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Hey there, you’re listening to the My Sleeping Baby podcast, which is all about baby and child sleep. I’m so excited to teach you how you can get your little ones sleeping so that you can sleep too and enjoy parenthood to its fullest. I’m Eva Klein, your resident’s sleep expert, mom of three, founder of the Sleep Bible online coaching program, and lover of all things sleep and motherhood. If you’re looking for tangible solutions for your little one sleep woes or you simply want to learn more, this podcast is for you. For more information, check out mysleepingbaby.com and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @mysleepingbaby.
Okay. Melina, thank you so much for being here today. Why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself and, uh, what you do?
MALINA : (00:52)
Absolutely. Thank you for having me. It’s so great to be here. Uh, my name is Melina Malani and I’m a registered dietician. I specialize in nutrition for moms, the babies and kids, and I’m a single mom, two, three girls of my own. They are in the third, fifth and seventh grade at this point. Um, and I’m the author of the book, simple and safe baby led weaning, and recently came out with a course that’s based on my book. Um, so I talk a lot about starting solids on my ins gram account, uh, healthy mom, healthy kids, um, and about picky eating and about some of the different nutrition related issues that pop up when we are talking about feeding kids.
All right. So a really common question that I know that people are always asking is the right time to introduce solid food. Uh, you know, the four month mark, the five month mark, the six month mark. And I feel like there have been some really big changes in terms of guidelines over the last number of years. Like I can just tell you personally that when I was introducing solid food to my now 10 year old
MALINA : (02:20)
Such a great question and such a source of, for so many parents, because like you said, the guidelines have indeed changed so much over the past several decades. There’s been seismic shifts in the research that have then informed their recommendations. And people also have widely differing opinions on when to start solids, but we now know that there are risks with starting too early, meaning before four months and, or starting too late, meaning after six months. And some of the, some of these risks include type one diabetes and increased risk of type one, diabetes, celiac, disease, obesity, some food and texture aversions and delayed oral motor function. And so at this point, what we know the, the major health organizations, including the AAP, the new dietary guidelines, the world health organizations, they all recommend starting solids at around six months of age when the signs of readiness for solid foods are present.
MALINA : (03:23)
But the tricky part is that word around
Right? And that’s, um, also a massive change in terms of how we are addressing, um, these foods that are common allergies, right? Cuz I know with my 10 year old, the guidance was okay, no, and I’m, I’m paraphrasing here, right? It’s not exact, but it was something along the lines of like don’t introduce eggs until eight months. Don’t introduce meat until 10 months. Don’t introduce dairy until seven months. Like I got this, you know, very, um, clear cut, like step by step guide. And then by the time I had my now three year old, it was literally like put that all in the shredder and give them anything and everything other than honey. Um, and I know that I happen to have my kids around this very pivotal change in terms of how we approach allergies. Um, and, and it’s funny because you know, when one of the first foods I gave my three year old when he was five and a half months was, was peanut butter.
Like it was, and it felt mm-hmm
MALINA : (06:03)
Yeah, it it’s so true. It has shifted. There’ve just been these enormous shifts in the research that have informed the recommendations in terms of when to start offering those top allergen foods. And, and you’re right with now 12 year old, the guidance was very different. And at that point, um, they were saying, hold off on introducing those top allergen foods until one to even three years of age, but there had been some really amazing studies. One of them is called the, the leap study, the learning early about peanut study and this study that in high risk babies, um, when high risk babies were offered peanut between four and six months of age. So very early, um, early and often regularly about two teaspoons of peanut butter, two to three times a week, it reduced the risk of their developing a food allergy to peanut net by 86%. Wow. Which is mind blowing
That’s mind blowing mind blowing. Is this the study that was done out of Israel? Is that, that one? Um,
MALINA : (07:08)
I, you know what, I can’t speak to that. I don’t remember exactly where it was, where it was. Yeah. Um, but this, this study was, was really a landmark study in terms of, um, BA the recommendations on when to offer peanut. And we have really strong, uh, research on peanut. We have strong research as well, um, and growing research on egg and also some on milk. Um, and so the, the advice now in terms of preventing the development of food allergies is to get those allergens in earlier, uh, then especially then in previous, uh, than previous years. Right.
Um, that’s so interesting because, you know, I’ll tell you, um, cuz I know that there was, I don’t know if it’s that specific study. I know that there was a lot of research that came out of Israel around allergens because you see, and I’m speaking to somebody like I’ve been to Israel. I, myself, I have family that lives in Israel. I’ve been to Israel like over a dozen times, um, throughout my life. And when I was a teenager, I remember, you know, being in Israel and anytime we’d be at, you know, a restaurant ordering something, I have a be, I don’t have any allergies, but you know, within north America, allergies are very, very common. And so it would, would be this like really funny dynamic where, you know, you’d have this Amer you know, the American making these really annoying requests. Is there a Sesame I’m allergic to, I’m allergic to this and the Israeli waiters.
Like they can’t deal with it because it’s so frustrating for them because in Israel allergies for the most part, or just not a widespread occurrence, why? Because they have this particular product, um, called Bamba Bamba. Yes. You’ve heard about this Bamba. It’s like a peanut butter Cheeto.
MALINA : (09:31)
I think that fascinating. Yes. And, and then you
Fast forward another cup and it’s like, oh, well actually the reason why they’re giving their kids Bamba, like what the, sorry, the re the, the fact that they’re giving their kids this Bamba so early on is actually precisely, what’s preventing so many of these allergies. Isn’t that
MALINA : (09:49)
Fascinating? I know. And, and because Bamba is a, it’s a food, it’s a texture that, that baby can manage in the mouth as a finger food early on. Yeah. Because it’s soft and it sort of melts in the mouth. And so, and it’s fascinating to have sort of, um, stumbled upon that and, and figured out that it, it is a preventative, um, way to, to prevent the development of that food allergy. And it’s, it’s helpful to think about in terms of texture when we’re, when we’re thinking about offering and infant safe foods to babies that they can manage in the mouth mm-hmm
Yes, no. And anyone listening, I mean, it’s in north America, I mean, in Toronto specifically, I’ll just say that it’s not one of these products that you can get in like any red grocery store. Um, but if you wanna know where to get them, guys just send me an email and I can send you
MALINA : (11:47)
Yeah, there there’s lots of ways to make peanut inate. Totally. And I think that’s one of the things that, you know, blobs of peanut butter are a choking hazard. Of course, whole nuts are a choking hazard, but we can take a little bit of peanut butter. We can thin it out with breast milk, a little bit of breast milk or formula, or even some water that we did teething cracker. Yep. Spread a little thin layer of peanut butter on top of that teething, cracker and hand it over. There’s lots of ways to make peanut stirred into yogurt or, or apple sauce if you’re, if you’re going to puree route mm-hmm
No, that, that all makes sense. Now let’s shift gears for a second, cause I wanna, I wanna address another really big question, um, that I know I get from Paris and the question has to do, um, the question is basically how do I, I know when my baby is ready to go through the night without eating, how do I know that she’s not waking up hungry? Um, and then I guess the second part of that question would be, if I introduce solids, is that gonna help my baby sleep through the nights? So I’ll let you jam on that.
MALINA : (13:13)
Yeah. Ah, it’s such a, a hard, a hard, uh, time in a, in a, in a, in a parent’s life mm-hmm
MALINA : (14:06)
And, and one of the things that I, I love teaching in terms of starting solids and learning your baby is really letting your baby lead the process mm-hmm
Right, right, right. No, I, I agree. I mean, I get a lot of moms reaching out with little ones in that four to six month range asking, um, if I think that their baby is gonna magically start sleeping through the night, because they’re now be beginning to introduce solids and the way that I’ve from what I have seen the general answer is no,
MALINA : (16:08)
Yeah. Yeah. It’s true. And, and, and the thing to remember too, breast milk, indoor formula are going to be that number one source of nutrients throughout the first year of life. Mm-hmm
MALINA : (16:56)
They’re learning about different textures and flavors. They are exploring with hands. They are getting to know different smells and learning a new type of nutrition, a new way of, uh, nourishing themselves when they’ve been on a liquid diet entirely up, up until that point. There’s a lot going on.
Right. Or they’re gonna sleep for the night, you know, when, when they learn how, you know, in other words, when we address like the other puzzle pieces that, you know, need to be in place, like for example, yeah. If you have a baby who is over tired because their schedule isn’t biologically appropriate, introducing solid food, even if your little one is eating like full bowls of spaghetti and meatballs,
MALINA : (18:34)
Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. Yeah.
And so what’s your thoughts on this whole, um, I guess the world of, you know, baby led weaning versus pure eyes. I mean, I know that you’re a huge advocate of baby led weaning, but, um, I guess what I would love to know is where, you know, fir first of all, um, it’s interesting because baby led weaning when I had, you know, my 10 year old was like, I, I don’t either, either I had my head in the sand and I was living in, you know, under a rock
MALINA : (19:43)
Absolutely. You know, and yes I am. I wrote a book about baby led weaning. I am a huge fan of baby led weaning. There are lots of than benefits. There are, uh, there’s a growing body of research pointing to the benefits, but really at the end of the day, it’s about the baby and it’s about the family and baby led weaning is not right for every baby. There are certainly situations in which, um, it’s gonna be easier for the baby and for the family to start with pures and, and the truth is there’s no evidence that a combined approach is detrimental mm-hmm
MALINA : (20:39)
And then they get to toddlerhood. They were never offered pures and then they don’t know how to negotiate that texture. Mm-hmm
Now. So meaning, you know, I, I have a niece who is, hell is my niece now seven months, I think. And I know when my sister began introducing solids, um, she pureed, you know, I think some sweet potato for her and then fed it to her in a spoon, but, and she showed us this really cute video of, of my niece eating sweet potato for the very first time where she took, like, she loved it so much that she like grabbed the spoon and tried to like stick it, you know, in her mouth, um, that’s responsive feeding, right? Like that is a baby. That’s saying I want more of this. Um,
MALINA : (22:03)
Absolutely. Yeah. Like
That’s a very good thing. Right?
MALINA : (22:08)
It’s such a good thing. It’s such a good thing. And it, it is strengthening back to what I was talking about before about that internal self-regulation system. Um, you know, I, I started my career actually working at a, at the Bronx VA hospital in weight management and bariatric surgery. And I was, I loved working with the veterans and, and I was, you know, granted, I was working with a population who was struggling with, um, had, had, had lifelong struggles with, you know, eating, eating when understanding that internal self regulation system mm-hmm,
MALINA : (23:05)
Um, I think we, we do infants, a disservice, and this comes into play a lot with sleep. We do them a disservice when they’re distracted or when we think they need to eat more. And we’re either, you know, shoving in a bite when they’re distracted or not looking or pressuring them to eat more because we think they need to sleep more or because we think, yeah, because we think it’s gonna help them sleep more because we think they need more calories in them. That babies are really, really incredible. Yeah. At meeting their needs, their caloric needs, their nutrient needs, their nutrient needs. When we allow them to tell us when they’re full mm-hmm
Amazing. No, I think, I think that that is so bang on. I think that it gives nuance to this, um, supposed debate of pure rays versus baby led weaning when really it’s not one or the other, it’s just a matter of feeding your baby when they’re hungry and allowing them to be responsive. Right. And show you cues of when they’re hungry and when they’re full and allowing us to respond to those cues. Right.
MALINA : (24:46)
Absolutely. My, my dear friend and an incredible feeding therapist, her name is Melanie pot. She’s at my munch bug. Uh, is that her handle? I can’t remember her handle off the top of my head, but you could, you could pop it in the show notes. All right. Um, she talks about it as she says, it’s a dance, it’s a dance. And so when we think of about it, you know, when you’re, when you’re dancing with someone, you’re, you’re feeling the music and you’re responding to the music. It doesn’t matter if it’s finger food or, or spoonfed or whatever. You’re just responding to the person, to the music, to the situation. And that’s what we do when we’re feeding babies or that’s that’s ideally I think how it goes, it’s a dance, you listening to their cues. Yeah. I love that. I love that.
I love it. Amazing Melina. This has been so unbelievably helpful. Um, love all this. Where can people find, find more of you, you know, if they, if they want you in your life. Um, I know you mentioned that you have a course. I would love to hear more about it and where people can find out more information about it.
MALINA : (25:49)
Thank you so much, Eva. It’s been such a pleasure to chat with you. I feel like we could do this all day. I’ll have to come back.
Amazing. And I will post all of this in the show notes for everyone to grab, because it sounds like such helpful resources for, um, not even just first time moms. I feel like that would’ve been so helpful for me the third time around when, you know, feeding was so different than the first time around. And I was very overwhelmed. I was going like, oh my gosh, what, what the hell am I gonna do? So hold on a second. I can just give him a piece. Some my chicken, what, what should I be feeding him now? Am I giving you too much? You know, too much pure a, so that, that sounds like a very helpful resource. Thank you so much, Melina again, thank you everybody for listening in and you all have a wonderful day.
MALINA : (28:00)
Thank you so much. It was a pleasure.
Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a review and share this episode with a friend who can benefit from it. I also love hearing from my listeners. So feel free to DM me on Instagram @mysleepingbaby, or send me an email at email@example.com until next time have a wonderful restful nights.