feeding baby, Feeding Children, Picky Eating, toddler feeding

Picky Eating Part 3 Feeding Toddlers

The second year of life- The Toddler Years- are when the real feeding fun begins. Though

they are more active than their first year, toddlers have lower energy needs for growth.

Their appetite may decline at times, and increase at others. Usually around 18 months,

your babyǯs Dztwo-nessdz begins to show itself. Your toddler will begin to assert his own will

and test his limits. She may struggle with separation while trying to discover her sense of

self. The toddler has many strong emotions and opinions, and has to learn self control.

Much of this drama can play out at the dinner table.

The Division of Feeding Responsibility coined by Ellyn Satter in How to Get your Child to

Eat…But not too much is very important during this time. In this division, parents are

responsible for what and when, the child is responsible for how much or whether to eat at

all. The Division of Feeding Responsibility acts as a guide to set the reasonable limits

toddlers need, while not setting you up for battles you cannot win.

You are responsible for selecting, buying, and preparing meals. The toddler meal at this

point may be a modified version of the adult meal. Be sure to offer one liked food, and cut

the food up in a way your toddler can manage to feed herself. Allow your toddler to get the

food into his mouth however he chooses and accept the mess as a learning process.

One important way to provide limits and structure is in the form of regular meals and

snacks 2-3 hours apart – your toddler no longer benefits from ad lib feeding as he did when

he was a baby. Allowing your toddler to graze, sip on milk or juice, or have easy access to

foods is a mistake. It is common when parents feel their children Ǯjust wonǯt eatǯ to follow

them with snacks and provide eating opportunities on the run. This results in very poor

intake at meals, a poor quality diet, and a lack of awareness of hunger and satiety.

Along with timing, parents are in charge of the where and how meals are presented. The

family meal is the most positive thing you can do to influence your child to eat well. You

cannot make your child eat, but you can expect him to sit for a reasonable amount of time

for meals and snacks. You and the other members of the family should sit and enjoy the

meal together avoiding any negative attention to what the child chooses to eat or not eat.

Expect appropriate behavior at the table.

The child is in charge of how much to eat, and whether to eat at all. Your toddler will

quickly figure out eating is something you cannot make them do. Any encroachment on her

job of eating may be reacted to as a threat to her autonomy. How a child eats may also be

added to this list. Letting them feed as independently as possible, giving them help only

when they need it, may be messy, but will result in less battles.

Children move this period with varying degrees of resistance depending on the

temperament of the child and the handling of it by the parent. Itǯs very important to be

prepared to choose your battles. As Ellyn Satter writes in How to Get your Child to Eat…But

not too much, DzOnly fight battles you can win…you can stop a toddler from doing what you

donǯt want her to do, but you canǯt make her do what you want her to dodz. You canǯt make

your child eat, but you can make them sit for meal times and act appropriately.

breastfeeding, feeding baby, infant feeding

Breastfeeding Duration – How long should each feeding last?

A family comes in for the newborn visit. Like many families, they are tired and overwhelmed, and have received too much information to process at one time. Breastfeeding advice has been plentiful and often contradictory. One of the most common questions- “How long should my baby breastfeed from each side?” The hospital physician said 10 minutes, a nurse said 20 minutes. Longer must be better, right? After all, we want to get to the hind milk, and we want to stimulate the milk supply in the mother.

Not necessarily. A study published in 2008 by Walshaw et al, showed that babies who breastfed for approximately 10 minutes on each breast gained more weight and breastfed exclusively for longer than infants who spent more extended periods of time at each breast.

On the other hand, some women have a greater supply and may need to feed longer on each side to properly drain the breast. In extreme cases, known as Hyperlactation, a mother produces such a volume of milk that the infant receives too much foremilk and therefore too much lactose. Symptoms resemble lactose intolerance and may include gas, excess spitting up, or green, frothy explosive stools. These babies may need to feed exclusively on 1 breast for several feedings in a row to drain the breast and receive a more balanced feed.

So the short answer may be “10 minutes is average for most babies”. But as with all things breastfeeding, it is important to consider signs and cues from mom and baby. Mother’s breasts should be soft at the end of the feed. Baby should be relaxed and sleepy, and rest periods will be greater than suck swallow bursts. Of note, babies will begin to suckle at the breast while being removed. It is a reflex, not necessarily a sign they are still actively feeding.

breastfeeding, feeding baby, Feeding Children, infant feeding, Picky Eating, Uncategorized

Feeding Baby: Establishing The Feeding Relationship

Babies come out of the womb with all they need to be successful feeders. In a perfect world this is true. However, things don’t always go as planned. Babies can have trouble feeding for a variety of reasons. Or perhaps a newborn doesn’t gain the desired amount of weight or gain too much weight. The baby may be a sleepy feeder, slow feeder, fast feeder, or spitty feeder. They may be fussy, colicky, or have some other curious symptom. What, when, and how baby eats may be closely scrutinized. Doctors, caregivers, and parents become vigilant and anxious about feeding. This is often where picky eating begins.

From the beginning, the Division of Feeding Responsibility must be established and respected. Parents are in charge of what is fed and the manner in which baby is fed. Feedings should be calm and quiet, undistracted, attentive, and unrushed. Focus on your baby during this time, hold her close and look at her. Watch your baby during this time and learn to read his signals for hunger and satisfaction. Look for preferred positions and locations to feed. Does music or changes in lighting improve the quality or duration of the feed? Avoid rushing the feed, over stimulating the baby with movement or patting, or taking too many breaks to burp or wipe.
When baby is fed is up to the baby in the beginning, though some babies require waking to feed in the first days. Recognize and respect baby’s hunger cues – babies who have their needs met quickly cry less. Early hunger cues include rooting (turning head and opening mouth), nuzzling, lip smacking, and sucking hands. Late hunger cues include squirming, fussing, and crying. It is best to feed baby before late hunger cues are exhibited.
Baby is in charge of how much and whether to eat at all. Watch for signs your baby has had enough. Signs of satisfaction or fullness include relaxed hands and body, possibly sleeping, unlatching from nipple (though not necessarily). A baby who is showing signs of satiety should be held away from mom’s warm body, burped, and offered the nipple again. If baby closes his lips, turns away, or falls back to sleep, the feeding is done. It’s important to not attempt to top baby off once baby has shown signs of satiety. Watching for and respecting baby’s satiety will help you and baby learn about the amount of food that is right for your baby.

As solids start in the first year, parents take the lead in scheduling meals and snacks. Baby is still in charge of how much they eat. Starting solids goes best when parents approach this with playful attention. Allow baby to use their hands, and practice and play with utensils. Let them explore the colors and flavors, encouraging their excitement. Allow and expect a mess. Don’t react to funny faces, rejected foods, or even gagging. These are all normal parts of the process. Allow older babies to mash and play with textures. Be there with your baby enjoying your food as they are exploring theirs. The amount they get in is unimportant since their primary source of nutrition remains breast milk or formula. Abandon the thought that you must make them eat healthy foods. Offer a variety of foods that are part of a healthful diet, and let them decide how much or whether to eat.
This stage of feeding is time consuming. It can be especially difficult for mothers with older children as the time to dedicate to feeding can be intruded upon. But this is the time to establish a healthy feeding relationship with your baby.

feeding baby, Feeding Children, infant feeding, Picky Eating, Uncategorized

Picky Eating: Defining Boundaries

The reported statistics for percentages of children who may be defined as “Picky Eaters” is all over the map. Websites and articles quote a range of 20%-50%. These statistics seem low! Most statistics agree that peek picky eating behavior is from 2 to 6 years old. So if you are a parent struggling with a picky eater, these numbers tell you, you are not alone, and there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Most, but not all, picky eating is a behavior and not a medical issue. As with most behaviors, they are learned and conditioned, can be prevented, and with time and CONSISTENCY, they can be reversed. As with most behaviors, appropriate boundaries, consistency, and the parents’ reaction are all contributing factors.

In order to set appropriate boundaries, parents must first understand the “Division of Feeding Responsibility”. The Division of Feeding Responsibility was defined and developed by Registered Dietitian and Family Therapist, Ellyn Satter, Feeding Guru and author of many books on child feeding including How to Get Your Child to Eat…But Not Too Much.

The Division of Feeding Responsibility states parents are responsible for what food is offered, when it is offered, and the manner it is offered. Wise parents will keep food in the house they will want their child to choose, and leave the foods out of the house they don’t want their child to choose. They will present a few selections at each meal that include at least one food the child will like. Parents will intentionally offer food at the table, in a pleasant environment with few distractions, and time meals and snacks 2-3 hours apart. Parents may have the expectation a child join them at the table for a reasonable amount of time (this varies by the age and by the child). Parents should model good eating behavior by eating the foods they hope their child will like. This is the end of the parents’ job.

In the Division of Feeding Responsibility, children are responsible for how much they eat or whether to eat at all. This is very difficult to accept as a parent, but can free you from the crushing responsibility of believing that you MUST MAKE THEM EAT. In fact, making your child eat is impossible (and somehow they know this!). Outside of the expectation of your child remaining at the table, they are free to choose to eat, or not, the foods you are offering. Withholding certain foods or placing too much emphasis on eating other foods most often has the opposite desired effect. Praising, bribing, begging, or cajoling backfire most of the time. Giving negative energy to what they do and do not eat will lead to tension and frustration at the table.

The Division of Feeding Responsibility is the undisputed truth. It is employed across the board by professionals working with all types of feeding issues. It works, but it is not easy. If you have a child with problematic picky eating, please seek help. And though at the surface, the concept seems straight forward, there is much more to share! This will be the first in a series of articles on Picky Eating. Please stay tuned!