This is something my mum has said to me so many times since I've had babies! At certain times it's about ensuring that the maximum amount of rest is being achieved by the maximum amount of people possible in the house. Particularly in weeks of teething, sickness or sleep disturbance it is best to ensure that the most rest is being had by the most amount of people. This simply limits or at least minimises the collateral damage the next day or ensuing days. The more people who are well rested (even toddlers) or parents who have to get up and go to work the better...Read More
When it comes to health and nutrition, like many things in life it is really great I believe to start young. What children grow up to know and value later in life is what we teach them from an early age. Thankfully with health and nutrition it is never too late to start!
I have found that the work and resources of Mandy Sacher, an Australian Paediatric Nutritionist are super informative and helpful when it comes to childhood and family nutrition, and the article below is a full article from her blog page.
Mandy has also released a brilliant book called Wholesome Child: Complete Nutrition Guide & Cookbook which I will be reviewing soon for you too!
Here is Mandy's advice on starting children young when it comes to training their tastebuds.
Posted by Mandy Sacher on March 10, 2017, www.wholesomechild.com.au.
Introducing your little one to solid foods can be a time of excitement and new adventure, but also one of stress for many parents. In these early weeks and months, the tastes and flavours your infant is exposed to will play a large role in shaping his/her eating habits for the rest of their life. Whilst this may sound like a daunting task, it’s a wonderful opportunity to teach your baby to enjoy a variety of healthy foods and to grow to love the process of eating. With our hints and tips you can make this developmental milestone an enjoyable and wholesome one, as you embark on your child’s first flavour-filled journey.
Wholesome Child’s top tips for introducing solids
- With first tastes, it can take between six and sixteen flavour experiences before it becomes accepted. If your baby rejects a flavour on the first try – don’t give up! Learning to like certain foods is a process and a learnt skill for us all – be patient as you serve them to your baby again and again.
- You can’t ask your babies (or your toddlers and older children) to eat their veggies at each meal, yet not touch them yourself. Children learn so much from our behaviour, the more they see you eating and enjoying a rainbow of veggies, fruits, proteins and wholefood carbohydrates, the more likely they are to want to mimic your choices.
Avoid early commercial products and sugars
- From the very first taste of food that touches your baby’s tongue, you are influencing their relationship with food and starting to shape their food preferences. Before introducing artificial tastes or overly sweet options, teach your baby to enjoy the flavour of homemade, freshly-prepared, unsalted and unsweetened foods. These will then become the standard that other foods are compared to. The canned and packaged stuff should then taste foreign to tiny, selective taste-buds, and helps your little one to make the most nutritious choices for his or her self.
Let your child be the leader
- Allow your baby to feel that he or she is leading the way and making their own choices – do not force feed little people! Babies are very good at regulating their own appetites. Forget portion sizes, if your baby is being offered healthy, nourishing foods then there is no need to limit their portion size. If your little one if showing no real interest in food then the first thing to look at is their milk intake… are they drinking too much? If milk is not the problem and you are still concerned, then we recommend you consult an expert.
Spoons and fingers: time to get messy
- Allow your baby to reach for food and feed themselves, if your baby is being spoon fed offer them their own spoon to attempt to feed themselves. It’s sometimes easier to have two spoons at meal times, one for you and one for your child. If your little person refuses to be spoon fed, try offering finger foods but don’t limit their choices to “appropriate finger foods” – offer porridge and make it thicker, offer bolognaise over spiral pasta shells so they can pick up shells covered in the nutritious sauce. From six months onwards is an ideal age to encourage finger feeding with safe and appropriate choices. Be creative and remember that enjoying food is a sensory experience.
Mealtime is not a fancy dress party
- Whilst your baby or toddler might like to eat in a fairy dress or a pirate costume… try not to dress up and disguise their food too early on. Allow your baby to experience the true flavour of foods from the start. Children can reject food up to 14 times before giving it a go. Little taste-buds are forever changing, what is not eaten today might become a firm favourite in the future – so don’t rush into disguising their veggies by adding them to fruit purees or sweetening their yoghurt. Instead, allow them to taste the undoctored flavour and texture of the food you’re offering.
- Encouragement at the dinner table is key – praise your baby for eating new foods or finishing her food: children love praise, and if both parents praise a child for eating well it can have a long-lasting effect, making mealtimes happy, positive experiences for the whole family.
- Eat together as a family, even if it is too early for you to eat your meal, you can put a little bit of food on a small plate for yourself and sit next to them and eat with them. Ensuring you have vegetables visible on your plate at each meal will help to spark their interest and encourage them to imitate your good habits.
- Mealtimes should be fun – why else do we as adults spend so much time dining out or inviting friends to our homes to join us for a meal? With your children, sing songs, make pictures out of vegetables sticks and dips – create imaginative ways to help your kids enjoy their mealtimes. Now is not the time to worry about the mess, or if their table manners are terrible, the most important thing is that they enjoy the whole sensorial experience – even if it means sticking their fingers into everything and eating with their hands!
If you would like recipes or more practical advice on introducing solids the wholesome way, then you may be interested in our workshop: Introducing Solids the Wholesome Way. If you would like more information contact Mandy Sacher to discuss your situation, or book a consultation at www.wholesomechild.com.au.
DAYS WITH TODDLERS.
When my first born started taking her first steps towards toddlerhood, I felt completely unprepared and overwhelmed. I could not sit at cafes anymore and chat over coffee with someone. I could not put her in one place and come back and find her there. I could not leave any switch, cord, zip, box or bag unattended and I certainly couldn't enjoy the relative peace and quite of a 0-7 month old.
Then a dear friend introduced me to a principle that has literally changed my days! I (more often than not) love being at home with my gorgeous (now) 20 month old and this principle has helped prepare us as a household for the beautiful introduction of our second child into the mix.
It ensures that the child has one on one time with mum, time to learn and focus by themselves, and time to play near or 'help mum' with things. Without doubt this has been some of the best advice when spending days at home with little ones as if they are left to their own devices entirely they can end up getting into everything or demanding your attention constantly, and missing out on special learning opportunities.
What it looks like.
TIME WITH MUM
If my toddler has some focussed time with mum (or dad) in some form like doing puzzles, reading books, going on the swing or doing an activity like rhyme time together at the library then she is much happier to get on with her own toys by herself at another point in the day. This frees me up to do something I need to around the house or sit and have some time to myself. Usually I save this part of the day for when she is bit tired and can't cope on her own before naps, dinner or bed time for example. Late afternoon is a prime time for this as she's had time by herself, an outing and she's getting a bit worn out in the lead up to dinner. This is when we do activities together. However some days that I feel she needs a bit more one on one attention, like if we've been out a lot or have had a lot of visitors or commitments then I will spend the whole morning doing one on one time. We might walk to the park together and collect bark and leaves, or sit at a cafe and 'chat' or go to rhyme time together. This has been a wonderful way for me to remember to soak her up while she is little, and for her to have undivided attention and she is usually back to her toys as soon as we get home. This is also when it is a good time to teach new activities or skills like painting, puzzles, or learning colours and numbers as they have your focussed attention and for the most part you have theirs.
TIME NEAR MUM
This is great for when you are doing activities like hanging the washing out, cooking dinner, baking, cleaning or gardening. These are not child focussed activities but they can certainly be close by or helping you depending on their age and they still feel like they have spent time with you. Sometimes we have play dough or drawing in the high chair happening while I am baking in the kitchen, or we are both gardening together (and by both I mean I am gardening and showing her what I am doing and letting her 'help' me). It's very sweet when they get to the age that they want to help sweep or put clothes into the washing machine and its nice helping them learn to chip in too! Time near mum also includes things like running errands, doing the shopping or having visitors over, they are still close to mum but it's not focussed one on one time.
TIME AWAY FROM MUM
Finally, time away from mum is where the focussed self play takes place. We use a play pen for this as our sweet little social butterfly would never proactively place herself away from others! This has become an integral part of our day and she has learnt to love going into her play pen (we have a really big wooden one in front of nice tall windows) and going through her toys, reading her books and doing puzzles. Occasionally we swap some toys in or out so she's not getting bored and throwing them out. While she is in there we have a playlist of calm music that we put on and she loves it so much she'll wave bye bye to you as you close the gate and walk away! It took some training to get to this point and consistency like with most things was the key for us. I consistently put her in the play pen straight after breakfast and we started the little routine of turning the music on together and finding something for her to look at and start playing with before I would leave. Then we would close the gate together and I would reassure her that I'm just in the kitchen or wherever and over time it became an easier (and quieter) process. This has really helped our days as it means I can get ready for our outings, or clean up after breakfast and maybe put dinner in the slow cooker, or sit and read for a little while. Sometimes this is where I catch her practicing little things I taught her recently in our one on one time, like doing a puzzle or putting blocks together or 'feeding' her teddies. It's very special. When it came to her learning that dad wasn't a get out of jail free card we had to revisit the initial consistency of going in, turning the music on and selecting a toy to start with but just dad would do it. Now she is happy enough to let mum and dad wander around the house while she is playing there by herself, which is great for us!
I don't want my little ones to feel like they are constantly vying for my attention from tasks, but I also want them to be able to happily play by themselves too. This approach has helped me find a really nice balance and means I end up enjoying my day much more too! I am so thankful for this advice.
This is the perfect breakfast for busy bees. We all eat this in our house, it's great for hubby who can eat it on his way to work and for me and the toddler to grab and eat warmed up. Saves doing any work in the morning to prep breakie when I'm up for new born feeds and need to have something substantial to eat that will set me up well for the day!
Soaked overnight oats, chia seeds & raspberries.
1 Cup Organic Rolled Oats
2 Teaspoons Chia Seeds
Handful of frozen raspberries
Top up to cover oats with your choice of milk (dairy/nut/ or coconut)
Drizzle with honey if you have a sweet tooth (or exclude for the little ones)
Put in the fridge overnight, take out in the morning and eat on the way to work (or heat them up for 1 min in the microwave if you prefer them warm) and serve in little bowls for toddlers.