The Nest's Noticings for the Week...
Favorite Product: Here are some of our favorite feeding products here at the Nest that tend to come up a lot because they're loved by moms (or us!):
- The most popular recommended bottles today were: the Nook, Como Tomo, and Dr. Browns.
- Num Num Gootensil - a first spoon.
- EZPZ Placemat - this is the suction-y placemat I showed in class. And here is the bowl version.
- The Zoli cup is a great first cup for learning how to use a straw. The WOW cup and Munchkin 360 were the cups we talked about that don't have any straw/spout. If your child is having a hard time learning how to use a straw, check out this Bear Therapeutic Straw Cup.
- Here are the disposable placemats we talked about today that can be used in a restaurant.
- Bambas are the peanut puff we talked about in class today!
- We talked about Yumi - the local baby food delivery service. For a free month of baby food delivered to your door, go here and use the promo code THENEST50
Parenting Resource or Tip: There are lots of social media accounts/groups that can be helpful for babies and feeding! We like the Instagram account Feeding Littles and all of their resources (message me on FB and ask me to add you if you want to join their FB group!) On IG check out: @feedinglittles, @whatnoaheats, @onmykidsplate, @babyfooduniverse, @myhungrytoddler, @babyledgourmet, @lapetitefoodie, @organicfoodforkids. Particularly when you start introducing solids/finger foods, seeing videos of little ones and what/how they're eating can really help! There are also a ton of great books on feeding - they're in the topic section of your recap!
Baby Signs to Use: More, All Done, Drink, Eat
Baby Songs to Sing: Apples & Bananas, Slippery Fish
Developmental Play Tip:
Your baby’s ability to grasp food will impact the way that you feed them – and the way that you feed them will impact their ability to grasp!! Here’s a brief look at what your baby’s hands are going through developmentally and how you can use play to encourage their development further. J
1-2 Months: Your baby doesn’t know they have hands yet! J Hands are clenched (a reflex they’re born with that will last until around 3 months)
3-4 Months: Around 4 months, babies start to have the coordination to grasp large objects in front of them. As their vision and coordination develop, they’ll enjoy looking at mobiles/activity gyms and reaching for objects dangling above their head. Play Ideas: Give your baby time under a mobile or activity gym! If you choose to put a mobile in baby’s crib, it’s time to take it down when they can reach the dangling pieces. (For safety reasons.) Note: If by 4 months, your baby can’t grab objects, talk to your pediatrician.
5-6 Months: Babies are eager to explore different textures with their fingers. Babyproofing is really important at this age since your baby can now reach objects and bring them to his mouth! Your baby does not need to have a pincer grasp before starting solids/finger foods. Play Ideas: Get your baby some soft fabric books with different textures and sounds for them to explore. (As a bonus, have them propped against a pillow/boppy to practice sitting while exploring the book!) Put golf balls in muffin tins and allow your baby to practice grasping these (while you watch!) When you start feeding baby food, allow them to hold a spoon a try to self-feed or dip a teether in baby puree and allow them to self feed this way!
Today's Topic: Feeding Your Baby
Who knew feeding a baby can be SO hard?!? ;) Here are notes from all that we went over today!
With all feeding and health questions, your pediatrician is always your first and best resource! They can give you specific guidance based on what they know about your baby's development and nutritional needs. The info below is compiled from a number of online resources and from Nest moms' experiences that were shared in class - but always check with your pediatrician - the medical expert - when making health and feeding decisions about your little one!! :)
HELP! My baby is refusing the bottle!
If your baby is refusing the bottle, there is a lot you can do! LOTS of mommies and babies go through this, so try not to worry, and try to be really patient! (Easier said than done, I know!) Things you can try:
- Some of our breastmilk has too much lipase, which leaves it smelling and tasting "off". Smell/taste your breastmilk before bottling it for baby - does it smell "off" to you? Also try giving your baby a bottle with freshly expressed milk and see if they'll take it. (Lipase develops over time, so the older the milk is, the stronger the taste/smell will be.) Here is more info for you to read if you think Lipase may be an issue for you/your baby!
- Try a newborn/slow flow nipple no matter your baby's age.
- Warm the nipple under warm water before offering to baby.
- Make sure you're paying close attention to baby's hunger cues - feeding them before they are TOO hungry as this can make them more picky! Try feeding a little before you normally would so they don't get quickly frustrated.
- Try having someone else feed your baby, and leave the house if you can!
- Instead of pushing the bottle nipple into baby's mouth, allow them to suck it into their mouth.
- Try different temperatures of millk.
- Try different bottles - borrow from friends so it doesn't get too expensive! Lots of Nest moms have found the Como Tomo bottle to work when others won't.
- After 4-6 months, according to KellyMom.com, there's no need to introduce a bottle. Try feeding baby from a cup to see if they'll accept being fed this way more readily.
- Offer the bottle when baby is sleepy - they instinctively suck at this time.
- Try feeding in different positions - while walking/bouncing on an exercise ball, in a swing, in hte bathtub, or with their back against your chest.
- Have your pediatrician check for tongue/lip tie.
Mastitis - Check out this Kelly Mom article for tips. Today we also talked about using soy lecithin if you regularly have issues with plugged ducts, nursing in different positions (even on all fours!), applying heat (a microwaved diaper works well for lots of moms!) and massaging gently.
We also went over some other nursing issues, sharing tips and tricks. What we talked about (and more!) can be found in each of these links to Kelly Mom articles I found for you!
This guide from Texas Children's Hospital is another great resource if you'd like to know more about exact amounts your baby should be eating. :)
A little caveat about the chart above and solids.... I've read a number of resources (including Super Baby Foods) that suggest using 1-2 Tablespoons per year of age as a general rule for serving size. So... if you are serving your 1 year old vegetables, 1-2 Tablespoons would be an appropriate serving size. This varies slightly from the charts above, but is easier for me to follow. :) Also - keep in mind that major organizations now recommend starting solids at 6 months.
According to the sample schedules on babysleepsite.com, here is what you can expect in terms of the number of feedings per night that your baby may need:
3 months: 1-3 night feedings
4 months: 1-3 night feedings
5 months: 1-2 night feedings
6 months: 1-2 night feedings
7 months: 1-2 night feedings
8 months: 1 night feeding
WHEN should you start solids?
You may have heard: "Food before one is just for fun!!!" Feeding solids is really, really, REALLY important before a year of age, so it's not JUST fun, but we do think this phrase can be a good reminder that feeding should be a joyful experience for your family. :)
Introduce solids after 6 months, when baby shows signs of readiness (unless otherwise directed by pediatrician). The following organizations recommend that babies be fed only milk the first 6 months of life: World Health Organization, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, UNICEF.
Signs that indicate baby is developmentally ready for solids include: (Source: http://kellymom.com/nutrition/starting-solids/solids-when/)
- Baby can sit up well without support.
- Baby has lost the tongue-thrust reflex and does not automatically push solids out of his mouth with his tongue.
- Baby is ready and willing to chew.
- Baby is developing a “pincer” grasp, where he picks up food or other objects between thumb and forefinger. Using the fingers and scraping the food into the palm of the hand (palmar grasp) does not substitute for pincer grasp development.
- Baby is eager to participate in mealtime and may try to grab food and put it in his mouth.
HOW do you start solids?
Some Nest moms choose to use purees when starting solids, some start right away with finger foods, and some do a hybrid! There are pros and cons to all feeding methods and you need to do what feels right for you! At the Nest, we believe that the best feeding method is the one that's right for YOUR family and YOUR baby. Here’s a great article to read when choosing how you’re going to feed your baby:
Regardless of “how” you decide to feed your baby, here are a few of our most important tips!
- If you choose to feed your baby purees, make them chunky as soon as your baby will tolerate it! This will help babies become accustomed to texture and ideally lead to less pickiness later on. Try to allow them to feed themselves with a “loaded spoon” as much as possible. This is great for developing motor skills as well as encouraging your baby to follow their own hunger cues.
- Follow your baby’s cues! Unless your child is not gaining weight, or is under the direction of your pediatrician to eat a certain amount at each sitting, trust your child to know when they are hungry or full! Watch for cues for hunger: leaning forward, licking lips, reaching for food. Also watch for cues that they are full (closing mouth, turning away from spoon, pushing away food)... and stop feeding them! Feeding guides (like those above are great starting points, but trust your baby, and don't feel like they're meals always need to follow charts and guidelines!)
- Remember that your baby’s tummy is tiny. A tablespoon (even 1⁄2 tablespoon according to some sources!) can be a full meal for a 6 month old. 3 berries is a full serving of fruit for a toddler!
- As much as possible, try to feed your baby things that your family typically eats. Whether you feed them directly off of your plate or puree/mush up food from your dinner, this is exposing your baby to the tastes and foods they’ll be eating later in your home!
- If your baby doesn’t like the taste of a food... try, try again! It often takes between 6-10 times of trying before a baby will accept a food!
- Let your baby get messy! Not only does this sensory exposure help potentially prevent picky eating later, it also helps their brain grow! Messy feeding experiences are great learning experiences for your little one!!
- Limit your baby’s exposure to rice cereal to once a day. I use my rice cooker to cook all kinds of grains for my family! This chart has made it easy for me to incorporate a wide range of grains into our family's diet, particuarly as we try to steer away from rice. :)
Today we talked about easy first finger foods and ways to cut/serve food to help prevent choking. Remember to avoid honey before a year old (including in cooked foods!), and to limit salt as much as possible. Here are some pictures of ways that people serve finger foods to very young eaters. :) Refer to the instagram accounts above for even more ideas!
Making Mealtime Fun
Okay - now onto our bigger kids!!
The key to getting toddlers to eat is to make mealtime fun and play as much as possible! Toddlers are hardwired to explore their environment and to play, so we can use this to help them eat more, stay at the table longer, try a wider variety of foods, and enjoy mealtime more!
How can we "play" during mealtime?
- Make food look fun! Use a cookie cutter to cut a sandwich into the shape of a star. It's the little things. ;) Put edible candy googly eyes on anything to make it instantly exciting!
- Involve your kids in cooking their food. I love using our Learning Tower to have my kids at our kitchen counter every day! (This learning tower isn't my exact one, but it's similar!)
- Play pretend with food. My boys will actually eat salad if I say that they are giraffes and I'm a zookeeper feeding them their giraffe food. They also often turn into alligators snapping up their fish - whatever works! Today we talked about turning a cutie orange into a boat!
- Spiralize veggies and put them on a plate on the counter/kid's table in the afternoon. Your kids will likely eat a serving of veggies just grazing on the healthy snacks you set out before dinner.
- Try serving food in fun containers - like lunch in an ice cube tray! The novelty will likely get your child to eat more.
- Try serving fun and healthy dips with your child's meal.
- Serve reasonable portions. Today I showed you what a serving actually looks like for a toddler... shocking, right?!? It's small! Sometimes mealtime becomes stressful because we expect too much of our kids. Remember that a serving for toddlers is about a tablespoon per year of their age. So a serving of a veggie for a one year old is 1 T of that veggie. For a 2 year old, it's 2T of that veggie. Your toddler needs about 5 servings of fruit/veggies a day. What does this look like?? Let's say for fruit and veggies for one day your toddler has:
5 blueberries for breakfast,
3 cherry tomatoes and 3 grapes for lunch,
a slice of cucumber for snack,
and 1 T of peas for dinner.
They have gotten their 5 full servings of fruits and veggies!
On the Nest blog last year, I highlighted some of my favorite products to make eating fun. Most of them we talked about today, some we didn't. If you're interested, you can find that post here.
Find more about toddler portions on this great blog from Organic Cookery School that includes pictures of what toddler portions look like!
Books We love:
Here are the books I talked about today and recommended in class.
Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron – Purees
Baby Led Weaning by Gil Rapley - BLW
Superfoods for Children by Michael van Straten and Barbara Griggs
Organic Baby and Toddler Cookbook by Lizzie Vann - this book tells you what nutrients and vitamins are in the recipes
Some Nest moms have used and love Nancy Nguyen to do in-home CPR. Her number is 562-472-5998.
www.feedinglittles.com - this mom-owned company has a feeding group that I found invaluable with my youngest son – message me on facebook and I’ll add you to the closed group! Their instagram is great for ideas: @feedinglittles. They also have a great website, newsletter, and two great feeding courses - one for babies which gives you all the ins and outs of baby led weaning, and one for toddlers.
www.wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com: This website has the answers to pretty much everything you’re wondering! How much to feed your baby, when, what to do about allergenic foods, great food choices, and more! Includes information on feeding purees as well as baby led weaning (BLW).
www.Ellynsatterinstitute.org – resource for BLW or the “Division of Responsibility” – which helps when handling picky eaters - particularly in toddlerhood and above. :)
http://www.parents.com/baby/feeding/solid-foods/starting-solids-guide/ - how to introduce foods when feeding with purees
www.rapleyweaning.com - BLW
www.weelicious.com - recipes for all stages of eating
www.superhealthykids.com - lots of recipes searchable by ingredient, meal, etc.
www.nurturebaby.com - baby food and toddler recipes, information on nutrition
www.bitesforbabies.com - “fancy” :) recipes searchable by category
Local Medical Help:
- Think your baby may have allergies? Riviera Village Allergy - Dr. Ziegner - has done skin panels on Nest babies, and many moms have said their experience with her helped them identify allergens!
- The Pediatric GI Doc many Nest moms have been to and love is Dr. Abrams.
- Pediatric dentists Nest moms have used and love: Dr. Turley, Dr. Holden, Dr. Spalding