Sweet Jack is the reason Feeding Littles exists. Read more about his heartbreaking story here - grab some tissues, because you're going to need them!
To celebrate Jack's angel-versary on December 23, we wanted to create something that depicts an important lesson Jack taught us: to pause, step back and simply enjoy our children exactly as they are. We hope that this free printable is something you'll post in your home as a special reminder from Jack.
We hope you have a beautiful holiday with your family. Amidst the chaos, don't forget to take a moment to take it all in. Really look at your children and notice their smile, their features, their sweet voice. It is something we all take for granted every day, and Jack reminds us that these times are certainly fleeting and not gifted to everyone.
Click either of the files below to download the printable - the first is a JPEG, the second is a PDF.
Many parents don't realize that It is recommended to avoid or modify choking hazards until your child is 4 - that’s about the age when most kids have adequate oral-motor strength to properly handle these foods. Choking hazard foods are either very hard so difficult to chew, or they're round and juicy like grapes, cherries and cherry tomatoes, which more easily slide to the back of the mouth.
Even if your baby is eating anything and everything well, it's still need to avoid choking hazards. Of course, you as the parent have to decide which foods are best for your child - we just share the info so you are aware of the potential risks.
The most uncommonly known choking hazards are raw carrots and raw apples. We recommend cooking or shredding them with a cheese grater to make them safer.
A short list of choking hazards is below. A complete list with thorough safety explanations and precautions can be found in both of our online courses in a handy dandy printable.
Stuck in a sandwich rut when packing lunches? Sandwiches are awesome, but so are other foods too!
Recently Bentgo asked us to write an article about lunch ideas that involved foods other than sandwiches to help parents get a little creative (not sponsored). If you’d like to read it, head to Thinking Beyond the Sandwich!
At lunch we love offering some source of protein, at least 2-3 produce types (veggies/fruits), a whole grain or starch food, plenty of fat (inherent in foods like eggs, cheese, quartered olives, guacamole, salmon, nut butters) and something fun or unexpected like dark chocolate chips or a new cracker type!
These containers are great because they encourage creativity and small, manageable portions that help keep kids from getting overwhelmed. I tend to pack more than I know my kid will eat because I’m not there to give them seconds of any one item. If you’re at home, keep portions very small, especially for reluctant or picky eaters - they can always have more!
Make sure to pack an ice pack and put the container in a separate lunch bag.
Thank you Bentgo for giving us a chance to write for your fans!
Frustrated feeding your toddler, preschooler or even 5-7 year old? Our Toddler Course can help!
We are frequently asked about serving soup to babies and toddlers. Learning to eat soup may be a messy process, but with practice kids figure it out! Soup is an awesome way to expose your child to different flavors, textures and nutrients - including lentils, vegetables and herbs!
Products shown here:
Below are some examples of ways you can modify soup to serve it to babies and kids of various ages.
A few notes:
Did you know that a vegetable serving size for two-year-olds is just 2 tablespoons? Yes, only 2 tablespoons! (They can always have more of course!)
Parents always worry about vegetable consumption. Toddlers and kids don’t always tend to gravitate to veggies, but there are so many things we can do to help them learn about them in a safe, low-pressure way. (And also, your kid will survive if they don’t eat a veggie every day even if you serve them. Promise. Go easy on yourself, friend! Toddlers and kids are fickle about food - it’s NORMAL.)
What matters is exposure. Are you serving veggies at most lunches and dinners? (Maybe breakfasts here and there too?) Are you offering veggies as part of snacks? If your kiddo never sees a veggie, it will be harder for them to learn to love them.
Our full plan for getting eating back on track with your toddler or young child can be found in our Toddler Course. If you haven’t taken it yet, keep in mind a few things:
Need help with this? Want expert guidance from a dietitian and an OT feeding therapist (feeding behavior expert)? Check out our Toddler Course and join the thousands of parents worldwide who have taken back mealtime.
Most toddlers become at least somewhat selective starting between 12-24 months. It can be really frustrating, right?
The way we as parents respond to this selectivity is what matters most. The more we push, bribe, beg and cajole, the more our young eaters resist (and the more frustrated we get in response). In our online Toddler Course we talk a lot about how it’s important to bring mealtime to a developmentally-appropriate level. Kids prioritize learning, exploring and mastering new skills, sometimes above sitting at the table and focusing on food. When you bring novelty into mealtime, suddenly the experience is much more interesting because they’re required to explore a new tool or technique.
We love these heart measuring cups from Sur La Table (purchased last year for Valentine’s Day but can be used year-round!). They’re not only great for cooking and baking, but they also serve as super cute snack cups! Other great novelty choices include measuring cups and spoons, muffin tins and ice cube trays, miniature play cups and tea cups, etc.
Our Toddler Course contains over 100 ideas for utilizing novelty with your tot, as well as a step-by-step approach for taking back mealtime. It was created for clients of already selective toddlers and is even better when taken before picky eating sets in to prevent troublesome mealtime behaviors.
The first half was written by Judy, an Occupational Therapist specializing in Feeding Therapy with over 35 years experience working in this field (she also has 2 adult children who are now great eaters!). The second half was written by Megan, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with two young kids at home who specializes in maternal/child nutrition and disordered eating.
The course is great for parents of older babies preparing for toddlerhood all the way through kids ages 5-7 and can be watched and re-watched as often as you’d like. It’s video-based with helpful printouts so you just sit back, watch or listen, and enjoy! Check out what others are saying about our course - our goal is to set up your entire family to be intuitive eaters who love all foods.
Did you know that the first cup Judy recommends babies learn to drink from is an open cup at around 6 months?
This Tiny Cup from ezpz (not sponsored) is one of our favorite new open cups, but you could also use a shot glass or a cup found in our Amazon store. Open cup usage helps babies learn to take a small amount of liquid in their mouth and successfully swallow. This is especially helpful for straw and other cup drinking, as sometimes babies don’t know what to do when the liquid hits their mouth. Judy finds that if her clients drink from an open cup first they’re more likely to master a straw cup. Plus, learning an open cup is a skill your child will use for life.
We have an entire guide to teaching your baby open cup and straw cup drinking on our blog, plus find our favorite cup recommendations there! It’s actually one of our most frequently asked questions. We also talk about why teaching a cup in infancy is important and why it’s OK to give a little bit of water to babies 6+ months. (No, they don’t need it for hydration - it’s more to help them learn cup drinking, prevent constipation, and start to appreciate the flavor of water.)
Struggling with getting your kiddo to drink water or milk in toddlerhood, and wondering what to do about weaning from the breast or bottle when you’re ready? Perhaps you want to breastfeed into toddlerhood and aren’t quite sure how to make it work for you? Check out our Milk and Weaning eBook, which is also included in Step 4 of our Infant Course and Step 16 of our Toddler Course if you’re already a client. It will help you make the best decision for your family and includes info for breastfeeding/pumping families, formula-feeding families, those who want to switch to cows milk or another alternative milk, and those who don’t want to use milk in toddlerhood. It’s balanced and non-judgmental - just the facts from your favorite feeding pros.
Did you know that all of these “protein” foods are appropriate for 6 month olds who show readiness signs to eat?
Many protein foods like beef, poultry and fish are very high in heme (absorbable) iron and are recommended as a first food by the World Health Organization, American Academy of Pediatrics and Health Canada. Yes, babies without teeth can chew softly cooked meats - the trick is to use moisture while cooking! The Instant Pot and crockpot will be your friend - try cooking with low-sodium broth to keep the meat soft.
Yes, babies can digest meats despite some saying that they can’t. In fact, most current digestive health protocols for adults like the GAPS diet and AIP recommend meat as a first food. There’s a reason it’s recommended for babies too! Of course, not everyone eats meat - see vegetarian notes below.
Eggs aren’t high in absorbable iron but are a highly nutritive food that happens to be an allergen. Early, frequent exposure to allergens like eggs, shellfish and finned fish is critical for allergy prevention according to current recommendations. If your child has a higher risk for allergies due to family history, eczema or breast milk/formula tolerance issues, talk to your pediatrician or allergist first.
Vegetarian/vegan? Many non-animal foods like beans, lentils, whole grains and leafy greens are good sources of iron too. You’ll have to decide if you want to introduce seafood, eggs and dairy - all allergens - due to the importance of early and frequent exposure.
Are you lost on what to feed your baby? Are you interested in BLW, or infant self-feeding? Join the thousands of families worldwide who have taken our infant feeding course, which provides expert help from two feeding professionals who have a combined 45+ years of experience. We offer practical, non-judgmental, non-rigid tips that can help this work for you. Plus, we teach you how to set your baby up for competent eating for life (with elements of eating disorder prevention)! As a client you will gain access to our private Facebook group, and your course doesn’t expire as long as we are selling it! Use it for your next baby too!
As we approach the New Year, many are thinking about going on a diet or changing their lifestyle. If you’ve been part of the Feeding Littles Family for a while, you probably know that we promote a non-diet, intuitive-eating based approach to eating. Does this mean we ignore nutrition and what helps us feel our best? No. We constantly discuss this on our Instagram account and stories.
I studied under the authors of Intuitive Eating in grad school and have been working with chronic dieters my whole career. (Thank you Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole!) Judy has always promoted joyous mealtimes with her clients. No matter how you approach food, please remember that your children are learning about self-love, body acceptance and healthy food relationships from you. You have such an amazing opportunity to model self-love and self-care.
Here are some simple things to do right now to promote a good relationship with food:
Want more info? Check out the book Intuitive Eating by Tribole and Resch, and consider taking our Toddler Course. We talk all about this in the first few steps.
One way to help broaden your child’s willingness to try new foods is to present popular, common foods in their diet in different ways. This teaches them that foods always look a little different and don’t need to be cut or presented exactly the same, which allows them to be more comfortable with new or unusual foods in the long run. More variety presented equals more variety (eventually) consumed.
We all tend to default to the same presentation of foods like bananas - it’s totally natural - but if you could change it up every other time you present that food, you’re slowly helping your kiddo become used to variety. If you need help with picky eating, please check out our online Toddler Course.
Side note: we get asked all the time in our Facebook Group if it’s “OK” to serve a banana every day. First off, whatever you want to do and however your family eats is OK! Bananas are inexpensive, portable, full of minerals and fiber, and delicious - they’re an awesome option! As long as they’re not causing constipation and your child is seeing other fruits too, feel free to serve them daily if you’d like - we just recommend presenting them differently when you offer them.
Here are some easy ways to vary how you serve a banana:
Megan and Judy, co-owners of Feeding Littles, bring you helpful info on food, nutrition, picky eating, and feeding young children. Megan McNamee MPH, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Judy Delaware, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist specializing in feeding therapy with children 3 and under in Boulder, Colorado. Megan and Judy are both moms of two and love helping families develop a healthy appetite for all foods!