During the first years of your baby’s life, you will have many feeding decisions to make. Deciding whether to breastfeed or bottle feed your baby is your first newborn feeding dilemma. Once you start introducing solid foods to your baby, you’ll need to start selecting sippy cups, high chairs and food prep machines. From suckling newborns to chomping toddlers, we offer some solutions to help you make the best choices for you and your baby.
Breast or bottle? Breast milk is the perfect food for a baby’s digestive system; however breastfeeding requires a big commitment. Formula feeding offers more freedom and flexibility for moms. Remember, only you can decide what works best for you and your family.
- Always settle into a comfortable, relaxed position before breastfeeding (nursing pillows provide both comfort and support), since it’s best not to interrupt the breastfeeding if your baby is nursing contentedly.
- To make breastfeeding easier on a new mom, wear a nursing bra, this helps with support and is also designed to provide easy access.
- Load up on nursing pads when you spring a leak and lanolin cream for sore, cracked nipples.
- After a month or so, start using an electric breast pump so you can store milk and get baby used to taking a bottle. Pumping is a necessity for working moms!
- Glass or plastic? Glass bottles can be easily sterilized, yet can chip and break.
- Plastic bottles are lighter and easier to pop into your diaper bag. You can also choose plastic bottles with toss-away liners that collapse as baby feeds.
- Bottles come with either rubber or silicone nipples but you can buy replacement nipples. Rubber nipples are softer but may crack and need to be replaced every 2-3 months, while silicone nipples are firmer, give your baby better control of the milk flow and can be sterilized.
- There are slow-flow (for newborns), medium-flow and fast-flow bottle nipples available.
- Always inspect nipples for rips and tears before using. If you find any, throw the nipple away immediately.
Once your newborn gets into a feeding groove, you can start introducing juice or water in a sippy cup. You can also begin to introduce infant cereal and pureed fruits and veggies. Starting your baby on solids is a complex learning process, so be sure to check with your pediatrician on when and how to introduce new foods to your child. Also, be sure to choose the right utensils, cups and dishes, from feeding spoons to easy-to-grip bowls.
Dishes, Utensils & Sippy Cups
- When your baby starts eating solids (4-6 months), start feeding with a soft-tipped spoon and a stack of simple unbreakable plastic bowls, since babies tend to grab and drop everything. When your toddler is a bit older, you might choose a dining set that comes with divided plate, bowl and utensils.
- The best baby spoons for beginning eaters are slightly flexible and rubber-tipped. Some spoons have heat-sensitive coatings, changing color to show you when food is too hot.
- Utensils for self-feeding should have wide handles or looped handles that are easy for a baby to grasp.
- For on-the-go moms, there are snack pods available that attach to strollers and car seats.
- When your baby is 4-9 months old (and no older than age 1), he or she can transition to a sippy cup.
- You can wean the baby off the bottle by replacing one regular bottle feeding with a sippy cup every few days until you’re bottle-free.
- A soft spout on a sippy cup is suggested at first, since it is similar to a bottle’s nipple. Some moms first try a transition cup (recommended for ages 4-12 months), which have softer spouts, dual handles and a lighter weight.
- Most recommended sippy cups are lightweight and leak-proof.
- Generally around 4-6 months.
- Can hold their head up and sit with assistance.
- Has outgrown that tongue thrust reflex.
- May be starting to "communicate" that they are ready by showing an interest in food you are eating.
- Please check with your pediatrician before introducing anything new to baby’s diet.
As your baby grows, he or she will be big enough to sit with the adults!High chairs and booster seats come in a variety of options to fit your child’s needs.
- Generally recommended for children from 6 months up to 3 years. Typical maximum weight limit is from 40 to 50 pounds. As always, please check the specific weight guidelines for the style you purchase.
- For added convenience, some high chairs feature detachable trays that allow for easy clean up and storage. Some are even dishwasher safe.
- Some models can convert to toddler chairs so they grow with your child.
- Many include cup holders.
- Padded seats and foot rests can provide additional comfort for your little one.
- Wheels can make it easier for you to move your child from room to room and also to move the high chair out of the way when not in use.
- Recommended for when your child can sit up for long periods of time without falling forward - typically around 8 months of age. Please check the specific weight guidelines for the style you purchase.
- Some models recline and feature adjustable seats, trays and/or heights.
- Carry handles make them easy to move from one chair to another.
- Many include straps for non-slip security.
When your child is eating, many different types of accessories come into play. Pacifiers and teethers will satisfy your child and help keep them calm while he or she waits for you to prepare their meal. Don’t forget to use a bib or burp cloth to keep clean!
- Sizes range based on the age of your child.
- Come in a variety of shapes.
- Pacifiers are often made with latex but if your child has a latex allergy, a silicone pacifier or teether is a good substitute.
- Teethers come in fun, colorful shapes for added excitement.
- Come in a variety of sizes to fit your baby’s needs from catching drool to more generous coverage.
- Bibs can either tie at the back or pull over the head.
- While your child will stay clean, your bib or burp cloth will not! Make sure you have plenty on hand at feeding time to help minimize messes.
- Cloth bibs are machine washable. Surface-wipe bibs, while made of machine washable fabric, feature a special coating to make cleaning easier.
- Some bibs feature crumb catchers to prevent messy food from reaching your baby’s clothes.
Always check your product manual for installation and instructions.