A few weeks ago, Kara took her 12-month-old baby Nelly for a check up at her local early childhood health centre.
She wasn’t worried about anything specifically, but knew it was important to consult a professional about Nelly’s development and ensure she was hitting all her milestones.
She was. According to the nurse, Nelly was a perfectly healthy one-year-old.
But it was a remark the nurse made as Kara was about to leave that stayed with her following the appointment.
“She’s 12 months now, so she can have cow’s milk…” the nurse said.
“Yep,” Kara responded, already a mum to a four-year-old boy.
“You know,” the nurse continued, “she can also have light milk, and maybe light yogurt.”
Kara laughed, imagining the woman might actually be joking, given she’d never heard skim milk be recommended for babies. Once she saw the nurses expression, she stopped.
“I thought it was understood that light milk is not good for pretty much anyone with the amount of sugar in it,” Kara said on Mamamia’s parenting podcast This Glorious Mess.
“I think that’s why I giggled at first because I knew it was such poor advice and I would never change that.”
The nurse added, before Kara left, “And when she starts walking, maybe keep her moving.”
By the time Kara had exited the centre, she was desperate to call her partner. In fact, they had a bit of a laugh about it.
Kara told hosts Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo, “The beauty was that she was my second, I feel sad if she’s saying this to other mums.”
You see, when Kara was 12 months old, she weighed exactly the same as Nelly.
When her son was 12 months old, he weighed exactly the same as Nelly.
And now Kara, and her four-year-old son are well within the healthy weight range.
Leading dietitian Susie Burrell agrees that the nutritional advice offered by the nurse was unfounded.
“The advice she was given was rough,” Burrell said. “You would never say that now, particularly in that age of child.”
She added that the “best person for diet advice is going to be a dietitian,” and it’s recommended that a child consumes full fat dairy until they are at least two, and often five years old.
Burrell said that although the advice was misguided, it is important parents plot the growth of their kids, and if they do find their child is growing rapidly, then to watch the amount of carbohydrates in their diet.
As general advice, Burrell says babies should stay away from processed snacks and heavy carb foods, and of course if you are concerned about your child’s weight, then consult a dietitian.