children who have ticks or anxiety, you want to look at changes going on in their environment. Try to find stability for them and structure as much as you can and a clean diet to work on getting rid of artificial flavors.
Typically gluten and dairy don't do well with kids who have pandas or kids who have anxiety. I recommend removing those substances, artificial flavors, and preservatives , especially in children with pandas.
How do I encourage my boys to eat eggs?
Great question! So, some kids will naturally decide they want to be vegan or vegetarian. So you have to go with the flow. I recommend exposing kids to as many healthy foods as you have available, unless you have to avoid them due to allergies or other medical reasons. Several times a week, I like to get kids involved in the kitchen. In this blog post I share 10 steps to get your kids to eat healthy.
Another tip is to present the same food in different ways — your child might not like the scrambled egg, but he may enjoy a hard-boiled egg. He may be willing to try a poached egg or one that’s wrapped in a tortilla. Sometimes textures can be off-putting for kids so you want to try and experiment with it as much as possible.
And as far as not eating certain things, that's very typical of kids. It's one thing that they feel they have a bit of say in, especially during these times where they can't control anything else that’s happening around them. Please recognize that this is difficult for them too, just like it is difficult for you. Try not to press them by making strong statements like, "You have to eat this" Recognize that they might just not be feeling it at that moment and also look at their eating habits in general.
If your child is drinking milk throughout the day, they're not going to eat solid foods. Personally, I like to drop milk around 18 months unless you are breastfeeding. If you're going to continue offering milk, make sure that it's during meal time only so that they're not filling up on milk because that can get in the way of getting other essential nutrients.
Also, snacking. Don't snack throughout the day. There are set mealtimes, set snack times for a reason.
How do I boost iron intake for an 18-month-old who doesn't like poultry or meat?
There are lots of different sources of iron that come from plants. I like to add blackstrap molasses. It's very rich in iron, and it's not sweet. People think it's sweet, but it's not. I add it to smoothies, oatmeal, and pancake batter.
When you are eating something rich in iron, you want to pair it with something rich in vitamin C — Peppers, oranges, strawberries, things like that. It helps your body absorb the iron. You don't want to eat any dairy when you're eating something with iron because dairy blocks calcium absorption of iron.
Lots of nuts and legumes. They have sources of iron, dark leafy greens. Make smoothies for kids that have kale or mustard greens, put that into a smoothie with lots of berries and frozen banana. One of my favorite cookbooks is called "The Smoothie Project" by Catherine McCord. You can order it on Amazon. It’s packed with a ton of smoothie recipe ideas for you can give your kids. You can use that as a supplement for a meal, and it's great.
How do I administer vitamins to a 20-month-old?
I like to mix them with something fun, a little bit of sparkling water or a splash of orange juice or freshly squeezed oranges. Then, I put in the vitamins. Usually, they're droppers or a spray. I put them directly into that, and they can shoot it back, or I open their mouth. There are a lot of vitamin sprays now; I use vitamin D-3 and K-2 from Mary Ruth Organics. I spray them directly into my kid's mouths. They don't like it.
Then there's a great drink called "Fermenting Ferry" that I use. It's a probiotic drink, and it's flavorful. Try mixing it with something else, but only a little bit. I take a shot glass, and I fill it halfway up. That way, they're more likely to consume the whole thing.
What are your thoughts on gummy vitamins? My child sees the fun bear-shaped gummy vitamin, confuses it for a treat and wants to have more than one?
I try to avoid gummies for vitamins. A) because they're not great for their teeth and B) they tend not to be as bioavailable. So you don't often get as many nutrients. I like liquid vitamins for that reason instead.