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Our Favourite Advice on Issues Related to Feeding Your Baby

Regardless of how you have chosen to feed your baby, there are side effects

 

We asked Early Parenting Expert Vanessa Christie to answer your questions, and offer advice for you and other parents.

How do I know when to wind my baby?

The process of winding is essentially to release any air trapped inside your baby's tummy. It can get there by gulping down air during feeds and also as a result of crying episodes. Bottle-fed babies may get wind due to the potential for air to be in the teat and the milk itself and also due to the speed at which they may be drinking.

You can try to minimize this with good positioning of your baby and the bottle and giving your baby regular breaks. Breastfed babies can also get wind if they are fussing whilst latching on, have a shallow latch on the breast, or slip frequently on and off the breast during feeds. It is worth noting that all these issues can be helped with some good quality breastfeeding advice.

Nevertheless, in any of these cases, the trapped wind can be uncomfortable and unsettling for your baby and may stop them from finishing a feed effectively. They may show you signs such as squirming around whilst feeding, pulling away from the breast or bottle, bringing their knees up towards their chest, looking slightly pale around the edges of their mouth and crying. In these cases, it is useful to attempt to wind your baby before the feed begins (to ensure there is no latent trapped wind from earlier), at natural breaks during the feed and again at the end of the feed.

At other times your baby may seem perfectly relaxed during and after a feed and have a sleepy 'milk-drunk' look about them. In this case, it is still worth attempting to wind them for a few minutes to check that you are 'in the clear' but don't worry about pursuing it if you are winding effectively, your baby continues to be settled and nothing is coming.

Helping to prevent your baby from becoming over-stimulated and over-tired will also help to minimize wind, by reducing the crying episodes that may result.

I have noticed a real difference in my toddler son's eczema since swapping cow's milk for goat's milk. Are they nutritionally equal?

The short answer is that either milk is suitable for a toddler, alongside an appropriately balanced diet. It is thought that goat's milk may be less allergenic than cow's milk because goat's milk contains less alpha caseins (a type of protein), which is thought to be a trigger in cow's milk allergy. However, the structure of the proteins themselves are rather similar to each other, which means that you should always speak to a health professional before switching milks, if you are concerned about allergy or intolerance.

The fat content of the two milks are very similar (with goat's milk slightly taking the lead), although goat's milk has the added benefit of having smaller fat molecules, which make them easier to digest. Also good for the digestion is the fact that goat's milk is lower in lactose (a type of sugar).

Goat's milk is known to be higher in calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium, than cow's milk. It also has a significantly higher number of naturally occurring prebiotics (thought to be 4-5 times more than cow's milk) which encourage the growth of 'good' bacteria in the digestive system and thereby support the body's gut health and general immune system.

On the flip side, goat's milk has less folate and Vitamin B12 than cow's milk and as a result, some goat milks are fortified with folic acid. You can ensure that your toddler is receiving enough vitamin B12 by including foods such as red meat, cheese, eggs, fortified cereals, fish and fortified soy products such as Tofu and soymilk in their diet.

When feeding my baby dribbles a lot - is it beneficial to top and tail my new-born or should I bath her every day?

Yes, it's absolutely beneficial to give your baby a break from bathing every day. Daily baths (particularly if any soaps or other toiletries are used) can have the effect of stripping your baby's skin of its natural moisture. This may lead to it becoming dry, flaky and even red and irritated.

Although the exact causes of cradle cap remain undefined (there may be some hormonal and dietary links), it is also thought that daily washing of the scalp can lead to overactive sweat glands and a possible build up of the scales. Therefore, finding a balance and giving your baby a full bath every two or three days and 'topping and tailing' on the other days is a great idea.

On the top and tail days, always ensure that you clean any areas that are prone to getting sweaty or dirty such as the face, neck folds, behind the ears, armpits, around the umbilical cord, the nappy area, behind the knees, the hands and feet and any other creases such as along the arms and legs. Pat them dry effectively and avoid using any potential irritants such as baby powder or mineral-based oils.

 
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