Baby Feeding Time Tips

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My toddler is a picky-eater, so how do I get him to eat healthy snacks?

Magic Bread And Other Baby Food Tricks

Okay, so you've got a picky little eater do you? Don't be surprised if your little one gobbles up an entire plate of carrots one day, and then spits them on the floor the next. Once toddlers are eating solid baby food, they start to really notice the texture and taste of food. If one day you happen to feed him some carrots that aren't as sweet as the ones you gave him yesterday, he's going to remember that. Now he thinks every carrot fed to him will be bitter.

Don't force the issue. Usually if you give up the fight and move on to another food choice, you'll be able to gradually reintroduce that food back into his diet. It might take a while, but be patient. When you make muffins, try adding some minced or pureed vegetables into the mixture.

This might seem a little sneaky, but you can always use descriptions like “magic sparkly bread” to get your child to eat healthy snacks. Make a loaf of banana bread, add some shredded carrots and toss in a handful of cake decorations to pretty it up. Sometimes you've got to go a little crazy with your recipes, but if it means the difference between your child eating healthy, or not eating at all, it's worth it.

Should I consider eating nothing but organic foods for the health of my baby?

Going Organic

In order to be labeled “organic” the food product has to pass federal regulations. The food has to have been grown in soil that hasn't been treated with pesticides, artificial fertilizers, etc.

If your goal is to go completely organic both for you and your unborn child, there are a few things you should think about:

1) How accessible are organic foods in your area? It used to be that organic foods were only found at small family-owned farmer markets, but now major grocery chains are dedicating whole sections to organic foods.

2) Are you going to go completely organic, or just as organic as you can? The reality is, as your child grows and heads out into the world (school, birthday parties, recreational activities, etc.) there's going to be more opportunities to eat non-organic food than you can imagine. Are you going to be okay with that?

3) Are you going to start eating nothing but organic food right away? If you haven't started already, are you going to focus all of your food choices on organic food so that when you're breastfeeding, no chemicals are passed onto the baby?

4) Are your choices going to be limited to organic food products, or are you going to consider buying all natural personal products as well?

You see? It's not as simple as just immediately switching to organic foods and products. Of course it can be done! You just have to do a little soul searching to ensure your choices are right for you.

How can I be sure my baby or toddler is getting the right amount of nutrients and vitamins?

Balancing Baby's Nutrition

If you're worried that your toddler isn't getting the right nutrition, don't even think about feeding him a liquid breakfast drink. They're made for adults and your toddler's digestive system won't be able to handle it. For one thing, baby formulas are designed to meet all of the nutrient needs of your baby. If you've just begun to add solid foods to the diet, but you're still feeding the baby formula, you shouldn't worry about whether he or she is getting enough vitamins.

Think about it like this, when's the last time your neighbor complained that his infant had rickets? If your baby is sick a lot, doesn't seem to eat much, or appears to be losing weight, see your doctor right away. Otherwise, don't worry. Puree fruits and vegetables for your baby, and continue to supplement with a baby formula. After the baby has his first birthday, you can gradually introduce milk into the diet. Watch out though! If the baby can't tolerate it yet, you're going to know right away and it isn't going to be pretty.

The key is to give small amounts of new food until you're sure he or she can handle it.

Is it okay to introduce new foods into my baby's diet?

Changing Baby's Diet

Here's a tip that'll save you a lot of unnecessary worry: the first time you feed your infant kiwi fruit, don't be surprised to find the tiny black seeds in his or her diaper. Let's just say a certain someone did that and completely freaked to see little “bugs” in the baby's poop. Of course, they weren't bugs at all. Phew. What a relief.

It's healthy to introduce new foods into your baby's diet, just do it gradually. You don't have to be a mathematician to memorize this formula: New Food = New Poop. Try a new food for a few days to see how your baby responds. If the baby seems to be fussier than normal, remove the food from the baby's diet and maybe try it another time.

Unfortunately, there's no way to tell if your baby is going to be allergic to a certain food unless you try it. Be very careful about introducing peanut butter, eggs, or seafood into the baby's diet. Remember those “preparing for baby” books you read from cover to cover when you were pregnant? It's not a bad idea to buy a similar book on how to introduce new foods into your baby's diet, or better yet, consult your doctor for advice.

Why does my baby always throw his food and utensils on the floor?

Infant Feeding - The Messiest Part Of The Day

For those of you with a diploma or degree in Early Childhood Studies, congratulations, you completely understand why infant feeding times always turn into a game of “pick up my spoon.”

For whatever reason, infants love to throw toys, food, utensils, and tantrums. Just when you figure the baby has enough dexterity to bring a few mouthfuls of food to his lips, he throws the spoon on the floor and hurls gobs of mashed potato at the back of your head.

Unless you've crammed a six year old into a high chair, chances are pretty good your infant isn't misbehaving. It might seem that way, especially when he looks at you and grins through carrot-stained lips. The reality is, he's just happy that he's found a new “toy” to play with. Not only are the textures a blast to squeeze through his chubby little fingers, it makes a neat “splat” sound when it hits a hard surface.

Until your baby outgrows this fascination and moves on to something else, it's a good idea to put some plastic sheets under the high chair. You could also feed the baby and then immediately take him out of the high chair. Give him some cold mashed potatoes and put him somewhere safe, like a playpen, where he can experiment to his heart's desire.

How do parents manage to eat a meal together when the baby is hungry?

Who Gets To Eat First Tonight

Once the baby is old enough to eat solid baby food and can sit on his or her own in a high chair, parents get to play a little game called Who Gets To Eat First Tonight? The rules of the game, although open to interpretation, go something like this:

1) The person who eats first isn't necessarily the one who cooked the meal.

2) Fainting from hunger is no excuse.

3) Sneaking a few mouthfuls of the baby food into your mouth is outright cheating.

4) The first parent to sit at the table, chew, and successfully swallow a mouthful of food without the baby crying gets to finish his or her meal in peace while the other parent feeds the baby.

5) The parent who feeds the baby first is also responsible for cleaning up the mess including all of the food that ends up behind the baby's ears, under the high chair, against the north facing wall of the kitchen, and any food plugging the baby's nasal passages.

6) Just because the baby has only learned how to say “mama” does not mean the baby won't accept food from dada.

7) Residual diaper duty (later in the evening) goes to whoever caves in to the smell.

Finally, the first parent to figure out how to manipulate naptime so that it coincides with mealtime is the ultimate champion. Eventually, it'll be okay to give the baby a small plastic utensil to practice eating on his own. Until then, one of you has to feed the baby while the other parent enjoys a meal. The question is Who Gets To Eat First Tonight?

Will a breast pump make a good baby shower gift?

Breast Feeding Breaks

Who needs an alarm clock when you have a tiny, hungry mouth gnawing you awake every couple of hours? Infant feeding times are exhausting for the breast feeding mother. She might wonder why she even bothers putting a top on. All aboard the milk train!

It's easy to get trapped into one way of thinking. Consider helping your breast feeding friend in the “ingenious” ideas department and buy her a breast feeding pump. There's really no reason why she can't pump the milk and let her partner get up through the night to feed the baby. Even a milk train needs to stop and refuel.

A breast feeding pump helps more than just the mother. It gives the dad a chance to bond with the baby, too. Need more ingenious ideas? The new mom can pump enough milk to leave with a babysitter so that she can go out for a much needed break. It's got nothing to do with being embarrassed to breast feed in public, and everything to do with needing some adult time without the baby. That breast feeding pump is a new mother's ticket to freedom. The baby still gets the benefit of mother's milk and the mother benefits from a little “time off”.

What's a good idea for a unique baby shower gift for my athletic friend?

Hitting The Trail With A Post Pregnancy Sports Bra

Nobody knows your best friend better than you do. You know that she's a fitness guru and she hasn't stopped working out once during her whole pregnancy. It's obvious that nothing is going to slow her down, including a couple of twenty-pound, pendulous, milk-filled breasts.

She's going to pound the pavement and the gal is going to need some major support. Physical support that is. While her family is out buying all kinds of traditional baby shower gifts, why not buy her a really good quality sports bra? If you want it to be a surprise, sneak a peek at her bra size. Don't go to the pre-pregnancy lingerie drawer though. Check out the size she's wearing right now. Is she a small, medium, or large? Make the best decision you can and keep the receipt in case the style and fit isn't just right.

That lactating, running guru friend of yours might not think about breast milk leakage as she hits the track, so make sure to suggest that she slips a couple of breast feeding pads into the bra.

She's going to appreciate all of the great baby gifts she receives, but nothing says friendship like a good post-pregnancy sports bra.

Is there a way to breast feed my baby in public a little more discreetly?

Breast Feeding Blankets

General physicians, nurses, and other healthcare practitioners encourage new mothers to breastfeed. Meanwhile, public spots like shopping malls and restaurants put “family” friendly signs on washroom doors and consider their hands washed of the whole situation. Be honest, how comfortable are you breastfeeding anytime, anywhere? Was there ever a time when a teenage boy walked by and snickered, or a woman who was raised in a completely different generation rolled her eyes at you? Breastfeeding isn't something to be ashamed of, but if you're looking for something that gives you a little bit of privacy, let your friends know that you'd like some nursing or breast feeding blankets as shower gifts.

These days, breast feeding blankets are made to look stylish and classy. They come in soft, flowing fabrics that wrap around the body. Don't worry about getting more than one, either. While one's in the wash, you can grab the other one to take out with you. Breast feeding blankets are especially good for new mothers. Hey, breast feeding is an art that takes practice. Contrary to popular belief, everyone doesn't just figure it out naturally. With a breast feeding blanket, you don't have to worry about accidentally exposing “the girls” to the guy selling leather watch straps at the mall.

What's the best type of baby bottle to buy?

Buying The Best Baby Bottles

Not every mother wants to breastfeed, and that's okay. In fact, if that's the case, you've got one more baby gift-giving option to consider: baby bottles. Years ago the only baby bottle options were made from clear glass with weird-looking rubber nipples. Back then, glass was the only viable option. Plastic bottles were unheard of. Now, not only do you have plastic bottles, they're often heat resistant, designed to maximum the amount of fluid that stays at the top (in the nipple), and are dishwasher safe and microwave friendly.

Sometimes people shy away from this kind of gift because they're afraid it won't be what the parents had planned to use. Who cares! Call the new parents when they're pacing the floor at 3 o'clock in the morning with a screaming baby and ask them if they care what kind of baby bottles they have. Unless you pulled the baby bottles out of your great-grandmother's attic, they've probably been designed specifically with baby in mind. Most often, it's the nipple that's the biggest concern, not the bottle. Some of the older, flatter baby bottle nipples would quickly wear down, posing a choking hazard. The baby would end up swallowing more air bubbles than baby formula.

Still not sure what to buy? Get whatever baby bottles look good to you, than buy a few different nipple styles to add to the gift. That way, the parents can experiment and decide for themselves which ones they want to stick with.

How can I make sure my friend benefits from all the new baby product samples available?

New Moms, New Baby Product Samples

If a new mom tells you that just bringing home a healthy baby is good enough for her, don't believe it! The best thing about being a new mom is the free stuff you get! Okay, okay…having a healthy new baby is pretty special, but so is having diaper samples, baby formula, and baby bottles delivered to your door – free of charge!

The best thing about being a new mom is the free stuff you get! Okay, okay…having a new baby is pretty special, but so is having diaper samples, baby formula, and baby bottles delivered to your door – free of charge!

Of course, assuming your friend has a healthy dose of maternal instinct, she really might not be thinking about how to cash in on the best freebies out there. That's where you come in. Buy a couple different types of parenting books and sift through the pages, paying particular attention to the advertisements and subscription offers. Parenting magazines will often offer unlimited freebies or samples of baby products that a new mom can really use. The price of a year-long membership is usually under twenty dollars and makes a great gift for the new mom. Not only will she look forward to that monthly subscription arriving in the mail, she'll also look forward to getting those baby product samples in the mail.

Those companies that come up with nifty new ergonomically correct baby bottles and slings to cradle breast feeding babies in are pretty smart. They know that in order to sell products, they have to get someone to try them out first. Who better to try them out than a new mom? With any luck, she'll spread the word to all her other mommy friends. At least that's what the company is hoping. It's pretty much a win-win situation for everyone.

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Christina Chan