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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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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.


6 Things You’ll Want to Have Handy When Your Baby Starts Solids

With my third baby just starting real foods, I’m remembering how messy and delightful those early attempts at eating are.

The first few times, she just had no idea what to do with food, but now she’s getting the hang of it and when she sees us eating without her, she gets a little frantic, exercising her little lungs and waving her arms around to let us know, “I want some of that too!”

Since little eaters can get stickier than Pooh with a hunny pot, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepped for breakfast, lunch, or dinnertime to keep things from getting too messy!

Here are six things I’ve learned to keep on hand:

1. A high chair you can easily clean.
It’s magical how much mess a single raspberry can make, so I highly recommend a high chair that can be wiped down with a sponge. You don’t want to be remembering three kids later that first experience with peas thanks to a stained high chair.

2. A waterproof bib.
When I was going through my baby things before my third daughter was born, I only saved the waterproof bibs. Ones that you can spray down in the sink and are dry a minute or two later with zero staining are the way to go!

3. Baby silverware.
Since I don’t want to be spoonfeeding my child forever, I like to give them practice early on with silverware that they can handle on their own. Plus, regular silverware is just too big for those little mouths, so I’ve loved having a few sets of child-size utensils.

4. A splash mat.
If you have flooring that doesn’t easily wipe up (like the carpet we had in our dining room for our first two children – that apartment was obviously designed by someone without small children!), you’ll want some sort of splash mat to go under the high chair so your carpet doesn’t get immediately ruined with the first forays into eating. And my advice? There’s no such thing as too big when it comes to picking out a size for that mat.

5. Stain remover.
Guaranteed that, despite your best efforts, your child will somehow manage to smear food on their clothing. I keep a bottle of stain remover handy and immediately spray down any clothing that’s gotten dirty so that it doesn’t stain my favorite little outfits.

6. Your phone to record it all.
The video of my oldest daughter tasting some vinegary salad is still one of my favorites as she shakes her head in surprise and then opens wide for another bite. These moments are priceless!

Moving into table foods is such an exciting transition for both of you – there’s nothing like watching them figure out how to move their little tongues and lighting up when they particularly like something.

And with the right tools to keep it from being a huge mess, you might even share dessert.

Image: Huggies


Baby Food Basics


How can I help my child avoid asthma triggers?

How can I help my child avoid asthma triggers?

Help your child avoid asthma triggers — allergens or irritants in the environment that can trigger asthma symptoms — by, first, identifying what those triggers are. Then, reduce your child's exposure to them as much as possible.

Common asthma triggers

Asthma triggers can include:

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Cockroaches
  • Pet dander
  • Indoor molds
  • Wood and tobacco smoke
  • Air pollution
  • Viruses
  • Cold air
  • Physical activity
  • Chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be found in paints, flooring and other household products
  • Stress and negative emotions

Each child may have a different set of asthma triggers, so it's important to know what your child is susceptible to. Consider getting an allergy skin test, which can pinpoint specific allergy triggers.

It may also help to monitor activities and symptoms in a daily diary, so you can identify environmental or activity-related triggers that make your child's asthma worse.

Reduce allergens and irritants in your home

If pollen, dust mites and pet dander are among your child's asthma triggers:

  • Use an air conditioner and dehumidifier to keep humidity levels low.
  • Use air filtration devices to keep indoor air clean.
  • Wash bedding regularly on the hottest settings.
  • Dust and vacuum regularly.
  • Steam clean carpets regularly.
  • If possible, replace carpets with hard flooring, such as vinyl, tile or wood; hard surface flooring contains high levels of VOCs, so consider certified low-VOC options.
  • Bathe pets regularly and limit their access to places where your child spends a lot of time.
  • Avoid cigarette and other types of smoke.

Manage environment, activities and emotions

If certain activities and emotions trigger your child's asthma:

  • Help your child recognize situations that may trigger symptoms.
  • Ask your child's doctor about the possibility of taking medication before physical activity.
  • Avoids strenuous outdoor activity when air pollution or pollen levels are high.
  • Cover your child's nose and mouth with a scarf on cold or windy days.

This article was from Mayo Clinic and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Image: Getty


15 Moms Share Their Tried-and-True Tips for Feeding Baby Solids

I remember the first time that I fed all three of my kids solid food. It was such a huge milestone for both of us. I’d become the sole nutritional provider for months, and then all of a sudden, we were taking a big jump into eating fruits and vegetables.

As a new mom, I expected my little ones to like the first foods that I gave them right away, but little did I realize that it takes time and a lot of patience to introduce solids to your baby. There is a lot involved, and it is a process. Thankfully after a little practice, my kids loved fruits and vegetables and still do to this day.

If your little one is ready for this big milestone, check out these tips from fellow moms to help make the process go more smoothly.

Give Baby a seat at the table:

“As soon as my son Noah was able to sit (around 5 months) we bought a high chair, and every time we had a meal he was sitting with us at the table. Soon he started being vocal when he saw us eating, so we started giving him some too. It’s like a ritual for us to have at least one meal a day where we all sit at the table and enjoy food.” – Cristina T.

Remember the essentials:

“Be very patient. Make your own food so you know what goes in it. Waterproof bib. Washcloth to wipe face. Soft tip spoon.” – Christina C.

“[Use] plastic or waterproof bibs which are easy to rinse off.” – Ashley J.

Check in with yourself:

“BREATHE. It may take a while, he may not like it or take to it, but you’re giving your baby a tool for his future health. How you treat the food and the situation is the building block from which he will create his relationship with nutrition. Trust yourself!” – Ellen M.

Capture the moment:

“Have the video camera ready! It’s the first time they will ever eat food, and you can’t forget that moment ever! One of my favorite moments of motherhood was watching them do and try all of their firsts!” – Holly H.

Make it a game:

“To let him pretend he is feeding himself by letting him hold the spoon with me has been working wonders. And homemade sweet potatoes make an awesome first food!” – Shara B.

Don’t expect too much:

“Have low expectations. Expect most of it to wind up on their face. Doesn’t matter what you feed them they will be horrified.” – Lauren P.

“Let baby’s abilities guide you. Don’t have expectations. Don’t force it. Have fun!” – Melissa C.

“Don’t expect it to go well, and don’t think your baby will magically know how to eat. It takes time and practice.” -Shannon P.

Think practically:

“Don’t feed out of the jar – if kiddo doesn’t eat it all, the rest of the jar will go bad faster if you’ve introduced saliva into it!” –Katie G.

“Don’t put clothes on baby when feeding purees. Everything stains and it WILL get everywhere.” – Erica T.

Consider timing:

“If you are worried about introducing food that your baby might react to, feed it to them on a Monday morning. That way, if there is a reaction, you could see your doctor during normal business hours instead of going to urgent care or an ER.” – Gondica N.

Keep it simple (and make it fun!):

“Take your time, and cleaning and tidying up can wait… Mix a simple baby cereal with breast milk, and let baby get the hang of swallowing, take a few pics of baby’s first reaction! That can be fun! And enjoy every moment! Your baby will grow up so fast, before you know it he or she will start saying ‘Mommy, I can do it!’ “ 
– Honey M.

“Keep trying, don’t give up, establish a routine, and make it fun!” -Amelia B.

Image: Huggies


How to Get Your Toddler to Stop Throwing Food on the Floor

It's time to feed your toddler! And that probably means it's also time to break out the mop, since toddlers aren't only notoriously messy eaters, but to top things off, many love throwing their food on the floor. And the more you tell them to stop, the more it happens. Your frustration grows at about the same rate as the mess.

Yet experts say that toddlers throw food not to drive you crazy, but because experimenting with the world around them is ingrained in their DNA.

"This is normal and healthy behavior," says Bette Alkazian, a family therapist and parenting coach in southern California. "Toddlers throw things on the floor to learn so many things, like that gravity is predictable. They watch our behavior and see that we, too, are predictable. This repetition helps their brain synapses to grow and connect."

So every Cheerio your toddler tosses to the floor is teaching him important laws of physics. Meanwhile, the annoyed face you make every time he does it is teaching him what makes humans tick. That said, this doesn't mean you have to just put up with mealtime mess. 

Here's some advice to make that happen:

  1. Don't try to reason with your toddler.
    At this age, it won't help to explain to your toddler that he's making a mess, and you're tired of cleaning them up. "Talking about it, even saying no, is really lost in translation at this age," says Blythe Lipman, a parenting expert at My Best Parenting Advice.
  2. Don't get angry.
    We know it's hard to stay calm when you're picking a hundred peas off the floor, but any emotional reaction just shows your toddler he's found the perfect method for getting under your skin. And for him, that's fun!
  3. Take the food away.
    "When a child is hungry, he is likely to focus on eating, and when that hunger has been satiated, then play ensues," says Alkazian. So once throwing commences, say, "I see you're all done eating" and remove him from the high chair. After all, he can't throw what he doesn't have -- and even if he is still hungry, that will teach him that mealtime isn't playtime (plus, you can go ahead and try feeding him again an hour later). It may sound harsh, but if you're consistent about it for a few days, your toddler will get the message.
  4. Remove pets from the vicinity.
    Got a dog or cat pouncing on every morsel your tot drops? Well, no wonder he's so eager to slip them some crumbs, it's like having a feeding zoo in your own home. 
  5. Serve smaller portions.
    Even the most well-mannered toddler can regress at some points, so to keep the messes to a minimum, give your toddler smaller amounts of food, and add more only once he's finished what's in front of him.

What's the most annoying thing your toddler does?

This article was written by Judy Dutton from CafeMom and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Baby Fat: When is it Cause For Concern?

How can I tell if my baby's weight is cause for concern?

If you're concerned about your baby's weight, consult your baby's doctor. Growth, development and weight are great topics to discuss during routine well-baby exams.

During infancy, the doctor will plot your baby's growth on charts that show weight for length. Later, your baby's doctor will calculate your child's BMI. You can use the charts to track your child’s growth trend and to compare your baby's growth with that of other infants of the same sex and age. According to the World Health Organization growth charts, a baby with a weight-for-length greater than the 98th percentile is considered to have a high weight for length.

Remember, babies need a diet high in fat to support growth during infancy. A baby who's exclusively breast-fed gets about half of his or her daily calories from the fat in breast milk. As a result, caloric restrictions aimed at reducing weight are not recommended for babies age 2 and under.

Excess fat and calories can still be a concern, though. For example, being too heavy can delay crawling and walking — essential parts of a baby's physical and mental development. While a large baby may not become an overweight child, a child who is obese often remains obese as an adult.

To keep your baby at a healthy weight:

  • Monitor your weight gain during pregnancy.
    Excessive weight gain during pregnancy can increase a baby's birth weight. Research suggests that as birth weight increases, so does the risk of childhood obesity.
  • Breast-feed.
    Some research suggests that breast-feeding reduces the risk of childhood obesity.
  • Limit sugar-sweetened drinks.
    Juice isn't a necessary part of a baby's diet. As you start introducing solid foods, consider offering nutritious fruits and vegetables instead.
  • Experiment with ways to soothe your baby.
    Don't automatically turn to breast milk or formula to quiet your baby's cries. Sometimes a new position, a calmer environment or a gentle touch is all that's needed.
  • Limit media use.
    The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages media use by children younger than age 2. The more TV your child watches, the greater his or her risk is of becoming overweight.

As your child gets older, continue talking to his or her doctor about weight and nutrition. For additional guidance, you might consult a registered dietitian as well.

This article was from Mayo Clinic and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Image: Getty 


5 Toddler Feeding Challenges and How to Overcome Them

My 2-year-old is a fantastic eater, and he's been one since we started solid foods when he was 4 months old. I'm not saying this to brag, I'm saying it because even though he loves food and isn't the least bit picky, toddlerhood has brought with it a few eating challenges. Once babies become mobile, I think mealtime frustrations are a fact of life. Here are some feeding challenges you're likely to encounter with your toddler, along with my real mom tips on how to get through them.

First off, I'm a firm believer that if you start your child off right from the time they can eat table food, you'll reap the benefits as they enter into toddlerhood. That means, barring any allergy issues, you should make family meals a priority, model healthy eating practices and serve your kids either the exact meal you're eating or an age-appropriate variation of the same meal. Your toddler doesn't need to eat "kid food," like chicken nuggets and boxed mac and cheese.

Challenge 1: Your child will only eat a few foods.

Resist the urge to be pushy and attempt to force new foods on your child. When you serve up a meal always add one or two things to the plate that you know your child will eat. Make sure everything else looks and smells appealing, and know that if they don't try something or try it and don't like it, they'll still have something on the plate to fill up their bellies. And remember, it can take dozens of tries for a toddler to acquire a taste for a new food. 

Challenge 2: You toddler eats very little at a time.

Don't fret! Your baby is not going to starve. He'll eat as much as he needs to when he's hungry. As long as you are offering him food at regular intervals throughout the day, your child will have plenty of opportunities to get in his daily calories. Try not to pacify, quiet or entertain your child with food--this could unwittingly fill him up outside of scheduled feedings.

Challenge 3: You can't get your toddler to stay seated at the table. 

We all know it's important to teach our children manners, but this is a slow and steady process. Sometimes we can be unreasonable in our expectations. Most young toddlers can't be expected to sit in the same spot for more than 15-20 minutes at a time. I would suggest being okay with 10 minutes for young toddlers and working your way up to longer as your child gets older. After 10 minutes has passed, if your child is asking to get down or saying he's done, let him. You can tell him to come back if he decides he wants more, but try not to force him to. 

Challenge 4: Your kid is a messy eater.

Young toddlers can be especially messy as their motor skills are still developing. It might be annoying to continually clean up food splatters from every surface in your kitchen, but usually it's completely innocent and not actually misbehavior. Even older toddlers like to eat with their hands. If your child is intentionally throwing or smearing food, just for the sake of making a mess, chances are they're no longer hungry. Remove them from the dining area, clean up and offer food again later. Be consistent and do this every time intentional food messes are made. Eventually, your child will learn that the behavior won't be tolerated. 

Challenge 5: Your toddler has issues with textures.

A lot of kids reject certain foods because of texture. This isn't really an indication that your child doesn't like the flavor of a certain food, so don't give up on it. Unless there is a diagnosed sensory issue going on, most kids will grow out of it. In the meantime, try different cooking methods and preparations that could result in a more pleasing consistency. My son would consistently spit out zucchini until I made crispy baked zucchini tots, which he devoured.

This article was written by Shayne Rodriguez Thompson from Mamas Latinas and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Image: Getty

Breastfeeding Baby

Breast-feeding Strike: Why Do Babies Refuse to Nurse?

Why would a baby go on a breast-feeding strike?

Many factors can trigger a breast-feeding strike — when a baby refuses to breast-feed for a period of time after breast-feeding well for months. Typically, the baby is trying to tell you that something isn't quite right.

What happens during a breast-feeding strike

During a breast-feeding strike, your baby might appear happy to go to your breast — but then act disinterested or start to cry. Sometimes a breast-feeding strike happens suddenly. In other cases, a strike begins gradually.

What causes a breast-feeding strike

Common causes of a breast-feeding strike include:

  • Pain or discomfort. Teething, thrush or a cold sore can cause mouth pain during breast-feeding, and an ear infection can cause pain during sucking. An injury or soreness from an immunization might cause discomfort in a certain breast-feeding position.
  • Illness. A cold or stuffy nose can make it difficult for your baby to breathe during breast-feeding.
  • Stress or distraction. Overstimulation, delayed feedings or a long separation from you might cause fussiness and difficulty nursing. A strong reaction from you to being bitten during breast-feeding might have the same effect. Sometimes a baby is simply too distracted to breast-feed.
  • Unusual scents or tastes. Changes in your smell due to a new soap, perfume, lotion or deodorant might cause your baby to lose interest in breast-feeding. Changes in the taste of breast milk — triggered by factors such as the food you eat, your period or getting pregnant again — also can trigger a breast-feeding strike.
  • Reduced milk supply. Supplementing with formula or using a pacifier too much might reduce your milk supply. Sometimes reduced milk supply is a sign of pregnancy.

Keep in mind that if your baby goes on a breast-feeding strike, it doesn't necessarily mean that he or she is ready to wean. Breast-feeding strikes are often short-lived.

How to manage a breast-feeding strike

A breast-feeding strike can be uncomfortable for you and your baby. You might feel rejected and frustrated. Don't feel guilty, though — it's not your fault. Try to be patient as you manage this change in your baby's eating habits. To prevent engorgement and maintain your milk supply, pump milk on the same schedule your baby used to breast-feed. You can feed the expressed milk to your baby with a spoon, dropper or bottle.

You might also:

  • Keep trying.
    Express milk onto your nipple or your baby's mouth to encourage him or her to nurse. If your baby is frustrated, stop and try again later.
  • Change positions.
    Try different breast-feeding positions. If your baby is congested, hold him or her in an upright position during breast-feeding. It might also help to suction your baby's nose before feedings.
  • Deal with distractions.
    Try feeding your baby in a dark, quiet room with no distractions. Or consider the opposite approach — turn your body so that your baby can face the activity.
  • Cuddle your baby.
    Skin-to-skin contact between you and your baby might renew your baby's interest in breast-feeding.
  • Address teething issues.
    If your baby is teething, rub his or her gums with a cool washcloth or your finger before a feeding. If your baby bites you during breast-feeding, try not to react too strongly. Simply slip your finger into your baby's mouth to quickly break the suction.
  • Evaluate changes in your routine.
    Think about any changes in your routine that might be upsetting your baby. Are you stressed? Are you taking any new medications? Has your diet changed? Are you using a new type of perfume or fragranced soap? Could you be pregnant? Focus on taking good care of yourself.

If a breast-feeding strike lasts more than a few days, your baby has fewer wet diapers than usual or you're concerned about your baby's difficulty breast-feeding, consult your baby's doctor.

 ©1998-2015 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of Use.

This article was from Mayo Clinic and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Image: Getty


How Feeding Your Baby Vegetables Can Create a Picky Eater


We all know that kid who only eats peanut butter sandwiches on white bread cut into triangles ... and has been refusing anything different for the past seven years. Sure, he's sweet, but that's the kid moms dread having over for play dates after school. So how do you avoid raising that kid, the picky eating kid? One trick is actually surprisingly easy: Skip the baby food that mixes flavors.

The idea is that babies have to develop a palette, and blending flavors keeps them from learning to like (or even just put up with) the taste of individual vegetables. 

The science to support this theory was presented by researchers from the French National Institute for Agricultural Research at a conference last week, but it's not the first time the story has been told: A study in the journal Appetite also offered up research to back this idea up.

It's the same reason why breastfeeding could produce less fussy eaters when babies grow up -- that exposure to subtle flavors helps them appreciate the taste of anything that's not just mush.

So the supermarket strategy is this: Skip the stuff that mashes different flavors together, and buy (or make!) the baby food that's strictly one-vegetable-only. Easy, right?

Also, shoot for getting a range of different fruits and veggies, and trick your baby into eating as many different flavors as possible (while you still can). Then, if everything goes as planned, they'll be inhaling broccoli by the bunch by the time they're old enough to chew.

Or something like that.

It's an easy switch to make, and one that certainly won't hurt anybody. Nobody really wants to deal with a picky eater -- so please, for moms everywhere, try this trick.

And then, a mere 10 years from now when you have a culinary savant on your hands, YOU get to take all the credit, thank you very much.

What kind of food do you usually feed your baby?

This article was written by Caroline Olney from CafeMom and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Image: Getty

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