Baby and Child Feeding Advice
The following is a guest post written by child-feeding expert, Kristen Yarker. A little background on how she came to write this article for me…
My second child is a much more cautious eater than my first was. Whereas my daughter would try everything right away, my son takes a very long time to try new foods. Mealtimes were becoming increasingly frustrating for both of us and I was feeling a bit lost on how I should approach things with him. Like many of you looking for sleep advice, I was conflicted by all I was reading and the contradicting advice I was getting. What I was looking for was evidence-based and expert advice on what approach I should be taking with him.
I came across Kristen’s website and looked around, signed up for the newsletter and then left it at that. Then my son had a few more meals spent crying and turning his head away from every food I offered. That was the final straw and I went back to her website and purchased her e-book, Provide, Trust, Love (And Then Introduce New Food). Her book was fantastic and exactly what I was looking for. It completely identified my son to a “T” and gave me a detailed plan on how to approach my situation.
Because I was so impressed with the advice and the methodology (hint: it’s a lot like what I do with my clients when we change sleep habits!), I asked her if she would like to comment on some questions that I frequently get from clients on feeding. Here is her first post.
Kristen Yarker, Child-Feeding Expert
I’m a child-feeding expert. Since 2008 I’ve helped Moms and Dads in BC be confident that they’re providing good nutrition for their children today, and instilling a life-long LOVE of healthy eating. Now I’m providing online seminars and an e-book so that parents everywhere can have the success that I’ve helped local families achieve. www.kristenyarker.com
Here’s the answer to the first of a number of questions that I’ll be answering.
“My baby is large/small for their age and the pediatrician told me to start solids early because they aren’t sleeping well at night. Is this a good idea?”
I understand why Moms and Dads (desperate for some sleep) grasp on to the myth that feeding a baby solid foods will make them sleep through the night. However, it is a myth. Feeding your baby solid foods won’t make your baby sleep through the night.
Sleep and Eating Milestones
It’s true that some babies start sleeping for longer stretches through the night at about the same time that they start solid foods. But it’s not that the solid foods have caused the sleeping. It’s that for many babies, the developmental stage when we start to feed them solid foods coincides with the developmental stage when they start sleeping for longer periods of time. Sorry exhausted Moms and Dads, it’s not the solid foods causing longer sleep.
Size Doesn’t Matter
Furthermore, big babies don’t need to be fed solid foods early. There’s no evidence to support starting solids early for babies who are at the top end of the growth curve. Breast milk and formula are very rich. And, your baby is likely an expert at breastfeeding or formula feeding by this age. Therefore, continuing exclusively breastfeeding or formula feeding until about 6 months is recommended (the same as average-size babies).
Also, small babies don’t need to be fed solid foods early. There’s no evidence to support starting solids early for babies who are on the small end of the growth curve. As I mentioned above, breast milk and formula are very rich and your baby is an expert at breastfeeding or formula feeding by this age. So continue to exclusively breastfeed or formula feed your baby until about 6 months (the same as average-size babies).
Wait Until 6 Months
In summary, starting solids early won’t provide big babies or small babies with extra nutrition. Nor will it make your baby sleep through the night. Introduce solid foods when your baby is about 6 months old.
Kristen Yarker, MSc, RD
Helping Moms and Dads support their picky eaters to try new foods on their own (without being forceful or sneaky)
Did you feel your child was waking at night because they needed solids? Did you start solids before 6 months? How did it go? Share your comments below. And if you liked this article and found it helpful, please share it with others.