Postpartum and Pediatric Nutrition with Shaina Duvall, MPH, RDN, LDN

Day 3 Better Mind – Better Body – Better Life Health Summit: Pregnancy and Postpartum

We are already at the end of our Better Mind – Better Body – Better Life Health Summit! We hope you enjoyed the topics.

Last but not least we will talk about Postpartum and Pediatric Nutrition. Here is our interview with the amazing Shaina Duvall from Coral Sprout Family Nutrition in Coral Gables, FL.

Hi Shaina, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today. Let’s jump right into it:

What do I have to consider when it comes to my diet while breastfeeding? 

Breastfeeding women should eat a well-balanced diet (including fats, carbohydrates, protein, lots of fiber) and make sure to eat enough calories to fuel their body while providing amazing nutrition for baby. When pregnant, it can be helpful to prepare freezer meals (or have friends/family ready to bring food) and have snacks ready to go – your baby is eating about every two to four hours in those early days and so are you!

Should I take any supplements while breastfeeding?

Yes, I generally recommend continuing to take your prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding. 

When I have a client who comes to me after giving birth, they usually want to get rid of the “baby fat”. Is it ok to reduce my calorie intake while I am still breastfeeding? And if so, by how many calories? 

Many women hold on to some weight while breastfeeding. I don’t recommend reducing calories because a breastfeeding mom actually needs additional calories or they can risk losing milk supply. So I prefer that women who are breastfeeding focus on adding more nutrient rich foods and also recognize that your body is doing an incredible job right now feeding your baby!

Let’s talk a little bit about pediatric nutrition. When and how do I best introduce solid foods to my baby? What foods should I start with?

The general recommendations for introducing solid foods are at 6 months old when the baby can sit upright unassisted, has good head control, and seems to be interested in the food caregivers are eating. The old rule of introducing rice cereal and “baby foods” on a certain timeline is not necessary to follow today. New research shows that babies can thrive when given foods similar to what everyone else is eating. Things to be aware of are choking hazards, food that is salty or sugary (not recommended under 12 months old) and allergen foods which should be introduced separately to monitor any reaction. I always tell parents to focus on foods that are high in iron and serve these with fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C to increase absorption. 

My child is a picky eater. How can I ensure they get the nutrients they need?

Picky eating can be a very normal phase. It’s never a good idea to force children to eat. Serving meals at regular times, including foods that your child is comfortable with, having the family sit down to eat the same foods together and respecting the roles that you and your child have in regards to mealtime. It is the caregivers job to have healthful food available at expected times and the child decides how much and what of those foods they will eat. When dealing with extreme picky eating it is advisable to talk to your pediatrician for blood work and a registered dietitian who can help to make sure your child will not become nutrient deficient. 

How do I know if my child has any food sensitivities? Are they common in children?

About 5 percent of children have a food allergy. Food sensitivities or intolerances are more common, the most common being lactose intolerance which occurs in about 65 percent of the human population. Symptoms such as diarrhea, gas, irritability could be an indication. Any suspicion of food allergies or intolerances should be discussed with your child’s pediatrician. A dietitian can help further with elimination diets and meal planning for the allergy or intolerance.

Is there anything else you would like to add? A lot of women ask me about caffeine while breastfeeding and the research shows that very little caffeine ends up in breastmilk. Two cups of coffee a day should not have an effect on the baby and I know many new moms are always happy to hear they can have that much-needed cup of coffee!

Thank you so much, Shaina!! If our readers have any questions or want to learn more about what you do, how can they get in touch with you?

They can contact me directly via my website or find me on Facebook and Instagram

Shaina Duvall, MPH, RDN, LDN

Shaina is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist working virtually and locally in the Miami, FL area. She has her Master’s in Public Health Nutrition and Dietetics from Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California. Shaina specializes in maternal and pediatric nutrition with an evidence-based and individualized approach.