Toddler won't eat veggies? Website offers feeding advice to millennial moms

Christine and Joey Conklin of Marietta have their hands, happily, full with two-and-a-half-year-old Will and 13-month old Wyatt.

And when Christine, a 28-year old full-time mom, needs parenting advice, she picks up her phone, not to call the doctor, or her mom, but to search for it herself.

"This morning we're working on potty training my older son," Conklin says. "That was this morning's search, for potty training."

Feeding two veggie-averse toddlers is another major challenge.

"They both have opinions, and those opinions seem to change very drastically," Conklin laughs. One day they hate blueberries and the next day that's all they want." 

This morning they had pancakes.  

"They love pancakes," Conklin says.  "But, this morning Will decided he hated pancakes and threw them all over the floor."

So, when snack time stalls, Conklin turns to her Facebook friends who are moms or parenting blogs for advice on what to do.

"You get a response back in a couple of seconds, it's not like calling someone and having to ask, or only having one opinion," she says.  "I can get everyone's opinion!"  

But, is all that information ever too much?

"It's almost always too much," Conklin laughs.

Dr. Stephanie Walsh, Medical Director of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's "Strong4Life " wellness program, says they know millennial moms like Christine and more likely to turn to Dr. Google than their child's pediatrician for advice.

But, Dr. Walsh cautions, online advice from strangers can be tricky.

"The problem with the internet is that it's not regulated," Walsh says.  "So, anybody can put anything out there about the best way they think it is to feed your kids."

Conklin says the advice can be pretty one-sided.

"And there isn't a lot of  'Oh, well. I think this worked for us, maybe it could work for you," she says.  "It's very much, "This is how you have to do it!"

That's why Children's Healthcare recently revamped its website, with millennial moms in mind.

"So what we're doing is trying to put the information out there, something that they can hold onto," says Dr. Walsh.  "That is supported by the evidence, but is also real information, stuff you can use."

Walsh says Children's Healthcare asked millennial mothers for their feedback in re-designing the website.

The moms wanted age-specific, budget-conscious advice, Walsh says.  

"What we found is that moms really want to know why," Dr. Walsh says.  "So, 'Don't tell me the kids shouldn't drink juice. I want to know why the kids shouldn't drink juice.'"

Conklin liked the articles aimed at toddlers, like one on avoiding mealtime meltdowns.

She's not ready to give up surfing the internet for answers.

But, Conklin says, she likes having a nutritional website she knows she can trust.

 "I could come up with a website if I wanted to," Conklin says.  "So it's nice to know Children's Healthcare backs it, and the information is pretty solid."

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