Raising a baby through the infant stages and into the toddler years requires a lot of changes in feeding. These early years are when our little ones seem to change and grow the fastest and it’s always important to make sure we’re giving them the best nutrients for their little fast growing bodies.
For some people the first few months involve strictly breastfeeding, strictly bottle feeding, or if you’re little one allows it, a combination of the two. Then comes the introduction of baby cereals and baby food, and this timeline will vary depending on the child. Some babies are really interested in foods early on while some take a little more time adjusting especially when it comes to foods with a lot of different textures.
Breastfeeding and bottle feeding
No baby is the same and whether you breastfeed your new baby or bottle feed them there are a few things you will need. I am familiar with both situations. My first born son was born very premature and breastfeeding didn’t work out for us, but I did get the experience of breastfeeding with my second son. I have tried many products to help make both situations easier. If you’re a breastfeeding momma then you know you’ll can end up feeding your little one in all kinds of different places at all times of the day. So my first recommendation is to keep receiving blankets handy wherever you go to use as cover ups for privacy. It also helps eliminate surrounding distractions for your feeding child. There are also some pretty awesome feeding cover-ups available on the market these days that are both functional and stylish.
A good feeding pillow like thisErgobaby Natural Curve Nursing Pillow is great to keep your baby comfortable and stop your arm from falling asleep during feeds. The removable cover is machine washable and made of plush fabric that will be gentle on your baby’s skin. I always took feeding my boys those early months as a way to put my feet up, relax and enjoy a good snuggle and the right nursing pillow will make those moments more enjoyable.
With my little preemie, I did pump my milk for as long as I could and if any of you have had the experience of using a hospital pump you know how amazing they are. It makes me so happy to see how far retail breast pumps have come for moms. I enjoyed both of my very different experiences feeding my boys and with my first it was pretty convenient being able to open the freezer and warm up a bottle of breast milk or have pre-made bottles ready to go in the fridge.
With bottle feeding, the most important things are sterilization and hygiene. It’s always important to wash your hands in hot soapy water before handling bottles and formula. The bottles should also be washed in hot soapy water with extra care to get out any dried formula that may get stuck behind. Sterilizing bottles involves boiling all the bottle parts for 2 minutes, and take extra care when removing them from the pot because they will be very hot to the touch.
When it comes to formulas all baby formulas are different so be sure to read and follow the instructions on the formula package carefully for the safety of your baby’s health and digestion. It’s nice to pre-make a few bottles too, so all you have to do is warm them up when your little one gets hungry. I personally never was a fan of microwaving the bottles because they don’t heat evenly so I stuck with the good old fashioned soak the bottle in hot water method. If you’re at home though and you have a baby that feeds on a schedule, then a bottle warmer would be so very convenient.
With both my sons it was always an exciting time introducing baby cereals and solids to their diet—be prepared for this when your child reaches anywhere between 4-6 months. With my sons, I started trying foods when they were eyeing up my meals and trying to reach for my spoon or fork while I was eating. I think most parents are interested to see what their baby’s reaction will be to that first spoonful of baby cereal or food. Some great first foods to try are pureed sweet potatoes, squash, applesauce, bananas, peaches, and pears, and their first feedings will begin at as little as 1-2 teaspoons. Pureed baby food should be just that one ingredient pureed (keep it simple!). It is convenient to make the food at home so you can control the ingredients your child is introduced to, and store the right portion size to prevent waste.
If making your own baby food is something you feel passionate about then this Beaba Babycook Original Plus will make your days of preparing baby food so much quicker and easier. It’s a small countertop appliance designed to make baby food and heat up bottles. You can prepare small portions of meats, vegetables, fruits, and fish from raw to cooked, and pureed in less than 15 minutes. Using the steam cooking function allows you to keep in the vitamins and nutrients that are so important for your baby’s growth. This machine can also heat and sterilize a bottle. The bowl can make up to 4.7 cups which means you’ll have plenty to store for later meals and the built-in timer will let you know when your baby food is ready to eat or package for storage.
These Wean Green container sets will help you store your fresh made baby food quick and easy. You can make single servings by filling each portion cup to your baby’s serving size or make a larger batch to refrigerate or freeze them to last through the week. Making large batch baby food once a week will save you time long term, and you can be content knowing your little one is still getting homemade food with no additives or preservatives. The steps to making fresh baby food are quite simple so why not take advantage of all those offers of help from family and friends and let someone make it for you while you take a nap with your little one.
Besides some specially designed baby dishes and utensils, bibs are absolutely essential. I know when I introduced cereals and foods there was a large portion of the food being drooled and dribbled back out of my children’s mouths. I always had a good stack of bibs washed and ready for use. I’m loving this Skibz Bandana-Style Dribble Bib and it comes in a variety of patterns to choose from. It’s 100% cotton and simply snaps on with an adjustable press stud. The double layer absorbent backing will help stop drool and spills from going through onto your baby’s clothes or delicate skin and of course it’s super cute and stylish too. They’ll help keep your little one’s shirt dry through those months of teething where drool is in the excess too.
I always liked to feed my boys at the table so we could sit down as a family. I know it’s not as important when they’re little but starting young helped us get in the habit of having a sit-down family dinner each night. It helps to have a high chair that can be table height.
The first couple of years of feeding your baby and toddler is all about trying new things, being flexible and a little trial and error, but with the right tools and baby accessories, it can be easy and enjoyable. I loved that feeding time was a great way to have a little one on one and bonding time with my boys. They grow way too fast through these early stages and before you know it they are all about being independent.
Don’t forget to take a look online at bestbuy.ca. They have all the things I mentioned in this article and so much more for the baby in your life.
Main image @ www.eatnourishing.com.