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Feeding Your Baby: What to Do When Your Baby Refuses to Eat

Feeding Your Baby: What to Do When Your Baby Refuses to Eat

There are 130 million babies born each year.

With each baby comes a worried parent, or two, who are very nervous if their baby refuses to eat. After all, many parents are closely monitoring growth charts to ensure their child is caught up to their peers. 

While we understand this can be frightening and worrisome when your baby won't eat, so let's take a look at some of the top reasons your little one is refusing their food. We'll also offer up some tips for feeding your baby.

Change up Their Food

Babies are tiny humans. While they can't talk, that doesn't mean that they don't have food preferences, or that they don't get bored with the same old, same old.

If you find your baby not eating, try switching up what's on the menu. They may have just become bored with what they're being served and want to move on to something more appetizing.

Add More Fiber to Their Diet or Give Them Prune Juice

While babies are tiny humans, they eat when we feed them. Because they can't necessarily eat out of boredom or "eat their feelings," they aren't like their adult counterparts who may be able to continue to eat despite being constipated.

If your child is constipated, they may very well refuse what you're giving them. Try giving them prune juice or adding more fiber to their diet. But make sure you're using age-appropriate constipation solutions.

If they don't work, consult your child's pediatrician, as they may have more insight into your child's constipation.

They May Be Temporarily Sick

If your baby has a cold, cough, or ear infection, they'll be less inclined to eat their food. After your child has been diagnosed with one of these, don't overanalyze your baby's eating habits too much. In the event that it continues after your child has recovered, then it is time to seek the advice of a professional.

They're Teething

Teething doesn't feel good. Cutting teeth is dreadfully painful, and often, babies become moody during this time. Food temperature may affect them, or they may simply not want to eat because food doesn't feel great on their teething gums.

If this is the case for your baby, don't force them to eat the same foods. You may wish to switch up to something softer or cooler on their teeth, which may prompt them to want to eat again.

You may need to seek advice from a pediatrician

Parents often jump to this conclusion first, and it's easy to understand why. It's human nature to jump to the worst-case scenarios.

Not eating may be a sign of something more sinister, but it also may be a sign of something much more common. Some serious conditions can be treated and then your child will resume their normal eating habits, whilst others are lifelong conditions.

It is important that you don't let your imagination run away with you, and to seek advice from your pediatrician.

What to Do When Your Baby Refuses to Eat

If your baby refuses to eat, it is important that you take everything into consideration before jumping to a conclusion. It is also imperative that you seek professional advice before attempting to diagnose or treat your child.

Most often, if your baby refuses to eat, it is an easily fixable issue and may include switching up what to feed your baby.

Want to learn more about Wunder? If so, visit our frequently asked question page.

15 Ways to Maximize your Maternity Leave

15 Ways to Maximize your Maternity Leave

With nearly 4 million babies born in America every year, you can bet plenty of new mommies are wondering how best to use their time during maternity leave.

Here are 15 unique ideas of what to do on maternity leave to help you fully experience the joy of this short, and wonderful time.

1. Get Photos Taken

Oh, those sweet little newborns only last so long. They look different with every passing day. Don't let that newborn face pass you by. 

Be sure to arrange newborn photos or a family photo session during your time off.

2. Order Vital Records

Sometimes new mommas forget to order their baby's vital records during the chaos of bringing a new baby home.

Maternity leave is the perfect time to order copies of the baby's birth certificate and social security card.

3. Eat Yummy Food

Mom, that baby belly will disappear. You'll return to a regular workout routine. Maternity leave is the time to boost your milk supply and enjoy a hearty meal.

4. Start a Baby Book

Create a baby book. Include photos, the birth story, and any other items you want the baby to see when he or she is older.

5. Join a Parenting Group

Finding mommy friends or other new parents to talk with will bring insight and comfort to your new life.

6. Develop a Sleep Schedule

Newborns have no set sleep schedule. But, towards the end of your maternity leave, you should be able to start seeing signs of a routine. Help baby and yourself by sticking to a regular routine.

7. Nail Down a Care Plan

If you're heading back to work, maternity leave is the perfect time to find a high-quality caregiver. 

8. Accept the Lack of Control - Hire a Parenting Coach!

You've had a baby. Welcome to a whole new life. Things will never be the same again. The sooner you accept the new lack of total control, the better off you'll be. Schedule a free 15-min consultation with our Wunder parent coaches!

9. Pump Extra Milk

If you've decided to breastfeed, maternity leave is the perfect time to pump a little extra milk. Especially if you're planning to return to work full-time and need to leave the baby with a caregiver.

10. Nap, Nap, Nap

Honestly, this can't be overstated. Every single chance you get to enjoy some extra shut-eye, TAKE IT. 

Babies don't keep and neither will you if you don't sleep while you can.

11. Take it Easy

Doctors often recommend no strenuous exercise for 6 weeks after delivery. So, take it easy with light walks or doctor-approved exercise.

12. Scope the Parks

In the coming days, you may spend lots of time at the local park. Find the best ones where fellow mommies and babies might gather.

13. Pamper Yourself

You just popped a baby out. It's time to "treat yo-self." Get your hair done. Eat dessert. Buy some new clothes. Whatever makes you happy.

Work and tantrums and sleep-loss are coming...

14. Plan a Pumping Routine

If you're planning to pump at work, gather your goods. Get your pumping bag and supplies ready so you can store milk away from home.

15. Make Some (More) Freezer Meals 

You probably did this before the baby came. But if you're wondering what to do on maternity leave, making freezer meals for your return to work will be a lifesaver. It'll also leave you more time after work to enjoy newborn cuddles.

Still Not Sure What to Do on Maternity Leave?

Don't stress, mama! As long as you've stayed in touch with work and hammered out details, just take this time to enjoy being home with the baby.

If you're planning to continue work from home after the baby comes, read our tips for new moms working remotely.

Cliff’s Notes: What is the 30 Million Word Gap—And What Does It Mean for Your Child?

Cliff’s Notes: What is the 30 Million Word Gap—And What Does It Mean for Your Child?

As a parent, research studies and concepts are tossed at you often—and you can feel like you haven’t done your homework if you’re caught off-guard. We’re here to help you demystify what’s out there, and put those theories into practice to help your child grow. Let’s start with a big one: The 30 Million Word Gap.

What is the 30 Million Word Gap?

In 1993 researchers Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley found that “children from high-income families hear up to 30 million more words by the age of four than children from low-income families.” 

That’s a pretty hefty claim and one that can feel really overwhelming, so it’s worth taking a moment to untangle the study and understand what it means—and what it means for your child.

For two and a half years, Hart and Risely studied 42 families of differing socioeconomic status, meeting monthly and tape recording the young children’s (from 7 months to 3 years) language environments. They found the children in the upper income households were spoken to significantly more often than their lower income counterparts. They used those numbers to extrapolate over the child’s waking hours to arrive at that 30 million number aggregate number that forms the difference by age four. While the original study also touched on qualitative aspects of the language as well (vocabulary, pace of talk, tone, eye contact, etc.), that information didn’t get nearly as much attention.

The findings sparked endless debate, as one would expect for research summarized under the heading: The Early Catastrophe. Programs and policies based upon the research exploded, including the founding of the Thirty Million Words Initiative by Dana Suskind. That Initiative organized home interventions to teach parents (especially those in low-income areas) how to speak to their children more and how to speak to them better, and garnered positive impact on those children’s test scores (you can watch a video showing some of their effects here).

So why is this a hot button issue again?
In the last two years, the debate was reignited, and the number isn’t believed to be quite as dramatic—partially because new automated technology like LENA has been developed to arrive at more accurate numbers and partially because the original sample wasn’t as representative as modern standards would dictate. NPR has a great article that summarizes the counterpoints to the original study, while still acknowledging that “the underlying desire to help kids is still pretty compelling.”

What’s most interesting to Wunder (and we think to most parents) is how that original study pairs with recent findings from neuro-imaging studies at Harvard and MIT.

As scientists have spent more time examining early development, modern studies show that the language areas of the brain (the Broca’s area) are actually most stimulated by interactive talk.

In short: It’s not just how much you say but how you say it. 

The MIT/Harvard study showed that conversation turns are more critical to helping language development than giving your baby a laundry list of words. Back-and-forth exchanges boost the brain’s response to language, regardless of socio-economic status.

While there might be an achievement gap, the types of conversations you have are far more important than the quantity. So it’s important for families of all levels to focus on modeling language types in those early stages to help make sure all children are on a level-language playing field. 

That’s why we believe a monitoring both word and conversation count is the way to go. It’s important to keep an eye on both the quality and quantity of conversation you’re having with your kids.

So, how can I provide diverse language examples to my child?

It’s important to engage your child in various types of language. Sitting down and trying to come up with 30 million vocabulary words isn’t going to better prepare them for middle school, but introducing them to cognitive stimulation and conversational skills at a young age does. 

Try some of these techniques:

  • When pointing things out to your child, look back at them and maintain eye contact to impress the vocabulary word
  • Play songs and sing along to promote memory throughout the day
  • Integrate counting throughout the day, for example ticking off their toes while you are changing their diaper. 
  • Identify noises you hear, say while you are on walk
  • Offer your child choices (keeping in mind that you’ll want to be happy with any of their options
Ask your child thought-provoking questions that guide them to: 
  • Come up with their own ideas
  • Think about something else he/she did recently that's related
  • Lead them to think about the real world outside the book you’re reading

    Wunder can help. Our app tailors activities to your child’s age and development, and features an entire section of ideas focused around improving language and literacy skills. Sign up to join our waitlist today.