I met mum Kellie through a Skype consultation as she lives up in North Queensland. She’s done amazingly with her little boy Reece who is baby number three. Kellie was going away on a holiday but she was really worried about Reece and just how she’s going to manage travelling with homemade baby food. And I know this is a really common problem so I answered her question during one of my weekly Facebook Live Q&A broadcasts.
She said, “Unfortunately bubba Reece will still require purees when we go away in a month, and he will be too established with his diet to skip proteins etc in meals. I’ve never travelled with a baby this age before and there will be a couple of days he’s out all day long. Veg and fruit aren’t a problem, but how do I safely take along animal proteins like chicken his favourite, and cheese for example when I won’t have microwaves or other appliances around to reheat? Is there a safe substitute I should consider? Maybe chia puddings or red lentil dishes?”
I agree with Kellie because if you don’t give protein in meals, then babies are not going to sleep. And fat is also extremely important. If your brain isn’t getting fat then it’s not going to grow well. The balance of nutrition is so important. I talk more about this in my BLOG: Fixing your baby’s sleep problem with diet
Keeping baby food safe while travelling
When you go abroad there might not be ways to keep sort of meat safe and other foods safe. Heat obviously will grow bacteria so you can’t do things like chicken and rice. You’ve got to be really really careful. You’ll need to consider foods that aren’t going to cause an issue in a hot climate.
So, I would look at taking things like avocado or chia puddings made with coconut cream. We need to think about the importance of good-fats in the baby’s diet.
I would be taking Weetbix out with you as well. Because that’s really high in Tryptophan, in lower-glycemic index carbohydrate, it’s high in iron and is a great filler.
Consider the all the nut butter too – peanut butter, almond butter, macadamia nut butter.
If the place where you’re staying at does scrambled eggs these are ok. They need to fully cooked however and you need to have given eggs to bub to check for allergy at least 3 days before you go. If you’re cooking the eggs yourself you can increase fat by adding butter into it as well.
You can even get little blender things that are portable that you can take with you as well. So there are many ways that you can make that food into a puree and give good nutrition as well.
Lentils, chia puddings or quinoa flakes are a great idea as well. With quinoa flakes, you’ve got protein in there and you’ve got low GI carbs. So I’d be looking at those sort of things. I’ve blogged on the advantages of quinoa bubs before at BLOG: Quinoa and Baby Food Purees
Something that many of us grew up with and I know a lot of people don’t like anymore, but that you could take are tinned sardines that are full of protein. Tinned salmon, also full of protein. And you can just mash these up with a fork into a puree. If you’re looking at things in tins then the best way to go is those that are in either spring water or in olive oil.
Baked beans and cannellini beans. I know some have sugar and salt but we’re talking that you’re going away for only maybe 1 to 2 weeks.
I would take some ready prepared sachets out with you as well. Now as people know I have a love/hate relationship with sachets and call them kitchen cupboard drugs because many of them are full of things like fruit juice and fruit and vegetable puree, but not much substance. So when you look at the actual percentage of protein or carbs it’s actually really low. So a lot of them only have maybe 5 or 7 per cent protein, and same with carbohydrates. Now how is that baby going to sleep off that? They’re not!
Here are some blogs I’ve written on the reasons why you need to take care of food pouches …
Hopefully, you’ll have a fridge in your hotel room. If not, email or call ahead and see if the hotel will store some food for you.
It’s important to test any new foods before you go to make sure there isn’t a food reaction while you’re away, because that’s the last thing you want. Be aware that it takes about 2 or 3 days to for a food reaction to show itself.
A word on allergies. There’s interesting research out there as well as to why you should be giving nut butter before 6 months. If you give peanut butter and other nut butter before 6 months, you can decrease the instance of nut allergy by 80 per cent. Which is massive! The same applies to a cooked egg. So if you give cooked egg before 6 months, you can decrease egg allergy by 80 per cent. Baby’s gut before 6 months is more porous, so we need to think about these things.
Today’s blog is especially for Tyler, who is feeling incredibly anxious that her baby has gone 8 hours and is showing no signs of being hungry or wanting a breastfeed.
This is what she sent me:
Hello Karen Faulkner! Carter is 6.5 months and not interested at all in milk feeds during the day! He will go 8 hours and isn’t “catching up” during the night either. I’m a bit worried because he’s not a great eater (only does finger foods refuses to be spoon-fed so I’m unsure how much he’s actually eating) I can’t see any teeth and he seems unbothered.. not sooky at all. Could he be self-weaning 😱
These are more common than you’d think in the older baby and can cause a lot of worry to a mum.
It can occur for one of many reasons including:
Changed your deodorant, soap, shower gel or perfume
You have been under stress
Your baby or toddler has an illness or injury that makes breastfeeding uncomfortable eg snuffly or blocked nose caused by a cold, an ear infection, thrush.
Your baby has sore gums from teething
You changed your feeding patterns
You reacted strongly when your baby bit your nipple and they got a fright. You are newly pregnant and your supply may have reduced
You are ovulating and your supply may have temporarily reduced
You have been expressing/pumping less when away from your baby
You have been sick or taking medication which can have an impact on the letdown
You have got your menstrual period and it changes the taste of the milk temporarily
What can you do to help this?
In most cases, nursing strikes are temporary and will resolve spontaneously. In the short term, it’s important to keep your supply going till they get back on the breast. Try not to stress about it as your baby will pick up on your stress levels
Developmental leaps in the baby, those pesky wonder weeks can interrupt the norm including feeding
Try a dream feed
Sometimes, a baby does not actually refuse but is very fussy and difficult to feed
Change your feeding positions
Nurse when in motion, using a sling or carrier to do this can be helpful
Give the baby extra attention and skin to skin contact
Lay on the bed with your baby with no bra or top on so if your baby wants a nurse he or she can.
Feeding in a darkened quiet room with no distractions
Stimulate your letdown and get your milk flowing so your baby gets an instant reward
Take a warm bath together with lots of skin to skin and no pressure to nurse/breastfeed
Sleep near baby giving baby easy access to the breast if they feel like nursing/feeding
Spend time around other nursing babies, peer pressure may help
Express as you feel necessary to keep your supply going and empty your breasts
Offer your baby plenty of fluids or expressed milk in a cup or a bottle as they need
it is so important to remain calm and patient, handling your baby gently. If you are both feeling anxious and stressed, try taking deep breathes similar to that which you may have used during labour or when meditating. The deep breathing helps slow your own breathing and make it more regular which can help calm everyone, concentrate on staying relaxed, use soothing music, rock your baby gently or carry him whilst walking. This will help your milk to flow so your baby will get milk once he latches.
And like everything else things will settle back down, its usually just a little blip.
Observe wet nappies and weight gain and if you’re needing a second opinion a trip to the Child & Family Health Nurse or GP doesn’t do any harm. Plot your baby’s measurements on their centile chart and make sure they are gaining at the right rate.
Making your own baby porridge is super easy and it’s a much cheaper way to feed a baby than the packaged variety.
Baby porridge is a favourite food parents are choosing to feed their baby. Soft and creamy with a very mild flavour it’s a great first food. Many baby food companies are manufacturing pre-packaged baby porridge oats. However with just a food processor you can make your own finely milled baby oats for a fraction of the price. Most baby porridge oats you can buy in the shops are iron enriched. Whilst this can be useful past 6 months of age it can lead to constipation in some babies.
Store Cupboard Staple
Porridge is one of those useful cupboard standby items and it can be added to both savoury as well as sweet purees. It’s low glycemic and a healthy breakfast option.
Oats are high in fibre, calcium, protein and even some B vitamins. Steel cut oats are slightly healthier and more nutritious than rolled, quick cook or instant oats. Steel cut oats retain the most nutrients because they are not highly processed. However they take approximately 10-20 minutes longer to cook than instant oats. Steel cut oats are also referred to as pinhead oatmeal in the UK. Read more at https://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/oatmealbabyfoodrecipes.htm#ajGpSoQR6DlUeBsJ.99
Puree some pear or blueberries and you’re onto a winner your little one will love.
Pureed strawberries with vanilla bean
Poached and pureed nectarines or peaches – poach with star anise and or cinnamon for added flavour
Pureed apple – use a red apple such as Pink Lady or Royal Gala as these are sweeter compared to a green Granny Smith
And if you’re battling with getting your little one to sleep then… You need to know about my NEWLY launched online #nurturesleepprogram 💤😴 . It will stop the guesswork and give you: a tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep) ✅ Evidence based ✅ Gentle baby sleep methods ✅ Holistic assessment ✅ Nurture & Nourish nutrition program – all recipes have sleep inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep ✅ Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos ✅ Prevention for under 4 months ✅ so no need to do sleep training ever ✅ And all at a low $97 for a very limited time ✅ Can you tell Karen is getting rather excited for all you parents who need a good nights sleep and one that happens EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and not just in a blue moon 🌑 .
I’m always on the lookout for supereasy recipes for busy parents and their babies. This great finger food recipe comes courtesy of The Merrymakersisters and it sounds seriously delish.
It only takes 10 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to cook so all done and ready to serve in a speedy 30 minutes. Winner winner Chicken dinner as we say here in OZ!
Fritters are the bomb
Give me a fritter any day and this certainly makes a change from the usual sweetcorn fritter. There’s something awesome about fritters. They can be enjoyed just as is or topped with deliciousness like avocado or served as a side for brekky, lunch or dinner! Go the fritter!
It ticks all the boxes for balanced nutrition for those busy growing brains and bodies – low glycaemic carbohydrate – tick, nourishing fats – tick and serve it with a protein and veg, maybe chicken and avocado or steamed broccolini trees and you have a complete meal for bub. It’s easy to pick up and just the right size for their little hands.
Here’s what you need to make them:
3 cups grated sweet potato (about 1 large sweet potato)
4 eggs whisked
2 tsp. paprika
salt and pepper
butter/ghee for the pan
And now for the cooking bit:
Squeeze out any excess juice from the grated sweet potato and place in to a bowl.
Add the eggs, paprika, salt and pepper and mix well.
In a fry pan on medium heat melt some butter.
Use a 1/4 cup to scoop out fritter batter, carefully form in to a fritter with your hands and place in to the fry pan.
Cook for 5 minutes, flip, press down with a spatula, then cook for a further 5 minutes.
Continue to do this with all the fritter batter, it will make about 10-12 fritters.
A baby will tell you they want a feed by their body language. It’s important to properly observe your baby to avoid missing early and mid sleep cues. Once you miss those early cues your baby can get beyond hunger and become hysterical very quickly. Newborns are very prone to going from OK and happy to losing it, just because they are hungry or tired.
Reading your baby’s hunger cues accurately and responding appropriately help your baby feel secure. A baby who feels listened to is a much calmer baby.
Here are the feeding cues you need to know:
These are saying I’m hungry and include:
Stirring and moving
Turning his head towards the breast or your arm etc.
Your baby is now saying, “I’m really hungry now”. These include:
Increasing physical movement
Putting their hand to their mouth
By now your baby is likely to be upset and possibly hysterical. He’s now saying “calm me and feed me”. These cues include:
Agitated body movements
Face colour turning red
To calm your baby try the following:
Skin to skin on your chest
Stroking and massage
Lazy lion position over your arm and sway baby gently
Here is a helpful video demonstrating all of these feeding cues.
I hear the phrase ‘my baby has a sleep regression’ mentioned a lot and I’m going to explore this little hot potato. Breastfeeding your baby to sleep after 4-months of age is the most likely culprit. As a midwife, I totally support breastfeeding. The thing I have a big issue with is when mums are told by other midwives and nurses, ‘Feed your baby to sleep, it won’t do any harm’. In the short term, under 4-months of age, this is true, it won’t. However, long-term past 4-months this is not the truth.
A typical scenario I get asked
“We have a nearly 6 months old who perfectly self-settles for her day naps, including the 7 pm one. Although she usually wakes at least twice before midnight. When for whatever reason she’s not able to resettle without the boob. And then again somewhere around 4ish. She’s on solids, three times a day. Lunch and dinner before her breast milk feed. She wakes in the morning at 630am. Day naps are from 9 to 10am and afternoon nap from 1 to 3pm. Do you have any tips?”
It’s only taken me 30 years of being a midwife to work out the culprit…and I’m taking a detailed look at breastfeeding and nutritive vs. non-nutritive sucking.
My baby could be hungry
Breasts don’t have a volume measure on the outside like a feeding bottle does. A mother’s natural instinct is to breastfeed her baby until satiated and fill their baby full of as much milk as they can. It wouldn’t be natural to do half a breastfeed, would it? And once the little gremlin at the back of your brain starts saying, ‘but what if my baby is hungry?’ ‘have they had enough to drink?’ and ‘they could still be hungry’, your brain and logic start to doubt itself. And this is how the whole feeding to sleep thing starts. You think I’ll just top up my baby, maybe they need a little more…oh they’re still not looking sleepy…maybe they haven’t had enough? Then you read a parenting book or something online saying...feed your baby until they’re milk-drunk or drowsy. You also read…put your baby down to sleep drowsy but awake. So I can see how logic would lead you to feed your baby to sleep. As baby’s get older, usually past 6 weeks it’s really hard to feed till milk drunk or drowsy anyway, this is more of a newborn behaviour. After 6 weeks most babies are really wide awake after a feed.
Put your baby to sleep FULLY-AWAKE
I’d like the books to say instead..put your baby to sleep fully AWAKE. There is no drowsy but awake. A baby is either drowsy or awake, they cannot be both.
Avoiding baby sleep regressions
Drowsy but awake means you are feeding your baby to sleep which is as far away from self-soothing as you can get. Then the 4-month sleep regression is literally tapping you on the shoulder. I’m here to prevent months of sleepless nights for you.
Newborn baby and breastfeeding
In those heady newborn days where you wander through in a haze of night and day and twilight sleep, you can feed to sleep to your heart’s content. Frequent breastfeeding increases supply, especially in those early weeks. The first 6 weeks of breastfeeding are governed by hormonal influences, then supply and demand take over.
When your baby breastfeeds you will notice they do several long sucks that drain the breast and involve the jaw muscles at the side of their face near their ear. We know this sucking as nutritive sucking and active milk transfer occurs. A let-down reflex may or may not be felt after these active nutritive sucks whilst the baby takes a slight break. In this time they are waiting for the pituitary gland to use its feedback mechanism to produce more milk. There may be 10 or more active nutritive sucking episodes whilst the baby is draining the breast of its milk supply. Here is a lovely video demonstrating exactly this activity.
Towards the end of a breastfeed, the baby starts to move to non-nutritive sucking. They have drained the breast of milk and start to comfort suck on the nipple and areola. Non-nutritive sucking doesn’t achieve milk transfer, it is purely a comfort suck and looks like soft fluttery movements of the lips. You will notice the suck is gentle and the jaw is hardly engaged at all. A baby has more touch receptors on their face and neck than anywhere else on their body so non-nutritive sucking is a pleasurable feeling for the baby. Non-nutritive sucking aids digestion and eliminates gas and discomfort. For young babies, under 3 months this can be a useful side-effect of this type of sucking. Once a baby gets to 3 months plus they develop hand awareness and are able to put their hand, fingers and thumb into their mouth. Once we prevent this natural reflex occurring by leaving the baby on the breast at the end of a nutritive feed and moving into non-nutritive; rather than allowing them to self-soothe in the cot, we interfere with the baby’s ability to calm themselves.
I’m not saying you should avoid non-nutritive sucking/nursing completely. It’s OK now and again as long as your baby is going down for a nap fully awake the majority of the time. This is allowing your baby to learn how to calm themselves. Extended breastfeeding with non-nutritive sucking can lead to overtired babies. Some babies would suckle at the breast forever if you let them!
And if you’re battling with getting your little one to sleep then… You need to know about my NEWLY launched online #nurturesleepprogram 💤😴
You can access even more my 3 decades of experience as a registered midwife and child and family health nurse via the Nurture Sleep Program.
You can take your baby from sleepless to slumber in up to 7 easy lessons across 3 age groups once you join the program.
🍌 FOODS that promote sleep ⏰ ROUTINE: easy, flexible, sleep-ready 💡 ENVIRONMENT: getting it right 👶🏽 DEVELOPMENT changes: how these affect sleep 😴 SLEEP METHODS: secret tips that will change your life
It will stop the guesswork and give you: ✅ A tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep) ✅ Evidence-based ✅ Gentle baby sleep methods ✅ Holistic assessment ✅ Nurture & Nourish nutrition program – all recipes have sleep-inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep ✅ Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos ✅ Prevention for under 4 months so no need to do sleep training ever ✅ And all at a low $97 for a very limited time
Nurture Parenting's Karen Faulkner is a baby sleep and toddler expert who brings calm and sleep into families and gives parents their confidence back.
Cerris Pty Ltd trading as Nurture Parenting - ABN 42 623 216 384 - Sydney, Australia