Layla Kayleigh’s Blog: Deciding on a Diet

03/19/2012 at 11:00 AM ET

MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew Insiders host Layla Kayleigh is letting readers follow along as she tackles motherhood.

Layla and Sirius/XM talk show host Steven Covino‘s daughter Melody Rain is now two!

In her latest blog, Layla gives us an update on Melody’s sleeping issues (she’s still in their room, but in her own bed), her little girl’s Disney Princess obsession, and asks for your advice on feeding her toddler.

Do you go vegetarian? Gluten-free? Organic? Allow sweets? Share your tips and tricks with Layla in the comments!

Tiny dancer – Courtesy Layla Kayleigh


Since my last blog, we’ve had a bit of a victory — Melody is sleeping in her bed, but her victory is that her bed is in our room now.

I read a lot of the comments, and I really appreciated all your feedback and suggestions — they definitely helped.

At the end of the day, I feel like I really don’t want to coddle Melody, but when it’s all said and done, she’s still just a little toddler, y’know? I sometimes forget that she’s only 2 and change old. Even though she’s her own person, is speaking in full sentences and knows what she wants (and acts like it)!

She’s only going to be this little once and needs her mommy to be there for her if she’s scared — especially when she’s going to bed. I don’t mind her being in our room at all, but eventually it will be nice to get her in her own room again when she’s ready.

Oh boy, the rate I’m going I’ll probably still be tucking her into bed and reading her a bedtime story at the age of 17! I need to get it together. I’m so in love with her, I’ve become a complete pushover!

Right now Melody’s new obsession is everything Disney Princess and ballerina related. When you ask her what her name is she’ll say, “My name is Princess Melody Rain Ballerina” — it’s too funny.

I just took some photos of her this past weekend — she was dancing around the house and bossing me about telling me to follow her and take pictures. She’s such a little ham, I wonder where she gets it from? ;)

Strike a pose – Courtesy Layla Kayleigh

Before I wrap up this blog, I really wanted to talk to you guys about your children’s diet. I’ve been reading so much on organic foods vs. regular foods, meat vs. vegetarian diet, and I feel like so far I’m in the middle (still educating myself).

I’m not the kind of mom that gives my child EVERYTHING organic, but I’m also not giving her microwaveable and canned foods every day either. I try and buy organic fruits and veggies most of the time and I do offer Melody meat, mostly chicken and fish. I do my best to keep her processed food intake to a minimum.

I know when I’m around my mom or Steven’s parents they probably think I’m a little over-the-top hippie, because I don’t like it when they give Melody a bunch of sugars, juice, etc. but I know that’s what grandparents do.

On the other hand, when I’m around some other friends they look at me in horror when I don’t give Melody everything organic and offer her meat in her diet.

With these things, I feel like there needs to be a balance — otherwise you can lose your mind — but obviously I want what’s best for Melody at the same time. I’m just curious what your perspective is with kid’s diets these days.

What type of foods do you like to feed your little ones? Do you give them meats or dairy and do you let them eat chocolate/candy once in a while, or is that a no-no in your house?

Also let me know if you have any meal suggestions! I feel like I’ve run out of things to cook and Melody is probably sick of me making her the same meals every day.

Funny as I was writing this, this article about “pink slime” in ground beef came out — it’s things like this that freak me out a little when it comes to Melody’s diet.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Cheese! – Courtesy Layla Kayleigh

Warmest,

– Layla Kayleigh xx

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Showing 31 comments

Courtney on

I have found myself to be a fairly easygoing Mom when it comes to diet, because toddler are picky by nature, and that’s ok. It’s part of their development. What’s important is you OFFER a toddler a diverse palate of healthy foods. If they only eat cheese one day, so be it. But at least you tried!

On a typical day, this is what my toddler eats:
– apple, banana, wholegrain cereal with skim milk, string cheese, greek yogurt, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, broccoli or carrots, organic mac n’ cheese. A little juice mixed with water. And for treats she is obsessed with those little gummy fruit snacks. She also loves fruit popsicles, I try to be the no sugar added ones.

So I think that’s pretty good! Her dad and I love food and I think she sees us eating mostly healthy foods, so she’ll grow up being exposed to most everything. She isn’t big on meat right now, but I’m not pushing it.

mommyoftwo on

I think every mother has at least one food issue they feel strongly about. I have two boys – ages 2 and 4 – and food dyes really freak me out, but in general, we try to teach moderation. We eat every meal together (breakfast and lunch is just me and the boys, then dinner as a family). No particular diet, just a little bit of everything. I try to cook as much as I can from scratch – very few mixes and processed foods. On Sunday nights, we have dessert (pudding, popcorn, homemade ice cream, etc.) and play games together.

My boys definitely front-load their day. Huge breakfast of wheat pancakes, sausage, fruit, yogurt, eggs, etc. Snacks are fruit, crackers, string cheese. Lunch is frequently wheat noodles with cheese on top. Boxed mac and cheese is a treat. Dinner is “grown-up” food – lots of chicken, veggies, brown rice, etc. They aren’t required to clean their plates, but they need to try a bite of everything. Sometimes they eat very little at dinner, but there’s nothing else until the next day. They do just fine.

Again, I think everyone’s different, but our top priority has been to just eat nutritious food together, with treats/dessert in their appropriate place. I figure they can make different choices when they’re older, but their foundation will be pretty basic and solid.

Lori on

We are 80% organic and the rest is kind of grey. We allow our daughter to have dessert almost every night…if she’s been good, but it is still a Trader Joe’s special. The mini ice cream cones are perfect!! We all eat the same thing in our house, as this has always been the case once Olivia started on regular food. We plan on doing the same for our son.

Erika on

I don’t have kids yet, but my parents pretty much let me have anything in moderation. We had healthy meals so that is pretty much what I got used to eating, but on occasion I was allowed to have desserts and snacks that were not the healthiest. The family that I have babysit/nanny for does the same and the kids can have one snack a day or so. The kids eat mostly healthy food, especially for meals, but can try pretty much whatever they want, as long as they aren’t eating more than a serving.

One of my good friends was only allowed to eat organic food when she was a kid, and when she got to college she kind of rebelled and ended up gaining a lot of weight because she went crazy on the junk food. I think the best way to go is to model healthy eating but allow the kids a treat every once in a while. Moderation is key.

Jillian on

We have five children and we all eat together and all eat the same thing. No second meal cooking in my house. For the most part, we buy organic, but not in everything and our children do eat meat. We allow them sugar but limit it. Everyone needs a little sugar! We do not eat processed foods!! No lunchables or fast food. Fortunately my children don’t want these things. They have plenty of snacks and are healthy.

In regards to sleeping….all of our children have always slept in their own room. I think children are capable of sleeping in their room on their own and feeling safe. Often parents send the vibe they they aren’t ready and the kids pick up on it. There is nothing wrong with tucking your kids in bed and reading to them, when they are in their own room and in their teens!! I have 5 kids with the oldest 14 and love reading with all of them. We have evening rituals.

I have found children do what you let them and pick up on what vibes you send. If you let children know it’s ok, then they know. So many parents aren’t ready to let go. They won’t admit it. Not a single child in my VERY large family has ever slept in their parents room and never cried or were scared. It’s all on how you handle it. So, she will leave when YOU are ready or when she gets old enough.

Mary

Shannon on

Present a variety of primarily whole, natural foods. Buy organic when available. Minimize processed or prepackaged foods. Allow sweets in moderation. Don’t use food for punishment or reward.

mel on

My 5 kids have always eaten whatever my husband and I ate. They have never had babyfood from a jar. And now, at almost 7, 3.5 and 17 months, they all eat everything.

As for sugar and ‘treats’, they are exactly that. Treats. The older kids know where their snacks are and what they can have. While we eat together for breakfast and dinner, we don’t limit if they want to snack during the day. If they are hungry, they can eat.

We tend to hit the local farmer’s markets as much as we can, buying organic is nice but we don’t do it all the time and yes, my kids eat meat…

Allie on

I have twin boys who are 3 years old. As far as their diet goes, they eat what we eat, and that goes for dessert, which happens 1-2 times a week. We try to eat organic, but sometimes when I am in a rush I’m not going to freak out and stress if the bananas aren’t organic. The one food item which is always 100% organic is meat, and fish is always wild caught not farm raised. My husband and I do make 90% of our food from scratch, but if there are those nights were making dinner is not possible I do reach for Amy’s organic frozen dinners.

My boys aren’t the biggest fans of meat, fish, or chicken, and we don’t push them to eat it. They are however huge fans of tofu so I make some every night.

I am not a fan of fruit juice for the boys, but they do drink a green vegetable drink everyday which I make. Other than the green drink, it’s pretty much water, almond milk or milk. I will allow coconut water if they have been really active and in the heat.

Has far as snacks go, I really prefer unprocessed. My boys do however think dried fruit pieces cut small, are gummy bears. If a family member gives them something like crackers, fruit snacks, and “normal” kid food I let them eat. I don’t want to be to controlling about what they eat because they are kids, and I find that makes getting along with family much easier if you’re not too uptight.

Karah on

I have a 7 year old, a 4 year old and a 12 month old. We have a few food allergies in our family (dairy for the oldest, gluten for the 4 year old) so we generally stay away from those for meals because we eat together and we don’t have separate meals for the kids.

As far as diets go I don’t think there is a need to go gluten free unless there is an allergy or intolerance. Dairy I am not fond of but we still use it in cooking. My kids don’t drink milk though. We try to get as much as we can organic but more importantly we try to get food locally because it is fresher and will have more vitamins because it was picked when it was ripe.

The pink slime thing is disgusting and makes me so glad we buy all our beef (chicken, turkey and bacon too) from a local farm. We live by the ocean so our seafood is incredibly fresh, usually caught within a few hours of buying it.

I think when it all comes down to it you can’t go wrong with whole foods (not prepackaged or pretty much anything in the inside section of the grocery store) and moderation. For all of our healthy cooking from scratch meals we still eat fast food every few weeks when we are in a hurry. I don’t mind though because they eat healthy the rest of the time.

As far as the sleeping arrangement I wouldn’t worry about her sleeping in your room too much. My oldest has slept with us since birth (as our other two have) and he just up and decided to sleep in his own room a few months after he turned 5. No crying, nightmares or other problems. My four year old sleeps in her own too 70% of the time (the other 30% she will come in our room around 4am and sleep in her sleeping bag on the floor a night or two a week). In the long run it’s a short amount of time and it goes by quickly.

Beckster on

What a little ham she is! Very cute. As far as food, a good square diet with the occasional treat is plenty good. I wouldn’t sweat the organic/nonorganic. Especially since you don’t really know if theorganic stuff is actually organic. You should try to introduce her to a variety of foods, so she doesn’t grow to be too fussy an eater, like I was.

Amanda on

I think that all of your concerns and questions are completely normal and all stem from a Mother who loves her little girl! Our parents and in-laws will always think that we’re over-the-top and try to challenge our parenting decisions (this mostly comes from the in-laws, however) but at the end of the day, I am sure that their intentions are pure and that this is their only way of feeling involved in the process.

I am expecting our second baby any second now (a little boy) and we have a 4-year-old daughter, Isabella. I decided to stay at home once our daughter was born, mostly due to my husband’s very demanding schedule as a corporate lawyer. I began opening our home to other children when Isabella was 6 months old, and I began providing childcare to those families who have two working parents and don’t like the traditional daycare route. So….I have a TON of experience feeding, bathing, potty training, assistance with sleeping, etc. not only with our own child, but with those that I have cared for as well.

Our daughter’s doctor once told me (when Isabella was around 2 years old) to approach her diet by looking at what she consumes during an entire week, not day by day. He suggesting looking at the week as a whole and ensuring that she was consuming the correct amounts of food from each food group during a seven day period, not within 24 hours. I found this to be very helpful, as some days are bound to be more of a struggle than others and some days our little ones will be eating machines and will gravitate towards a ton of fruits and veggie options.

I made all of Isabella’s baby food from scratch and I think that this helped her develop a real sense of taste for how these food items actually taste. At 4 years old, I do my best to make the vast majority of our food from scratch and limit the processed items, but I think it’s important for children to feel like a sweet treat now and again is perfectly normal and healthy:) That being said, since Isabella doesn’t eat a ton of sugar she doesn’t have a huge desire for it. She’ll certainly have some ice cream, a few jelly beans, maybe 5-10 Smarties, etc. for ‘treats’, but she’ll rarely finish the entire serving.

The one thing that I am big on in our house is limiting juice. Isabella has milk in the morning and I offer it to her with each meal, but she usually drinks water throughout her day and sometimes prefers it to milk with her meals. I’ll probably purchase apple or orange juice every other week and she has it diluted with water as a treat.

Lastly, my one big tip that I used to do with Isabella when she was your daugher’s age was to make smoothies. If I found that veggie intake was a challenge, I’d make her a shake with plain yogurt, half of a red pepper, a handful of baby spinach, a handful of frozen blueberries, half of a banana and a splash of juice to sweeten it up a bit. These were so tasty and she would down them in a heartbeat, especially if I gave it to her with a cool twirly straw:) I found that I ended up drinking them as well and it was a great way for me to bump-up my fruit and veggie intake too…

All the best going forward…

-Amanda from Canada

amw on

kudos for letting her sleep in your room. if she is begging for it, then she knows what she needs, you are not being a wimpy hippie. think of it as putting money in the bank. you will later on have a more confident, trusting-in-you-child who sleeps happily in her own room (one day). when they have personalities that fight sleeping alone, its for a reason, and its great that you arent trying to force that out of her.

as for feeding my toddler. ugh. i never realized it would be the most stressful thing about mothering. it really is for me. my kid has many food sensitivities (dairy, soy, citrus, fish, on and on) and i do try to buy organic as much as possible. she has slightly low iron so she does need meat in her diet. since there are very few sweets she can eat i do let her have one skittle at the end of lunch most days. she is always extremely excited about this and is never greedy. we dont do juice if we can help it though.

i think its unrealistic to withhold sugar from them. same goes for tv. we dont have a tv in the house, but we do watch about 30 minutes of videos on the computer each day. its never her babysitter but its unrealistic to have her completely avoid these things. “everything in moderation” works for kids as well as adults.

good luck!

Jean on

My 2 year old daughter used to eat pretty much anything you put in front of her but in the past two months she has become so picky. Started picking vegetables out of her food and won’t eat things she used to adore, like sweet potatoes.

She LOVES cheese so I go with that. For dinner, I make a lot of casseroles. I make macaroni and cheese (from scratch, Alton Brown’s stovetop recipe, it’s yummy) and put chicken and broccoli in it. For lunch every day she has vegetable quiche. It’s really easy and she LOVES it (mix one cup of cream, four eggs, 6oz cheese and sprinkling of nutmeg with vegetables, put in pie crust, bake 45 mins at 350) She will eat anything I put in the quiche. I change up the vegetables weekly–green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach–sometimes I’ll put turkey bacon or chicken in it too. Breakfast is either blueberry muffins or pancakes, greek yogurt and a banana.

We give her the Mott’s for Tots juice, but watered way down. She has milk with meals.

Jazz on

We eat a Cuban menu at our house. I shop a little organic. but our son does eat candy every once and a while and fast-food. because we travel to my in-laws’ home 2 hours away a lot, we need him to be a little flexible on road food thats the reason for the rare intake of fast-food.

I was very restricted as a child and that caused me to have a love/hate relationship with food (which means i’m overweight). I try to let our son eat anything he wants in moderation and in the order of 3 soild meals and 2 snacks. I like for him to explore different foods and have fun with them. He eats all kinds of seafood even though our doctor doesn’t want him to have shellfish until he is 4 (he is melody’s age). he loves salad! he is more of a veggie guy then meats which is good.

so i think everything in moderation is great. good luck.

Danielle on

I feel that you shouldn’t “shove” a diet towards a kid, bring them healthy choices of food to choose from and try and see what they like and don’t like. have them help out in the kitchen. they are more likely to try something again if they helped prepare it. So on a given night you might pull out chicken, beef, venicine( deer), elk, buffallo and an assortment of fruits or veggies, and have them point out and help prepare what they want to eat for the day, or that meal.

NoAdditives on

Organic is definitely best. Kids who eat exclusively organic have far lower amounts of pesticides and other chemicals in their systems. Kids who don’t eat organic have up to 9 times the EPA’s acceptable limit of pesticides in their systems. Not to mention that organic foods have naturally higher amounts of vitamins and minerals in them.

Meat is something humans evolved eating. Vegetarian diets, while healthy, do not offer all of the amino acids, fatty acids, and other nutrients that growing bodies and brains need. I read a study that found that kids on vegetarian diets had smaller brains than kids who ate meat. (How that effects brain function wasn’t addressed.)

RJL on

My son just turned 1 and we’re doing BLW. Since he was about 6 months old, we’ve offered him whatever we’re eating, but made sure the majority of his diet was still breastmilk. At this point, he’s definitely eating way more table food, and I’m okay with that as he is still getting *some* breastmilk. For now, he’ll eat pretty much anything. If we’re eating it, we’ll let him eat it, whether it’s meat, dairy, whatever. We eat fairly healthily ourselves, so I’m okay with his diet. I don’t restrict myself, or him, because he’s at the stage now where if he sees us eating something, he will freak if we’re not sharing it. So yes, he does get the occasional hot dog, or few bites of Kraft Dinner, or some other processed thing, for lunch, but the way I figure it, I ate that stuff and had no repercussions (and I’m sure I ate it more than he is…I was a VERY picky eater!) so he’ll be fine.

Teresa on

My in-laws and I had a few run-ins over desserts and my now 16 month old. I said no cookies, and they gave him a “piece” of cookie which would be essentially the whole cookie. Talking to my husband about didn’t help since he took their side. Now the compromise is, he can have a “normal” piece of cookie but when I say enough, they have to stop. At 16 months he is not a good table food eater so he’s getting most of his nutritution through baby food. He’s curious about veggies but has yet to actually eat any thats not baby food.

Megan on

Skim milk is not healthy. It’s an unbalanced, sugar-filled food that pig farmers use to fatten up their animals. Just had to drop my two cents in. It’s kind of ironic how low-fat milk is laden with dried milk powders (an ingredient not included on the labels because it is standard industry process), which are full of oxidized cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol is the bad kind – the kind that coats your arteries. Regular, untainted cholesterol has little effect on your overall cholesterol. Drink your milk, and have it raw, whole, and unprocessed!

Katie C on

I am kind of a pushover for my daughter as well…but I really try to be careful with what she eats as far as not too much sugary junk. That being said, she prefers carrots to cookies now that she can voice her own opinion & that makes me happy. In fact by introducing her to a diverse selection of food we have found she likes everything but asparagus & carbs. For some reason she just really doesn’t like rice, potatoes, bread or even pasta really unless it’s multi colored rotini. That has worked though because I just give her a second type of veggie and all is well with the world.

Something we LOVE & still gives her an indulgence is banana ice cream. Let your bananas start to go brown on the peel but not quite where they’re brown inside…peel them, throw them in the freezer and freeze them solid. Later, throw them into the blender & they blend up into ice cream. It’s creamy & has the perfect consistency and it’s sweet & no sugar. We have mixed frozen strawberries in with it too to make strawberry ice cream. She loves it, we love it and it’s pure fruit so I can’t complain.

Miguelina on

My own diet is 90-95 percent organic. Right now my children are ages 14 and 12 year old twins, all girls. In raising my own children, this was hard to implement because when they where Melody’s age, and even older (7-9); they barely ate anything at all. During that time I have to honestly say that they ate and where growing, but the food may not have been very nutritious. Organic, natural, and healthy food was introduced very sparingly. This included soy milk, organic milk, fruit, yogurt, cheese, some meat; but most food introduced was rejected. The twins were breasted until age 3; but they would only eat their homemade baby food with their nanny and not with me (only when I was away from). They were not allowed to eat candy, and drinking soda was also a no go. My oldest didn’t do this so feeding her was a true chore.

You are very blessed that Melody, enjoys eating. For my daughters’ eating improved after about age nine, so was able incorporate more organic, nutritious food. This has included all the above, with the inclusion of meat, eggs, other dairy products. Also they stopped eating fast food and all their meals were homemade, using organic/natural ingredients. During this time, juice was also was also taken out of their staple diet and they could only have it occasionally. Pretty much their entire diet became organic and natural, except for being unable to get them to eating this type of breakfast cereal. In 2010, this changed because I allowed my daughters (ages 12 &10) to watch the movie Food Inc.; it really helped my girls’ understand why it’s so important to eat healthfully.

Anytime, they want something unhealthy all I have to do is remind them that we can watch this movie again. It’s a great movie to take a look at to truly understand why it’s important to make the right choices when eating. Since your undecided, it may help you come to a decision. In our family, we look at the human body as a temple that has to be constantly cleaned and taken care of. If you don’t sickness, stiffness and decrepitude, becomes part of your everyday life; which really allows life to be miserable.

lyn on

Melody is cute and sounds like she has a funny personality!

As far as foods, I do not go out of my way to eat organic. We are lucky to have a local farm near us and we make it a weekly outing to go to the farm stand and buy our produce locally.

My son is 2 1/2 and we give him meat and dairy. He drinks whole milk, eats lots of yogurt, and loves applesauce. I cook almost every meal at home and try to make most things from scratch but some nights after work I just can’t do it so he does get hot dogs and mac n cheese from the box on accasion too.

I don’t get worked up over sugar. What fun is being a kid without the occasional cookies and ice cream? I try not to stress out too much about his diet. I feel lucky that he will try most things that I make and isn’t too picky.

S on

No kids yet, but we’re probably going to start trying soon (hence my growing in interest on all things baby). Still, when I think about it, growing up I was exposed to very little in the way of explicitly “healthy” foods. Organic is still a concept completely foreign to my parents. My father has always been a huge junk food junkie, so there was always a plethora of sugary goodies lying around. To second Erika, because of the constant availability, it wasn’t a big deal for me. It wasn’t until after I started dieting (freshman 15) that I started becoming ravenous for junk. Another side effect I noticed was that friends who had strict families would go NUTS in my family’s pantry.

Another tactic I think worked well for me was not being forced to clean my plate. I was an infamously picky grazer, but they let my appetite dictate when I was done. They didn’t beg, they just let me be hungry and full at my pace. I know I probably won’t trust my kid’s instincts enough to keep 5 different brands of chocolate bars on hand at any given moment, as was the norm in my home, but I do hope to allow my children some of the same liberties I enjoyed.

Good luck! And thanks for sharing your experiences!

Dana on

I think you need to do what you feel is best for your daughter. To each their own. But, I’m surprised to hear how many people say no meat or dairy etc. There are things in each of those that are very healthy for you and your body needs them. I try to think that nothing is off limits, but in moderation.

My 3 year old son loves milk, but he drinks 1% rather than whole that they suggest when they are younger. He loves fruit and veggies so I’m lucky there. He also has a sweet tooth like me. But as a kid he’s perfectly happy with a packet of fruit snacks while I want a hot fudge sundae! I try to each healthy and in moderation and I want him to learn the same thing. I don’t see any reason he can’t have an ice cream cone once a week for a treat or why I should cut out foods that have vitamins and such that growing little ones need. I ate all the same things growing up, remained active and want my son to do the same.

J on

I came to the conclusion after my first was born that there is such an overload of information. Everyone is trying to convince you that THEIR way is correct. I got so fed up I did my own research and do what I am comfortable with and what I think is intelligent.

We have wonderful brains, and we should definitely use them.

Val on

First, I just wanted to say I really enjoy your blog.

My first child sleep in our bed until shortly before baby #2 arrived, when she then transitioned into a toddler bed in our room. She is now almost 7 and has been sleeping in her room, in her own bed, by her own choice. She is a great sleeper! Our second child did the same, but around 2 1/2, he started to want to sleep in his own bed like his sister. He is now 3 1/2. Sometimes he ends up in our bed by the morning and sometimes he ends up in his big sisters room, but I think it is important for kids to feel safe and loved and want to go to sleep at night. I do not know any teenagers that still want to sleep with their parents. :o)

As far as the diet. I try to cook a home cooked meal every night….which alot of days takes alot of preparation and planning on the weekends. We try to avoid canned and processed foods and eat organic as much as possible. We have a vegetable garden and fruit trees / bushes in our backyard which is great.

Jenny on

Don’t sweat it. My now 15-year-old slept with us until she was four. When one of us would wake up for a bathroom break, we would take her back to her bed and she often stayed until wake up time. The bottom line is that it’s not forever.

The hard part is finding closeness with your hubby…DON’T FORGET THAT PART! Even if you have to go some place else while she commands your bed.

Soon she’s not going to want you around. Mine is an almost perfect child, even as a teenager. Confident, smart, driven, compassionate, funny, responsible, respectful, and strikingly beautiful…kind of scares us. And you know what, even now, during her very independent teen years, she’ll come find me and ask me to tuck her in (the ultimate validation for a mom from a teenager)…but the best is when she asks me to sleep with her! I LOVE IT! Gives me a chance to chit-chat and find out what’s going on with her and her friends. Doesn’t happen often, at best four or five times per year, but when it does, I feel like the luckiest mom in the world.

Each kid will be different…my 20 year old also slept with us until she was about 4…and she’s completely the opposite…a great person, really independent, and so on, but not as warm or affectionate as the younger sibling. So enjoy it while it lasts…the yummy years don’t last forever.

AliGirl on

I try to have mostly healthy food in the house. I figure that she’s going to get enough of the “other” stuff when she’s not home (Nana’s house, etc.).

We always eat a fruit and try to eat a vegetable with every meal and fruit is one of our main snacks. We don’t drink sodas at all (I have somehow convinced my child that sodas taste bad- HA) or eat artificial sweeteners. Since she started drinking juice, we have always mixed it 1 part juice to 2 parts water and still do to this day (she’s 7).

We do try to eat at home most of the time but occasionally we do eat fast food. (I’m sure I will be blown off the boards for that one but just keeping it real ;) .

Moderation is the key. We are far from having a perfect diet, but we try. And the bigger deal you make about it, the bigger deal she will make about it. You know those little ones come out of the womb knowing how to push their mama’s buttons!

Best of luck to you and your sweet girl!

Anonymous on

I raised my now 32 year old son completely vegetarian. He had dairy allergy too and got ear infections often. So, i began giving him almond milk and eventually he tolerated goat’s milk. The ear infections stopped.

WHen he was 18 months old, I had taken him to the well baby clinic & was angrily confronted by the doctor who exclaimed that my son would be lacking in nutrients, protein, B vitamins, etc. I finally said, “OK, test him!” When he did, my healthy baby boy was high in nutrients and in perfect health on his vegetarian diet!

Now, he has two beautiful healthy vegetarian children. They and we all eat primarily organic foods, little if no sugar (but balanced, there are other options healthy ones). They are bright and happy, healthy. They are calm, centered, fun-loving, creative. They are not aggressive, which i feel meat and chicken promote (partly hormones, partly the fear the animals feel when killed goes into the meat). Really consider a vegetarian diet, one which is balanced and non-judgmental.

We write vegetarian kids recipes and articles, if you’re interested in them. All the best!
So good to see people caring what their kids eat. We are what we eat!

Lila on

I’m a vegetarian and have every intention of raising my children vegetarian. Everything I read about meat is usually negative. I don’t want my kids to grow up putting poison into their bodies, especially when they are still young and I make their food choices for them. It is a very American idea that we need meat in every meal when in reality it can be eaten once a day or never eaten without sacrificing taste or nutrition.

Rita on

I feed my son a mostly organic diet. I myself have been eating that way for 11 years because at that time I was really sick and all the doctors I went to prescribed meds and that was how I overcame that. Later, I really learned the importance when I read about the dangers of pesticides, antibiotics and hormones. Watch “The Future of Food”. There are some foods that you don’t have to buy organic but you have to make sure they are non-gmo (corn wheat and soy are usually gmo unless organic). Organic items are not as expensive as they once were and you can get coupons. I personally love Stonyfield products and they offer coupons and a rewards program for free food items on their website. People always tell me it is not worth it to spend the extra money. I always tell them “You can pay now with money or pay later with your health. P.S. My son is 4 and he still sleeps in our room in his bed. He suffers massive nosebleeds when the seasons change and really freaks out but I don’t mind.

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