Category Archives: EATING

nutrition and digestion tips for baby


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Motor boating, also known as blowing raspberries, is a very playful and developmental activity for babies.  The funny sound intrigues their curiosity and they are inclined to try and imitate you.  Motor boating gives a strong sensation to their lips, enhancing  awareness and facilitating speech development.  For speech development, babies benefit from activities which increase their ability to move their lips and tongue.  You can help baby learn to create this sound by repeating it a few times with your face close enough to baby’s so she can clearly see how you are moving your lips to make the sound.  Do not be surprised if she wants to reach out and touch your lips as you make that sound.  Let her feel what you are doing.  You can also make the sound on the back of her hand to give her yet another sensation of the sound and movement.

Watch the baby in the above video from Jen McBrayer’s youtube channel.  She makes a very clear motor boating sound and confidently can repeat it over and over again  This shows that she has developed the skill very well.  In our Stellar Caterpillar classes we guide babies through motor skill development so they develop their skills in such a way that they can repeat them confidently and whenever they desire.  This is different from a skill that happens occasionally or is just half-way developed.  As your baby begins to make the motor boating sound, repeat it back to her.  This is called mirroring.  As you mirror what she does it helps her to be clearer herself about what she is doing.  Babies learn this skill at various ages.  Some babies learn to motor boat quite young and others learn it a bit older.  What is common is that they really enjoy it once they learn it!

The mother in the above video is also demonstrating a method of feeding baby so she does not throw food on the floor.  She puts just enough in front of her for one bite.  After she eats that bite her mother puts another bite in front of her.  They continue this pattern of eating until baby is finished eating.  Baby continues entertaining herself by motor boating in between bites.



My baby can not chew and is two years old.  Help, please!

Although address primarily topics related to infants and first year milestones, we would like to respond to this question for toddlers from a reader.  We love questions from our readers and believe mothers of infants may learn a lot from this discussion.  To answer the question of how to teach a toddler to chew we look first at what is learned in infancy to facilitate the skill of chewing.  The same techniques applied to teaching babies to learn to chew will help your toddler learn to chew as well.  Chewing is a coordinated skill of moving the jaw and tongue so that a solid piece of food is broken up into tiny pieces and eventually is swallowed.  Many teething toys that babies use while teething generate this chewing action.  While their teeth are coming in they are already preparing their body to carry out the action of the teeth to chew food.  Let’s take a look at some of the items baby may be introduced to that facilitate the chewing action. For the baby in the above question, try some of these activities and see if it helps baby learn to chew.


  1. TEETHING TOYS THAT SQUEAK:  Some teething toys make a fabulous squeak sound when chewed.  The sound motivates baby to bite the toy repeatedly.  Each time she bites the toy her jaw opens and closes.  The movement of the jaw improves with the use of these teething toys.  One favorite is the Vulli Chan Pie Gnon which also develops fine motor skills.
  2. TEETHING FEEDER:  Place a piece of food such as a strawberry into the mesh sack and give baby the ring holder of the teething feeder.  She will place it in her mouth and suck the food through the mesh cover.  The action of sucking also strengthens overall use of the mouth for the skill of chewing.
  3. TEETHING BISCUITS:  One of the first firm foods baby is introduced to is a teething biscuit.  The hard texture requires baby to bite a small piece off of the biscuit and then to move the piece around in her mouth with her tongue.  The tongue is also involved in the action of chewing and eating a biscuit begins to coordinate the tongue with the movement of the jaw.  If the biscuit is not firm in texture, baby does not need to use her tongue and jaw to break it up into small pieces.  
  4. INFANT GUM STIMULATORS:  Resembling a toothbrush without bristles, an infant gum stimulater has tiny bumps on the brush-like tip.  Baby holds the handle and rubs it against her gums.  This stimulation helps her to be aware of this part of her mouth and to use her gums in the action of chewing.
  5. VISUAL DEMONSTRATION OF CHEWING:  Babies love to imitate.  When feeding baby, have a bowl of food for you to eat nearby.  Take a bite and exaggerate the movements of the chewing so baby can see what you are doing.  They will observe you and want to do the same.  

For extra guidance you can work with a feeding therapist.  It is worth the effort to find a good one and invest in some lessons as soon as possible.

Special thanks to our reader who wrote in with this question!


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An article published last year in the New York Times examined the question that many mothers ask, “Do pacifiers affect baby’s teeth?”  The article, written by C. Claiborne Ray, explored this question by consulting Dr. Abhinav Sinha, director of the pediatric dental clinic at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.  The pediatric dental concerns discussed by Dr. Sinha were related to the development of baby’s teeth and bite.  For example, when the jaw is closed, a noticeable gap may be seen between the upper and lower teeth. Or, the child may develop an overjet which is a somewhat horizontal protrusion of the front two upper teeth.  Bite problems include the development of an overbite, when the upper front teeth significantly overlap the lower front teeth, or a crossbite, when the upperback teeth fall inside the lower back teeth.  Dr. Sinah recommends weaning the baby from the pacifier before the second birthday because most of these problems arise primarily after extended or “chronic” pacifier use such as babies using the pacifier well into toddlerhood such as after the age of five.  He also recommends using the pacifier only when baby is going to sleep.


One of America’s favorite pediatricians, Dr. Harvey Karp, makes a very important point regarding babies and the affects of pacifiers.  In his best-selling book The Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Karp encourages the use of pacifiers to assist in quieting a colicy baby.  It is one of his 5 S’s for calming baby–sucking.  Dr. Karp strongly recommends weaning the baby from the pacifier at the age of 5 months.  Rather than comment on the affects of the pacifier on baby’s teeth, he reasons that with continued use past the age of five months the child will become emotionally attached to the pacifier since it provides a very soothing feeling.  He explains that by the age of 5 months a baby can learn to soothe themselves by sucking a thumb or fist, so it is not necessary to give them the pacifier.  If they learn to soothe themselves with sucking their hand, they will be OK without the pacifier and will not need to go through the difficult process of weaning from it.

Watch the adorable twins in the above video from jefferinhutt’s youtube channel.




One of the most popular pieces of baby gear is the pacifier.  Most often we see parents offering it to the baby when she is crying out of control.  Soon after the pacifier is put into baby’s mouth the vigorous action of sucking takes over and mother now has a tranquil child in her arms.  This sucking movement calms the entire body.


There are so many pacifiers on the market today, how is a mom to choose just one?  Some designs are adorable, others sparkly, some humorous, and others rather plain.  It is recommended to try a variety of pacifiers with different shaped nipples and see which one baby likes best.  Some have shorter nipples, others have nubbier nipples, and some have long stems.  Try a few and let her choose the one that suits her best.  If there is no obvious preference, just pick one and try it a few times and see if you succeed with introducing the pacifier.


As soon as those cries get out of control, mom quickly reaches for the pacifier.  STOP!  This may not be the best time to try and introduce this new item.  First, calm baby using other methods. Then, when she is calm you can try and introduce the pacifier.  Otherwise she will wonder why you are putting such a strange object into her mouth when she is upset.  Plus, she will spit the pacifier out and sabatoge your plan for introducing something that is supposed to comfort her.  Instead, try introducing it to her at a later time when she is calm.


If baby keeps spitting the pacifier back out, try this tip from Dr. Harvey Karp.  “When your baby is calm, offer her the pacifier.  The moment she starts to suck, tug it lightly as if you were starting to take it out of her mouth BUT don’t tug so hard that it actually does come out of her mouth.”  Dr. Karp explains that baby will then tug hard at the pacifier with her mouth to not let it be pulled out.  This strengthens the action of sucking.  Now baby has learned to keep the pacifier in her mouth.  Now repeat this at least ten times as if it was a game.  Rest, then pull on the pacifier again, etc.  After several times of this game baby will have learned to suck on the pacifier and not let it fall out of her mouth. But, be prepared because the pacifier will fall out of her mouth quite often and need to be cleaned.


Source:  The Happiest Baby on The Block, Dr. Harvey Karp, Bantam Books, New York, 2002.


mesh feeder for giving baby solid foods

Baby Safe Disposable Feeder


A teething feeder is a very simple and inexpensive baby product for parents with babies who are refusing solid foods. Just take a small piece of food and place it in the mesh container which has a ring on it for baby to hold.  Baby will place the mesh surrounded piece of food into her mouth and suck on it.  She will receive much of the nourishment of the solid food by sucking on it.  When baby is having difficulty chewing and/or swallowing solid foods, this is an excellent option.  The baby milestone of eating can be challenging for some babies and this feeder helps them through the transition.   It is also great for introducing new flavors to baby’s diet and these feeders come with a convenient storage cap for travel.


Recent research shows the best time to introduce solid foods to baby is at age six months.  It is important not to introduce solid foods before baby is ready to sit up, chew and swallow the food.  Foods that are a bit soft such as strawberries, banana, watermelon, or cooked zucchini are best to use with this feeder.  Keep the food temperature not too hot or not too cold.  Remember to always check with your pediatrician to see what foods are best for your baby.


Parents are always looking for ways to feed baby when traveling.  The teething feeder comes with a cap which allows moms to prepare the food ahead of time by placing it in the mesh container and covering it with a cap until it is time for baby to suck on it.  This mesh cover also prevents choking hazards as you feed baby solid foods.  The mesh keeps the solid part of the food from getting into baby’s mouth which can possibly cause choking.  Sometimes both parents and child are easily distracted especially when outside the home environment, so always keep your eyes on baby when when she is eating.




This week the New York Times published an article which clearly identifies the best time to introduce solid foods to babies.  “Infants Are Fed Solid Food Too Soon, C.D.C. Finds,” was published on the heels of a research study published in the journal Pediatrics.  Researchers discovered that many parents are feeding their baby solid food long before the infant’s system can handle it.  Some parents fed their infant solid food as young as early as 4 weeks.   The recommended age for feeding babies solid foods is six months, states the New York Times article.


Researchers found some common reasons that parents feed babies solid food before they were ready.  The article identifies the following myths which are not reasons to feed babies solid food:  to help improve sleep, because they are hungry, baby is growing rapidly, it helps baby put on weight, or because it is easy to feed them a small portion of the meal prepared for the family.  In fact, studies show problems such as obesity can result when babies are fed solid food too soon.  It is very important for parents to understand not to feed baby solids until he is 6 months old.


The development of a baby includes the achievement of certain milestones which prepare baby for the milestone of eating solid foods.  These important developmental skills enable a baby to sit and chew food that is taken from a fork or spoon.  These skills include:

  • ability to sit
  • ability to keep his head lifted or upright
  • ability to chew 
  • ability to close the mouth when food is put into it
  • development of gut bacteria in the intestines (not a motor skill)


Once a baby has acquired these abilities and is 6 months old, check with your pediatrician to confirm that it is time to start feeding him solids.  Remember to ask the pediatrician for a list of recommended solids to feed baby and a list of foods to avoid feeding baby.