Common Feeding Mistakes Moms Make with their Babies and Toddlers
Whether it was chucked at us from across the kitchen, smothered a centimeter away from our eye, or projectile you-know-what in our face, as mommas, we are accustomed to having food hit us in the face. Pat Benatar was wrong. Love isn’t a battlefield. Feeding time is. While feeding sessions will (or will not) go smoothly depending on our kid’s mood, there are some thing we can do to make our lives and our kid’s lives easier. We’re going over the common feeding mistakes moms make with their babies and toddlers and how to counteract them.
Feeding Mistakes with Babies
Feeding Past Their Limit
“Here comes the choo-choo train!” We get really creative getting our child to eat that first bite of soft rice cereal and their last bite. But the problem with getting our babies to finish off their entire meal is that we may be pushing them past their limits. As an adult, we’re all too familiar with the same feeling. You’re at a good stopping point in your meal, but if you juuuust eat a few more bites…and *boom* all of a sudden you go from happily full to uncomfortably full. Because our babies have smaller and more underdeveloped digestive systems, forcing them to overeat can cause discomfort and digestive issues. Watch for signs that tell you if your baby is getting full.
You Miss Their Body Language Cues
Your baby is, well, a baby. They can’t communicate in full sentences, or at all depending on their age, so being able to decipher their body language is key. A common feeding mistake moms make with their babies is misreading the cues their baby is trying to signal.
To avoid this common feeding mistake, pay attention to your baby’s body language during feeding. Here are a few body language movements or gestures you should be aware of:
Body language cues that your baby is full:
Arched back: If a baby arches their back during feeding, it may be because of reflux, when stomach acid irritates the esophagus. When feeding, make sure your baby is in an upright position for at least 30 minutes after eating.
Spitting up or coughing: This is a sign that your baby may be consuming too fast. If your baby repeatedly spits up or coughs while feeding, make sure they are latched correctly if you are breastfeeding or if you are bottle-feeding, that they are not swallowing too much air.
Falling asleep: If your baby is only a month old or younger, he or she may need help staying awake while feeding. However, if your baby is a few months older, falling asleep 15-20 minutes into their feeding session could mean they are full.
Cues that your baby is hungry:
Crying: If your baby is crying, he or she is already hungry. There are certain cues (like the ones below) that your baby will give before they reach their absolute hunger point.
Rooting: When touching your baby’s chin or lips, your baby will turn their head and act as if they are searching for a bottle or breast.
Sucking their fist or fingers: When a baby is hungry, they may instinctively put their fingers or their fist in their mouths and try to suck on their hands.
Feeding Mistakes with Toddlers
Thinking Your Picky-eater is a Problem
Research has shown toddlers from ages two to six develop a fear of new foods. This is often due to a decreased appetite (commonly arising around age two) and could also be related to the development in a toddler’s brain. During the historic periods, our bodies were trained to protect ourselves from the possibility that we accidentally consumed toxic plants.
A common feeding mistake moms make is thinking something is wrong if their toddler is picky with food. If your toddler is picky, it may be a result of the underlying apprehensions we’ve discussed. Knowing that your toddler will be wary of new foods in the beginning is perfectly normal will help both parent and child adjust during this transition period. As they get used to different flavors, textures, and sensations, this aversion to new foods though is said to decrease later on in toddlerhood.
You Bombard Them with Too Many Options
While buffets often ignite the hallelujah chorus in our heads, when it comes to toddlers, giving them too many food options during meal time can actually intimidate them from choosing what to eat. If you think about it, it’s not too far off from us as adults. Occasionally when we are presented with too many choices, we get overwhelmed and if we aren’t in the mood for analyzing and comparing, we’ll walk away with nothing. The best example we can give? Good ol’ Forever 21. Let’s say you found this top you love online and head to your nearest store to find it. You walk in and are overcome with the racks (on racks on racks) of clothing. You meander around trying to find it yourself and after a while decide it’s not that important anyways.
The same thing goes for your toddler. Although we think we’re doing them a favor by giving them the option to choose, a common feeding mistake mothers make is giving their child too many options, preventing them from wanting to choose any. Toddlers have short attention spans and are prone to sudden shifts in their mood. An abundance of food options may cause them to quickly lose interest and if you push them to make a decision, may accelerate from overwhelmed to just plain irritable. Save yourself, and your little tot, a headache and decrease their choices to make their decision-making process easier.
As your toddler explores different foods, they’ll begin to discover what they like and don’t like. While getting them to eat the plate in front of them can often seem like the biggest challenge, making sure your little tyke eats a properly balanced and nutritious meal is of utter importance. Keep in mind their greens, proteins, carbs, fiber, and the vitamins and nutrients they should be getting during this time of growth.
How Mini Fresh Can Help
We know as a mother you have your hands full, and keeping in mind all of these things (while keeping your sanity together) can seem impossible at times. That’s why at Mini Fresh, we’re here to make your lives just a little bit easier.
After realizing there were hardly any baby food or toddler snack options that didn’t contain preservatives or harsh chemicals, our team at Mini Fresh set out to create healthy meals and snacks that were whole, balanced, and convenient. All of our meals are packed with nutrients, offer a balanced source of food groups, and best of all, are tasty for your little ones!
Mini Fresh offers a variety of fresh foods for kids from four months old to four years old. Choose from organic and non-GMO single-ingredient jars like pears or butternut squash to multi-ingredient jar blends like our hearty chickpeas, zucchini, and cumin or refreshing piña colada blend. Each blend is frozen immediately after creation to keep essential nutrients locked in and packaged in easy-to-transport glass jars. For toddlers, our preservative-bites like veggie mac & cheese, sweet potato balls, or cauliflower tots are perfect introductory meals and ready for consumption after defrosting or reheating.
To learn more about the products Mini Fresh has to offer, visit our product page here.
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Zied, Elisa. “Feeding Toddlers: 5 Common Mistakes and 5 Easy Fixes.” Parents, https://www.parents.com/recipes/scoop-on-food/feeding-toddlers-5-common-mistakes-and-5-easy-fixes/.
“11 Feeding Mistakes that Make Nourishing Kids Harder.” Jill Castle, 2 Aug. 2017, https://jillcastle.com/childhood-nutrition/11-feeding-mistakes-kids/.