Eating is a fascinating subject; it is one of those things that every mom needs to figure out one way or another because everybody needs food. We start as babies and are either given formula or breastfed for the first chunk of our lives. Around six months to a year, those same babies are beginning to experiment with solid foods. What makes food consumption so interesting is that every kid reacts differently to food.
When it comes to newborns, they either latch on right away with no problem, or they have trouble. Some new moms need to call in lactation specialists to get much-needed guidance. Eventually, whether they are breastfeeding or not they’re going to start finding hacks that make their lives much easier when trying to nourish their baby. For older children, they can become very picky about their food which can cause a lot of stress on mom and dad who want their kids to eat and gain the nutrients they need.
This is a list of hacks that will not only help the breastfeeding mom but moms of those older kids who are just way too picky as well. Eating can be difficult, but it is important to remember that nothing lasts forever.
20 No Solids Until 1 Year
A lot of moms are talking about not giving their child solid foods until their first birthday. This may sound strange being that mothers everywhere have been starting their little ones on solids at six months for who knows how long, but in reality, babies don’t need solids until they are a bit older.
Breastmilk has all the nutrients they need to grow and introducing solids can introduce toxins or excessive amounts of nutrients that they don’t need yet.
According to the NY Times, moms report giving their young babies solids to help them sleep at night or that they seemed hungry. It is important to remember that newborns are on a demanding schedule than everyone else. Forcing them to eat solids for our benefit is a no-no.
19 Exclusive Pumping?
Unfortunately for many mothers, they have a tough time breastfeeding after they have a baby—whether the baby can’t latch or their milk never comes in—and this is where exclusive pumping comes in. This can be hard for moms because they do not want to use formula but they may have no choice. When a mother is exclusively pumping, it means she is pumping every 2-3 hours to drain her chest for more and more milk to produce. According to Kelly Mom, it can be challenging to keep up with a schedule like this, but it can help a mom who isn’t producing enough milk in the beginning.
18 Breastmilk Ice Cubes?!
Breastfeeding is a huge feat and can be hard for moms, so any hacks to make this easier are usually much appreciated. One of those hacks is freezing breastmilk into ice cubes. Breastmilk is so precious that it shouldn't be poured out and the use of breastmilk freezer trays allows non-waste.
According to Verywell Family, those trays will enable a mother to take out only the amounts of breastmilk she needs at one time rather than defrosting an entire bag.
This is a perfect invention for newborns because they usually drink a few ounces at a time. Not only is this good for less waste, but it also maximizes storage in the freezer.
17 Wear The Baby To Nurse
There have always been contraptions that allow moms to wear their babies, but lately, some are coming out in which would enable moms to wear their babies and breastfeed at the same time. According to Bun Maternity, there are a few things to look out for a while wearing your baby and breastfeeding. Be sure babies don’t slip by keeping the harness extra tight, hold their heads facing up and high enough that you can kiss them by just leaning your head down. This way moms can go about their business while feeding their baby. It’s just important to keep an eye on them because there are dangers if they aren’t being worn correctly.
16 Kiinde Twist Makes Breastfeeding Easier
When it comes to breastfeeding moms, need as much help as they can get. Some moms breastfeed strictly from the chest, but others use bottles so other people besides her can also feed the baby. A company called Kiinde has tried to make this easier on moms by introducing a plethora of different breastfeeding products. One of the most popular is the Twist Pouch, which allows mom to pump straight into bags rather than into a bottle or anything else. This means mom can easily store her milk rather than having to transfer after pumping. All of this company’s products are guaranteed to make life much more comfortable.
15 This Machine Does What For Me?
We all know how hard it is to wake up out of a deep sleep and have to mix a bottle and make sure it’s cool enough to give baby throughout the night. According to Business Insider, Khloe Kardashian found this problem as well, and she swears by her Baby Brezza Formula Pro One Step Bottle Maker. This product mixes a bottle with formula within just a few minutes to the perfect temperature.
According to Kardashian, it mixes a perfect bottle without clumps, and it always comes out to exactly what her daughter drinks. This product is ideal for all moms, but it can be helpful for moms similar to Khloe who can’t produce quite enough milk.
14 Encourage The Proper Age To Eat Independently
Because eating can end up being an ordeal for any age, it is important to allow young ones to eat how they please once they are introduced to food. This means the food should be put in front of them and they are encouraged to eat on their own. Independent eating is a skill that kids have to master; nobody will be following them around for the rest of their lives feeding them, and so they need to be comfortable feeding themselves, as reported by Raising Children. It's essential for moms to remember that this stage is going to be messy. The kids are going to throw the food, examine it and probably smoosh it in places it shouldn’t be squashed. But it needs to be allowed in order for them to become comfortable with food.
13 Introduce Smoothies
Veggies are usually the hard part of getting a child to eat because veggies don’t always taste good. A new and exciting way that society has introduced getting kids the vegetables that they need is by putting them into smoothies. It is easy to mix veggies and fruits with milk, water or juice into a smoothie that tastes nothing like veggies. Stonyfield Organic has released their own smoothie recipes for moms that are tired of hearing their kids cry over eating anything green. This may seem as though we are giving into kids, but as long as they are getting the nutrients they need in their bodies, does it matter how they do it?
12 30 Minute Meal Prep
Because kids are so picky, it can be frustrating for moms to spend a lot of time slaving over an exceptional meal and then having their kids reject it. For moms with kids at the picky eating stage, it might be good to keep the meal prep to 30 minutes only. Taste of Home has released a plethora of magazines that include specific meals for families with young children. An example of this is their Mozzarella Beef Roll-Ups, which consist of simple ingredients like pepperoni, beef, and tortilla wraps. This is the kind of recipe that has foods that every kid most likely will know and enjoy eating.
11 Specific Meal List
The picky eater stage will come—it always does—and for moms with kids that are currently going through this stage, an easy go-to meal list is what they need.
It is probably not a good idea to always be trying new things with small children who barely like to eat pizza, which is why a list of their favorite meals to choose from for dinner is the way to go.
Melissa’s Pantry, featured on the Food Network, can be a resource for moms who need ideas for picky eaters. This way they are not wasting time on crazy, out-there meals and are producing food that their kids will eat.
10 Make Mealtime Fun—But Not Too Fun
Another way to curb picky eaters is by making mealtime as fun as possible. According to Elizabeth Pantley, a way to make dinner time fun is giving dishes different names that kids make up to make it interesting. Moms should also be getting a little artistic with the food maybe cutting it into shapes or using different colors to attract kids. Allow the kids themselves to eat it the way they see fit. If this means they want to use their hands, so be it; let them dip it in ketchup themselves, or just let them do what they are going to do and eventually they will develop healthy eating patterns.
9 Creative Foods
Making food creative and fun is essential in getting a child to feel comfortable and happy about eating. The Bump has a lot of fun ideas for moms, including a garden party plate, which can be a mix of fruits and veggies cut up and formed into flowers.
Moms will often make faces on their children's food like with pancakes or by using a sandwich cutter to make unique sandwiches.
Many moms may be against being creative with food because they want to discourage kids from playing with their food, but that doesn’t mean moms can’t play with it.
8 Involve Kids In Meal Time
Another aspect that will usually get kids to eat is involving them in mealtime as much as possible. For most kids, they know what they want to eat and will be vocal about it. Moms who are finding that their kids aren’t liking what is being put in front of them should try allowing the kids to make the choices about what they are eating for dinner. According to Cooking Light, this can mean they choose certain ingredients or entire dishes. But either way, kids are much more likely to eat the food in front of them if they had a hand in picking it.
7 Kids’ Placemats
Sometimes kids won’t eat because they do not want to stop what they are doing to sit at the table. But if there is something to attract them to the table, like some interactive placemats, they might be more interested in dinnertime. For sale on Webstaurant Store, some placemats are explicitly made for kids to doodle on and do activities such as mazes or dot to dot. This will invite them to the table while dinner is being prepared and keep them distracted long enough to get dinner in front of them and eat it as well.
6 Let The Kids Help With Preparation
Kids are much more likely to eat foods if they had a hand in cooking it. Moms might be nervous about this because cooking can be risky because of knives and heat, but there are a few things that kids can easily do in the kitchen—look at the kids on MasterChef Junior. If there is any citrus in dinner, the kids can be in charge of squeezing the lemon or the lime whichever is needed. They can also be tasters to make them feel as though their opinion is necessary, or even have them assist in stirring with baking or something of that nature, according to Cooking Light.
5 Let Them Set The Table
Another way to involve a kid with dinner is allowing them to set the table and making it fun rather than making it a chore. Kids often like having their toy kitchens when they are young. If they had one of these, they are likely to have had everything needed to set the table. As they grow older, they will be able to set the real table and have fun with it, which allows them to enjoy dinnertime. For parents, this means they should let them choose where everyone is going to sit at night or choose what cup everyone is going to drink out of. These might sound like small, unimportant decisions, but they can mean a lot to little kids, according to Parents Magazine.
4 Listen To What They Don’t Like
Many kids refuse to eat because foods that they don’t like are being put in front of them. Kids do not have much of a palate, which is why they are nervous about trying most foods. It is imperative that kids try new things, yes, but they should not be forced with it by any means. The Washington Post has a lot to say about forcing kids to eat foods that they don’t like, including that it is crucial for us to take kids seriously and not serve that specific food all the time. We want our kids to trust us and they won’t if we are constantly forcing foods they’re not sure about.
3 Give Them Utensils Early On
Although allowing children to eat with their hands early on is essential because it will enable them to become comfortable with food, it is also vital that they know what utensils are and how to use them as well. There are some perfect tips reported on by Mummy Cooks that will help parents introduce eating tools to their kids.
The most important rule is not to force anything onto them too soon because if we do, they might be afraid of that food in the future.
When they seem to take an interest, give them a spoon or fork and see what they do with it. Understand that there probably will be a mess, but eventually, they will learn.
2 Cut Things Into Small Bites
Kids often shy away from foods if they seem difficult to approach. As parents, we can avoid this only by cutting up any food that is intimidating into small bite-sized pieces. Cutting food will not only make the pieces easy to eat, but kids are more likely to feel as though they can finish the food if it is cut up in pieces that are manageable to them. According to Lifehacker, if kids have to pick up entire meals with their hands because they can’t cut anything up and it is entirely too big to be picked up on a fork, they are likely to start fooling around, which nobody wants at the dinner table.
1 Make Their Favorite Foods
The best hack a parent can follow to get their child to eat is to make their favorite foods as often as possible. If kids feel that mom and dad are listening to what they want when they see their favorite foods, mealtime will be that much easier. It’s important to give them what they love to eat as often as possible because it will motivate them to try new things, especially if we pair new foods with the ones they love. Even if our kids’ favorite foods happen to be junk foods, it might be a good idea to allow them that once in a while, according to USA Today.