Feeding Your Baby Tips

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What is normal for breastfeeding?

What are the norms for breastfeeding?

Since breastfeeding has only begun to increase in frequency over the past several years, misconceptions about what is normal still run rampant, even among some in the medical profession. Many women do not have mothers or grandmothers who breastfed to help them through the tough times or to offer advice, so here is some to get you started.

Is it supposed to hurt?
No, breastfeeding should not hurt. It is possible for your nipples to become dry from the use, especially in the early days, which can be a little painful. If you have that problem, try some lanolin cream on the nipple. If you are having persistent, intense pain while baby is eating looking into physical difficulties such as tongue tie, infections, or improper latch. A lactation consultant or a contact from your La Lache League should be able to help you.

My baby just ate! Why does he want to eat again?
Babies, especially newborns, have a tendency to cluster feed. This means they may pick a time of day, often the evening, where they want to eat nonstop. They can nurse continually for hours or nurse on and off every half hour. This does not mean you do not have adequate supply, it s completely normal. Remember also that breast milk is far easier on little tummies and is digested easier. Babies fed with human milk will need to eat more frequently than those fed with artificial milk. Frequent feeding is normal, but do not worry, it will only last a few weeks. During this time ask for some help, put your feet up, turn on the TV, and bond with your baby. Days will come quicker than you realize when it will be hard to get them to sit still and cuddle this long. This frequent feeding is also essential to establishing your milk supply, see below.

How does supply work?
The first forty days of breastfeeding are critical to establishing a good milk supply. Once this period has passed, it can be very difficult to increase the supply again. Feeding on demand, around the clock, lets the baby tell your body how much milk it will need. Milk is produced by supply and demand. When your milk first comes in, your body produces an abundance, which is why you can get so engorged (if you baby is a frequent nurser from day one and you have no issues, you may not notice this as much). As the baby eats, it is telling you body how much to continue making. The emptier the breast is, the quicker your body will make milk. As it becomes fuller, production will slow down. That is why it is important not to wait until you feel ‘full’ to nurse. You will actually make more milk if you let the baby nurse when he wants.

Scheduling feedings this young will not work. It will disrupt the natural relationship between your body and your baby. It can greatly reduce supply later on. You should also not give your baby anything aside from your milk to maintain your supply. He does not even need water for the first six months.

Is it possible that I do not have enough milk?
The possibility of you not having enough milk, assuming you are breastfeeding on demand, is extremely slim. A very small percentage of women do not produce adequate milk. Most women have completely normal lactation capabilities but run into one of the following situations:
- They assume inadequate milk because the baby wants to eat frequently. If that is the case, see the question above. Frequent eating is very normal.
- Their breasts feel ‘empty’. Even if the breasts do not feel full, the milk is there. When the baby is eating frequently, they do not give them a chance to fully ‘fill up’. This is ok, in fact it is great! Even if the breast feels ‘deflated’, let the baby latch back on and he will be able to get more milk.
- They have tried to schedule feedings. This can be very damaging to milk supply. If this is your problem, speak with a La Leche League consultant for help to see if it is possible to salvage the supply.

If your baby is pooping regularly and gaining weight, you are doing fantastic!

Is it bad that I am nursing my baby to sleep?
Many people fear they are helping their babies develop 'bad habits', this is not true. Nursing is a great way to get babies to fall asleep! Think about it. The baby is warm, relaxed, comfortable, cuddled - is that not how we all like to fall asleep? If, as the baby gets older, you want to encourage the baby to fall asleep more on their own, focus on recreating the warmth and comfort they associate with nursing to help them fall asleep on their own.

How do I make homemade baby food?

Making Your Own Baby Food

An increasing number of people are choosing to make their own baby food. Whether it is because they want their babies to adapt more to their personal diets, because they have concerns about the idea of feeding their baby food that is most likely months old, or because they think it is ridiculous to spend $1 per jar of food, it is a fad quickly catching on.

A batch of food to last for four or more meals can be made in less than ten minutes. It can be an excellent motivation to get the rest of your family to eat vegetables and fruits as well.

Making baby food is not difficult. You will need a steamer, water, and a blender. Some people choose to get specialized baby blenders for accurate servings, but if you make large enough batches a regular blender should be fine.

Start by choosing the food you want to introduce. If it is a hard food, such as carrots, steam them until they are extremely soft. Put them in the blender with a little water to make the mixture soft. The amount of water you need depends on how much water is naturally in the food and the age of your baby. When your baby is very young, you want to add a little more water to make it easier for the baby to swallow. As the baby gets older, adding less water can make it thicker and help get Baby ready for soft finger foods.

Once you have introduced a variety of foods to your baby, feel free to start making combinations such as carrots and peas or strawberries and banana. It can be a fun way to introduce your baby to your favorite foods and get them used to the flavors and textures they will eat as they grow up.


How Much Milk to Feed a Baby

For new moms it can be a little overwhelming to know how much is enough when it comes to feeding their new infants. Of course, the hospital and the baby's doctor will let you know how and when to feed the baby, but as babies are all different the amounts can vary greatly from one baby to the next.

For breastfeeding moms, the best way is to let the baby eat until he stops or falls asleep. Follow this trend and as long as the baby is thriving and growing normally then you are doing fine. During the first few months of life the doctor will check the baby quite frequently - every few weeks - so that if the baby is not gaining the right amount of weight the doctor will discuss what can be done to get more nutrition into the baby.

For formula feeding moms, it is easier to know how much the baby is eating since you can measure it in the bottles. Just follow the guidelines that are set for your baby's age and let the baby fine tune it by letting her drink until she is full.

You can also find lots of feeding advice information in baby magazines, baby online sites, pamphlets provided by different baby care companies and your doctor. So don't dispair and you will surely find a medium between what is suggested and what your baby's own appetite.


Transitioning to Table Food

Sometime between baby's 9th and 12th months she will start eating chunkier foods with more texture. At this time she can eat certain table foods, but they still need to be cut up into small pieces and be soft enough. Unless the baby has all her molars in, she won't be able to chew harder foods or big pieces yet. A good way to transition her to table foods is to give her soft foods you eat such as pasta, potatoes, well cooked vegetables and rice along with small pieces of fish, ground meat or easy to chew meat cuts.

Another good idea is to mix table foods with home made or jarred baby food. You can add a few cut up pieces of the fish you had for dinner, for example, to vegetable baby food and mix it up. You can do the same with different types of food, mixing cut up food with soft baby food gradually making the mix chunkier as your baby grows more teeth and learns how to chew well.


If Baby Doesn't Drink Water

If you are having a hard time getting your baby to drink water (beginning at age 6 months, babies should drink about 4 oz. of water a day) a good way of getting some extra water in them is to add an ounce in with your milk or formula.

Just mix it in the bottle every time you feed her milk or formula. Add a total of 3 or 4 oz a day. So make it about a half-ounce or an ounce every time she has a bottle.

*Of course, check with her pediatrician first before you alter her food or liquid intake.


Space Saver High Chairs

Many parents find that they quickly run out of room due to all the baby paraphanelia around the house. When you have a small space, it's easy to fill the place up, so any items that can save space are a welcome relief. One item that normally takes up a lot of space is the typical high chair. A great product to consider is a convertible high chair. This is a chair that consists of just the sitting part, it comes with no legs so you attach it to a regular dining room chair. This way it stays with the table, or you can also easily move it around if you need to. You can eat at the table and feed baby at the same time, or you can drag the chair to the couch and feed the little one while you watch TV. But it doesn't take up any more room, it just becomes part of a dining chair you already had.

Are there any safety tips on high chair safety while feeding my baby?

Feeding Baby in a High Chair

Safety should always be of top concern to parents when it comes to baby and baby products. While feeding baby in a high chair:

  • Never leave baby unattended

  • Make sure that the locking device is set when using the chair to prevent it from folding up on the baby

  • Stay close to the high chair while baby is seated in case you have to handle an emergency

  • Restict your baby or other children from playing with or near the high chair

  • Always take the time to securely strap your baby into the high chair

Simple safety precautions keep your baby protected during high chair feeding times.

I remember having a wooden high chair when I was little, are there any companies that still make wooden high chairs?

Wooden High Chairs

Wooden high chairs can be a nostalgic way to relive your childhood memories and add a nice retro flair to your kitchen decor. Many types of brands and baby supply stores offer a wood style high chair, simply check your local retailers or online. Regardless of which type of high chair you buy for your baby, be aware of safety concerns. Make sure that there are proper restraints attached to the high chair and no sharp edges that could potentially injure your baby during mealtime.

If you do purchase a wooden high chair, be sure to put foot protectors on the bottom of the legs to save your kitchen floor. Also, a chair pad is a nice addition for a wooden high chair, simply ensure that it is securely fastened to the seat preventing your baby from slipping out the front and becoming trapped between he chair and the tray.

How important is it to read high chair reviews before purchasing a high chair?

High Chair Reviews

High chair reviews supply an outstanding resource of information about the high chair you're about to purchase. Not only offering feedback regarding special features of the types of product you're looking for, but also providing a safety appraisal. There are numerous websites and many publications available that produce specific high chair reviews. With the vastness of information available online, checking any safety recall information is easily accessible. While reading through all this material, pay particular attention to comments regarding durability, product performance, stability, ease of use and safety restraints to ensure your baby's protection.


Baby Bottles Transition to Sippy Cups

Some babies are finickier than others when it comes to accepting items such as bottle nipples. If you are lucky, your baby will adapt to any bottle nipple you giver her in her first couple of months of life. As she gets older, however, she may get so used to the nipple type you use with her bottles that she will only want that one and won't drink her bottle if you switch them on her.

So if your baby is one that at a young age still seems adaptable, a good idea is to not stick to one type of nipple only. Get a few dfferently shaped ones so that she gets used to all of them. Keep switching them around and introduce new ones each month. This will come in handy when at 8 or 9 months you start the transition from bottle to sippy cup.

If your baby is already drinking from differently shaped nipples chances are, she will adapt to a sippy cup spout quicker and easier. Most babies have a hard time switching from the bottle and will starve first rather than drink from an unfamiliar sippy cup spout. It takes lots of time and patience to keep trying to get her to accept this new method of drinking. But if she is used to switching bottle nipples a sippy spout will just be like another new one for her. Start with the soft silicone spouts found on trainer cups first and then gradually introduce the harder plastic ones.

This trick should really help you in potential sippy cup wars with your baby. It should also be less costly than buying 20 different sippy cup styles so see which one will work.


Reducing Baby Feeding Time Messes

Babies seem to love being messy with food! Put a bowl of food in front of them and they surely will stick their hands right in it! You'll have food flying in all directions and all over the baby as well. Little ones love to test the textures of their environment, especially food, but before you know it you'll have a huge mess to clean.

You can reduce the messiness by implementing a few tricks, here are a few tips to try:

• Don't give the baby too much food at once, give him smaller portions separately.

• Give him thicker foods that will stick to the spoon so less of it will come out.

• Feed him the spoon yourself a few times to encourage him to get the spoon to his mouth and not flicked over the high chair

• When he gets the spoon to his mouth by himself give him words of encouragement

Try following these tips and you should see smaller messes. They won't prevent food splatterings all together, but know that soon this phase will be over and your cutie will be feeding himself and getting every crumb into his mouth and not all over the high chair and floor. Hang in there and have patience!


Baby is a Picky Eater

Is your little darling baby a picky eater? It happens to the best of us: we get the little tikes seated in their high chairs during mealtime and they refuse to eat anything nutritious. Don't give up! Try a different approach instead. When your baby refuses certain food items, cut them into interesting shapes before serving. If food looks more appealing to your baby, he or she is more likely to eat it. Maybe soft foods is the problem, try mixing in some bright food coloring. Remember that a young baby needs to see and experience a food many times over until it becomes familiar and thus enjoyable. With patience, you'll have your baby loving those veggies in no time!


Introducing Solids

Introducing solid foods to baby can surely be a challenge. Although there are some definite messes to come in your solid food adventure, you can certainly reduce the occurrences.

One way to do it is by keeping baby’s hands away from the vicinity of the food bowl and her mouth. This may sound a bit harsh at first, but it is perfectly fine to do and will not affect the baby in the least. Take baby’s hands and place them under the tray and adjust it all the way up so she can’t get the hands out.

Once you start feeding the baby, she should be so enthralled with the new food she’ll forget where her hands are. It’s probably a good idea to wait until she’s had a few feedings and is familiar with her new food. Then if you find she gets her hands all over the place, that’s the time to put her hands under the table.

After a while she will get used to having her hands down and she’ll be more likely to keep them away from her mouth and food bowl.

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Guru Spotlight
Christina Chan