Allaboutbabies & Feed Eat Speak have teamed up to bring you our top tips for responsive spoon feeding.
We are aware that Baby-Led Weaning isn’t for every parent or every baby so here are our top tips for spoon feeding parents.
1. Follow your baby’s lead. This may sound obvious but often babies take a bit of time to get going with weaning and may not take large volumes of solids. Many parents worry about this. However, milk remains the main source of nutrition for the first year of life. It may gradually decrease your baby gets closer to one year so you have plenty of time to go at the right pace for your baby.
2. Wait for your baby to open his mouth. Just like us, babies need time to process what they are eating and the look and smell of what is being offered. This may mean they take time to consider it before opening their mouth. Make mealtimes relaxing and present the spoon slowly. Hold it close to their mouth and wait for them to open and accept it.
3. Enjoy mealtimes together. Babies (like adults) learn best when they are relaxed. They also learn from watching others. Rather than standing over your little one whilst spoon-feeding, sit down together and try to be close and at the same level as them. If you have other children try to find opportunities for family meals times. Eating alongside your baby is a great way to spark their natural curiosity about food and prepare them for self-feeding too.
4. Slow it down. Your baby is born with a natural “full switch” which will click on to avoid them over-eating, but it takes time for it to switch on. If you spoon-feed your baby quickly those opportunities to register that full feeling don’t happen. This can lead to overeating and dropping milk feeds too fast. It can also impact their ability to know when they are full as they grow up. Take it slow, allow pauses between mouthfuls and most importantly stop once you baby shows they are full (see point 5).
5. Move on at the right time. Your baby will become more independent as he develops. If you are spoon-feeding and find your little one reaching for the spoon take the plunge and give it to them! Yes, it might (it will) get messy but the aim with weaning is to teach your little ones to eat and form a positive relationship with food. What better way than just letting them get stuck in. It is also important to move on to more challenging chewable textures at the right time (after the first few weeks) or your little one might struggle to learn this skill. Start by offering soft sticks of finger foods and stop blending foods and offer soft foods instead (eg scrambled egg, soft pasta and sauce, meatballs and mashed potato).
6. Don’t distract them. Peppa Pig, ipads and “here comes the aeroplane” are all common methods of distraction aimed to encourage a baby to eat who isn’t showing willing. Remember, your aim is to help your baby to develop positive food habits. Mindless eating and forcing that one extra mouthful can lead to negative food associations as they grow up.
For any further advice or tips on weaning or fussy eating feel free to get in touch.
Dr David’s Tips for Nappy Rash, Teething & Sticky Eye
Both my babies have had nappy rash, and I see a lot of it in the general practice setting. There’s such a huge spectrum of what you might see when you open your baby’s nappy. Nappy rash can vary from just a bit of redness around the baby’s bottom, to severe, weeping, infected skin which may spread into the creases of the baby’s thighs and up towards the genitals.
Current medical guidelines do not support putting cream on your baby’s bottom daily to prevent nappy rash, but there is no harm in applying cream daily if you feel this helps. Some brands of wipes may irritate the skin, so you may want to consider using cotton wool and water or changing brands.
To treat nappy rash medical evidence is supportive of:
Ok, so they are not exactly aesthetically pleasing and they can’t really be hidden away, but a birth ball is an absolute essential if you are pregnant and here’s why…
It’s comfy: Sitting on a birth ball, especially in the later stages of pregnancy, is much more comfortable than sitting on a regular chair. This is because you have to plant your feet on the floor with your legs wide to give you stability (you’re entitled not to be ladylike – you’re growing a human), so there is room for your bump.
It helps the baby’s position: Sitting on a birth ball means your knees are lower than your hips which tilts your pelvis, providing more room for your baby to get into a good position for birth.
It strengthens: As a natural instinct you are going to want to move when sitting on a ball – you will bounce, you will rock from side to side, you will circle your hips, you may even do figures of eight. All of this is excellent for supporting and strengthening the ligaments that are holding up your uterus.
Pain relief: If your back is aching you can kneel on the floor and lean over the ball and gently rock from side to side which can really ease the pain. In fact, you may find this position so comfy that you decide this is how you will spend the rest of your pregnancy!
Labour support: The ball is also excellent for labour – you can’t actually sit on it as the baby is crowning (obvs) but it is a brilliant tool for the earlier stages. All the movements described above are going to encourage the baby to put more pressure on the cervix to aid dilation and keep your pelvis flexible making it easier for the baby to move through its bony cradle. In addition, placing the ball on the floor or on your bed/sofa and leaning over it means you can rest in between contractions.
Which ball to buy? Ensure your ball is anti-burst’ or ‘double walled’ and big enough that when you sit, your pelvis is tilted forward so your knees are below your hips. The majority of women will be comfortable with a 65” but if you are on the short side you might find a 55” suits you better and similarly, if you are very tall you will be more suited to a 75”. Check out the Natural Birth & Fitness ball from My Little Bubba and receive 15% off with the discount code AAB15.
TIP: Get an electric pump to blow it up! We once had a client who blew his up as you would a balloon – he didn’t feel so good afterwards!!
So, get your balls and get bouncing girls – it will be worth it!