A Better Way To Feed Your Baby

January 1, 2019

Avoiding unfamiliar foods?
There can be a lot of frustration when it comes to feeding a little one who can’t communicate beyond sobs and screams. However, with patience and guidance, you can learn to give your child the food they need in a way they will truly appreciate. By following this guide, you’ll get closer to that goal, starting with ways to introduce new foods.

It’s common and natural for babies to be shy about unfamiliar foods. With so little experience with food, this can make a wide variety of foods difficult to sell at first. However, there are strategies to combat this tendency. One of these is making sure your little one eats with others in the family. Babies learn by watching their parents and siblings eat and enjoy a variety of foods, and your infant is more likely to give them a try as well. This is important because research has shown that exposing infants to a variety of flavors and textures can lay the foundation for their future health.

Embrace the chaos.
Anyone who has fed a small baby knows the cold hard truth: feeding a baby is a messy job. And exhausted parents look everywhere for a solution to this “problem.” But there are good reasons to leave your child alone and let him or her play. It turns out that playful kids are learning as they squash, mash, and slurp their meals.

A study at the University of Iowa found that messy food provides valuable object lessons for children as young as 16 months old. Solid objects are easier to learn because they maintain a consistent shape. But greasy, sticky, messy objects – think oatmeal and baby food – can be hard for young minds to understand. As a result, children who are allowed to make messes actually learn these concepts faster.

Turn away from spit and vomit.
Anyone who has seen their laundry doubled with a new baby knows how challenging a spitting baby can be. Time usually cures the problem, but in the meantime, there are some tips that can help frustrated parents.

One simple solution is to feed more frequently with less food. The more food a baby has in his or her stomach, the more likely he or she is to spit it all out again. So try smaller portions of food more often.

Another option is to burp your baby more often. Stomach gas picks everything back up, and if you reserve burping for after a meal, it leaves more time for an upset tummy.

While you should generally wait until 6 months of age to offer solids, there are some babies who should be given a little gentle solids along with milk or formula. This is also true if your little one has trouble swallowing (dysphagia) or spits up milk causing heartburn (reflux). Talk to your pediatrician about the best approach.

About 5% of babies are allergic or intolerant to soy or milk formula. The best solution for these spit-up babies may be to switch to a hypoallergenic formula. Other symptoms of this allergy or intolerance may occur, such as irritability, wheezing, and changes in stools.

Also, while tummy time is great for kids, you may want to stop this ritual right after a meal. Any extra pressure on their tummies is more likely to make what goes on come back.

“Don’t eat any more!
Does your little dirtbag put his hand over his mouth when the food choo-choo comes? Maybe the scene in your kitchen is more like King Kong fending off an airplane, with every slap aimed at the feeding spoon. Whatever way your child communicates “no more food,” it’s best to respect that choice, experts say. Refusing food could be a sign that your child is sick, distracted, exhausted, or just full. In either case, your little one will continue to eat when he or she is ready.

Why are babies picky eaters?
Your child is born with certain food preferences. From the very beginning, young children prefer smooth, sweet, calorie-dense foods. These foods are usually easy to chew and provide lots of energy, but they don’t meet all the nutritional needs. So getting your little one used to new foods is important for developing healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime.

For some reason, at some point, your baby may start refusing new foods. There’s even a word for it: new phobia. The phobia usually peaks at 20 months and gradually disappears when your child is 5 to 8 years old. Despite this tendency, there are ways to introduce new foods as early as possible.

Dealing with picky eaters
Researchers looked at what might make it easier for picky eaters to adapt to new foods. They’ve also found some solutions. One was breastfeeding. Because breastmilk has a wider variety of flavors than formula, this helps regulate your child’s acceptance of a wider variety of foods.

But whether or not you choose to breastfeed, another effective solution is to grind baby food at home. This may involve a blender or grinder, or simply mashing the soft food with a fork at the table. Why is this better than jarred baby food? Canned food is fortified to be more acceptable. As a result, your little one may love it right away, but may also reject it when trying the same food in its natural state.

Another way to introduce more new foods during infancy is to introduce more than one food at a time. But timing is important – it should start around 6 months, when your child will be more receptive to new tastes and textures, and when they start eating solid foods. The earlier you introduce your child to healthy fruits and vegetables, the more likely they are to continue eating them at age 7.

However, it’s not all about taste. Texture plays an important role in the way we eat, and our tongues develop the ability to move solid foods around in our mouths between the ages of 6 and 12 months. This is also a good time to start introducing chunks and more solid foods, rather than smooth, muddy foods.

Starting early is the real key. Exposing your child to a variety of flavors and textures early is known as the “generalization effect.” And the more new experiences a child has with food before the age of one, the more likely he or she is to embrace a wider variety of healthy foods when he or she grows up.

food allergy
Food allergies can be scary. Their symptoms can range from a little tingling to life-threatening anaphylaxis. It’s important to know what foods tend to cause allergic reactions and what to do if your child has an allergic reaction.

Is my baby allergic?
Sometimes allergies can be confused with other things. Allergy symptoms include itchy skin and hives, swelling, wheezing and tightness in the throat, upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, and circulation problems such as pale skin and dizziness. If your child is experiencing these types of symptoms, this could be a sign of anaphylaxis and you should seek medical attention immediately. The good news is that this type of reaction is rare.

However, other reactions can be caused by different things. Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting are caused by food poisoning. Caffeine can make your child jumpy, and it can sometimes sneak into candy or even breast milk. Some skin allergies can be caused by high acid content in tomatoes, orange juice, pineapple juice, etc. And sometimes diarrhea is caused by too much sugar in foods like fruit juices.

Foods that cause allergies
The most common food allergens include the following.

Tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.).
But there is good news. If your child is allergic, there is an 80 to 90 percent chance that her allergies to wheat, soy, eggs, or milk will be gone by the time she is 5 years old. An allergy to peanuts, however, has only a 20 percent chance of disappearing by age 5. Tree nut and seafood allergies are even more persistent.

Peanut Allergy
Peanut allergies require special attention. Peanut allergic reactions can be more severe than other reactions, and currently about 1 to 2 percent of children are allergic. But the results of a new study may change that.

Recent studies have shown that giving infants peanut products at around 8 months can reduce their chances of developing a peanut allergy by 70 percent. This usually means just a little bit of peanut, such as licking a spoon with a little creamy peanut butter. You can also introduce it into food purees.

Crying interferes with mealtime?
Every baby cries sometimes. But about one in five babies continues to cry even after three or four months of age. This constant day and night crying is called colic.

There are many causes of colic, including overfeeding. Make sure to limit feeding to every two to two and a half hours to prevent this from happening. Another feeding problem associated with colic is food sensitivity. In some rare cases, the little one may be upset by the formula they are feeding or something based on her diet through her mother’s milk.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to know that a colicky little one may need to be reassured before he’s willing to eat. For soothing, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a swaddle, using a pacifier, or walking your little one in a baby carrier. Using a vacuum cleaner, fan, or white noise from a clothes dryer can also help.

If you suspect your child has colic, you should consult your doctor. A pediatrician can rule out more serious causes, including hernias and illnesses.

Issue 2
Whether it’s moving too fast or too slow, gut issues can be scary for parents. This is especially true for new parents who may be wondering if everything is okay or if they should call their doctor. Here are some tips.

See something green?
If a dirty diaper shows green, it’s actually normal. A healthy newborn’s poo color ranges from yellow to green to orange to light brown, or any combination of these colors. This color is caused by the normal presence of bacteria as well as bile, the digestive juices used to neutralize stomach acid during digestion.

Green, yellow and orange stools are usually no big deal. But if you see black, bright red, or colorless/ivory, these may be symptoms of something more serious. Colorless, pale or ivory-colored stools may indicate that bile is not being produced and you should see a doctor. Black and red may indicate bleeding (dried blood will turn black), so these are also reasons to contact your doctor right away.

Parents first need to understand what diarrhea is – and what it isn’t. Loose stools aren’t considered diarrhea, but if they are watery and occur as many as 12 times a day, you should check for other symptoms as well. However, if the stools are watery and occur as many as 12 times a day, you should check for other symptoms as well.

Call your doctor if your little one is under three months old, has a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, vomits, refuses to feed, lacks energy, or shows signs of dehydration (dry mouth, not urinating for three hours or more).

Constipation is unusual in infants. And it’s easy to mistake normal behavior for a problem. Under normal circumstances, a bottle-fed infant usually poops once a day, but she may go a day or two without a bowel movement. A breastfed baby who doesn’t poop once a day may not be fed enough, but in reality, under normal circumstances, as much as a week can go by between poops.

If you suspect constipation, try to determine if your little one is being overly fussy, spitting up more often than usual, if your baby is straining for more than 10 minutes while trying to pass stools, or if the stools are unusually firm, especially if they contain some blood. All of these may indicate true constipation.

What should I do if I suspect it is real constipation? You can try apple juice or pear juice, which can help increase the water content of the stool, making it easier to pass. Limit the amount of juice to one ounce per month of your child’s age. So a three-month-old child can usually be given three ounces of juice a day. If you’ve introduced solid foods, try fruits and vegetables-especially prunes. If these home remedies for constipation don’t work, call your doctor.

Make safe canned food.
There are good reasons to consider grinding your own food for your baby’s mealtimes, but one big advantage of store-bought canned foods is preservatives. Preservatives keep food fresher for longer, so canned foods usually don’t spoil as quickly as anything made fresh at home.

“Longer” doesn’t mean “forever,” though. If you save canned leftovers for your next meal, you’re introducing bacteria from your baby’s mouth into the leftovers, where they can grow and potentially upset your little tummy next time. If you keep doing this and notice symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting, try changing your mealtime habits.

Avoiding junk food and building a healthy model
It’s hard to believe, but your helpless little baby is growing fast, and soon he’ll be eating a lot of the same food as you. But if you’re eating junk food, this can be a dangerous time for your little one’s digestive health. If you introduce salty, sweet and fatty, greasy foods too early, you could be starting your child down a long road of unhealthy eating habits. These habits are hard to break, so start making healthy foods a priority in your home for the sake of your whole family’s health.

food taboos
Introducing a new food to your baby can be so exciting. It should be a joyful experience, but to make sure it stays that way, there are certain foods you should watch out for to avoid. One of these is honey, if your baby is less than a year old. Honey can cause infant botulism, which is a very serious condition. Also avoid nuggets of food that could pose a choking hazard, such as whole grapes, hot dogs, popcorn, cheese cubes, berries of raw fruits and vegetables.

Spices and Seasonings. Is baby food supposed to be bland?
Many young children are fed bland, starchy foods because they fit their natural preferences and are eaten reliably with fewer complaints. But the healthier options that you really want them to eat often have more complex flavors. And there’s nothing wrong with spicing up your baby’s food to make the transition to more solid, healthy choices later on easier.

When to start eating solid foods
When should you wean your baby? For the best care, here’s what doctors say. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants should not start eating solid foods until they reach six months. Many infants start solid foods much earlier – around the three to four month stage. This is especially true if you bottle-feed your baby, or if you think your baby is fussy.

But doing so poses special health risks. Babies who start eating solid foods before six months are more likely to gain weight. Not only do they gain weight often, but they gain the unhealthy kind – they get fatter. That extra weight could make your child struggle with obesity for the rest of his or her life, so stick to your doctor’s advice and don’t eat solid foods until six months.

Juice, is it good or bad? Good or bad?
Even for the youngest children, juice is a common part of their diet. But now doctors recommend avoiding fruit juice altogether until their first birthday. That’s because, whether it has the word “fruit” in it or not, fruit juice is not particularly healthy. It shouldn’t be used as a substitute for real fruit, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, because it can lead to obesity.

Their guidelines also recommend that you limit the amount of juice your 1-3 year olds drink to 4 ounces or less per day. Part of the problem is tooth decay, which is especially dangerous if your child has a sippy cup or juice box that she can pull out of whenever she likes. Also, avoid drinking any unpasteurized juice. Some children take medications that grapefruit juice may interfere with, so if your child is taking medications, ask his doctor first.

When should I call a doctor?
Are you troubled by the way your baby eats, or doesn’t eat? If your concerns aren’t addressed here, or if you notice disturbing signs like your baby losing weight, vomiting, or vomiting on certain foods, you should call your pediatrician right away. This is also true if you think your baby has acid reflux, or if your child is constipated, has diarrhea, or is dehydrated. When you have concerns about your baby’s diet, don’t hesitate – call your doctor.