Fear about Feeding

by Jennifer McGurk, RDN, CDN, CDE, CEDRD

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I have a love/hate relationship with feeding my son. I love watching him try new foods and learn skills like grabbing food in his hand. But on the other side, I am scared he will choke on something (he always seems to gag a lot) and I’ve had many moments of “am I doing this right?”

The only thing I know for sure is that there is no “right” way to feed a baby. As many mom friends have told me, it’s up to your mom instincts and a little bit of guidance from a doctor or dietitian. As a dietitian who doesn’t work with infants, I needed some help. I bought one of the best books, “Fearless Feeding” by Jill Castle and Maryann Jacobsen. (http://fearlessfeeding.com/) These two dietitians have saved me!! I also decided to sign up for an Infant Safety course to review CPR and choking. The class was scary but I feel more prepared. I also now know the difference between choking and gagging, which I learned is common when babies learn how to chew and swallow.

I’ve read the infant section and learned a lot so far. Now I know what’s appropriate for an infant in terms of food groups, portions, and signals to know hunger vs. fullness. I also have learned about introducing puree’s vs. baby-led weaning and slowly learning how to feed himself. The authors also review that as the amount of food goes up, the amount of formula will go down. My 9.5 month old is now eating 3 meals/day consisting of every food group. He mostly does purees and lumpy foods, but we’ve been working up to finger foods and he’s getting better at the pincher grasp every day. He will mostly eat oatmeal, soft mushy fruit, pureed veggies, potatoes, hummus, avocado or guacamole, fish, scrambled eggs, and bread. His favorite food is whole milk flavored yogurt- it tastes like dessert to me! My infant also needs me to feed him with a spoon vs. other babies might feed themselves at this point. I’ve learned to let him practice this in his own time. He has weaned himself down to 4 bottles per day, ranging anywhere from 4-8 oz (all depending on how much food he’s eaten). I’m still surprised at how variable my child’s appetite can be. Ellyn Satter (http://www.ellynsatterinstitute.org/) created the Division of Responsibility, which says the parent is in charge of what and the child/infant is in charge of how much (and everything else).   I try my best to apply these principles now of healthy feeding behaviors to create a healthy relationship with feeding from the beginning.

I admit that even though I “know” a lot about this, I’m not a perfect mom. But who is? There are days when my child gets too much sugar and there are days when I realize he didn’t get any veggies. But there are also days where he eats a lot of healthy foods and I know he’s getting nutrition. It’s all about balance, variety, and moderation. These concepts aren’t just great for adults and healthy eating, but can be applied to children of all ages.

Get Artsy This Holiday Season!

Photo Credit: bogdog Dan via Compfight cc

With the days becoming increasingly shorter and temperatures quickly dropping, it’s becoming ever so clear that the holiday season is almost here. With time off (and often away), we frequently enter the holidays with the best of intentions, planning to slow down and enjoy our family and friends, count our blessings and focus on what really matters. Unfortunately, holiday expectations can often get in the way. It’s all too easy to get swept up by the hustle and bustle, stressed by finding gifts, to-do lists, endless lines and expenses, holiday traffic, demanding in-laws…you get the idea!

Channeling some of this energy into the creative process can be a great way to release stress and anxiety and remember what really counts. Try some of these holiday-themed art activities to bring about family togetherness, kick off your holiday celebrations, and help everyone get grounded.

Photo Credit: ladytimeless via Compfight cc

1. Make a batch of Christmas scented cloud-dough for an afternoon of holiday inspired sensory play

  • Ingredients:
    • 7 cups of flour
    • 1/2 cup of green or red sidewalk chalk (crushed up)
    • 1 cup of vegetable oil
    • Peppermint extract
  • Instructions:
    • Combine the sidewalk chalk and flour.
    • Add a few drops of peppermint extract.
    • Pour in the oil and mix well.  Mixing will take a few minutes.  When done you will have an amazing substance known as cloud dough.

 

2. Make your own wrapping paper to really get in the spirit of giving

  • Materials:
    • Roll of white drawing paper or brown craft paper
    • Various paint colors
    • Variety of brushes
    • Tape
    • Newspaper
  • Instructions:
    • Lay out newspaper on the floor to protect your space.
    • Unroll the paper and secure down with tape
    • Experiment with different techniques to create your own DIY wrapping paper. So many options to try! Try splatter painting, polka-dots, handprints, etc.

 

3. Create a permanent imprint with salt-dough ornaments

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 cup of flour
    • 1/2 cup of table salt
    • 1/2 warm water
    • Rolling pin
    • Cookie cutters
    • Straw
    • Stamps, leaves, flowers, or any other objects to make imprints
    • String
  • Instructions:
    • Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mixing until you have a nice, smooth, and even consistency
    • Roll out onto a cookie sheet
    • Take your stamps and other objects and make your marks into the dough (can use ink with stamps if you want)
    • Once your done, using cookie cutters, cut the dough into different shapes. At the top of each shape take the end of the straw to cut-out a hole. This will be for your string once baked.
    • Bake in oven at 200 degrees for 4 hours
    • Once out of the oven, feel free to add additional color. Add your string and viola!
Photo Credit: Cellanova via Compfight cc

4. Create flower pots with your goals for the New Year

  • Materials:
    • Terra cotta clay pot(s)
    • White primer (any paint will do)
    • Selection of magazines/materials to cut our words and images
    • Mod Podge
    • Acrylic sealer
    • Whatever you need to plant- dirt, seeds/bulbs
  • Instructions:
    • Prime your clay pot(s) to keep the other materials from soaking through.
    • As a family, discuss your hopes for the upcoming year. What are your goals, resolutions, and inspirations? With those thoughts in mind, begin cutting out related words and pictures. These will be collaged on your clay pot.
    • Once you’ve finished selecting, use the mod podge to apply the words and images to the surface of the clay pot. You can use a paint brush, or even your fingers!
    • After the 1st coat dries, apply a 2nd coat.
    • Once completely dry, add a final coat of acrylic sealer to keep everything dry during watering.
    • Once everything’s dry, its time to get planting. Together, plant your seeds. As your hopes and dreams blossom in the upcoming year, so will a beautiful flower!

 

5. Make Gratitude Paper Chains

This is a great ongoing project. Leave the materials out in a corner and have each member of the family contribute one gratitude link a day. Decide as a family that you’ll hang the final chain up on Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, New Years, etc. It’s a lot of fun to watch it grow as everyone acknowledges all they have to be thankful for!

  • Materials:
    • Interesting types of paper (patterns, colors, etc.) cut into strips
    • Stapler
    • Thankful printables 
    • Glue stick or double sided tape
  • Instructions:
    • To get started….Print out attached thankful template and cut into strips (or make your own)
    • Complete the sentence. “I am thankful for______________________.” Then glue or tape the paper onto a colorful strip of your choice.
    • Staple into a circle, connecting around the prior link.

 

Happy Holidays!!

 Jennifer Kind-Rubin, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT
Licensed Creative Arts Therapist; Psychotherapist
JKindRubin@gmail.com
917-242-1468
80 East 11th Street, NYC
jkrArtTherapy.com

Get Creative with Art Therapy!

With school back in session—well, almost—you may notice behavioral changes and sometimes even diet changes amongst your children. Sometimes our little loved ones have a hard time verbalizing their internal worries or struggles. Creative arts is a wonderful way for our children to express themselves. The creative process can be easily incorporated at home to help your child communicate their feelings or, when dealing with more challenging issues, integrated on a therapeutic level through working with a trained professional. This is known as art therapy. I have asked my colleague, Jen Kind-Rubin, to share with parents ways that we may do creative arts at home to help our kids and when we need to seek the assistance of a creative arts therapist.

-Laura

 

Art Therapy with Children
By Jennifer Kind-Rubin, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT
Licensed Creative Arts Therapist; Psychotherapist
www.jkrArtTherapy.com

 

Photo Credit: AFN-Pacific Hawaii News Bureau via Compfight cc

I think we can all agree that growing up isn’t easy! Children are just beginning to learn about themselves and the world and are still developing a language to communicate their unique feelings and experiences. Without sufficient words, kids often feel overwhelmed, and consequently may act out or withdraw in an attempt to feel understood. Many experts agree that engaging kids in creative activities, such as art, dance, music, and play can help with focus, coping skills, and behavioral issues. These types of activities can easily be incorporated into your home. Put together a portable art box, filled with crayons, paper, watercolors, markers, etc. Leave it out on the kitchen table after school, and encourage your kids to create an image of their day. Put on different types of music, and paint along to the beat. Get a stamp pad and have your child create images around his or her fingerprint, something unique only to him or her. Save your paper grocery bags to use for masks, cutting out the eyes and mouth, and transplant your child to a far-away land! Creativity accesses the part of the brain that controls our emotions, an area that children are still in the process of developing. When looking for more support for your child, try bringing them to a Creative Arts Therapist who is trained to facilitate this creative process. See below for some of the concerns that may lead you to pursue this outlet…

Research shows that art therapy has been used to successfully help children improve communication, increase self-awareness, decrease stress, develop closer relationships, improve mood, and decrease disruptive behaviors and attitudes. In addition to supporting children in dealing with everyday stressors, art therapy can be used as an intervention to support children in dealing with a number of other issues, including:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Grief/loss
  • Behavioral issues
  • Bullying
  • Childhood trauma
  • Fears or Phobias
  • Challenges of a physical illness or disability
  • Mental illness
Photo Credit: AFN-Pacific Hawaii News Bureau via Compfight cc

“Art therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages” (American Art Therapy Association, 2012). While talk therapy provides a setting for verbal communication, Art Therapy offers an opportunity to combine both verbal and non-verbal exploration. Children are intrinsically creative, so it is often easier for them to communicate through these means, versus struggling to meet an adult at their verbal level. This approach often feels less threatening, enabling the child to safely work through tough issues in a creative way. Makes sense, right?

So at this point you may be wondering what an art therapy session actually look like. Every Art Therapist is different, but often offices are stocked with a range of art materials, including paint, clay, crayons, pencils, etc. Typically the Art Therapist will provide the child with age-appropriate materials, setting up him or her to create. Often times the therapist will give a prompt to help begin this process. After the image is completed, the therapist and child will discuss the artwork, helping to provide insight and meaning. Through the use of symbolic language, underlying issues, patterns, and themes are often discovered and given the support they need. In giving the child’s creative imagery a voice, the therapist is also giving the child a voice, helping him or her to feel empowered and heard.

Jennifer Kind-Rubin, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT
Licensed Creative Arts Therapist; Psychotherapist
JKindRubin@gmail.com
917-242-1468
80 East 11th Street, NYC

What does your child’s sense of balance have to do with trying new foods?

*This post was originally published on www.YumBoxLunch.com, the original post can be read here.

How the Inner Ear Helps Kids Try New Foods
By Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP

Every parent knows the importance of a balanced diet, but what does the sense of balance have to do with trying new foods? Our sense of balance and movement, originating in the inner ear and known as the vestibular system, is the foundation for all fine motor skills. When your child picks up their first roly-poly pea with a tiny thumb and forefinger, that’s demonstrating some very fine “fine motor” skills! But, did you know that biting, chewing and swallowing are also fine motor skills and a child requires adequate balance and stability to perform those skills effectively?

Try this: Sit on a high bar stool at the local diner and order a piece of pie. Let your feet dangle – absolutely no resting those feet on the foot rest. Keep one hand floating in the air to help maintain your balance, but do not touch the counter. Now, pick up your fork with the other hand and eat the pie. Feel those abs tighten to hold your trunk in place? Can you feel your shoulders tense to provide stability for your arm and hand as they move through space? How well can you cut, stab and lift the piece of pie on your fork without any spilling onto your lap? Getting tired?

If you are like me, the fact that you love pie certainly helps in this scenario! But, if you were presented with a new food, one that you were not sure of, would you be as patient to try it? No, because most of your energy is devoted to maintaining your balance and monitoring how well the fork moves through space so that you don’t stab yourself in the cheek. It’s exhausting!

 

To read more of this article, please click here to be redirected.

 

To read more about Melanie click here or go to www.MyMunchBug.com.