Baby/Toddler & Parent
Enrichment Center

Norwell, MA & New for July 2024 … Pembroke, MA!


Cooking with Kids

by Leigh Craven • February 14th, 2018

“Cooking with kids is not just about ingredients, recipes, and cooking. It’s about harnessing imagination, empowerment, and creativity.” -Guy Fieri

I started cooking with my two children as soon as they could help mix! Cooking with kids lets them use all of their senses, and teaches them how things they eat are made. It also encourages them to be adventurous in trying new things, and how to be healthy. We have done everything from simple baking and applesauce to rolling sushi. I find they love to try new things when they feel proud of helping in the process. Here are my top tips for working with kids in the kitchen!

  • Be ready to get MESSY.
  • Get down low with your little ones whether it is on a low table or by bringing a large cutting board to the floor. You can even bring your mixer down!
  • If you don’t love to cook, keep things simple and stick too applesauce and simple baking.
  • Have them help measure dry and liquid ingredients.
  • Have them use cookie cutters and rolling pins.
  • Have them help wash fruits and vegetables.
  • Depending on what you are cooking, use the opportunity to talk about color, texture, smell, and the WHOLE food (for example with an apple, show them the seeds, the core, the fruit, and the peel.)
  • When we are working with fruits and vegetables I love to use the time to talk to them about compositing and saving scraps to make broths and soups.
  • Avoid sharp tools, knives, being to close to the stove, and hot liquids.
  • Choose when you have extra time to enjoy cooking with them. Don’t do it after a long day when you just want a quick simple meal of everyone’s favorite chicken nuggets. Save cooking for lazy pancake mornings with the family and rainy afternoons to try soups or yummy stir fries.

Bon Appetit!

How to Pump at Work

by Melanie Venuti, IBCLC, RLC • September 27th, 2016

Heading back to work with a nursing baby? Read our tips on how to pump at work!

How Often? – When returning to work with a baby at home who is 6 months or younger, I would encourage mom to express milk approximately every 3 hours. For example, if you are separated from baby for 10 hours, it is recommended that you pump at work at least three times. Pumping often while away from baby will ensure that your body continues to be stimulated and will keep production up.

How much will my baby drink? – Breastfed babies are typically eating every 2 to 3 hours throughout the day, some more, some less. On average, they may consume 1 to 1.5 ounces of breastmilk for every hour they are separated from Mom, in increments of 2 to 4 ounces offered in a bottle. For example, if baby is separated from mom for 10 hours, baby will likely be consuming between 10 to 15 ounces of milk. The first few weeks back to work can be trial and error. Communicate with your care provider about your baby’s typical hunger cues so that milk is not offered with every cry. Ask them to offer feedback so that you can plan to leave the amount that works best for your baby.

Nursing and pumping at home – Most of the mothers I work with hope to continue to nurse their baby while they are home in the morning, evening, and on the weekends. While continuing to nurse your baby during the hours that you are home, mothers may find it helpful to pump one more time in addition to feeding their baby at the breast, and pumping at work. Pumping perhaps before you go to bed or before you leave for work, or both, will assure that you keep your supply up, and collect milk to save for times in need.

Some tips for better pumping

Always pump both breasts at each session for 15 minutes. You will be able to get more milk in less time when pumping both breasts and your body releases hormones more freely when both breasts are stimulated at the same time

Play around with the settings on your pump. Put the vacuum/suction strength to the max that is comfortable for you. When using a 2 phased mode pump, keep the cycling speed on stimulation mode for 2 minutes and then change into a slower phase, the expression mode (Some pumps automatically change phases after 2 minutes). After about 6-8 minutes, you may toggle back to stimulation mode for another 2 minutes to trigger additional let downs (some pumps have a “let down button” and some have a dial to increase speed). This will simulate baby being at the breast and offer more hormonal response.

The flange (cone) size is key to comfort and successful milk expression. The flange is what puts pressure on the nipple and areola tissue for successful output. If it is too big, it may cause swelling of the nipple and areola, constricting the ducts and milk output. If it is too small, it can cause discomfort and restriction of the ducts which would therefore also effect expressing milk. *lubricate the flange with a little bit of olive or coconut oil to allow for the nipple to move more freely and gently.

Get hands-on. Massage and compress the breast throughout the pump session. This helps increase stimulation (skin to skin contact) and also the volume of breastmilk output eventually, especially in the areas that you are feeling bumps.

Take a short cut for cleaning: after each pumping session, put all parts in the fridge in a bag or a bowl. Continue to use those pump parts throughout the day, continuously putting the back in the fridge between pump sessions. At the end of the day, you can wash everything in warm soapy water and allow to air dry for the next day. Sterilizing is not necessary daily, you can boil for 3-5 minutes or use a steam bag 1 or 2 times per week.

Sample Schedule for a mom working 9AM – 5 PM:
6 AM – Breastfeed
8 AM – Breastfeed at “drop off”
10 AM – Pump at work
1 PM – Pump at work
4 PM – Pump at work
6 PM – Breastfeed
Breastfeed at Bedtime (time may range)
10:30 PM – Pump
Breastfeed during the night as needed

Need more help! Drop in to our free weekly drop-in breastfeeding group or take a breastfeeding class!

Helpful Resources:
Free Breastfeeding Hotline Sponsored by MV Breastfeeding Support: 857-400-0897

Starting Solids

by Cheryl Donahue • April 4th, 2016

Up to four to six months, your baby only needs breastmilk or formula to grow and thrive. When she’s ready for solids, she will tell you! Can she sit with support and hold her head up steady? Does she mouth her hands and toys? Does she look interested in what you’re eating?

If your answers to the above questions are “yes,” and your pediatrician gives you the go-ahead, you can start introducing solids. How fun!

Before you even start, you may want to enroll in an infant CPR class if you haven’t already taken one. That will make your baby’s adventures into food all the more safe.

The first food is often rice cereal, but more parents today are opting for more nutritionally rich brown rice, oatmeal or barley. Some caregivers will even offer avocado or meat as a first food.

The most important thing to remember in the first year is to always breastfeed or offer formula before giving solids because breastmilk or formula is the most important source of nutrition.

You may want to breastfeed or give your baby a bottle and then wait a half hour before offering the solid food. Mix 1 tablespoon of a single-grain, iron-fortified baby cereal with 3-4 tablespoons of breast milk or formula. Soupier consistencies might be easier for baby to swallow, but they will also be messier, so grab a bib or three! Try a plastic bib with a pocket for easy cleanup. Resist the temptation to give cereal via a bottle. During the first year, food is for fun, and she won’t learn good eating habits without the chance to practice.

It is important to introduce new foods one at a time, every three days, so you can easily identify any adverse reactions to each food. Look for rashes, vomiting, or diarrhea in the cases of food allergies. Once baby has accepted the food without a problem, you may give another food.

I recommend that you start with the “less sweet” foods, such as green beans and peas before the sweet foods like sweet potatoes and fruits. This gives you the opportunity to mix sweeter foods with the foods baby may not want after exposure to “the good stuff!”

If you have been breastfeeding, your baby has already been given a taste of all the spices you are eating as a family. You can eventually give baby spices as well, following the one-new-food-per-three-days rule. Try adding cinnamon or nutmeg to apples and sweet potatoes. Before a year, stay away from honey, which might contain dangerous spores that cause infant botulism, and don’t substitute cow’s milk for breastmilk or formula because it doesn’t fulfill your baby’s nutritional needs.

When making your own baby food, make sure you use only organic root vegetables, and wash all produce thoroughly. Freezing small portions in a covered ice cube tray will give you the perfect portions for baby!

By eight to ten months, your little pumpkin will be ready for finely chopped finger foods like fruits, soft cheese and pasta. Mash up whatever the family is eating for dinner and let baby share in the meal!

To prevent choking, stick to foods that are soft or break apart easy. Hot dogs, cheese, larger chunks of meat, candy, grapes and nuts can be dangerous for tots.

To make solids a smoother experience for both of you, feed baby only in a high chair or infant seat. Toss down a drop cloth to catch tossed tidbits – and try to let her explore her food with her hands without getting worried about a mess. She is learning! Offer a spoon once baby starts mastering finger foods, and begin to offer a cup at about 6-8 months to help her get used to drinking from a sippy. Last, when you baby turns away at a food or seems uninterested, don’t try to push it. Her bottles or breastmilk gives her the nutrition she needs and trying to force one last bite is a power struggle no one will win.

Have fun with this new adventure in parenthood, and we hope to see you in our infant safety classes and child development classes.

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