The Art of Feeding a Baby
After having a baby, a lot of parents worthy whether their babies are getting enough to eat. This is the case for both parents that are breastfeeding or bottle feeding with formula. Newborn babies like to eat not just for hunger but also for comfort and this makes it hard to figure out which is which at first. Parents should not panic but should know that in time they would be able to read the signs properly and tell when their baby has had enough to eat. Some signs to watch for are that the baby might move away from the breast or simply doze off. Among the many advantages of breastfeeding is that it tends to be cued or on-demand feeding, meaning that in a sense, your baby will take charge of her own feeding. If you watch your baby’s responses, you should be able to figure out when she’s full. She may turn her head or give other signals that she’s no longer interested in eating. The formula-fed baby will also let you know when she’s had enough. You might notice her becoming distracted while drinking from the bottle, or she might start fidgeting or turn her head. She may close her mouth tightly. As your baby gets a little older and her eye-to-hand coordination gets better, she might try to knock the bottle or spoon out of your grip. On the other hand, if your baby finishes a bottle and starts smacking her lips or begins to cry, she probably wants more.
When it comes to transitioning your baby from formula to breast milk to solid food, parents should ensure they time the first bites correctly. Make sure he’s hungry but not starving and the baby is not distracted. There is no rule as what food to give first but use your discretion and stick with easy foods like egg yolk, mashed potatoes, avocados, bananas or other fruit. During the first few feedings, your baby will probably take only a couple of bites. When he purses his lips, turns or shakes his head or becomes distracted, he’s had enough or doesn’t like the taste. If the baby does not like the taste, do not give up as t might be an acquired taste. Try a couple more times and if their dislike persists then you know they don’t like that food or snack.
This leads to the next tip. After your baby has gotten used to eating solids and snacking, bombard them with variety and introduce new foods rapidly and be creative but don’t overdo it. The idea of single foods might teach kids to be pickier eaters so use familiar foods to bring in new ones. If your child likes bananas, mix in other fruit like strawberries and if he likes apples, blend them with blueberries and peaches. This way, your baby will get a variety of flavors and nutrients.
If your baby doesn’t like certain foods, try again for a couple of days so long as they have no allergic reaction to it. Babies become familiar with a food they initially rejected after at least 15 tries some studies have shown. Try to serve them the same thing in different ways. Get creative especially with vegetables which they’ll tend to reject initially so switch up how you serve it. Try purees, smoothies, roasted, and mixed with other kinds of foods.
Don’t be afraid to spice things up. There’s no research that says we have to give babies a bland diet. Please season your food and teach your kids to have a well-refined pallet from a young age. Once they’re enjoying a food plain, introduce it with mild herbs and spices. Blend cilantro into an avocado, nutmeg into sweet potatoes, cinnamon into apples, salt, stock cubes and some pepper. The possibilities are endless when you make your own purées. Some food companies, including Jack’s Harvest and Petite Palate, offer blends infused with spices and herbs such as ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, sage, and mint. But those are mostly flavors. Add your own spices like salt at least to vegetables like potatoes.
It can be a challenge when you have to deal with picky eaters. Some kids are just picky eaters and you shouldn’t blame yourself. You can try tricks to help them be more open to different dishes. Try to make the meal looks colorful and fun, serve it in colorful and animated dishes with drawings of their favorite cartoon or superhero characters, cut up fruits and vegetables in interesting shapes, make faces on pancakes and sandwiches and mix it up by pairing what they don’t like what they love and that can be an incentive for them to try it. Also, try letting your toddlers feed themselves. Even though they’ll make a mess and it’ll take forever you can use Baby Bandana Bibs to reduce the mess. That way, they will feel in control a little and will see it as a fun playful activity. Just make sure they don;t waste the food and they eat all they are supposed to eat.
Below are some healthy foods to add to your baby’s diet as you start to transition them into solids:
Fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for babies’ growing brains. First tastes: Purée a mild fish that is low in mercury, pair it with a familiar vegetable, like peas or try salmon with carrots. Make the mix 75 percent vegetables, 25 percent fish. Bigger bites: Cut pollock or salmon into sticks, top with breadcrumbs and bake to give you health fish sticks
Lentils provide fiber, protein and iron, an important nutrient for infants and toddlers. First tastes Purée lentils with brown rice; the two make a complete protein, supplying all the essential amino acids in the right amounts. Bigger bites: Leave the mixture lumpier as baby gets used to it.
Green vegetables deliver a variety of nutrients, including beta-carotene which is important for a healthy immune system. First tastes: Mix cauliflower with spinach, carrots, asparagus or green beans for a sweeter, smoother purée. Bigger bites: Steam broccoli, green beans or asparagus. Add a little butter or garlic and salt! for taste.