Being a Dietitian and a mom

Am i very strict about what my child eats?



I absolutely love my profession. I love that there is always new information and science and that I get to help individuals  and families feel better about themselves and their bodies. I love educating people especially mothers and empowering them with knowledge. I also love being a mom and am overwhelmed by the joy it brings me. My husband and I had a bit of a struggle along the way as we suffered  two miscarriages but now I am expecting our second child and I cant wait.

I often get comments like “ oh you must really worry about what your child eats and “I bet your child eats  really healthily because you are a dietitian” . Parents sometimes  make comment in front of me  like “ oh don’t look what my child is eating” as they feel I might judge them which I hope no one ever does. To be honest I wasn’t sure how I would find  being a mom and at the same time a Dietitian and how these two would merge together.  People often ask me if my advice has changed since becoming a mom so I thought I would share with you how this journey has gone for me.


1. My  advice hasn’t changed

The great thing about our profession is the advice we give out is based on science and is evidence based so whether I am a mom or dietitian that stays the same. I still give out the same type of advice to parents or families as before I had kids. Yes each patient or child is different so I  have to tailor make the science to each patient but everything I say has been  researched, backed up or proven. That is what is so great about being a mom now because I know what I am doing for my child ( most of the time) is best for her. I feel so blessed to have the knowledge I do as a mom now as I often forgot that the information that we learnt from Day 1 is not common knowledge to many moms out there which is why I am so passionate about education. 


2. I'm still normal

As much as I am a dietitian I am also a mom and my child is not the poster child for eating  ( Did I mention how Emily  has a sixth sense for flings and can smell them from at least 100m away!!!).  I apply the science and knowledge I have when I can but I also want to go for baby chino dates with my daughter and share a plate of chips ( current pregnancy craving ) with her. As with my own diet I try to make the best choices when I can but I also don’t want my child to be restricted and develop negative attitude towards certain foods. I make sure I offer her a variety of  whole balanced foods most of the time. 


3.  Variety is key

We have all heard the saying that dietitians love: keep your plate bright, eat a rainbow, offer your child a variety and people kind of nod and say ya ya we know.  Now more than ever after becoming a mother I believe even more in this as I see how important it is to expose your  child to different foods and textures. Emily does refuse certain foods but I keep offering them. She does also eat a lot of others  foods I would never have expected her to eat because I kept offering them to her . The first two years of a child life are crucial to introduce as many types and textures of foods as possible so I am trying to make the most of this. 


4. Never say never

Although my advice has stayed the same, sometimes I don’t always practice what I preach. I remember saying I will never give my kids those teething  biscuits or those chips  and whilst I must say that Emily does eat quite healthy most of the time, there are moments when those items can be a powerful tool of distraction  so I can get some work done or there is no stopping her once she has spotted the food table at a kids party.  I monitor how often I give her treats and it is definitely is not an everyday occurrence but I do allow myself some flexibility. 


5. Preparation is key

Meal planning and food shopping is a vital part of following a healthy balanced diet this is even more important when you have kids. Although I don’t encourage grazing my child is currently eating me out of house and home and my lovely freezer full of leftovers for Emily has diminished quickly and so there are moments when I need  snacks ASAP. It is easy to just hand out fruit all the time so I try keep dips ,crudite vegetables and  yoghurt around  and even often have a cooked boiled egg in the fridge just in case as I can always eat it if she doesn’t. I have found tit very easy to just dish out food to ems so I try record what she eats and times. I also TRY to be strict with sitting down for meal and snacks instead of eating on the run or in the trolley whilst shopping especially  if I notice she is grazing more as I have worked with so many fussy eaters and overweight children that the importance of proper meals and snacks is part of my way of life. 


6. Breastfeeding

Wow I could write a whole separate post on this. Being a dietitian I was determined to breastfeed as the benefits of it are ingrained in us from our first day at university and I had spent countless hours counselling moms on breastfeeding and I am  passionate about it. . Nothing prepared for what I experienced. A child who refused to latch  for the first few days to expressing and syringe feeding every feed to eventually bottle feeding expressed milk at very feed then finally managing to get a latch only for my child to not gain weight ( I look at pictures of her now and cant believe how small she was). I also feel blessed I knew what I did about breastfeeding as it made me persevere so much more as I am sure a lot of mothers would of given up first week in.  I am still a big breastfeeding advocate ( and hope to have better luck with this next one) but I definitely feel more empathy for any struggling breastfeeding mothers out there. 

I am excited for the next little addition to our family and definitely hope this one eats as well as its sister. I love that I get to help moms along this journey and give them information that can  help raise healthy happy little eaters. Whilst my child does not eat perfectly ( does any child?) I have really enjoyed getting to use my degree and knowledge to help my own family and child as well as empathise more with other moms and many of the struggles they face

Suite 202 (Dr Maingards rooms)

Netcare Umhlanga Medical Centre

 321 Umhlanga Rocks Drive

Umhlanga 

Durban

Tel: 0791225938

info@clarkedietitian.co.za

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