Avocados For Mom & Baby Nutrition
As children grow and develop during their first two years of life, their flavor preferences are heavily influenced both by breastfeeding and the first foods that are introduced into their diets. Fresh avocados appear to be one of the most ideal complementary and transitional foods available. In addition to being nutrient dense, avocados’ neutral flavor profile and smooth, creamy consistency make them an ideal first food for babies.
Fresh avocados provide good fats, fiber and nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds. They are also a sugar-free fruit option, and may help prevent an early preference for sweet foods. Introducing babies to avocados may positively influence eating behaviors over time– scientific evidence suggests infants who have positive early experiences with fruits and vegetables are significantly more likely to choose and consume them later in life.
I chose avocado as the first food for both my son and daughter when they started eating solid foods around 6 months of age, and frequently recommend that my fellow moms do the same. For both of my kids, fresh avocado was the perfect food to help them develop their coordination, as they learned to pick up slices by hand and use a spoon to eat it mashed.
Not only are avocados an ideal food for babies and toddlers, they’re also a great choice for expecting and breastfeeding mothers. Adequate maternal nutrition is critical for fetal development during pregnancy. Avocados provide many of the critical nutrients for fetal and infant health and development, including folate (45 mcg), potassium (250 mg), fiber (3 g), MUFA (5 g) and vitamins C (4 mg) and E (1 mg). Notably, per 50 g serving (one-third of a medium avocado) avocados are a good source of folate, an important nutrient for proper brain function. Consuming adequate amounts of folate/folic acid during pregnancy may reduce the risk for premature births and birth defects. After delivery, the fruits and vegetables mothers consume can also influence the composition of breast milk and the flavor preferences of infants.
I made it a priority to focus on including good fats like those found in avocados in my diet during both of my pregnancies. Adequate fiber was also very important to keep things moving. Pairing avocado with whole wheat toast became my go-to fiber + good fat breakfast, and I loved the boost of folate it added to my diet. As a registered dietitian and mom, the benefits of eating fresh avocados makes it easy for me to recommend them to expecting moms, new moms and their little ones for optimal nutrition.