So for this months Attachment Parenting International's Blog Carnival, the subject is Feed With Love and Respect.
When your baby is born, one of the first things you do is hold her, comfort her, and then feed her. Whether you plan to nurse or bottle feed, you always want to let your baby know how much you love her, care for her, and respect this new little person in your life.
If you are a nursing mother, you know it is important to listen to your baby's cues. Since nursing babies tend to eat more often, at least in the beginning, then formula fed babies, it is important to listen to your baby, and feed her, before she is to the point of crying. Beyond this point, it may be harder for her to latch until she has calmed down.
Remember, breastfeeding has mutual benefits for both her as well as you. She gets antibodies and brain building nutrients, and you get burnt calories, possible prevention against future breast cancer, and, of course, bonding time with your little one. It is also a natural comforting tool for your little one when they are hurt or sick.
Nursing beyond 1 year is also very beneficial. Mom's milk changes with the child's needs and age. It increases during growth spurts, and helps a growing toddler's brain develop during crucial periods of brain development.
Don't listen to those who tell you when you should stop nursing your child. Practice child led weaning. Forced weaning has been shown to cause other problems, such as attachment problems, down the road. Let her be your guide, as to when SHE is ready to stop nursing.
If there is an older sibling who wants to participate, let them, by giving them jobs during a nursing session...like getting a burp cloth, or, depending on the age of the child, getting mom a drink! (You should always drink plenty of water during every nursing session!)
No matter how you decide to feed your baby, feeding time is always a great way for mother child bonding. When you bottle feed, remember to NEVER prop a bottle. This may not only cause choking, but inhibits your child's bonding experience.
Hold the bottle as close to the breast as possible. This works for comfort, and it may help your baby to relax so she has a better meal. Always maintain eye contact, and try to switch sides, just as you would for nursing...this also helps to develop eye muscles!! Always talk, sing, and
Just as you would with nursing, feed on cue! Many mothers who are bottle nursing are led to believe their baby NEEDS to be on a schedule. This is NOT true! Just as a nursing baby, a bottle fed baby will let you know when she is hungry. Even if she only drinks a little, she may just need a little extra mommy time!
If you are using a pacifier, hold your baby while she sucks. This is also a great way to calm and comfort your baby. :)
Weaning off the bottle should go just as weaning off the breast. Granted, from experience, you should not let your child ever go to bed with a bottle, or use the bottle for extended periods of time during the day, lest you have a child with dental problems.
If your baby has older siblings, help them feel a part of the baby's feeding by letting them hold the bottle, or even the baby and the bottle, depending on the age of the child.
Introduction Of Solid Foods:
Just like you should not force the weaning of a breastfeeding child, you should never try to force solids. For the first year of life, a baby only needs breastmilk or formula. Solids are really only for practice, and have no real nutritional value. Always offer the breast or a bottle before offering solids. If your baby does not seem ready, then try again in a week or so. Let your baby be your guide on what they like, how much they want, and if they even want any. Lastly, always start with foods that will not cause an allergy, and always start with single food items.
Leading The Way For Good Nutrition:
You want your child to eat healthy. We all do!!! When we model proper nutrition, our children will follow.
Make sure you are choosing a variety of healthy fruits, vegetables, and other foods, so that your child will also want to try these foods as well.
Make sure to make one meal, usually dinner, family time. When you do this, your child knows that they are part of the family, and helps them feel connected to you. Studies also show that kids who have families that eat dinner together, do better in school, activities, and sports, and have a higher self esteem, then kids with families who do not share dinner together.
Never use food as a reward or punishment or force foods, or force cleaning their plate, and if you are afraid of what your child may eat if not restricted, make it a habit to keep only healthy snacks and foods in the house.
Remember, no matter what the age, mealtime should be fun, healthy, and a relaxing time for the whole family!
My older 2 never really nursed, I still get quite upset over it! But luckily, my 3rd, who also did not eat much solid food until over a year, nursed until 2 years!!! I am hoping that the baby nurses that long as well!
I am the mom of 4 wonderful kids, 3 boys and 1 girl. Looking at them, you know I have had many years working with and enriching the lives of children. I have an Associates (Magna Cum Laude) in Business Management, and a Bachelors in Early childhood Development and Education with a concentration in Child Psychology. I have almost 20 years in the Early Childhood field, and loving every minute of it! You can visit my site here