Commonly asked questions about feeding.
Kim Patra, an Australian trained nurse and midwife that has worked and lived in Bali for 30 years, answers commonly asked questions about feeding.
Q : What should my baby be eating ?
A : If baby is between four and six months, chances are he or she is ready to take a (toothless) stab at solids. Each baby will be ready to commence solid foods at a different age. There is no fixed and hard rule for this, and some babies are diving into your dinner plate at 4 months, other not interested until 8 months or more.
Q : What is the correct way to for my baby to sit and start eating ?
A : Before your baby actually takes a bite, let her practice sitting in her high chair or feeding seat for a couple of days, adjusting the height of the tray or seat so it fits just right. And don’t forget how wiggly your little worm can be — always fasten the safety straps, including the one around the crotch.
Q : What feeding utensils are best to feed my baby ?
A : A small plastic- coated model is easier on tender gums than a metal spoon. Count on having several on hand during feedings (one for you; one for baby) to foster baby’s sense of independence and to avoid power struggles (yes, those happen even at this age). For you, choose a long handle for ultimate maneuverability; for baby, a short, curved handle is easier for tiny fingers to grip and will help prevent her poking herself in the eye. Just before you’re ready to start, put on a bib (on baby, yours is optional). A word to the wise: Get your baby into the bib habit right from the start or she’ll resist it big-time later. It can be made of soft plastic, cotton, or paper — as long as it’s big enough to cover her chest and belly, you’re good to go.
Q : How do I know the time is right to feed my baby ?
A : The “perfect” time to feed your baby is whenever works for both of you. If you’re breastfeeding, you might try solids when your milk supply is at its lowest (probably late afternoon or early evening). Babies who wake up bright eyed and ravenous might be happy to try solids for breakfast. Experiment: Offer a “teaser” of formula or breast milk to whet her appetite, then solids; or try an appetizer of solids followed by a main course of milk.
As stressful as first feedings may be for you, they’re even harder for your little one. So keep in mind that a baby who’s happy and alert is more likely to open wide for Mommy’s spoon, and one who’s fussy may only want your breast (or her bottle). If your baby is firmly in the fussy camp, be flexible — you might want to skip solids at that meal and try them next time.
Q : How long should it take to feed my baby ?
You’ll be surprised at how long it takes to get one little spoonful in that little mouth (and ultimately down the hatch)! Give yourself (and your baby) plenty of time for feedings — and have plenty of patience too. Fast food is not part of a baby’s vocabulary.
Q : What if my baby rejects the food ?
A : The first few (dozen) meals won’t really be meals; consider them attempts to introduce your baby to what eating is. Start by gently placing about a quarter teaspoon of food on the tip of her tongue. If she swallows, place the next quarter teaspoon a little farther back. At first, expect almost as much food to come out as goes in; eventually she’ll get the hang of spoon feeding — and respond to it with her mouth wide open.
Q : How will I know when my baby is full ?
A : Realizing when to stop feeding is as important as knowing when to start. A turned head or a closed mouth is a sure sign that baby is done with this meal. Forcing a baby (or anyone) to eat is always a lost cause.
Q : When is the best time to feed my baby ?
A : 4 to 6 months – Signs of readiness for solid food
Your baby probably won’t do all these things — they’re just clues to watch for.
• Can hold head up
• Sits well in highchair
• Makes chewing motions
• Shows significant weight gain (birth weight has doubled)
• Shows interest in food
• Can close mouth around a spoon
• Can move food from front to back of mouth
• Can move tongue back and forth, but is losing tendency to push food out with tongue
• Seems hungry after 8 to 10 feedings of breast milk or 40 oz. of formula in a day
• Is teething
Q : When starting feeding my baby can I give them a variety of food ?
A : Introduce new foods one at a time, with at least three days in between to make sure that there is no allergy.
What are common allergies?
Q : Doctors recommend waiting until the age of 1 or later to introduce solid foods that are common allergens, such as foods containing nuts. It’s best to introduce new foods gradually, waiting several days to make sure your baby does not have a bad reaction to the meal.
A : The most common food allergens are cow’s milk, nuts, wheat, soy, fish, strawberries and eggs.
Q : Can I feed my baby in the car ?
A : Do not allow your baby to eat in the car. It is difficult to supervise while driving and there are choking hazards if the ride becomes bumpy.
To make an appointment with Kim Patra or for more information:
call (0361) 2775666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org