Preview the new Recipes for Growing Me ~9 months edition!
June 29, 2020
Have you heard of the concept “responsive feeding” for your infant? I had not—before having my baby. But don’t worry, I bet you’ve intuitively put this concept into motion without even realizing it!
Responsive feeding involves understanding your baby’s cues regarding feeding—and responding to them appropriately.
It sets the foundation for healthy eating habits and leads to developing the skills necessary for self-control and management of food intake. This includes ‘responsive parenting’—the positive interactions you have with your baby (including, but not limited to food) that lead to a mutual understanding and bond that results in optimal feeding behaviours, as well as secure relationships and better cognitive and language development. [i] In contrast, non-responsive feeding practice is the lack of understanding between you and your baby—such as being uninvolved, too controlling, or negligent, and allowing too much food consumption. [ii]
Responsive feeding can look slightly different depending on the age of your little one. For example, at around 6 months when you are trying out different types of complementary foods, your infant might cry or be fussy when they’re hungry, open their mouth, spit out the food, or seem distracted. At around 9 months old they might reach for a spoon, point to food, or get excited when food is presented, and then shake their head when they are no longer interested. [iii]
Responsive feeding practices have a positive effect on children, creating mutual trust between you and your baby. Your role is to offer a variety of healthy options, while their role is to signal when they are ready to start and stop feeding. Parents or caregivers can talk to their infants about food, model healthy food behaviours, play food games, and encourage their children (verbally and expressively) to try new, healthy foods. [iv]
Here’s how you can practice responsive feeding:
And here are some things to avoid:
Tidbit for your Tiny One
Holding your infant during mealtime can restrict their mobility and freedom of initiating a positive or negative response towards food. Children with greater mobility during feeding time are more likely to initiate feeding and take bites of food. [vii] Children who are distracted during meals (for example, watching TV) are more likely to be overweight and develop unhealthy eating habits. [viii]
The following recipe poem is an excerpt from our book series, Recipes for Growing Me ~9 months:R is for...responsive feeding
Allow self-guidanceAnd encourage self-feedingProvide eye contact andEncourage without leadingMinimize distractionsAnd respond to my cuesGive me comfort and safetyThen provide all these do’sEnsure new tastes are offeredAnd provide different textureNow was that so badFor a responsive feeding lecture?
*A note to the reader with preterm infants: There is inconclusive data regarding responsive feeding for preterm infants. Your health care team will develop a plan that is best for your baby and may prescribe enteral feeding at scheduled times for the best outcomes. [ix]
We hope we’ve contributed something beneficial to your baby’s diet, and remember…don’t hog the blog! Share with new moms today!
Have a bloomin’ day,Sarah & Karen
[i] Harbron, J., Booley, S., Najaar, B., Day CE, (2013). Responsive feeding: establishing healthy eating behaviours early on in life. South Aftrican Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 26 (3): 141-149.
[ii] Shi, C, Li, N., Dong, J., Wang, L., Li, X., Ji, C., Wang, X., Chis, X., Guo, X., Tong, M, Zhang., M., (2017). Association between maternal nonresponsive feeding practice and child’s eating behavior and weight status: children aged 1 to 6 years. European Journal of Pediatrics; 176: 1603-1612. [iii] Harbron, J., Booley, S., Najaar, B., Day CE, (2013). Responsive feeding: establishing healthy eating behaviours early on in life. South Aftrican Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 26 (3): 141-149.
[vi] DynaMed, (2017). Feeding the term infant: overview and recommendations. Dynamed. http://www.dynamed.com
[vii] Harbron, J., Booley, S., Najaar, B., Day CE, (2013). Responsive feeding: establishing healthy eating behaviours early on in life. South Aftrican Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 26 (3): 141-149
[viii] Shi, C, Li, N., Dong, J., Wang, L., Li, X., Ji, C., Wang, X., Chis, X., Guo, X., Tong, M., Zhang., M., (2017). Association between maternal nonresponsive feeding practice and child’s eating behavior and weight status: children aged 1 to 6 years. European Journal of Pediatrics; 176: 1603-1612.
[ix] Watson, J., McGuire, W. (2016). Responsive versus scheduled feeding for preterm infants (Review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 1-32. — P.S. If you’d like to learn more about Watch Me Bloom, you can buy our Recipes for Growing Me ~6 months book, say hello on Facebook or follow us on Instagram. If you liked this blog, share it with a new mom. Reading this for the first time? Subscribe and receive a complimentary digital download of our ‘Love Me Forever’ Digital Print to frame in your nursery or child’s room.
April 26, 2021
If you feel that your baby is struggling or showing signs of falling behind compared to typical stages of development, numerous health professionals are available who can provide an assessment and work with you and your baby. In this month’s blog we focus on allied health professionals, what they do, and where you can go to find more information.
March 29, 2021
February 22, 2021
They grow up so fast!
Subscribe today and get 10% OFF your order!Use code: BABY1ST