Category Archives: Expert Panel

N&G Expert Panel – Introducing Solid Foods

We would like to introduce you to Crystal Di Domizio, this month’s contributor to our N&G Expert Panel. Crystal kindly took the time to answer a few questions regarding the introduction of solid foods into baby’s diet. We love her knowledgable and holistic approach to making the transition from liquids to solids.

If you have additional tips or information you would like to share, please share in the comments section.

N&G: In the early months, what is the best way that a family can prepare a baby to begin to take solid foods?

Crystal: There is no special attention or advanced preparation needed to prepare your baby for solid food. Babies are unique so you’ll need to look to them for signs of readiness, rather than a date on the calendar!
The World Health Organization states that exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants (without any additional food or drink, not even water.) After 6 months they recommend breastfeeding for up to 2 years or beyond, along with the introduction of solid food.

N&G: What are the top three readiness signs that tell you your baby is ready to eat something other than breast milk or formula?

Crystal: Babies become developmentally ready to eat solid foods around 6-8 months. Look for the following signs:

  1. Baby can sit up well without support.
  2. Baby is ready and willing to chew and doesn’t automatically push solid food out of his mouth with his tongue.
  3. Baby picks up food or other objects between her thumb and forefinger and is eager to participate in mealtime and may even try to grab food and put it in her mouth.

N&G: Many families are seriously looking into the foods that they eat and provide for their children and I’m seeing a shift toward “whole food” nutrition. If parents would like to start their babies with whole foods, what are some good options to consider for first foods?

Crystal: I highly recommend beginning solid food introduction with real food, rather than processed cereals that are hard for baby to digest and devoid of natural nutrients. You’ll want to introduce new foods one at a time, continuing to feed that same food for at least 4 days before moving on to another so you are aware of any negative reactions.

Nutrient dense first foods, introduced between 6-8 months include:

• Cooked Egg Yolk – preferably organic, from pasture-raised chickens
• Pureed Meats – preferably organic, grass-fed beef, lamb, turkey, chicken
• Raw Mashed Fruits – banana, avocado
• Cooked Pureed Fruits – pears, apples
• Cooked Vegetables – squash, sweet potato, carrots

Since we’ve only covered the basics of this important and lengthy topic here are some resources for further reading:

World Health Organization Exclusive Breastfeeding

Is My Baby Ready For Solid Food?

Nourishing a Growing Baby

*note from N&G: The introduction of solid foods will result more solid poops. One of the most effective tools we recommend for ‘poop management’ is Bummi’s Bio-Soft Flushable liners.

About Crystal Di Domizio: Crystal is a Vancouver based Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Prenatal Coach and Hypnobabies Childbirth Educator. She offers a comprehensive 6-week prenatal course that teaches women how to use self-hypnosis for an easier, more comfortable childbirth experience. When she’s not teaching you can find her blogging about her first pregnancy at www.prenatalcoach.com

Find out more: http://cultivateyourhealth.com

What’s New & Green up to in March?

Did you get lots of love last month from all the cupids in your life?  I know I did, from extra “I love you to the moon and back’s” and “butterfly kisses”, I was soaking in the love from my little beauties.  And did you read about the prefold love that our Parent Review Panel shared?  If not, take a read; they all fell in love with prefolds and some were utterly surprised by the outcome!

This month on the blog, in the newsletter and on Facebook we’ll be talking about spring cleaning (lots of laundry science and washing tips), you’ll be seeing the results of our latest Parent Review Panel on Facebook and be hearing from our next Expert on Feeding our Babies whole foods in our new Expert Series here on the blog.

Our March Cloth Diaper 101 Workshops in Burnaby, East Van and Downtown are already filling up.  Spring is the time for babies to be born, so if you need to get your cloth diaper knowledge on the up and up, register sooner than later for your workshop seat.

We also have our next playdate at Gymboree North Van on March 20th.  Watch our newsletter and/or facebook page for details on how to RSVP.  Free for New & Green customers and subscribers.

Here’s to putting a spring in our step as we March into the month of green!

Don’t miss out on another great newsletter – head over to New & Green to sign up.

N&G Expert Panel – Learning About Newborn Sleep Patterns

We are continuing with our N&G Expert Panel and addressing an issue that is in the forefront of many new parent’s minds – SLEEP!

Jennifer Garden the founder of Sleepdreams, an unsurpassed team of professional sleep consultants.  We highly value Jennifer’s expertise and asked her for advice to share with our New & Green families.

N&G: When working with parents to be, what are the top 3 things that you tell them to expect about their newborns’ sleep in the first few months?

Jennifer: 

1. Go with the flow, it’s important to establish breastfeeding and so feed often and sleep when your baby sleeps.

2. Keep the temperature in a sleeping environment cool (research suggests between 18-19 degrees Celsius). In order for us to get to sleep our body temperature needs to drop slightly, a cool room will help with getting a baby to sleep.

3. Based on sensory information we know about how the body interprets information, one very good ‘trick’ to getting a baby into a crib drowsy is to put them bum down first and head down last (tipping them the other way alerts the brain and wakes them up!)

N&G: Often “newborn” families want to establish a rhythm in their day with respect to sleep. Do you have any tips about establishing a rhythm for babies in the first months?

Jennifer:

1. Help your baby get to know the difference between daytime and night time by keeping their environment quiet and dark at night (even when feeding) and stimulating (except at nap time) and bright during the day.

2. Language skills won’t come for some time (at 10 months they understand 20 – 30 words). A consistent routine before bed/naps will help children understand when bedtime is.

N&G:  We get asked a lot about wet diapers interrupting a baby’s sleep.  Can you help us understand if a baby will lose sleep over a wet diaper?

Jennifer:  Sometimes babies interpret touch differently. Some children may excessively register a ‘wet’ sensation from a diaper and are always aware of the feeling of wetness against their skin, they are said to be hyper-sensitive to touch. Other children are hypo-sensitive to touch and do not register when their diaper is dirty or wet. If you have a baby who is very aware of a wet diaper they may be much happier if you change it frequently.

*Note from N&G – To decrease a wet feeling/sensation to a touch sensitive baby, you may want to consider using a diaper that has a stay dry interior or lay a stay-dry microfleece liner inside your natural fiber diapers at night.

About Jennifer Garden: Jennifer is a paediatric occupational therapist (OT) specializing in sleep for infants and children.  Jennifer is a mother of twins and a university instructor who has presented at several national conferences on sleep and is actively involved with a sleep research team in Vancouver.

Find out more:  www.sleepdreams.ca

N&G Expert Panel – What to Expect in the Newborn Days

This year, we are going to continue to bring you lots of great diapering info to help you along your way but thought we’d also draw on some of the experts that we’ve met over the years.  We’ve got some great information lined up for you to help you with your day to day parenting.  We can’t wati to share!

First up, we’d like to introduce you to Chloe Dierkes of Urban Doula.  We chatted with Chloe and asked her to share with us some common themes from her experiences working with brand new parents.

N&G: When working with parents to be, what are the top 3 things that you tell them to expect in the first weeks with a newborn?

Chloe:

  1. Expect breast-feeding to take some time to establish.  Read a book on breast-feeding during pregnancy so that you are not trying to learn while caring for your newborn (you will not have the time!).  Attend a local Le Leche League meeting (http://www.lllc.ca/get-help) before the birth so you can talk with and observe breast-feeding moms.  Be sure to get lots of support immediately following your birth.
  2. Expect your sleeping patterns to change drastically.  Newborns are often awake more at night than during the day.  This will soon reverse, but until it does, you will have to make up for lost sleep with many naps throughout the day (your total sleep time should add up to the same number of hours as before).
  3. Expect your emotions to be fragile.  Be gentle with yourself and your partner.

N&G: When visiting a family post-partum, what are the top 3 things that families tell you they were surprised about?

Chloe:

  1. How quickly newborns change.  This requires constant adaptation since every solution is temporary and often once new parents feel things are figured out, something else becomes difficult.
  2. How nervous and unprepared they felt.
  3. How difficult it is to get 3 meals and enough sleep in each day.

N&G: What is your favourite piece of wisdom to share with parents to be about the first days and weeks with their new baby?

Chloe: Before your baby arrives, arrange for support from friends, family and/or a postpartum doula.   In our society it is custom to shower new parents with lots of toys, clothes and physical gifts, but in retrospect parents often feel that practical support would have been much more beneficial.   Have a close friend arrange a “meal train” for you, where each night for the first few weeks you have someone deliver you a healthy meal.  Set your own parameters based on what you like to eat and make sure you have boundaries outlining the rules (for example, “please come at 5:30pm, stay for no longer that 15 minutes and do some tidying before you leave”).  Set up your support systems before baby arrives.

About Urban Doula: Chloe Dierkes is a birth and postpartum doula in Vancouver, BC who offers guidance and care for pregnancy, birth and newborn families.  She has worked in childcare for almost a decade and thoroughly enjoys supporting families and helping them to find creative solutions.

Find out more: www.urbandoula.com