10 Tricks for Feeding Baby

Baby and his mother

Feeding your baby seems simple when you watch others do it or when you see it done on a television commercial. But in reality, feeding a baby can be rather complicated – especially as babies move from one stage to another so quickly. Breastfeeding, bottles and then baby foods all give way to table foods in less than year. By the time you’ve got one figured out, it’s on to the next!

1. Bring Baby to the Breast

The most common complaint of new nursing mothers is that their back hurts or the baby is latching wrong. Many times this is due to the mother hunching over her baby. Sure, it looks good in statues and movies to curl around your baby as you feed her, but maintaining that curved position for thirty minutes or more can aggravate your back and make it hard for baby to latch correctly. Use a pillow – nursing or standard, to bring your baby up to your breast while you lean back in a chair or on pillows. If you’re sitting correctly, you’ll be able to support your baby properly and make the feeding experience more pleasant for both of you.

2. Ignore the Hype

When making a decision about breast or bottle-feeding your baby, consider what is best for you and your baby and then ignore the options and the hype of others. Breastfeeding is what nature intended, but it doesn’t always work out well for every mother or every baby. Decide what you want to do on your own and leave the issue be. You don’t have to justify or prove yourself – you’re simply preparing to feed your baby as well as possible in your situation.

3. You Can Do Both

Another common misunderstanding regarding breast feeding is that you must breastfeed exclusively. For some babies this might be true, but for others, a mix of breastmilk and formula gives baby the best mum can offer and also gives dad a turn to feed the baby. If mum is pumping between breast feedings, she can also store milk for another time and not worry about decreasing her milk supply.

4. Tilt the Bottle Up

When feeding your baby a bottle, invest the type of bottles with soft liners that can be squeezed to remove all of the extra air in the bottle or tip the bottle up high enough that air never enters the nipple. Allowing air into your baby’s feeding will make him uncomfortable and might cause extra spit-up if that air bubble comes back up later.

5. Burp On Your Knee

When you go to burp your baby, you can put him over your shoulder as you see in movies and risk spit-up down your back, or you can burp him on your knee and at least see what you’re about to be wearing. To burp a baby on your knee – use one hand to sit him carefully on your knee and the other to support his body as he leans forward in his seated position. You can hold his head with the supporting hand as well. Once your baby is in position, hit your heel on the floor five or ten times gently to dislodge any lingering gas. When you’ve stopped the jostling, rub baby’s back or tap it with your closed fist to bring the burp up the surface. Repeat as necessary, but always be sure to avoid jarring your baby while gently bouncing him on your knee.

6. Use the Dark and Distraction

When your child reaches an age where he realizes there is more to life than eating and sleeping, he might be more interested in his surroundings than finishing up a good meal. If your child keeps popping off the breast to look around or pulling away from the bottle because he heard a new noise, move your feedings into a dark or dim room to take away the visual sensory and ideally the room will be quiet as well to let him focus. For the baby who continues to look around, a large beaded necklace around your neck might be just the thing to keep his attention facing forward and give those exploring hands something to play with. If a necklace distracts him too much, you can simply remove it.

7. Put Milk in a Cup

Most mothers put water in a cup for baby to use as he’s learning. This is a great way to avoid wasting formula or breastmilk, but when it comes time to transition fully to the cup, the baby that has had only water or water and some juice might not be interested in the cup full of milk. As early as possible, start putting a bit of formula or expressed breastmilk in the cup. To avoid waste you can dilute it quite a bit, but tasting it in the cup will give your baby the right information about food and all the places it can come from.

8. Use Small Cups for Baby Food

As your baby takes his first bites of baby food, you’ll quickly realize that you’ve made a full serving or opened a brand-new container to accommodate three bites. If you’ve put a spoon into your baby’s mouth and then back into the full container of food, you’ve spoiled it thanks to the excessive saliva and bacteria growth. You’ll be forced to throw an almost full-container away. To avoid this, use a small cup, perhaps a tiny bathroom drinking cup, to serve tiny portions of food. Pour a bit of baby food into the cup and store the remainder of the container in the refrigerator where it will last for about 48 hours. If your baby needs more than the amount you poured into the little cup, simply open the container and pour in a bit more.

9. Know When Baby is Finished

You might not think your baby or toddler could possibly be done when he decides he’s finished. Sometimes a baby is hungry for large servings of table foods and other times he’s simply not that hungry or is teething or doesn’t like what you’ve served him. If your little one is hungry, he’ll eat a nice variety of finger foods. But when he’s finished, he’ll le your know by throwing the leftovers on the floor, playing with his food or turning over his plate. When he reaches this stage, simple remove his food to avoid further messes and offer him a toy or cup to play with while everyone else finishes his meal.

10. Make Baby a Part of Family Meals

The best way to help your baby transition to table foods and into a good eater is to eat around him. Remove a chair and pull his high chair up to the table at mealtimes. Serve him the same things everyone else is eating (when possible.) Even if he finishes before you find a chance to sit down with your food, he can still enjoy a cookie or toy in the highchair in the company of his family during an important family time.

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