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excerpt from Elizabeth Pantley, The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution

Is your child unwilling to taste a new food? A picky eater often has to be

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exposed to something new as many as ten to fifteen times before even tasting it! Children trust familiar things in their lives and are often suspicious of something new and different—this applies to food too. A food that has an unusual appearance, color, smell, or texture can be off-putting to a young child. That’s why repeated exposure helps. Eventually the unusual food becomes familiar, and at that point, the child becomes open to the idea of tasting it and giving it a fair evaluation. Knowing these facts gives us insight into how to introduce new foods and what to expect when we do. Here are a few tips:

~Begin by putting a tiny bit of the new food—such as two chickpeas or one Brussels sprout—on your child’s plate along with regular favorites. Don’t expect him to eat it, and don’t make a comment if he pulls it apart, smells it, or smashes it. Allow the experimentation to occur—it’s the first step to acceptance. If you’ve displayed the new food on your child’s plate eight to ten times and he still hasn’t eaten any, then gently encourage him to take “just one bite.”

~Pick one or two new foods at a time and put one on your child’s plate three or four times per week for several months. When he sees it enough times he’ll eventually give it a taste.

~Let your child observe you eating the new food. Mention to your spouse or a friend that you enjoy the food so that your child’s hears your comment. Studies tell us that when children are certain their parents or other important people in their lives really like a food (not just eat it out of duty, but actually enjoy it, they decide it’s a good thing to try for themselves.


Melissa, mother of of five-year-old Brenna, four-year-old Gianni, two-year-old Giulio, and nine-month-old Brydie shares her idea: “To introduce my kids to some new foods, I create a food treasure hunt. I have the kids play in their room so I can put out the food and make a map to each place with clues to the next food spot. They don’t get the next clue unless they try the food at each spot. I try to have only two new or not-so-keen-on foods along with about three things they do like along the way. The treasure at the end is dessert!”

~If you are eating with another adult, offer that person a taste of the new food. Ask her in advance to try it willingly and declare it tasty. When a child sees someone else being adventurous, he may be more willing to do so himself.

~After your child has tried the food and found it at least minimally acceptable (meaning he doesn’t spit it out or gag on it!), try putting it out as an appetizer before dinner is served. If your child is hungry, and it’s the first thing offered, he may actually eat a bite or two.


Catherine, mother to eight-year-old Ben and four-year-old Birdy tells her tale: “I put kale on his plate and put kale on his plate and put kale on his plate. My son tried it and grimaced, and we praised him for trying it. Pages flew off the calendar, and his beard grew down to the floor, and then one day he ate it without comment. And then one day he ate it and said, ‘This is actually not as bad as I thought.’ After which a pair of bluebirds draped the banner of joy around my shoulders!”

This article is an excerpt from The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution: Gentle Ways to Encourage Your Child to Eat—and Eat Healthy by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2011)

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Over 65% of parents report problems getting their children to eat vegetables. Kids should eat 3-5 servings per day, but a third of kids don’t eat a single serving of vegetables on a given day. There are easy ways to encourage your kids to eat — and enjoy! — vegetables. Try some of these tips.

~ Put vegetables on a pedestal.
It’s an odd fact that while vegetables are a healthy cornerstone of any diet, they are usually relegated to a back corner side dish. While interesting recipes appear for main dishes, the vegetables are often steamed or boiled in a routinely boring presentation. Start treating vegetables as the star of the meal and your kids will too.

~ Name the star of the show.
Vegetables rarely get the spotlight. When kids ask, “what’s for dinner?” we name the meat and starch – “Chicken and rice” or “Steak and potatoes” and don’t even mention the vegetables. From now on, name the veggies first. Create a fun name for the vegetable of the day you can help your children view them in a different light. So, what’s for dinner? “We’re having Brilliant Bunches of Broccoli along with chicken and rice.”

~ Search out new recipes for veggies.
Try stir-frying a mix of veggies with olive oil to give them an attractive presentation and a unique flavor. Add a sprinkling of nuts or seeds or a dribble of sauce. Mix two or even three kinds of vegetables together for a colorful dish.

~ Get artistic.
It can be fun to serve vegetables in interesting containers or arranged colorfully in patterns or shapes

~ Let them dip ’em.
Serve a platter of raw veggies with dipping sauce such as ranch dressing, yogurt or hummus Kids often prefer raw vegetables over cooked, especially if they can dip.

~ Give kids a choice.

Routinely serve two vegetables at dinner so that you double the chance your child will eat at least one. Plus, seeing two vegetables will build an expectation that vegetables are important.

~ Get sneaky.
While you are teaching your child about nutrition, go ahead and hide some vegetables within other recipes to up your child’s daily quota. It’s easy to add chopped spinach to hamburgers, pureed squash into macaroni and cheese, crushed cauliflower into mashed potatoes, or bits of carrots and broccoli into spaghetti sauce. That way your kids get the benefits of vegetables no matter what.

— Excerpted from The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution (McGraw-Hill) by Elizabeth Pantley

The Real Diaper Association, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, provides support and education to parents all across North America for the use of simple, reusable cloth diapers. The goal of the Real Diaper Association is to put more babies in cloth diapers. To do this we aim to create a cultural shift in understanding cloth diapers-their environmental impact, their ease of use, their accessibility, and their acceptability. The Association will help parents understand that cloth diapers are real diapers.

Members of the Real Diaper Association will support reliable scientific and demographic research into health and environmental benefits of cloth diapers. The Association will then distribute this research to members, local governments, health care providers, environmental organizations, and others.

The Real Diaper Resource Center supports our members and their local Real Diaper Circles with the information and tools they need to spread the use of cloth diapers. Through the Resource Center, RDA plans national campaigns, distributes educational information and sponsors research. Our members have access to the Resource Center through our website, through local Leaders, through our national convention, and through the information we distribute in pamphlets, email lists and other publications.

Through local Real Diaper Circles, the Association organizes members who advocate cloth diapers locally, meeting with new parents face-to-face to make their diapering choice easier.

Airplane Travel

Question

We’re about to take our first airplane trip with our one-year-old. We flew quite a bit before she was born, but now we’re not sure what to pack or how to make this trip successful.

Learn about it

Even if you racked up your share of frequent flyer miles before your baby was born, forget what you know of travel so far. Flying with a little one is a whole different story.

If you fear turning into one of those families we’ve all met aboard planes — those with squalling, unruly, squirming children who tend to bring out the same traits in their fellow passengers — take heart. My oldest child, Angela was just 14 days old when she took her first flight, and since then, I’ve taken many more trips with my four children. I know that you can travel with your little ones and enjoy the process. Forethought and preparation are the keys.

Planning the trip

The details of your trip often can mean the difference between success and disaster. Keep these ideas in mind as you plan:

Examine all aspects of the journey when you book your flights. Aim for direct flights so that you can avoid changing planes. If you have to make a change, avoid short layovers that give you too little time to get from gate to gate, and conversely avoid long layovers that require lots of idle time in airports.

When you make your reservations, give the agent the ages of all passengers. You may learn some important rules such as:

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When your baby wakes in the middle of the night, you probably have a routine to get him back to sleep. For Coleton

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and me, it was breastfeeding. I used to nurse him until he was totally asleep. Every hour, we had a very exact pattern: Coleton woke, I shifted him to the other side, I kissed his head, and then he nursed — a beautiful, soothing ritual. Sometimes he would wake up and pucker up, looking for the kiss and the shift. As sweet as this ritual was, after 12 months of this nightly/hourly ceremony, I desperately needed a change.

As with the writing of this book, learning how to break the association was a gradual, thoughtful process that required self-examination. I discovered that I was responding to Coleton so quickly and intuitively that I’d put him to the breast before he even made a real noise — he would just fidget, gurgle, or “sniff” and I would put him to the breast. I began to realize that, on so many of these occasions, he would have gone back to sleep without me.

I am a follower of the “never let your baby cry” rule, and I took it very seriously. What I didn’t understand, though, is that babies make sounds in their sleep. And these sounds do not mean that baby needs you. Babies moan, grunt, snuffle, whimper, and even cry in their sleep. Babies can even nurse in their sleep.

The first step to helping your baby sleep longer is to determine the difference between sleeping noises and awake noises. When she makes a noise: Stop. Listen. Wait. Peek. As you listen attentively to her noises, and watch her, you will learn the difference between sleeping snorts and “I’m waking up and I need you now” noises.

When I learned this eye-opening piece of information, I started “playing asleep” when Coleton made a nighttime noise. I would just listen and watch — not moving a single muscle — until he began to make actual wakeful noises. Some of the time, he never did; he just went back to sleep!

The idea, then, is to learn when you should pick your baby up for a night feeding and when you can let her go back to sleep on her own. This is a time when you need to really focus your instincts and intuition. This is when you should try very hard to learn how to read your baby’s signals.

You need to listen and watch your baby carefully. Learn to differentiate between these sleeping sounds and awake and hungry sounds. If she is really awake and hungry, you’ll want to feed her as quickly as possible. If you do respond immediately when she is hungry, she will most likely go back to sleep quickly. So, the key here is to listen carefully when your baby makes night noises: If she is making “sleeping noises” — let her sleep. If she really is waking up — tend to her quickly.

Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill Publishing from The No-Cry Sleep Solution (McGraw-Hill 2002).

 

By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of Gentle Baby Care

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“Help! I’m getting so frustrated with the endless stream of advice I get from my mother-in-law and brother! No matter what I do, I’m doing it wrong. I love them both, but how do I get them to stop dispensing all this unwanted advice?”

Just as your baby is an important part of your life, he is also important to others. People who care about your baby are bonded to you and your child in a special way that invites their counsel. Knowing this may give you a reason to handle the interference gently, in a way that leaves everyone’s feelings intact.

Regardless of the advice, it is your baby, and in the end, you will raise your child the way that you think best. So it’s rarely worth creating a war over a well-meaning person’s comments. You can respond to unwanted advice in a variety of ways:

Listen first

It’s natural to be defensive if you feel that someone is judging you; but chances are you are not being criticized; rather, the other person is sharing what they feel to be valuable insight. Try to listen – you may just learn something valuable.

Disregard

If you know that there is no convincing the other person to change her mind, simply smile, nod, and make a non-committal response, such as, “Interesting!” Then go about your own business…your way.

Agree

You might find one part of the advice that you agree with. If you can, provide wholehearted agreement on that topic.

Pick your battles

If your mother-in-law insists that Baby wear a hat on your walk to the park, go ahead and pop one on his head. This won’t have any long-term effects except that of placating her. However, don’t capitulate on issues that are important to you or the health or well-being of your child.

Steer clear of the topic

If your brother is pressuring you to let your baby cry to sleep, but you would never do that, then don’t complain to him about your baby getting you up five times the night before. If he brings up the topic, then distraction is definitely in order, such as, “Would you like a cup of coffee?”

Educate yourself

Knowledge is power; protect yourself and your sanity by reading up on your parenting choices. Rely on the confidence that you are doing your best for your baby.

Educate the other person

If your “teacher” is imparting information that you know to be outdated or wrong, share what you’ve learned on the topic. You may be able to open the other person’s mind. Refer to a study, book, or report that you have read.

 

Quote a doctor

Many people accept a point of view if a professional has validated it. If your own pediatrician agrees with your position, say, “My doctor said to wait until she’s at least six months before starting solids.” If your own doctor doesn’t back your view on that issue, then refer to another doctor – perhaps the author of a baby care book.

Be vague

You can avoid confrontation with an elusive response. For example, if your sister asks if you’ve started potty training yet (but you are many months away from even starting the process), you can answer with, “We’re moving in that direction.”

Ask for advice!

Your friendly counselor is possibly an expert on a few issues that you can agree on. Search out these points and invite guidance. She’ll be happy that she is helping you, and you’ll be happy you have a way to avoid a showdown about topics that you don’t agree on.

Memorize a standard response

Here’s a comment that can be said in response to almost any piece of advice: “This may not be the right way for you, but it’s the right way for me.”

Be honest

Try being honest about your feelings. Pick a time free of distractions and choose your words carefully, such as, “I know how much you love Harry, and I’m glad you spend so much time with him. I know you think you’re helping me when you give me advice about this, but I’m comfortable with my own approach, and I’d really appreciate if you’d understand that.”

Find a mediator

If the situation is putting a strain on your relationship with the advice-giver, you may want to ask another person to step in for you.

Search out like-minded friends

Join a support group or on-line club with people who share your parenting philosophies. Talking with others who are raising their babies in a way that is similar to your own can give you the strength to face people who don’t understand your viewpoints.

This article is an excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)

 

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