70. Ep. 332 – Square Baby, 3 of 3: The Stages of Baby’s Nutrition – Informed Pregnancy Podcast
Elliot: Welcome to the Informed Pregnancy and Parenting Podcast. I’m your host, a pregnancy-focused chiropractor, Dr. Elliot Berlin. You’ve tuned
Elliot: Welcome to the Informed Pregnancy and Parenting Podcast. I’m your host, a pregnancy-focused chiropractor, Dr. Elliot Berlin.
You’ve tuned into the final sponsored episode of a 3-part series of extremely helpful information about feeding babies and toddlers with my friends from Square Baby. My guest today, a Square Baby co-founder, isn’t just a nutritionist and a businesswoman, but she’s also a mom. Today, she’s going to give us even more valuable information for moms, dads, and caretakers of children. Katie Thompson, welcome back to the podcast.
Katie: Thank you so much. Excited to be here.
Elliot: I could probably do six episodes.
Katie: I could probably talk forever so that would work out.
Elliot: Your encyclopedic wealth of information, let’s start here. Let’s pretend I’m a parent shopping for a food delivery plan for my young child, let’s say four to six months old. We’re going to go through the different ages, four to six months old. How do I decide what items are best for me? What kind of things should I look out for, for the four- to six-month age bracket?
Katie: Yeah. This is certainly a time of excitement for parents. Kind of high anxiety, taking on new milestones and new steps and comparing our baby to another baby. First and foremost, like pretty much everything you know, check with your pediatrician or your baby’s readiness for solids. Many babies are not ready until about six months. I know with my first kiddo, he gobbled food down, opened his mouth for every bite. It was like a super fun experience. Probably, around five and a half months or so in the second baby, Nolan, he turned his head and spit it out, and pretty much put me into tears every night for about two weeks. Just understanding that guidelines are guidelines, but listening to your baby and their cues, and your intuition, and your pediatrician are always really great things to stay grounded in.
Certainly, four to six months is an important time from a kind of flavor window perspective, thinking about new taste, thinking about allergen introduction. I’ll kind of dive into each of those things individually. But also, think about the fact that breastmilk formula should be the mainstay. If not, their exclusive diet until about six months. I know that breastfeeding is not easy or available or an option for every parent, but certainly, whether it’s breast milk or formula, that is the mainstay of their nutrition during this time. Any food is a bit more taste flavor of exploration, little bites. So, don’t put too much pressure on food at this stage being a big part of their nutrition. It’s more so kind of palate development.
Elliot: And also, great for Instagram.
Katie: Totally. Isn’t that what parenting is all about?
Elliot: I think so. Those avocado pictures and whatnot.
Katie: Right. My kids are 10 and 14 now. Facebook was just getting started when I had Jackson. I guess it had been around a couple of years. I realized it was going to stay and it was probably the way I was going to be able to show baby photos to my family, so I was definitely a photo dump person at that stage.
Anyway, I think the other critical component four to six months is that research has shown recently with some landmark studies on allergen introduction at this period of time is really best for early allergen introduction. It used to be when I had babies that we were told not to feed our baby allergen, like peanuts, tree nuts, eggs any dairy, anything like that until they’re at least one, and sometimes three years old, depending on the allergen. We were kind of made to feel as though if we did, they could go into an anaphylactic shock at any time. And it was very, very scary.
Recent research has actually shown that introducing allergens early in often so as early as four to six months and often, meaning several times per week, can actually help food allergies from developing. So, whether that’s in a powder format, right? You might not be ready to do purees at four to six months. Maybe you’re looking at adding little powdered peanut to your breastmilk or formula, that’s another option.
Elliot: Peanut butter milk.
Katie: Yeah. That sounds nice.
Elliot: Okay. But just to be clear. At four months, some babies are not ready to really have anything, but some babies are. It still wouldn’t be the mainstay of their nutrition, typically. But at six months, then is that what you’re saying, oftentimes, the shift starts to move? The needle starts to move towards eating solids?
Katie: Yeah. That’s a good kind of general milestone for baby starting to have more and more bites and small meals. But, generally, there are some key milestones that pediatricians and the AAP will tell you to look for when it comes to readiness. There’s a kind of golden rule of doubling their birth weights. But also, other just signs that you can see from your kitchen. Are they able to sit up and support their head? Whether in a Bumbo chair or something similar. It’s very kind of intuitive, right? Can they hold their head and neck up? Are they showing interest in food? Do they look at your food, reach for it? Do they open their mouth to a spoon?
And maybe, even more obvious, but an important cue is whether they’re able to really keep food in their mouth and swallow it. I mean, if they’re spitting it out, they can’t physically move the food, the puree, to the back of their throat and swallow it, they’re just not ready yet and that’s okay. Another sign might be that they’re bringing their toys, their fists, to their mouth.
Elliot: I feel like it wasn’t exactly the same for each of our four kids.
Katie: That’s right. That’s such a good reminder to just follow your gut, your instinct, the baby’s cues and to just sort of let it happen.
Elliot: Remember, one of them was like our dog as soon as we sat down at the table. Just that sitting, staring at you. Like, “How come you get to eat?” So, that was a clear cue, but it also wasn’t our first kid. I might have missed them on the first child.
Okay. So, those are great milestones. And then, when you are starting. I mean, we’re so conscious when we start to put food into our baby. What are the kind of things that we’re looking for in terms of the ideal selections?
Katie: Sure. At four to six months again, we’re thinking more about variety versus volume. We’re thinking about little taste. Maybe it’s little tablespoons here and there. But, in general, whether you want to start with single ingredients or combo meals, either is totally fine. One consideration about single ingredient that I really, really love is that, especially for veggies, it really isolates a flavor. If you only do combo meals, maybe your baby never really gets that true taste of broccoli. Maybe they’ve never really tasted something that kind of earthy, bitter, umami flavor. Because it’s always sort of mixed in with other ingredients. So, I think there is something that’s really great and important about offering some singular flavors.
At the same time, I’d love to debunk the myth that you need to introduce one food at a time and wait three to five days in between. But certainly, it’s just not the case for non-allergenic foods. Certainly, with allergenic food, it’s great. If you’re going to introduce peanut, don’t do it with a whole bunch of other allergens. Isolate it so you can see if there is a reaction. It’s easier to tell what the reaction might be from. But for non-allergenic foods, fruits and vegetables and grains meats, and things like that, it’s totally fine to start with little combo meals.
Elliot: Here, you’re saying single ingredients but also combo meals. So, you’re saying don’t mix it all together, give them an exposure to a flavor, and then separately an exposure to another flavor but it could be at the same meal.
Katie: Yeah. Exactly. Don’t think too much about hard and fast rules. If this is okay, and that’s okay, and this is good, and that is bad. But understanding that the combo meals, what that can be great for is a variety of foods, and nutrients, and flavors. It offers more of a palate development opportunity with all these varieties of flavors. However, the single-ingredient food can really isolate again that more veggie-forward flavor, which is just helpful in this period of time for palate development.
Elliot: Yeah. I think palate development is huge. Especially, once you’re exposed to some of the more addictive flavors, it’s hard to develop go back and develop you know the earthiness. I think we talked about earlier, but I just love people who could drink straight juice, greens that are pure greens. I’m struggling in putting an apple and cucumber and all these things because I grew up loving the sweets and the sugars. So, I think cool for babies setting the stage for them to have a long nutritious life by giving the palate to them, as you said.
And then, once we’re feeding them food, it’s a totally different experience, what do you do in terms of quantity?
Katie: In this four- to six-month stage — again, this is just understanding your baby’s readiness. Maybe it’s a few teaspoons. If your baby’s totally ready and they’re towards that kind of five- to six-month range, one to two meals a day is sort of the sweet spot. But again, listening to your baby’s cues, understanding that, where they are on that, the timeline of introducing solids, you might find that one baby gobbles down food quite readily, and the other one is taking a little bit more time to kind of take to this new idea of food. So, not huge, fast rules around this four- to six- month stage. This is again, just trying to get them used to the idea. You’re trying to introduce new flavors. You’re trying to get them ready for when food is the mainstay of their diet.
Elliot: It seems, to a degree, that you could even start palate development before the babies start eating solid foods with a lactating mom to be able to eat different flavors and foods, and pass them on through breastmilk.
Katie: That’s exactly right. So, thinking about what we’re eating when we’re breastfeeding is really important because those flavors do pass through. So, eat all the spicy food you want.
Elliot: Before we go to break, Katie, you mentioned a few times in passing, that we look at allergens differently today than we used to when we were having babies, when you were having babies. It used to be very scary and all these guidelines on to hold off on giving any of those foods that are known to be more allergic-type foods until the babies were older. But now, we do it differently. So, is there a particular time that’s a right and a sort of method for rolling out those higher allergy foods?
Katie: Absolutely. So, four to six months is that key window when they say introduce allergens early and often. That early as four to six months. Certainly, talk to your pediatrician, allergist. But in general, the recommendations are to offer them one at a time. You may want to opt to do it at home or even in a doctor’s office. So, probably, not a great thing to do on the go, and maybe you couldn’t respond to a reaction. But great to do in kind of those safer settings. If you’re going to do it as early as four months and they’re not ready to take on solids, you’re really just not even able to kind of swallow the purees, then putting allergen powders, such as “Ready. Set. Food.” allergen introduction powders into your breast milk or formula are a great way to go.
The importance about allergen introduction and the science behind it is that, with any research, becomes very specific recommendations. Thank goodness for those. So, they learned that there are specific doses, efficacious doses, that help to prevent food allergies from developing. So, when they say, “I have allergens often,” for example with peanuts. It’s 2 grams of peanut protein, three times a week. So, that can be kind of hard for a parent to figure out if you’re just dosing peanut butter into a smoothie or something like that. So, looking towards brands, like Square Baby, that are putting the research and the science into their meals and making sure that the doses are in fact developed towards those guidelines is really important.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. But at the same time, know that there is such thing as “underdosing,” and not giving the baby enough for it to really be efficacious, or overdoing it, and kind of giving them too much in the beginning and kind of affecting their ability to build up that tolerance. So, certainly speaking to an allergist about a specific regimen is good. But in general, a variety of foods early enough and bites to start increasing over time is some good general recommendations.
Elliot: Thank you for that. We’re going to take a quick break, and we’ll be right back with Katie Thompson of Square Baby.
Elliot: Welcome back to the Important Pregnancy Podcast. We’re talking to Katie Thompson from Square Baby.
Okay. Great information on the four- to six-month stage when we’re just starting to put solids into the baby’s mouths. Let’s jump up a little bit. Six to eight months. If I’m a parent of a six- to eight-month-old, what changes do I make to the selections of my food choices for my baby’s developmental level?
Katie: Remembering that that four to six period was really about little tastes, and maybe it’s a little puree on a fingertip or on a spoon, starting to have a few bites or maybe a small meal. Now, we’re looking six to eight months, we’re looking at about two meals per day working up to like a 4-ounce or a half-cup serving. So, certainly, food has gone from little bites, and little tastes, and little trials to a bit more of their nutrition throughout the day. What I look for at this stage, especially they are new tummies just developing, is easier to digest smoother purees with maybe some texture. But I would avoid going, for example, a cup of straight broccoli, or white beans, or something like that for a baby might send them into a gassy hysteria, which is not fun for parents.
Elliot: For nobody, yeah.
Katie: Right, I remember I had a very gassy baby, and I would do anything to make that stop. Including my own diet and everything. It’s very stressful when they get colicky and are crying. Anything that you can do to kind of ease them into solids from a kind of tolerance perspective is good. Not to say that you can’t give your baby a bite of white beans and broccoli amongst a balanced meal, but thinking about portion sizes when it comes to some of these gassier foods.
The other really important consideration are key nutrients at this period of time. So, six to eight months, six to nine months, is about when babies natural iron stores are depleting. I remember going to the pediatrician’s office and you’re doing your six-month visit, and they tell you, “Your baby’s low in iron and that’s completely normal. But we need to start fortifying with iron.” It’s just sort of a scary moment to hear that your baby’s deficient in anything. It’s just sort of overwhelming. But keeping a calm head about it and knowing that there’s plenty of foods, and iron-fortified cereals and things can really be helpful. So, pureed meats for iron and zinc. Make your vegetarian looking at lentils and green leafies or iron-fortified cereals again.
The other thing is that you have to think about with iron as that vitamin C along with the meal can help to absorb the iron. So, thinking about combinations like a beef with tomato, or lentils with bell pepper, or iron fortified cereal with strawberries. Each of these combinations is sort of the sweet spot for vitamin C and iron. It’s funny because when I first learned this during my master’s degree, I thought, “Maybe that’s why there’s always ketchup on your hamburger.” It’s evolutionary thing.
Elliot: Well, at least now, I can take solace on the fact that there is a nutritional benefit.
Katie: That’s right. We need this. Another key nutrient that I think is very seldom talked about, doesn’t get a lot of air time is choline.
Elliot: Yes, choline.
Katie: Right? Essential for brain development. We think about it, pregnant mothers, we don’t talk about it as much for infants. But eggs are a magical superfood when it comes to choline. One egg is 100% of babies daily needs. Just thinking about ways to get choline-rich foods, including eggs, is a great thing at this stage.
Elliot: How do you prepare them for babies?
Katie: I think I mean you can scramble the eggs and put it into a puree. If they are at the stage where they’re able to kind of pick up food, and they’re kind of doing a little bit more finger foods, it’s the perfect finger food if you do a hard-boiled egg. Obviously, very careful that there’s no shells. It’s very easy to pick up, and to kind of gum it, and swallow it. Whatever works best for your baby. Just make sure it’s obviously fully cooked.
Elliot: You always recommend the whole egg?
Katie: Yes. There’s a really important nutrients in the yolk and saturated fat. That’s very, very important for baby. And, of course, protein within the egg whites.
The other thing that’s really important when you’re shopping, especially in the baby food aisle, there are a lot of very fruit-heavy purees often found in pouches. It’s sort of something that’s happened with the baby food industry as the pouches came to market. As a food manufacturer, I can tell you this is done primarily to kind of bring down the pH of the food. It’s kind of a processing need, right? So, when we went from jars to pouches, we saw more of the kind of earth’s best turkey dinner, and more balanced meals, to a lot of berry applesauce-heavy pouches. So, not that fruit is bad, by any means. I think it’s important to give your baby the experience of tart fruit so that they can enjoy pineapples, and berries, and things like that. But just thinking about how much fruit is a part of your meals and a part of their daily diet because as you’re talking about palate development so, so key.
We have this incredible window, six to eight months especially, as a sweet spot where they are more eager than ever to accept new foods. If you think about when they turn to toddler stage, they have a bit more of an opinion, they have formed a bit more of their palate, and their likes and dislikes perhaps. It’s a bit more challenging. So, this is a key time to just introduce/ reintroduce, keep up with the exposure. Because even though if it takes you 10 times for your baby to like avocado, it’s worth it and they will get there.
Another key thing that’s kind of hard to find in many baby foods, but something to toot our own horn that Square Baby does very well, are premium proteins. It’s one of the pain points I felt when feeding my own kiddo. I think I told this story before. When I was feeding him and I felt as though it was so hard to find premium protein. And so, the only protein option that I could find was sort of an isolated protein to add to the purees, I was giving him were these little Beanie Weenies in a jar. It was just like the grossest. It’s like in hot dog juice. You must really want to give him protein, too. Let’s just do this. So, we love that we offer organic meats, egg, yogurt, sustainably cut salmon. A lot of different options that not only are proteins often, an allergen source, right? So, fish, milk through yogurt, eggs; but are offering key healthy fats, and vitamins, and minerals that are just so important during this stage.
Elliot: If I want to make my own foods, feed my baby my own foods, everything that you’re saying here sounds like things that I probably should have around the house for me, too. They’re just prepared differently for the baby. I was just wondering, it’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of work, number one. Any tips and ideas on how to get all this nutrition, healthy nutrition, in there without spending so much time on it? But then, also quantities. Whatever we need and like how much of each of these things?
Katie: Definitely. There’s certainly — some parents have the time and truly enjoy making their food and all power to them. My co-founder, Kendall, made every meal, did it all. She’s still a do-it-all person and someone I highly look up to.
My reality was very different. I had zero time for it. I remember that I made some of his purees in the beginning, mashed up the [unin 00:20:54] and the avocado, did some meals here and there on a weekend. But what I would find myself doing would get really excited and make this like adventurous meal, spend half my Sunday doing it. Whether it’s shopping, and the shopping, and the steaming, and pureeing, right? And then, you put it all in the ice cube tray. So, you have all these little portions, which is awesome. But you kind of invested all this time, you’ve got one meal. So, you don’t really give them the variety you’re hoping for. That was at least my experience.
What we’ve really tried to solve with Square Baby is taking all the guesswork out of feeding parents to really solve every pain point that we felt. So, that parents don’t feel like they need to do all this research, and understand allergen dosage, and to make sure your baby’s got enough veggies and protein. But to offer this 100% daily nutrition meal plan that’s customized for your little one.
In general, when you’re thinking about making your own baby food — I mean essentially, you’re making smoothies, right? You want to make sure that you’re thinking about food safety, right? That you cook foods that need to be cooked. It can’t hurt to even steam things that maybe you, for yourself, might just dump into the blender. I found myself still steaming like blueberries really quickly and things like that. But certainly, proteins and other foods that need to be cooked, that’s very important step. And thinking about like the food pyramids; now, the MyPlate. Thinking about balancing their plate.
So, even if it’s all mixed up in a puree, if you think about what a balanced meal looks like, it’s half the plate’s fruits and veggies, a quarter of its whole grains, and the quarter bits, protein. So, thinking about that in a very general way can be helpful. Of course, I love to say more veggie-forward is great. It just helps with palate development. It’s very, very easy to get kids to like sweet foods, and to have fruits as snacks and things. And so, the more we can encourage that veggie acceptance is a really, really good thing.
Elliot: It’s great advice. I’m not sure that we talked about grains. Specifically, what kind of grains from six to eight months?
Katie: Yeah. We love to introduce ancient grains and things that are a bit harder. For Square Baby, we have a lot of barley, and millet, and quinoa, and other grains that are a bit harder to find, or are harder to make. Sometimes, might not be in your kind of rotation. And really kind of minimizing rice. There’s a lot of research and data on the arsenic and heavy metals inherently found in rice and in the soil. So, there’s no need to give rice if you don’t have to. There are plenty of other grains to give your kiddos. But really great for iron, for B vitamins, and other nutrients. So, great for fiber. Just help with digestion.
Elliot: Yeah. I mean, it’s Square Baby in addition to the know-how, the nutritional understanding that you bring into all of your meals is just doing it. Sourcing from the right places, the raw ingredients, understanding which foods for which stages, understanding food combinations, flavor exposure, palate development, allergy introduction, and then the amount of variety that I could offer my child when somebody else is doing is going to be much greater than the amount that I could do on my own.
For me, personally, I know for sure, I’m not the only one who struggles with work-life balance, the holy grail. I would much rather — even though it would be fun, I find it fun to make different food combinations and see how they react to them, I’d rather just spend that time with them and let somebody else do all of this if I’m able to. So, okay. But there was no Square Baby when I had kids.
Katie: That’s why I’m here now. There was no Square Baby for me either. It’s hard.
Elliot: But better late than never.
Katie: That’s right.
Elliot: Let’s take a little break. We’re going to go into the next category of eight to 12 months when we come back.
Elliot: Welcome back to the Informed Pregnancy Podcast. We’re talking to Katie Thompson, co-founder of Square Baby, about nutrition for the little ones who went from when they very first started eating, and now we’re all the way up to eight to 12 months. What happens at eight to 12 months?
Katie: At age 12 months, we’re looking now at three to five solid meals, test small meals per day. That could look like around a half a cup or 4-ounce meals per day. Again, listen to your baby’s cues. You will see some totally gobbled-down food, and others may be leaning more towards those three meals a day. So, listen to your baby’s cues. Understanding that really food is becoming a bit more of the mainstay of their diet and critical part of their nutrition.
So, thinking about, again, some of the common things we just talked about in six to eight months, but really focusing on keeping up that variety thinking about, eating the rainbow and various colors. That is an easy way of making sure that they’re getting critical nutrients, right? Because every color is associated with various phytonutrients and different vitamins and minerals. So, it’s nice to think about ways in which you can make sure you’re giving your kid the rainbow each day if you can.
Elliot: I found out that sprinkled-colored donuts don’t count.
Katie: I know. Skittles, no. Not so much either.
Elliot: Dang it.
Katie: Another thing that’s really important about this stage is babies are ready for more texture. What you don’t want is to hold on to super-thin, smooth purees in which they’re just taking down the equivalent of a yogurt or an applesauce texture all the time. You really want to challenge your kiddo to take on new textures and flavors you know as soon as they’re ready.
Elliot: What do you mean by, like examples of different textures?
Katie: Thinking about chunky meals, thicker meals. This might be a time where you’ve got whole pea inside the puree that they have to kind of chew up and swallow. So, baby food companies typically do a really good job of thinking about what foods are and kind of sizes are going to be appropriate for each stage of development so that you can minimize those choking hazards and make sure that you have the best chance of success.
But again, every baby’s so different. Some babies are got a fist full of a whole sweet potato, right? And doing the baby-led weaning, and they totally got it down, and they’re eating the food. And others kind of hang on to that puree stage a little bit longer. But, in general, you want to see your babies start to take on more chunky foods, maybe you’re starting to do table foods alongside your purees.
What I found in my experience was that, my baby sit really well with purees, which I love, once they kind of got over that first little two weeks for my younger baby. But with anything that you’re kind of introducing new, it’s nice to do something successful alongside. So, to kind of make sure they’re getting the nutrition they need, you don’t want everything to end up on the floor, or in their hair, or on your face as babies tend to play with food and throw it, which is also an important part of their journey. It’s important thing for them to play, to experience, to explore, and really kind of develop a good healthy relationship with food. It’s totally fine for food to end up on the floor. But when we’re thinking about nutrition, when we’re thinking about allergen introduction, we do need some of that to get into their bellies. So, thinking about doing a table food or something new that maybe they are either more likely to toss or not successfully get in their mouth, maybe they’re more likely to spit it out, it’s nice to do something successful alongside it. That’s sort of the texture recommendation.
Elliot: Get into your food. I feel like sometimes — my kids are older now. But when they were little and we’d give them a new texture, it took a minute to get used to it. I mean, they put it in and gum around a little bit. Sometimes, the experience of that bigger piece going down, would just feel weird to them. They’d make these [choking sound] kind of, you can’t see it. But you could probably imagine the face I’m making. It would just take a few times for them to try that before they got used to it and it became normal for them.
Katie: Yeah. I think it’s so key to remember that continuing to introduce, knowing that they turn their head once, twice for a week. It does not mean — I mean, unless they’re having an allergic reaction, right? Pause. But if it’s just that they’re not taking to it, don’t give up.
I remember being so frustrated that my son hated avocado. I was so excited to give him this healthy fat, and this beautiful green food that was so excited to give him. He was like, “No. I’m not having it.” And so, you keep going then before you know it, he’s getting the side of guacamole alongside you.
Elliot: True story. I rejected avocado till I was around 25 years old.
Katie: Me too.
Elliot: Oh, really?
Katie: I was a very picky eater.
Elliot: Oh, I wasn’t picky. I just didn’t like avocado and cilantro.
Katie: Oh, yeah, cilantro is definitely a “people love it or they hate it.” I love it. But do you like it now or no?
Elliot: I like it now.
Katie: See? Palate development is always a possibility.
Elliot: Never give up on your child. Okay.
You have a gazillion pieces of information, data points for parents who like to research, parents who like to know and understand the science the methodology. You’ve put a lot of that information on your website. What kind of things do you have up there?
Katie: Certainly, from a kind of ordering and customized nutrition perspective, we take the parent or caregiver through a quick little process to understand babies’ age, month, and year of birth, so that we know what kinds of foods to recommend to them. And then, we take in any potential dietary restrictions or preferences. So, if you’re vegan or vegetarian, or you’re looking for foods that are higher in iron. Our website will make it very easy to kind of filter through what you’re looking for. You can always adjust that. I think customization is incredibly important. We know one size does not fit all, and we certainly didn’t need to put a stake in the ground and say, “We’re only a vegan company.” “We’re only vegetarian,” or “We’re only paleo,” or “We’re only anything.” It’s knowing that balanced complete nutrition looks like a different diet to a lot of families, and we want to support that from an education perspective. Certainly, having information on allergen introduction, and palate development, and readiness for solids, and even the various steps of what to think about, just as we’ve talked about at each stage of development, I think is really important.
We also talk about heavy metals and how we can look for ways to reduce them, and what our commitments are at Square Baby. We just try to be as accessible as possible as two founders, Kendall and I have taken every customer service call, every email, every question. We even have a storefront for the first three years of our company. And so, we got to have all of these customer conversations, one-on-one, which I think was such an important piece for us. At the end of the day, we launched a company, now having you know kids that are between 10 and 15 years old. Clearly, we’re still very passionate about baby food and helping parents to this stage. So, whether it’s information on our website or just a way to talk to myself or another one of our dietitians, it’s our goal to be very, very helpful in this process and to never going to be prescriptive, like you’re a pediatrician or replace that. Certainly, we can help with guidelines and other advice based on our menu.
Elliot: It’s amazing that you make yourself so accessible. I mean, every time I talk to you, I just think about all the different things that you need to know and to learn. Even when you talk about packaging. “Oh, this is where we switched to this kind of packaging, and that kind of packaging.” All the nutritional information, the preparatory information of being able to ship, and all the different things involved in the logistics of shipping, and then to still be available for your families and your customers. It’s incredible. So, I look up to you.
Katie: Well, that is kind. Thank you. I think it’s just something we’re insanely passionate about. You don’t get into this and throw your life into a startup without an incredible amount of passion to create change and to be the resource and be the company we wish we would have had 14 years ago when we were feeding our babies.
Elliot: Because you have so much direct interaction with your clients, you get to see a lot and you get to kind of survey the field as to what people have and what they’re missing, what they know and what they don’t know. What are some of the things that you see the gaps in parent knowledge about feeding little ones?
Katie: It’s a great question. The first thing that comes to mind is I think that, because there’s so much information out there, because there are so many blogs, so much social media has many opinions. There’s a lot of mom shaming. There’s a lot of, “If you don’t do it this way, you’re doing it the wrong way.” “If you give your baby purees versus baby-led weaning, or vice versa, that there’s one way, that’s the right way,” which is just absolutely not the case.
So, whether it’s just understanding that every baby’s a little different and their readiness, their journey to solids, their preferences, all those things, they will hopefully, eventually, get to a very similar place if you do all the same things. But they might get there in a different way, and that’s okay. And knowing that whether doing solely baby-led weaning, even understanding that purees can be a great part of that. You think about what soup is, and smoothies are, and yogurts are, those can be very puree-like products, foods that are absolutely healthy and great to give to your baby. But you can use a puree as a dip, or a sauce, or on toast, or all different ways to give them the balanced nutrition, the allergy introduction that they need. So, I think just understanding that your intuition as a parent, as a caregiver, is really valuable. Listen to your pediatrician, understand resources that are valid and research-based. But then, the day also listen to yourself, and I think give yourself some grace. I think that’s really important.
Elliot: That’s really good advice. Thank you for all of this information. Thank you for everything that you do for helping us feed our little ones in the most successful way, in the most nutritious way, and give them a great start in life. Katie, where can we find you guys online?
Katie: So, squarebaby.com. We are just relaunching the company, excited to be going national with our direct-to-consumer fresh baby food. We’ll be shipping to all of the lower 48 states. Very excited to be going to our website. You can place a customized order. We make it really easy to pause, to skip, to change your meal assortment, and things like that. And, of course, we’re always available. You can email us at email@example.com. It goes right to my inbox, with any questions. Honestly, we’re here and we’d love to offer as well for your audience, “Berlin20.” Discount code for 20% off for first orders.
Elliot: Oh, amazing! Twenty percent off your first order with the code: Berlin20. Remind us of the website.
Elliot: Easy. squarebaby.com. Promotion code: Berlin20. Get 20% off.
Katie: thank you very much again. I’m probably going to listen to these a couple of times. You gave us so much information. It’s hard to digest all at once. No pun intended, but it’s one of those things that I’ll go back and listen to and get new pearls and gems each time I listen. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Katie: Oh, thank you. That is so kind. I’m just so grateful for the opportunity to share and to hopefully be helpful and hope to feed lots of babies.
Elliot: Amazing. At home, thanks for listening to the Informed Pregnancy Podcast. If you like our program, share us with your friends. Leave us some feedback, and visit us online at informedpregnancy.com.