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This cook knows how to raise less-picky eaters

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 28, 2015 at 3:49 PM

June Myers' recipe is not for the picky eater. Her low-carb tuna salad has a variety of vegetables to tickle the taste buds.

"This is kind of nice because you get a lot of different flavors in each bite," Myers said.

And Myers said children who are breast-fed are much more likely to enjoy her dish, because they are less likely to be picky eaters.

Myers, who works in the county's Women Infant and Children (WIC) office, is a mom-to-mom peer helper specializing with moms who are breast feeding. Unlike her tuna salad (which she said she changes every time she makes it), she said baby formula is the same thing over and over again for six months. Breast milk can take on some flavors of food eaten by the mother and helps children develop into less picky eaters.

But breast milk has a host of other benefits, including: children with lower obesity rates who stop eating when they are full; mothers and children who are less likely to develop breast cancer, diabetes and uterine cancer; and babies who are less likely to develop respiratory problems.

"It's one of the best ways to prevent problems," Myers said.

In addition to the health benefits of breast feeding, Myers said the bond that develops is good for mother and baby.

"It's a wonderful experience, it really is," she said, adding it often kicks in "mothering instincts" and produces hormones that help moms become more protective of their children. For example, Myers said mothers who breast feed are more likely to leave abusive relationships.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is making a large push to increase the number of mothers who breast feed and the length of time they do so. Currently, 64 percent of mother breast feed early on, which the CDC would like to see up to 75 percent by 2010. Only 29 percent of mothers breast feed for six months the 2010 CDC goal is 60 percent.

Myers, 42, said mothers stop breast feeding for a variety of reasons. Some have problems with sore nipples, overfullness and getting their child to latch on. Also, some mothers are facing logistical problems.

"Unfortunately, a lot of moms have to go back to work very soon (after giving birth)," said Myers, who is the mother of three children Ben, 20, Janine, 16, and Joe, 14.

But, even if a mom can only breast feed early on, or has to eventually mix in formula feedings with breast milk feedings, the health and nutritional benefits are there.

"It's like the first shot, that immunization," she said.

Anyone with questions or concerns about breast feeding can contact the WIC office (419) 668-6855.

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