A Guide to Feeding Your Baby: Tips for Nannies or Caregivers in Your Absence Day 3: A Guide to Feeding Your Baby: Tips for Nannies or Caregivers in Your Absence

A Guide to Feeding Your Baby: Tips for Nannies or Caregivers in Your Absence

The time when a baby starts weaning and onto their solid food journey is also the time when most mothers have to return to work. Women in India get a 6-month maternity leave and men get 15 days of paternity leave. Navigating your baby’s new experiences with solid food along with putting them in someone’s care at the same time can be overwhelming for both mother and baby.

Look for Personalized Care in Daycare

It’s a known fact that babies at 6 months can benefit from undivided care and attention (ideally from a single caregiver) – someone who’s at home when the parents are at work. For example, it could be a nanny or a grandparent. There are many parents who don’t have such an option and have to put their baby in a daycare, and that’s okay.

The Presence of Parents Is Key 

When your baby begins their journey with solid food, it’s recommended that one of the parents be present at home during meal times. This is just for the initial few weeks, as your presence will make them feel safe and comforted. This way, you also will gain confidence in managing their mealtimes and understanding their habits and behaviors.

Instructions for Nannies or Caregivers

Here are some simple instructions that you can give your nanny when it comes to feeding your little one. You can explain these instructions to them. Also, hand-hold your nanny for the first few times, using the below steps as a guideline.

1) Prepare their food:

Depending on your chosen weaning approach, prepare your baby's food thoughtfully. For baby-led weaning, offer foods in stick-shaped pieces. For spoon-led weaning, opt for chunkier food items, such as porridges or khichdi.

Before serving, check the food's temperature to ensure it's neither too hot nor too cold for your baby.

[Click here for a quick recap on preparing foods the safe way.]

2) Set the stage: Begin by placing a messy mat or plastic sheet around the feeding area. This simple step will help contain any spills and keep your surroundings tidy.

3) Seat the baby correctly: Ensure the baby is comfortably seated and upright before starting the meal. Adhere to the 90-90-90 rule, which means they should sit upright, whether on your lap, a high chair, or a booster seat. Remember two things:

  • Keep their hands and arms free; avoid holding them down, as this can hinder their exploration.
  • Avoid a reclining or lying-down position for your baby during mealtime.

4) Feed the baby: Once the baby is seated: 

  • Place the food directly in front of them on the feeding tray or in your hands if they’re seated on your lap.
  • Avoid putting food directly in their mouth before they’re aware/alert. Let them reach out and touch the food.
  • If it’s preloaded on a spoon, place the spoon in front of them and wait for them to reach out
  • Avoid feeding the baby when they are distracted.

5) Respond to the baby’s cues:

Continue with the above Step 4 until the baby shows interest in the meal. Signs of disinterest, such as looking away, playing with food, turning their mouth away, or sealing their lips, indicate that the baby may be full for the moment.

After recognizing these cues, it's time to conclude the meal. Carefully remove the baby from their feeding space, whether it's a chair or seat, and gently clean them up.

[Check an earlier article on responsive feeding here.]

6) Be patient and joyful: Patience and a joyful demeanor are key throughout this process. Give the baby ample time to interact with their food, respond to their hunger and fullness cues, and don't rush them to eat more.

Babies possess excellent self-regulation when it comes to appetite. Remember that they have small stomachs and still rely on breast or formula milk, so it's normal if they consume less solid food than expected.

Tips to Ensure a Positive Mealtime Experience

 Apart from the tips mentioned in an earlier article here (“5 Tips to Create a Joyful & Positive Meal Environment”), below are a few more tips.

  • Offer smaller portions of food, avoid overloading the spoon.
  • Try to not get irritated at the baby if they don't finish their meal as quickly as you'd like.
  • Don't limit the baby’s diet to just one texture or type of food. Introduce as many flavors and textures as possible.
  • Avoid feeding them when they are cranky, sleepy, or tired, as it may not go well and both of you will be irritated.
  • Avoid using the spoon to scrape food particles from around their mouth. Use a soft damp cloth to wipe their face.

WE SUGGEST: As a parent, you have an instinctive understanding of what your baby needs. In turn, they respond best to your care and presence. There can be challenging times during feeding, but it’s temporary and ask for help when needed.

 

After a few weeks of introducing your baby to solid foods in a nurturing and patient environment, they will become comfortable and will look forward to mealtime with their caregivers.

Learn the right ways to nourish from experts