Tag Archive: infant feeding tips

Breastfeeding Tips for Expecting Moms

May 9, 2016 2:36 pm

Breastfeeding Tips for Expecting MomsCongratulations on getting ready to bring your baby into the world and becoming a new mother! Whether you’re just getting started on deciding the details of your birthing plan or in the home stretch for your delivery date, deciding whether to breastfeed or not is a personal choice that many women consider before welcoming their new arrival. The Children’s Wellness Center providers understand that breastfeeding can be a challenge, so we wanted to share some of our top breastfeeding tips for all of you expecting moms out there!

The first few weeks of your baby’s life, parents can expect their child to feed around the clock, typically every two to three hours. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) highly recommends moms breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of your child’s development but statistics by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention report that even though 79% of mothers breastfeed shortly after giving birth, only 49% reported still nursing at the six-month mark. We recommend you:

…..do your pre-baby prep work. Sure, reading tons of “what to expect when you’re expecting” articles and watching YouTube videos on all topics relating to breastfeeding can be helpful to mentally prepare expecting mothers, but nothing beats actual practice. Since this obviously can’t be done until your baby is here, network with other moms that you may know, or attend breastfeeding support groups, to get a first-hand account of what it’s like. Ask questions and get a wide-variety of experiences from different women because each mom’s breastfeeding story is different, and some women simply are simply unable to breastfeed (but don’t feel bad if you fall into this category). If you have a family member or friend who is breastfeeding and is willing to share this part of the experience with you, physically watch them nurse to see what it’s like.

…..do yourself a favor and invest in good supplies. Just as you deck out your baby’s nursery with essential items, keep in mind some of the supplies that can be helpful during the duration of your time breastfeeding. Invest in a high-quality electric breast pump and properly fitted pump flanges. Not every mother’s breasts are the same fit, so getting the right fit will help pump the right amount of milk and reduce any damage from improper pumping (it’s important to note that electric pumps have a limited number of motor-life hours before the suction starts to diminish, so we highly recommend you DO NOT buy used pumps). Nursing pillows are great ways to help with positioning your baby during breastfeeding and can also reduce stress and tension from your back/neck/shoulders. For women that experience latch concerns and are experiencing sore, dry, or cracked nipples, keeping purified lanolin handy can help soothe discomfort and increase the nipple’s moisture.

…..do try to focus on quality, not quantity. Contrary to formula measurements, babies need the same amount of milk when they’re 6 months old as they do when they’re 1 month old. It’s around the 1 month mark that your baby’s appetite is established, which can also make it extremely helpful to know the right amount of breast milk you need to pump to sufficiently supply your baby should you go back to work. As long as your baby’s pediatrician checkups indicate they are healthy and getting the nutrition they need (see our infant feeding chart for reference) as they should at their age, there’s no need to worry yourself with how much your baby is feeding versus other moms. Keep a tracking app on your phone, if available for your device, to help keep track of your baby’s feeding times and diaper counts in between doctor visits as well.

…..don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. Many of us have that “I can do it” mentality and the pressures that can be added to get it “right or perfect” can cause stress on you and the baby. Keep in mind that it’s 100% okay (and strongly encouraged) to ask for help from those around you as well as professionals. When meeting with a lactation consultant, regardless if it’s in the hospital or after, have your partner attend each meeting to learn how they can help assist in positioning your baby while they attempt latching and making it as comfortable as possible for you and the baby. Breastfeeding can take a little time to get used to the sensations, but in the long-term it shouldn’t be painful. If discomfort persists while you’re latching, reach out to a lactation expert (breastfeeding resources such as the Northside Lactation Program at Northside Hospital offer breastfeeding education and lactation support for expectant mothers and their partners). If you’re concerned with your infant’s nutrition and growth, feel you’ve injured your nipples, or sense something is off – the best thing you can do is speak up.

…..don’t overdo it. In the beginning it can feel like you’re hardly producing enough milk (a few drops of colostrum here and there) but your few day old baby’s stomach is extremely small so not as much is needed. This time can be vital in getting your baby acclimated with the action of breastfeeding and it’s encouraged that you start trying to nurse within the first few hours of giving birth. The more you breastfeed, the more milk your breasts will produce but this doesn’t mean you should pump every minute of your off time in an attempt to stock-pile breast milk in your freezer. Over-pumping can lead to clogged ducts from too much pressure put on the breasts, so do yourself a favor and just reserve a small amount.

…..don’t give up. You can do it (but even if you choose not to, that’s okay too)!

Breastfeeding can have some great benefits for both you and your baby. It has been proven that breast milk contains powerful nutrients and antibodies that can boost their immune system and increase the ability to fight against ear infections, viruses, asthma, flu, diabetes, and more. Mothers are given a unique opportunity to further bond with their baby as they nurse and breastfeeding can even help new mothers lose weight post-pregnancy. Sure, breastfeeding can be difficult and stressful during the beginning transitional period for new parents, but trust us when we say, it can get easier! If you have any questions or concerns about breastfeeding or your newborn’s early development, don’t hesitate to contact Children’s Wellness Center at 404-303-1314. Be sure to stay connected with our Children’s Wellness Center team on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+ for more pediatric tips and news topics.

Tips for Feeding Your Picky Eaters

February 25, 2016 4:29 pm

Tips for Feeding Your Picky EatersLet’s face it – kids can be quite resilient when it comes to having their own opinions regarding their food. While it shouldn’t be expected for your little one to love exotic food dishes at a young age, introducing new foods to children can become a power struggle for picky eaters. Even though feeding time can seem like a battle ground for parents, all of the Children’s Wellness Center pediatricians have kids ourselves and have a come up with a few tips for feeding your picky eaters that we have found helpful over the years!

Lead by example. Children are really good at observing and emulating the words and actions of adults, so setting a good physical example when eating with your children can only serve to further encourage healthy food choices throughout their life. Mealtimes should be a fun occasion where you can spend some quality time away from the television and enjoy each other’s company. If you show disdain for a particular food item or share negative sentiments about the taste, your children may pick up on the behaviors associated with the negativity (ie. not finishing their food or not even giving the dish a try and just assuming they won’t like it either). Just remember that they’re always watching and their growing minds are like sponges, soaking everything up in the process, so teaching proper nutrition at a young age is great for long-term success.

Make mealtime fun. Getting your kids involved in the meal prep portion can get them more excited and willing to experiment with their food. Part of the fun of cooking is being able to take frequent taste tests and this is a great way to have them at least try it alongside you. Let your kids feel important in mealtime decisions by having them help decide what vegetables to pair with the meal (do they want green beans or do they think cooked carrots would taste better?) or what fruit to mix in the salad for dinner. If you are the kind of parent that likes to plan healthy meals on a weekly basis, create a clever menu and have the kids help plan what is for each day. Whatever you do, never force your child to eat. As parents, we never want our kids to go hungry but breaking bad eating habits are going to be much harder if you cater to their behavior. Instead, be sure to make it clear that what’s on the table is the only option for their meal and if they don’t want it, there’s a chance they could be hungry without finishing their food. As much as their sad faces may tug at your heartstrings, don’t cook them separate food from everyone else or an alternative afterwards.

Get creative. Obviously small children aren’t necessarily going to benefit from fun food designs because infant food introduction doesn’t include a five-course meal, but older children can certainly find this method appealing. Time challenges can factor into the presentation of meals but think about a child’s likelihood to get excited for a heart-shaped sandwich versus the same square sandwich that’s served at lunchtime? Yes, carving an apple to mirror a cute kitten takes time (kudos to you if you’re that skilled) but there are a lot of pans, cooking utensils, food decorations, etc. that could make meals more fun for them. If it becomes a staple for enjoyment, they’re less likely to focus on what they “don’t like” and more on the novelty of eating Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes piled high with fruits.

The key to dealing with picky eaters is patience and lots of positive reinforcements. Remember, it’s just a phase and eventually your child will outgrow this type of “food defiance!” Don’t be hard on yourself as a parent though, yes your child needs a balanced diet with fruits and veggies to get the energy they need to grow up strong and healthy, but they’re kids and have such energetic minds of their own. With a little guidance from their trusted role models, mealtime can be made fun again.