Toddler NutritionHelping Children Improve Their Digestive System

Newborn Tips#1: Don't Hush-A-Bye-Baby
You don't have to be quiet while the baby is sleeping. The womb is loud, and newborns are used to the noise. When ours first came home, we watched television and I would vacuum, wash dishes and talk on the phone around her while she slept. She got used to sleeping with noise, and I could get stuff done. I am still able to vacuum in her room while she sleeps (she is 14 months), and she is peaceful and well rested when she wakes up.
Newborn Tips#2: Soothe Your Wailing Newborn
When my baby cries, I comfort her by patting her back in a heartbeat-like rhythm. That helps her burp more quickly, and it also helps her relax if she's crying from insecurity. If this doesn’t work, I also try one or all of Dr. Harvey Karp's five calming moves: swaddling, shushing, holding her on her side, swinging her or letting her suck. Sometimes it takes all six!

Additional Information:

Toddler nutrition is very important, not just so your child will grow healthy and strong, but also so he or she will not fall into the habit of eating fattening foods which provide no beneficial nutrients and can lead to an obesity problem.

Remember, eating more calories than you burn will lead to obesity at any age.

What does a toddler need for a healthy digestive system?

Children need a balanced diet that includes foods from the four main food groups; starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes and pasta, dairy foods like cheese and yoghurts, protein foods such as eggs, fish, meat, nuts and pulses and fruit and vegetables.

Food should be given at regular times during the day (meals and snacks) so that children learn to recognise when they are hungry and – more importantly – when they are full.

Little tummies can't cope with large amounts of food, so regular smaller meals and regular snacks are preferable to three large meals and better for their digestion.

If children are allowed to snack as and when they want they can struggle to get into a good mealtime routine.

Snacks, which aid a healthy digestive system, should be thought of as small meals and not sweet treats.

Newborn Tips#3: Help Get Your Baby to Latch
If you are having latch-on issues while breastfeeding your baby, you can use breast shields to help the process. This was a wonderful tip that I learned from my lactation consultant. I had to use the shields for an entire month before my baby would latch onto my own nipple without them. Had it not been for the breast shields, I would not have been able to continue nursing my baby.
Newborn Tips#4: Get Prepped
At 3 weeks, babies’ days and nights become more predictable, and you can focus on yourself in addition to your newborn. One way to do that is by reducing your stress level - and having everything ready for your hungry baby and yourself is one way to do that. Start by prepping for the next feeding as soon as the previous one is over. For example, after an 11 p.m. feeding, get ready for the 2 a.m. one by prepping whatever you need for feeding and putting out fresh drinking water for yourself so you don’t have anything to think about in the middle of the night. During the day, take advantage of the baby’s naps to work out, shower or catch up on e-mail, or take a nap too.

Of course all children enjoy sweets and chocolates, but try to avoid giving them out routinely during the day. Try to get your children to see them as a treat and not as a regular food in their diet. Sweets and chocolates have no benefits for a child's digestive system and have a serious negative effect on their teeth!

The best snacks are fruit, vegetables (perhaps raw and served with a dip) bread (including pitta) with healthy spreads, cheese or yoghurt.

How much should children eat?

Many children confuse their parents with their eating habits. One day they pick at something and act fussy about everything put before them. The next day they are hungry and tackle a big bowl of pasta. All parents at some stage worry that their children may not be getting the right balance of nutrients – and often it's not for the lack of trying.

  • If your child is growing in height and hitting all the key milestones in development then there is usually nothing to worry about.
  • Children are much better than adults at eating what they need for their energy output. So on more active outdoor days your little one may eat more than they would on a stay-at-home and play with puzzles day.
  • Never bully your child into finishing what's on her plate if she says she has had enough.
  • If you are not sure how big a portion you should be giving your toddler start with what you think is a small portion and give her the option of having more if it wasn't enough.
  • This helps children recognise the signs that they are “full” and helps them develop a good sense of portion control.
Newborn Tips#5: Keeping Your Baby Awake During Feedings
When our baby was eating slowly and sleepily, my husband and I would massage her cheek to stimulate her to eat faster. A gentle stroke with a fingertip on her cheek was all it took, and on those long sleepless nights, this simple trick was a godsend! Our friends have found it works great with their infants too. When babies eat efficiently until they're full before going to sleep, they sleep for longer between feedings. And that means you’re both likely to be calmer!
Newborn Tips#6: Help Your Baby Bond with Dad
Make sure your baby has ample time alone with Daddy. His touch and voice are different than yours, and this will begin a bonding process and give you a break. Plus, it gets the baby used to being with someone other than you. The first few times can be hard. Make sure your baby is fed and well rested, as this will give you at least one or two hours before you're needed again. Then leave Dad and the baby alone. If you stay nearby, make sure the baby can’t see or hear you, and resist the urge to go into the room and "fix" things if she starts crying. Your baby cries with you and you experiment to find out what's wrong. Dads need time to do this too - in their own way. By allowing this time, your child will learn there is more than one way to receive comfort, which will help immensely when you leave your baby with a sitter or another family member for the first time. You could have your partner bathe her, put her to bed or just read or talk to her.
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