Long before I got pregnant, I made a list of things that I’d do when I breast-feed my baby— from talking to her and caressing her hair to reciting holy books and lullabies. And believe me, I did it all, for one complete month. And then, before I realised, I was aimlessly scrolling through my phone every time I nursed her. It slowly became a routine.
Every time she was hungry, I picked her up and began to nurse even without noticing her cues, looking at her face or seeing those pretty eyes.
As she grew, she learnt to play with my top, tried to pull my nose and put her fingers inside my mouth to touch my teeth, while I kept my self busy checking my notifications on Facebook and Instagram, watching random YouTube videos or simply checking deals on Shopping sites.
Honestly, deep down inside me, I hated myself and felt the guilt, but just like many other things we don’t like but still continue to do, this too became the same.
Soon I started to write parenting articles and the best time I could do that was when I nursed her. Albiet, my focus had changed and I was making more constructive use of this time, nonetheless, my actions remained the same.
Just like that, 2018 commenced. I was going through the resolutions made by people on the New Year’s Eve, and saw many people mention ‘Phone Detox’ as one of their goals. It was then it struck me, that I don’t need a complete detox, but there’s one thing that I really need to work on and that was- ‘Quality Nursing Time.’
I didn’t wait to jot it down in a planner or streamline my daily routine to work on it, but I chose to start immediately. That’s the thing about goals- you don’t always need to plan and wait for the right time, you just need to buckle up and start working on them as soon as possible.
After I made up my mind and it was time to nurse her, I held her in my arms and gave her a huge welcoming smile as I unbuttoned. She looked back at me with a twinkle in her eyes- the kind I’d never seen before. I realised how beautiful this little girl of mine was- so innocent and angelic. Throughout the nursing session I kept caressing her hair and read out lullabies and chants, just like I had planned to. I looked at her hands and noticed the cute dimples that she had below her fingers; I saw her face and noticed how it was full of enthusiasm; I saw her feet which constantly wiggled throughout. She continued to look at me and I noticed how the magic of breastmilk slowly worked and how beautifully she drifted off to sleep. Yes, that was my girl- the little squish that came out of me a couple of months ago, who was so delicate and tiny that she couldn’t even turn her head in the direction she wanted and here she is- all grown up and ready to walk independently. How quickly all these months flew by!
We often say kids grow up in the blink of an eye, but the truth is that we are so occupied in ourselves that we forget to notice them grow. Things like notifications, calls, shopping etc. can wait, we can do those when our little ones are asleep, but our children will never be this little again. They’ll never run to us to get a hug, they’ll never find joy in coming to us to get milk, they’ll never play peekaboo with our tshirts when they eat and they’ll probably never love us with the same pure feelings as they do today.
Someday in the future, we would scroll through their photos and miss these days! Why not cuddle and snuggle them as much we can before these lovely moments are gone?
Nursing our little ones is not just another mom-duty. It’s an unparalleled bond that we share which is like nothing else in the world. It’s like giving a part of yourself to your baby- the kind of nourishment and nurturing she will receive from no one ever! It’s therapeutic, not just for them but for us mothers too. Try to live in the moment- to feel the flow of liquid gold from your body to your baby’s and experience the magnificence. Try to make nursing sessions bonding times with your baby. Researchers have found that the strength of mothers emotional bond with the baby may trump all the other cautionary measures we take- like vaccinations, monthly check ups with the paediatrician etc., to help the baby thrive. A close attachment can prevent diseases, boost immunity and even enhance their IQ! Isn’t that amazing?
I’m still working on this and I urge you to try too! 🙂 I’m sure you’ll thank me for this.
(Just another mother who errs and learns)
P.S. Please excuse all the typos and errors. Wrote this while my little bundle of joy was sleeping. You know the time crunch we mothers have 🙈
Feeding babies is equally exciting and daunting. Mothers often face several challenges when it comes up feeding their little ones. So I’ve jotted down a few points which I hope you find useful.
Once the baby reaches the 6th month mark, you get a green signal from the paediatrician to start with complimentary feeding, because now, milk alone is not sufficient to meet his growing requirements. But is it just the age that determines if he’s ready for it or should we be looking for more signs? Yes, you’ll have to tick-all-the-boxes before you put that first morsel in his tiny mouth.
(Being a nutritionist and a mom-blogger, I often get many requests to share about child nutrition and also few insights on complimentary feeding; so here’s my quick attempt at it for you)
1. What are the signs you should be looking for which indicate that your baby is developmentally prepared for solids?
- Can sit without support
- Has started to develop pincer grasp, which means he can hold things between his thumb and forefinger (first finger)
- Has lost tongue thrust, which means he won’t push out solids from his mouth when given
- Shows interest in food and is willing to chew
- Suddenly has an increased demand to breastfeed- an indication of increased appetite. (Not a clear indicator though since teething, growth spurt, cold etc. can also show the same consequence)
2. Getting the equipments ready
The list is endless, but if I had to mention a few essentials, they would be: a high chair or a booster seat, bibs, sipper cup, small spoon that can be preloaded and given and a plate with some depth.
3. How to feed?
I opted for ‘combination’ method- i.e. a mix of Traditional feeding and Baby Led Weaning (there’s a complete article on why I chose this. You can check the article on my website).
4. How to practise this method?
Step1: Make the baby sit on the booster seat/high chair
Step 2: Place the BLW food (ideas are mentioned below)
Step 3: Allow the baby to pick up the food, explore, inspect and eat on his own. Keep supervising.
Step 4: There’ll be a lot of mess and to be honest, there’ll be more food on the floor than inside the mouth, which is absolutely normal
Step 5: Get to traditional feeding- ie. spoon feeding to fill the nutritional gap
5. Points to remember
- Never force feed
- Don’t try variety of foods at once. Let the baby understand the taste of each food. Variety often confuses them
- Follow the baby’s cues. If he is not showing interest in food, it simply means he is full and doesn’t want more. Especially while following BLW, you can wait for 10 mins and if he’s not picking up anything to eat, you can try another time
- Avoid salt and sugar until 1 year of age. Their kidneys are not very developed and it’s better to keep it easier for them to function well. Children don’t need salt for taste. Essentially, at this age, it’s important for them to understand the unique flavour of each food item.
- By the time the baby is 1 year old, h age should be able to eat from the same plate as yours- with all the seasonings and spices like you do.
6. Quantity and the number of times you need to feed
- Initially, the baby might just take a spoonful a day, which is again very normal. Gradually, his appetite will increase and it’ll be evident from his intake
- Still, I’ve jotted down the number of feeds a child requires at different ages. Also, each child is different and so is his eating pattern. He might eat a little more than mentioned, which is alright too:
- 6-7 months: 1-2 solid feeds a day
- 8-9 monts: 2-3 solid feeds a day
- 9 months to 1 year: 3-4 solid feeds a day
7. What to feed?
I knew you were waiting for this! So here we go! I’ve listed a few ideas that I’ve been trying and obviously you can get experimental and try many more.
At this stage, there are two things to remember. One, give simple (and healthy, ofcourse) carbs that are easy to digest and two, don’t give a variety. Infact, you can repeat the same food for three days and then try something else. This will also help in ruling out allergies, if any. Note: you don’t have to give Dal water or rice water like it was a norm earlier- all the nutrients are lost in the process and there’s barely anything that the baby gets from it.
- Stewed Apple
- Stewed pear
- Boiled potatoes
- Boiled sweet potatoes
- Stewed carrot
- Stewed pumpkin
Traditional feeding ideas:
- Ragi porridge
- Tomato and beetroot purée
- Dal boiled and blended
- Muskmelon juice
- Puréed potato
At this age, it’s best to give a combination of foods and also help the baby hold the spoon and feed herself.
- Idli pieces
- All seasonal fruits
- Mildly seasoned kebabs/tikkis like mashed corn and potato kebab, spinach, potato and mashed peas kebab etc
- Chapatti/ Aloo or cauliflower paratha
- Steamed veggies
- Boiled egg yolk
- Khichadi with curd
- Mixed pulses dal with rice
- Curd with chapati
- Ragi porridge with a combination of fruits
- Mixed fruit smoothies
- Spinach/fenugreek dal
- Mashed potatoes and veggies with rice
- Scrambled egg yolk
By this age, the child can start to eat pretty much everything that adults do. There should ideally be less of spoon feeding and more of BLW at this age. Some ideas are:
- Pancakes, dosas and chillas
- Stuffed Parathas with curd
- Regular gravies with rice
- Noodle soup
These are some ideas I could think of. You can always follow what’s given culturally. Just make sure to avoid a few food items like:
- Salt and sugar
- Egg white
- Dry fruits
- Raw veggies
- Undercooked non-vegetarian foods
- Foods that can cause chocking like popcorn, large chunks of soya etc
- Sweets, chips and other junk items
Hope this was helpful!
So comment below if this article helped you and share with your friends who might need. Also, if you’ve got more ideas and inputs, feel free to share below.
Elina Dawoodani Wadia
Nutritionist and Lifestyle Coach
Weaning, also now known as complementary feeding, can be a daunting and time consuming process, and to make the journey smoother for you and for the baby, getting the right tool plays a key role. I started weaning my daughter when she was 5.5 months old (It’s highly suggested to start at 6 months, but due to certain unavoidable circumstances, I had to commence early). So, before I started solids, I did a little research, made a list and zeroed on a few things for her which are super handy and are easy to use. Without wasting much time, let me quickly share the list with you too!
Also, before I share the items, it’s important for me to inform you about the route I chose for weaning- i.e. Combination Feeding. What I do is- I place some soft solids on her table and allow her to hold, explore and try eating on her own. Once she tries to pick it, puts in her mouth, eats a little and gets bored, I take it from her, puree/mash it and feed her, to fill the nutritional gap.
So, here we go:
1. Booster seat/ High chair
It aids in keeping the child focused while eating and limits his mobility, which helps in increasing his intake. I was looking for something that can be folded when not used and also be carried along while travelling, so I purchased this booster seat by Fisher Price. You can easily find it in local shops and on Amazon too.
Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.in/Fisher-Price-Quick-Clean-Booster/dp/B00B9ZRZTY?tag=googinhydr18418-21
Once the baby starts eating, it’s going to be messy. It’ll take a while for the baby to learn to eat in a disciplined way. To keep her clothes from getting soiled, bibs are a must have ! You can get the silicone ones with crumb catchers, plastic ones, regular cloth ones or denim ones, based on your choice and requirements. I purchased mine from Firstcry and loved the quality. They’re very quirky and easy to clean too.
Here’s the link: http://www.firstcry.com/nahshonbaby/nahshonbaby-bibs-multiprint-pack-of-7-multicolour/899699/product-detail
3. Spout Cup:
Once the baby is introduced to solids, he will need water too. I chose not to give my daughter any bottle since it can be habit forming and also she was too young to have water straight from the cup. Spout cups make the transition from nipple to cup easy. She immediately accepted it and absolutely loves to drink (and play) with water. I purchased the one by Philips Avent and swear by it.
Here’s the link: http://www.firstcry.com/avent/avent-classic-spout-cup-with-handles-200-ml-color-may-vary/584645/product-detail?sterm=philips%20avent%20spout&spos=11&sstock=1
4. Travel friendly feeding bowl:
You will need a good quality feeding bowl and spoon, made of either BPA free silicon, plastic or wood. I choose this one since it is travel friendly, apt for her age and has a masher too. I love how versatile it is.
Here’s the link: http://www.firstcry.com/littles/littles-mashing-and-feeding-bowl-blue/97693/product-detail?ref=GoogleShopping_2_Dishes-and-Utensils&gclid=Cj0KCQjw5arMBRDzARIsAAqmJew6Qn59iyjbNN-RXyCteM9NDPByas2OEIA3JMyr0W4EkGMGFdmwUaIaAnsqEALw_wcB
I actually got this as a gift and my daughter loves it. It acts as a teether while providing the baby with the juice of the fruit put in it. Also, many mothers are worried about the baby accidentally chewing a large price of the fruit which can result in choking. This feeder prevents that and hence is a great way to give babies different fresh fruits. I have another one, brought from Australia, but this feeder is very similar to the one I have.
Here’s the link: http://www.firstcry.com/sassy/sassy-teething-feeder/90001680/product-detail?sterm=feeder&spos=1&sstock=1
I hope you found this article helpful!
Please share your thoughts/suggestions too. Thanks for reading! 🙂
A number of new age moms are attracted to the concept of Baby Led Weaning (BLW) because it decreases the fuss of running behind the babies and makes them used to eating all by themselves right from the beginning. This, definitely, makes eating enjoyable and less challenging, but it has its own set of drawbacks- which I’d like to throw some light on.
Being a nutritionist, a new mom, and now an active blogger, I came across BLW several times and was tempted to try it too. And honestly I was thrilled to see how my little one grabbed food from me and put in her mouth! No, not because it was food and she liked it, more so, because it’s a reflex. Infact, BLW manoeuvres this reflex to encourage self feeding.
While I don’t completely disapprove of BLW, in my opinion-
- Feeding should be transitioned gradually from milk to semi solids to solids, like it’s done traditionally, since, there’s a risk of choking as the baby’s trachea and easophagus are still maturing and may be underdeveloped. Infact, even when I was practising in the hospital, we ensured that every patient who was NBM (nil by mouth) due to surgery, was first given liquids and was then slowly introduced to semi solids and later solids, so that his body is at ease and adapts in a better way.
- Also, BLW shouldn’t be the only course of action. It can be combined with assisted weaning, to make sure that the baby gets all the required nutrients.
Here are some scientific evidences that support the theory of traditional weaning method:
- Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP), World Health Organisation (WHO), Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and all renowned national and international bodies support traditional weaning method and either disapprove or have indifferent opinions on BLW.
- WHO recommends feeding until baby shows sign of being full- which is not possible in BLW where they may keep eating as chewing soothes the itching gums.
- BLW is messy, the amount of food that goes in the mouth is relatively less as compared to what falls on the floor or the table. It’s found that babies on BLW eat lesser, due to which, they can be deprived of some major nutrients that they need during that phase.
- Yes, although milk remains the primary source of energy and nutrients, babies require additional set of nutrients that only weaning can provide. This is because they grow at a very rapid pace between the age of 6-12 months and their requirements are very high.
Poor weaning can lead to poor stature, lower immunity, nutrient deficiencies and irreversible growth stunting in babies!
Parents should be extremely cautious and should always talk to medical practitioners before starting complementary feeds. Google found answers may not always be authentic and in fact may do more harm than good.
Did you know?
- Iron and Zinc are two nutrients that breastmilk doesn’t provide with and babies need in large amounts after 6 months of age. Not getting sufficient of this can lead to early anemia and lower immunity in babies.
- Vitamin C is also an essential nutrient absent in the milk which helps in making the gums stronger. This nutrient, is essentially found in many fruits, and babies may not necessarily like those. It is important for the parents to tweak it to ensure that babies eat it in substantial amounts to stay healthy.
While BLW looks at the fun aspect of eating by following the baby’s cues and likings, but the dietary care that they require at this stage is much beyond that!
In fact, by the last quarter of their first year, babies derive around 90% of their iron and zinc requirements, and around 75% of their calcium, phosphorus, sodium and magnesium requirements from wearing foods- this definitely doesn’t sound easy and leaving it upto babies choice is not a wise decision.
No, I don’t mean we need to force feed, neither do I discourage BLW completely, but we need to tactfully merge the two and make sure they get sufficient nutrients while they also learn to eat independently.
P.S. Each mom does what’s best for her baby. This was just a summary of what I learnt after an indepth research on the same and the path I chose for my baby 🙂 I’m not judging anybody’s choice in any way.