Here are some great eating tips for feeding babies 0 to 4 months old excerpted from Dr. Wood’s book, How to Get Kids to Eat Great & Love It!
- Observe your baby for signs of hunger and being full
Babies are all different in their signals for hunger and fullness. Positive feeding patterns can be created if a parent is sensitive to the baby’s signals. Anticipate your baby’s hunger with signs such as squirming, fussing a little, and moving the mouth. Sometimes when a baby is so hungry and crying hysterically, it can be difficult for the baby to focus on eating. This is especially a problem for the breastfeeding baby who won’t latch because they are upset. If this is happening, try allowing your baby to suck on your finger for a few minutes to calm and then latch your baby on. Watch for signs of your baby being full which can include falling asleep or taking only intermittent, weak sucks. If bottle-feeding, don’t try to force the last ounce down just because you don’t want to waste it. Remember, adults have an appetite that will vary, and babies do too!
- Enjoy the feeding experience
Women who maintain a positive feeding experience with their babies tend to have more success and less problem feeders. Babies can sense stress and anxiety in feeding, and this can lead to a negative feeding experience for the baby. Of course, we can’t always lead a stress-free existence, but we need to try to stay relaxed while nursing. Try to limit potential distractions like the phone (that’s what answering machines are for).
- Get fathers involved
It is important for dad to be able to be involved with the bonding that occurs with feeding. Once the bottle has been successfully introduced, I “prescribe” a night of sleep for mom. Dad can do a late night or early morning feeding to give mom a longer stretch of sleep if she is breastfeeding. This can be done at any time along the way for the formula-fed infant.