Dr. Stan Cohen is a pediatric gastroenterologist for the Children’s Center for Digestive Health Care and adjunct clinical professor of pediatrics at Emory University. We caught up with Dr. Cohen to discuss his new book, What to Feed Your Baby.
What inspired you to write this book? As the chairman of the Committee on Nutrition for the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and chairman of the WIC medical advisory panel, Kylia Crane, the nutrition coordinator, and I, developed an algorithm to help doctors and WIC workers decide on the appropriate formula for each infant, whether they were healthy or had a medical problem.
Is it necessary to only feed babies organic foods for them to be healthy? The simple answer is no.
What do you suggest to parents who say it’s just too expensive to feed their baby healthy foods? I say healthy foods are worth every penny. Infant brains and infant organs are growing rapidly, and they need quality nourishment to optimize their development. But as pointed out in What to Feed Your Baby, healthy food doesn’t mean it has to be expensive, though fresh fruits and vegetables can cost more than some higher calorie carbohydrates.
Breast-feeding is free and best for baby, what reason do your hear most from moms who don’t want to breast-feed? Some mothers seem to think it’s easier to just use formula, but what could be simpler than breast-feeding, once mothers learn the techniques? So two of the first chapters in What to Feed Your Baby are devoted to the benefits and techniques of breastfeeding.
How often should babies eat? That depends on the age of the child. Very young infants may want to breast-feed every hour or two, and they should be encouraged to do so because that will help the milk to come in. Gradually breast and bottle fed infants will feed less frequently, getting hungry every 2 1/2 to four hours on average.
How can a parent tell if baby has had enough to eat? When the baby pulls off the nipple or starts looking around the room, that baby is providing the cue that he or she is quite content.
How many times should you try a food before determining the baby does not like it? It’s actually around 15.