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Feeding & Nutrition

Not all babies are the same, so it should come as no surprise that whatever your little one finds yummy may differ from other newborns. Huggies answers your questions and provides some food for thought when it comes to feeding your baby.

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Baby Care: Spit-Up Happens! How To Get It Out

When it comes to spitting up, babies aren’t afraid to let loose. They’ll do it on the couch, the carpet, the beautiful baby blanket from Grandma Gloria, Grandma Gloria herself. But don’t throw in the (burp!) towel—here are four super-easy ways to clean it, quick.

1. The it’s-worked-for-eons method. Laundry stain sticks and sprays are modern-day miracles, but in a pinch try this: Dab (don’t rub) the big blobs of spit-up with a burp cloth or sponge. Then dip a wet washcloth in baking soda and blot the stain.

2. The au-naturale method. A little lemon juice and plain old sunshine bleach out spit-up stains. "If I’ve washed something and there’s still a trace of spit-up," says Christina Poston, a mother of one in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, "I squeeze lemon juice on it and let it dry in the sun. It always works. I just don’t use it on anything dark because it’ll fade it."

3. The always-good-in-an-emergency method. It’s guaranteed to happen at least once (or 10 times): Baby spits up all over you when you’re out and about. This is where baby wipes come in handy…for you. I always have wipes on me—they’re pretty much surgically attached to my hands these days—so I just use them remove spit-up from clothes," says Lisa Smith, a mother of two in Houston, TX. "Wipes take it up easy and leave no smell."

4. The oops-let-me-get-that-for-you method: So the relatives stop by to meet your little sweetie for the first time. He coos, he smiles, he belches, he spits up all over Uncle Joe’s shoulder. No worries: People understand it’s one of those things that babies do. Simply grab a wipe or washcloth and dab the mess. Humor helps. Laugh and say something like, "Oh, that’s just his way of showing affection," or "He’s prepping for his college years."

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Bye-Bye, Bottle

Many pediatricians recommend weaning babies from bottle to cup sometime between 12 and 18 months. Extended sucking on bottles (or pacifiers or thumbs) could gradually change the shape of a toddler’s mouth, leading to problems with his dental arch or with speech. And while sippy cups have valves, bottles don’t — that means formula, milk or juice can continually dribble out, pooling around teeth and causing decay.

Making the move

To move from bottle to cup, first invite your baby to play with the cup and try it out when she’s not really hungry or thirsty, so she’s not frantic if she doesn’t figure it out right away. After she gets the hang of it, gradually substitute one bottle feeding at a time over the course of a week or more. End with the most beloved bottle, which is usually the one before bedtime or nap.

Bump up snuggle time

Make sure to give your baby lots of close physical contact and hugging when those final bottles are being replaced, so it’s only the bottle she’s missing, not your time or cuddling. And as with bottles, don’t let your child take a sippy cup of formula or breast milk to bed.

Shop around for sippy cups

If your child is really resistant to picking up a cup, try a cup with a different design or character. You can even let her pick a special cup herself. It may turn out that a different type of valve, spout or handles will work better for her.

Sandy and Marcie Jones are the authors of Great Expectations: Baby's First Year. Order your copy from Barnes & Noble

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Celebrating the Highs and Lows of Nursing

By Jeana Lee Tahnk

Breastfeeding for a brand new mom can be a wonderful, exciting, bonding and also daunting and painful experience. During all three of my pregnancies I had planned to nurse for as long as both the baby and I were happy.

The breastfeeding process is part instinct, part, What on earth am I supposed to do here? I was more in the latter camp with my first baby, and hit a lot of bumps along the way. I met with a lot of lactation consultants and went through many toe-curling nursing sessions. The difficult part was that once I got through the pain of one feeding, I knew it wasn't long before I had to do it again.

Pain should not be part of the nursing experience, and it indicated to me that something was off. Eventually, my baby and I worked it out and we got it. And when we got it, it was great. Luckily, the process of getting there for babies No. 2 and No. 3 was much faster and it became such a special time for me and the kids.

I can recall many a night, just me and the baby in the glider, seemingly the only people in the world who were awake. Nursing baby No. 3 was definitely different, though, because we had the older kids' schedules to contend with.

I have never been a public nurser, much preferring to do it in the comfort of my home with my nursing pillow, my blanket, book, bottle of water, TV remote and whatever else I needed. But with baby No. 3, our busy schedules-plus the older kids' sports and activities-didn't allow that same kind of luxury.

I got used to nursing in cars, on soccer fields, in restaurants, dressing rooms-wherever it was needed. My nursing cover was my constant companion. Now that I have stopped nursing and rely on bottle feeding, I do recognize how convenient it was to have a food source ready and waiting at all times.

While I certainly don't miss the night wakings every two hours for those months and months, I do miss the closeness and warmth that those nursing sessions provided. It definitely was a special bonding time for mom and baby.



Read More by Jeana Lee Tahnk

Lessons Learned: Highs and Lows of Parenting

Relishing the First Sleepless Three Months


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Different Baby Foods to Consider Feeding Your Baby

By: Melanie Edwards

When babies start to eat solid foods, we traditionally feed them puréed vegetables and fruits. As they progress from those first baby foods and move on to more complex food textures, we typically feed them the same foods, but in various combinations, and bigger amounts. We do slowly introduce them to new flavors, but for the most part, we stick with those fruits and vegetables.

Something done in my culture is to start feeding babies traditional dishes early-on, so they can get accustomed to the rich flavors. As soon as babies start being able to mash food with their gums and beginner teeth, we begin introducing some of these foods. Typically, we mash the food up a bit before serving to baby, though we don’t purée the food.Taking into account that all babies are different and that you should exercise discretion in knowing whether or not your baby is ready, you can consider feeding your baby some of these foods:

  • Yellow rice: Rice is huge in my culture – we eat it just about every day – so, of course, it’s one of the first foods we introduce to our babies. Though white rice is fine too, yellow rice will have more flavors and allows you to easily mix in vegetables and meat.
  • Beans: Similar to rice, Puerto Ricans eat beans a lot too, and they’re a great source of protein and fiber! Since beans are soft, you can easily mash them up and mix with the gravy they’re cooked in for feeding to Baby.
  • Yuca: A root vegetable, yuca is not often a vegetable parents think of for babies. But, boiled and mashed with some seasoning, it makes for a nice dish babies can eat.
  • Plantains: A cousin to bananas, plantains are delicious and a customary part of Caribbean cuisine. Whether green or ripe, plantains can be mixed in with some meat for a quick meal for Baby, though ripe is sweeter.
  • Stewed chicken: Some chicken stewed with potatoes and carrots in a broth is a great way to get baby used to a mixture of flavors!

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Making Your Own Baby Food

By:Andrea Howe

This is the third baby I’ve made homemade baby food for. By now, even 5 years span between children, I have the routine down pat and could do it with my eyes closed. That statement is not intended as a boast or brag, but to let you know just how simple it can be to prepare your baby’s food at home. Many, including myself, feed baby food right out of the jar, and that’s great! But if you ever had any desire to make your own food or questions on what to do, or were simply just curious about the process, I thought I’d share with you how I go about making my homemade baby food. The routine, is simple enough, and when done in large batches, needs to only be done every few weeks. Here’s how I tackle the job of making homemade baby food.


Make It In Batches

First thing’s first, and that is to plan to make several different kinds of purees at once, as I truly find that it is so much easier to spend a couple of hours making several batches every few weeks, then to make a batch here and there every few days. This day I made carrots, peas, green beans, sweet potatoes, pears and apples, enough to last at least 3-4 weeks.


Prep All At Once

Many of the foods require peeling of the skins, so I do all my prep work in advance and just add foods to the pile, instead of washing, peeling, cutting, cooking and pureeing one by one. This way I can get my peeling done, then throw the peeler in the wash, chop, then wash cutting board and knife, and so on. It makes clean up much easier.

Centralize Your Mess

Making your own baby food can and will be messy, so try to centralize your messes by peeling over a paper towel you can scoop up and throw in the trash, and washing as you go.

Cooking It Up - Do What Works For You!

Once all your prep work is complete, start cooking. Now everyone will have a different opinion and method of cooking so do what you think is best and works for you. I microwave all my foods in a bit of water, but some people prefer to steam or even roast over microwaving. For me, microwaving makes the whole process more manageable, and even if a bit more nutrients are lost, they’re still chock full of goodness.

Time To Puree

After my first batch is done cooking, I put another batch to cook and in the mean time I start pureeing that first set of cooked food. I’ve ever only used my blender with excellent results, so don’t feel like you need a fancy baby food making machine or even a food processor. I add the cooking liquid to the food with additional water if need be to get a nice pureed consistency. Between each batch I just do a quick rinse of the blender and start again!

Not All Purees Are The Same

You’ll notice that your purees will all have a different texture and consistency and that’s okay, you just mainly want them all to be nice and smooth. Sweet potatoes always seem to be thicker than carrots for instance, which hold a ton of water. I just add water, breast milk or even formula to the food when serving if it needs to be watered down a bit. You’ll know that if baby gags a bit then it’s probably too thick.

The Ice Cube Method

I have always used the ice cube method to store my baby food. Each cube filled to the top should weigh exactly 1 oz. making it super easy to figure out portions when feeding baby. Just place your purees in the trays and freeze for a few hours.

Frozen Solid

Once frozen, twist a bit to loosen up the cubes and place them in a freezer bag for storage. You may need to run a little bit of water over the back of the trays to help them loosen up a bit.

Precision At Its Finest

Proof that one frozen cube of food does in fact equal 1 perfect ounce. Currently at 6 months and 17+ pounds I feed Hayden just 1 cube 2-3 times a day, with a bit of baby cereal. As he gets older he’ll eat as many as 4 cubes of food per sitting if he is anything like my other two!

Storing Baby Food

As I said, I store in freezer bags and label the date I made the cubes as well as the contents. While it’s safe to store baby food for up to 3-6 months, I usually go through them much quicker than that so I never have to worry about the food losing nutrients. When Hayden is done with purees and onto finger foods, if I have any left over I’ll add to his pastas or rice or whatever type of food I can mix it into.

Making The Time

So If I’m spending 3+ hours making baby food, how do I squeeze it in? Well I usually start as soon as I get the kids off to school in the morning and have Hayden hang out with me in the kitchen. Then he can see me, I can talk to him and hand him toys and such. Once he starts getting fussy, I put him down for his nap and then finish up. I’ll admit that I find it’s easiest to just focus on the baby food making and not try to multitask though.

So What Exactly Do You Do?

You’re probably asking yourself how I actually feed the food to him once it’s frozen? Easy! I just take a cube out, pop it in a microwave safe bowl and heat up for 30-45 seconds and then serve. I may be biased, but I really think he loves my homemade stuff the most :)

Don't Limit Yourself - It Doesn't Have To Be All Or Nothing

We feed Hayden the homemade food just while we’re at home. For on-the-go we feed him store bought baby food and I’m great with that! We keep enough store bought food on hand so I don’t have to be stressed if I’m getting low on homemade food and don’t have time to make a new batch. I always find that it’s easier to relax and not to feel like it’s all or nothing. A bit of homemade and a bit of store bought works out just fine for us.

Find A Resource You Love

There are so many baby food cookbooks out there, as well as websites and blogs dedicated to just baby food making. Find one you love and trust and stick with that as your go-to guide for cooking times and charts as to what to feed to baby when. I personally love the book Super Baby Food and it’s my main resource when I’m unsure how to cook something.

Get The Family Involved

The job of prepping, cooking and feeding can be taking on by the whole family! Do it on the weekends when the big kids are home or your spouse can help. And feeding baby should be something everyone in the family should take part in. We all love to see the looks of joy (and even shock!) when we feed Hayden a new food or get him to try different textures. Happy baby food making and let me know if you have any questions!

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How to (Maybe, Possibly, Hopefully) Raise a Non-Picky Eater

By: Michelle Horton

The fact that my now-3-year-old son isn’t a picky eater may very well be accidental. It’s entirely possible that he’s lulling us into a false sense of accomplishment, only to have a future sibling who turns everything we know on its head — refusing to eat anything but jelly sandwiches three times per day. (Sibling high-five.)

But…maybe not.

There were very specific measures we took to try and ensure that our son Noah is more of an adventurous eater than the no-food-can-be-touching-my-God-get-this-green-stuff-away-from-me eater. And regardless of the outcome, I think they’re all steps toward healthy eating habits — which is worth discussing, regardless. (So much so that I’m risking the chances of jinxing myself, and Noah will wake up in the morning and refuse to eat anything with color.)

So here goes. 10 things I did that (maybe, possibly, hopefully) helped Noah not be super picky with his food:

1. We never limited his exposure to different foods
Of course we followed the recommended introduction charts when he started eating solids, but we never just assumed that he wouldn’t like something — and we still don’t today.

We also don’t stick to the "children’s menu" when we go to restaurants, considering they’re typically (always?) so limiting. I often offer to split my meal with him now that he’s old enough, although he sometimes opts for the more classic children’s menu choice. (But he always chooses a vegetable without me asking — so score.)

2. We have a "just try it" rule in the house
I don’t know if it’s because we’ve been enforcing this rule from the beginning or just because he’s inherently more adventurous with his food choices, but the "just try it" rule seems to help. He knows that he just has to take a bite and then, if he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t have to eat more. But more often than not, he finds out that he actually does like it. We try to be real cool about it so it doesn’t feel like a strict "rule," but rather just a normal part of life.

(Hint: The book Green Eggs and Ham helps.)

3. If he doesn’t like something, we don’t push it
Luckily my son gets enough nutrients, so I know that a day of mousy eating isn’t the end of the world. We don’t have a Clean Plate Club in our house, mostly because I’d rather he listen to his body’s cues than arbitrary portion sizes. But there really are foods that he doesn’t like — tomatoes, for one — and he’s entitled to his opinions.

4. If he doesn’t like something, that doesn’t mean it disappears
Just because he doesn’t like tomatoes and avocados doesn’t mean that he doesn’t still get casually offered tomatoes and avocados. One day he might say "yes."

5. We let him know that his taste buds will change
And now he’ll say, "I’ll like it one day when I’m bigger, Mommy," after trying something unappetizing. And I know that he will probably like it eventually — considering his dislike of Apple Cider donuts, avocados, and cinnamon-coating anything goes against human nature. In fact, his taste buds have changed already — such as with a formerly forbidden food known as Pinnochie (gnocchi), which is now a dinnertime favorite. (Because, hello, gnocchi.) I like him to know that it’s OK to change his mind without feeling like he has to stubbornly cling to his food aversions.

6. He’s involved in the food process
If we’re at the store shopping for dinner, he gets to pick out the vegetable for the night. I involve him in the meal planning along the way, too, which I think helps him feel more involved with his food. And he loves helping Mommy and Daddy cook — so much that he wants to own a restaurant when he grows up. (Note that he wants to simply own the restaurant; Daddy is still going to be the head chef.)

7. We strive for COLOR
Noah knows that his plate should be as colorful as possible — which encourages him to reach for nutrient-packed bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, squash, and other brightly hued side dishes.

8. We don’t make him a special "kids" meal
If he doesn’t like what we’re having for dinner, then he doesn’t have to eat dinner.

9. We eat healthy foods, too
Noah sees Mom and Dad with veggies on our plates (that we actually eat) and reasonable portions. We choose salads over fries at restaurants — not because we have to, but because salads are yummy. We make the food choices that we’d like him to make, and we’re openly adventurous about trying new foods. Kids are looking to us for a sense of what’s normal, so modeling a healthy attitude starts with what we’re putting in our mouths, not with the words that are coming out.

10. We’re consistent
I know that the other shoe might drop any day (tomorrow, even) and he could turn into a mac-and-cheese-around-the-clock type of a kid. And if that’s true, I’ll know that it isn’t my fault — yet I’ll still continue doing exactly what I’ve been doing. Only because I think it’s the healthiest approach for the healthiest attitude toward food.

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Protecting Our Carpet from a Messy Eating Baby

By: Melanie Edwards

When babies begin to self-feed, whether with finger foods or learning to eat with a spoon, it can be a very messy time! Babies drop their spoons (constantly) or purposely throw them down. Babies miss their mouth and accidentally get food all over themselves, the chair, and the floor. It’s natural, of course; learning to eat on your own can be tough! It’s also tough on our floors and particularly difficult when you have carpet. As parents, how can we let our babies go through this phase of learning to self-feed, and yet keep our floors clean?

Our dining area is carpeted. Even worse, it’s that cream-color carpet. I have nightmares about baby boy eating spaghetti on his own. But, I realize that I have to let him try because otherwise he’ll never learn to eat by himself. This means I have to let him try all kinds of food, not just finger foods.

We began with him trying to eat simple finger foods that wouldn’t make too much of a mess: cheese, crackers, cut-up chicken, and other foods that he could easily pick up with his fingers or a fork. The problem was that whenever we fed him rice, spaghetti, soup, or other more messy foods, he also wanted to dig into the bowl.

Realizing that we couldn’t avoid the issue much longer and that it was good and necessary for him to try to feed himself the messier foods, we had to figure something out. My husband found a no-longer-in-use plastic office floor mat at his job that they let him bring home. We put the floor mat underneath one of our dining chairs and that is our baby boy’s designated chair. The floor mat covers a wide area, which is perfect.

Baby boy can now eat finger foods or with a spoon without us having to worry so much. When food now falls on the floor, we simply wipe it up! Our carpet is clean and baby boy is happy feeling more like a big boy eating by himself.

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Adult Dinners Toddlers Love

Simple suppers that are nutritious, delicious, and toddler-approved. Dig in!

If cooking one meal for yourself and another for your toddler makes you feel like a short-order cook, take heart: You don’t have to do that. "After the age of 1, kids can eat what the rest of the family eats," says Keri Glassman, M.S., R.D., a nutritionist in New York City and a mom of two. "There’s no need for ‘kid food." Start doing it when they’re young and you’ll make mealtime a lot easier while also expanding their taste buds beyond typical (and sometimes unhealthy) kid-friendly fare! Glassman’s top picks for meals the entire family will love:

    Grilled salmon with teriyaki sauce. Kids typically like salmon, and if they are new to it, the sweet sauce is a good intro. You can also try chicken or veggie teriyaki, too. Grilled chicken Parmesan. A healthy twist on the more rich and decadent traditional version, but kids who like cheese are sure to dive in. Just grill the chicken and top with your favorite tomato sauce and shredded cheese. Whole-wheat penne with mini turkey meatballs. Whole-wheat pasta is healthier than the white kind, thanks to the fiber it contains. Plus, penne is an easier pasta shape for young children to eat than spaghetti. Healthy sliders. Make mini patties out of ground turkey, pork, or lean beef and put them on small whole-wheat buns (which automatically make food more fun). Make-your-own tacos. "My kids really look forward to Taco Tuesdays at our home," says Glassman. Use ground turkey and corn tortillas (not fried!), and put out a variety of veggies for everyone to throw in—such shredded lettuce and carrots, and chopped colored peppers. Mmm!

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Cooking with Kids: Toddler Help in the Kitchen

No, you don’t have to plant them in front of the TV while you prepare dinner (not that we’d judge if you did!). But instead, teach them new things and enjoy quality Mommy-and-me time with these suggestions.

Get kid-size equipment. "My daughter has her own apron, measuring cup, and plastic spoons so she feels grown up when we bake," says Kristy Branham, a mom of two from Boston, Massachusetts "I even turn it into a counting lesson as she helps pour cups of flour into, say, cookie batter."

Let them imitate you. As you prep, let kids play with pots, spoons, even empty plastic spice jars. Keep a few low kitchen drawers and cabinets stocked with safe kitchen items.

Don’t stress over appearance. "Setting the table is one way kids can help, from very early on," says Dorie DeGeest, a mom of three in Austin, Texas. "But if it’s just our family, it doesn’t really matter how the table looks." Napkins folded wrong? Utensils not in the right place? No biggie. DeGeest also gives her toddler clean silverware (minus the sharp knives) to sort into the right sections of the silverware tray, a "puzzle" she enjoys.

Do the green thing. "I give my boys a used jar and show them they can peel off the label and rinse it out," says DeGeest. "It’s funny: What seems like a dirty job to me is actually a lot of fun to them."

Don’t forget, safety first. "Honestly, if I’ve got three burners going on the stove, having a little guy right there is dangerous," says Benjamin David, a dad of one from Erie, Pennsylvania. "These days, we put him at the table with Play-doh so he can make pretend spaghetti or burgers or whatever we’re eating that night. That way he’s still near us and engaged in the cooking process, but minus the danger. Win-win."

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Getting Toddlers To Eat: Fun With Family Dinner!

Tempt any toddler to eat what you put in front of him with these delish tips.

Rope in a sous chef. "There are so many things little ones can do to help in the kitchen," says Laurie David, author of The Family Dinner: Great Ways To Connect With Your Kids, One Meal At A Time. "They can rip up lettuce for a salad, for example, or pour premeasured ingredients from a cup to a bowl. Have them don an apron and wash their hands, and put them to work! They’ll take such pride in knowing they helped—and be more likely to eat the food."

Give them choices. "I’ll ask my children if they would rather have carrot sticks, celery, or banana, but they must choose one of those options," says Sharina Johnson, a mom of three in Chicago, Illinois. "This has resulted in less food being wasted during meals, and more food getting eaten." Kids also love "participation" meals—ones that start in the kitchen, and get finished and personalized at the kitchen table, adds David. "You can do tacos, pasta, soup, rice bowls. Toddlers get to choose which toppings or mix-ins they’d like from bowls you’ve set out on the table."

Let them play with their food! "When kids open pea pods, dip veggie sticks into sauce, and compare food shapes, textures, and flavors, it helps them connect to food," says Linda Piette, RD, a pediatric nutritionist in Boston, Massachusetts, and author of Just Two More Bites! Helping Picky Eaters Say Yes to Food. "As we eat, I'll ask the kids ‘Can you eat something from your plate that is orange?’ or ‘How many peas can you poke into your fork?’" says Courtenay Baker-Olinge, a mom of two in Mount Vernon, Iowa. "This gets them interacting with the food so that the meal is more interesting than whatever toy might be calling their names."

Entertain ’em. David suggests the "What’s on your plate" game: Everyone goes around the table, mentions one thing on their plate, and takes a bite of it. "It keeps kids’ attention and gets them to try lots of different foods," she says. Baker-Olinge is all for fun food shapes: "I’ll make a smiley face with orange slices for eyes, a strawberry for a nose, and a banana sliced lengthwise for a smile."

Tell, don’t ask. Five words to avoid with a toddler: "Do you want to eat?" Too often, the answer is going to be "NO!" Instead, say something enticing about the meal such as, "Wow, look at that juicy corn" or "Mmmmm, smell that soup," suggests Piette. "Make mealtime an appealing and regular part of their day, but don’t stress out over fickle eating habits, either. Growth slows during the toddler years and appetites drop; skipping meals, or loving a food one day and hating it the next, are the norm. Provide healthy choices, then relax and go with the flow."

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