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Introducing Solids: BLW and Spoon Feeding

We know introducing solids and weaning can be scary and exciting, that’s why we answered some common weaning related questions all parents have. 

Is My Child Ready for Solids?

American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you exclusively breastfeed or formula feed for the first six months. At 6 months of age, your baby may be ready for solid foods. Look for signs of readiness such as being able to hold their head up, showing interest in food, and the ability to move food from spoon to mouth. 

How do I Introduce Solids to my Child?

There are different approaches you can adopt when introducing solids to your child. Some parents swear by baby led weaning (BLW), while some are more comfortable with spoon-feeding. 

Be prepared for your baby to be more interested in playing and exploring their food rather than actually filling up on it. Other common occurrences like sputtering food, gagging, and making faces are normal. Remember, most of the nutrients and calories your baby needs will be provided by breast milk, formula, or both. If your baby refuses or shows fussiness at mealtime, try waiting a few days or weeks before trying again. As long as your baby is happy and healthy with breast milk or formula, there is no need to rush into solid foods.

Sit closely with your child and show them it’s ok to feel anxious or scared by the different tastes and textures of food. Do not pressure them to finish a food. In the first few months of weaning, it’s best to focus on quality instead of quantity. 

What is Baby Led Weaning (BLW):

Baby-led weaning is a a more recent approach to introducing solids. In baby-led weaning, your baby will skip pureed foods altogether. Instead, you offer your baby well cooked, soft pieces of food. Your baby works on transferring that food to his/her mouth by himself. By 6 months of age babies have a well-developed palmer grasp. Additionally, baby-led weaning can help your child build hand-eye coordination, pincer grasp, dexterity, and chewing skills.

With baby-led weaning, your child is in full control of how much they eat. Listen and look for cues that your baby is full. Do not force your baby to eat more once he/she is done. 

Start by offering single-ingredient foods to your child one by one. Make sure all the foods your child eats are well cooked and can be mashed easily in between your thumb and index finger. Chop or shred veggies, fruit, and meat into bite-sized pieces. Avoid hard foods like chunks of uncooked veggies, hard fruit, popcorn, or sticky nut butter. These foods are choking hazards. 

Watch closely as your baby explores and tries to eat. If your child gags, remain calm and address the taste or texture of the food. Choking is different from gagging. If your child is choking it means food is stuck in their windpipe and they cannot breathe effectively. It may help to take an infant first aid class just to be safe. To prevent choking avoid foods like grapes, hot dogs, popcorn, hard chunks of apples or anything hat is hard and coin shaped.

Introducing Solids by Spoon Feeding:

Spoon feeding is a more traditional way of introducing solids to your little one. Spoon feeding involves loading pureed food onto a spoon and bringing it to your baby’s mouth for him/her to eat. 

Cook whatever fruit, vegetable, grain, or meat you decide on and puree it with breastmilk or formula. Start with single-ingredient purees, once your child has been exposed to a variety of foods, you can start offering various combinations of foods.

Which Foods can I Give to my Baby When Introducing Solids?

There are many options to choose from when figuring out which foods to offer your child. To start, some parents choose iron-fortified cereals while some opt for bananas or avocados. Whichever solid you opt for first is a matter of choice. Remember, the most important thing is to offer homemade or premade baby foods that are free from artificial flavorings, preservatives, and added sugars. For children ages 1 and onwards, try our DINO BARS for healthy, mess-free munching without having to worry about harmful additives. 

Steam or poach foods without adding any seasonings or salt at first. Once your child is 7 to 8 months old, he/she can eat a variety of foods from different food groups. Grains such as oats, quinoa, brown rice, lentils are all part of a healthy diet. Dairy products such as low sodium cheeses and Greek yogurt pack yummy flavors and nutrients. 

Does my Baby Need Water?

A common question parents have when they introduce solids is if they need to give their baby additional water or juice. Firstly, your baby is still getting all the fluid he/she needs from breastmilk/formula or both. This means that you don’t exactly need to give them a lot of water each time they eat something. Still, it’s ok to offer a few sips from a sippy cup, straw, spout, or open-mouthed cup if they seem interested. 

Fruit juices, especially processed ones have high amounts of sugars, and shouldn’t be part of a child’s everyday diet. At 6 months of age, you can give your little one diluted fruit juice but doctors still recommend sticking to plain water. If you feel the need to give your child something other than water or breastmilk/formula, offer 1 part juice mixed with 10 parts water. 

Good Eating Habits Start Early:

It’s never too early to enforce healthy eating habits. Make whole foods the biggest part of your menu from day one and offer a model example through yourself. Make healthy choices so your little one follows suit. Limit processed foods and snacks to occasional treats. 

Make family mealtimes the most important part of the day. Don’t just focus on food, but also on making it a time the whole family sits together to share and talk to each other. 

Encourage your children to listen to their bodies for when they are full and when they need more food.

Let us know what worked for you and your little one when introducing solids. Did you opt for BLW, spoon-feeding, or a combination of both? Join us on Facebook and Instagram today to find out about our organic fruit snacks. Check out our blog section for more parenting-related blogs like this one. 

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Screen Time for Children: How to Limit and Substitute

Screen time for children can be tricky to control. Read on to find out how you can limit and substitute screen time easily and effectively. 

What is Screen Time?

Screen time is the amount of time spent on a device that has a screen. These may be smartphones, tablets, television, laptops, and computers. It is important to make sure you track and limit the exposure of your child to screens every day. Similarly, adults need to limit screen time as well.

Negative Effects of Screen:

When it comes to screens, they can be very entertaining and time-consuming, but, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the time spent on them is productive. Too much screen time has numerous drawbacks in toddlers and children. As children grow, too much of poor quality screen time can lead to several health problems such as:

  • Obesity
  • Poor sleep patterns and quality 
  • Lack of social skills 
  • Aggressive behavior 
  • Less time for actual unstructured play

Unstructured play is the best way for toddlers to pass time and learn about their surroundings. Parents and caregivers need to make educated decisions when handing over a tv remote or tablet to their child. Keep in mind to set a time limit and monitor what your child is watching. 

Quality Screen Time:

Making sure that your child uses screen time in a productive way whilst also keeping track of time is valuable. For example, instead of just watching videos, engaging your child in programming and educational apps is a better option. Remember that these apps still don’t replace normal educational activities outside of screens.

Sit with your child during screen time so you can explain what’s going on. Focus on apps and games that are age-appropriate and require more input than swiping or watching. Use our code DINOBARS_20 for 20% off of a one-year subscription on the Kiddopia app. 

Limit and substitute screen time for children

Limiting and Substituting Screen Time for Children:

Although this may seem like a hard task at first, limiting and substituting screens time with other adventures is important. For children 18 to 24 months old, limit screen time to 1 hour a day, and make sure that it is high-quality and interactive. For children 2-5 years of age, keep quality screen time under 2 hours. 

Make rules about screen time that need to be followed as much as possible. Set an example of using screens by following those rules as a parent. Keep screen-free zones in your house such as the dining table, bathrooms, and bedrooms. Make sure screen time is zero at least one hour before bed.

Preview any content or apps that your child will be using. Use parental controls and ad-free versions. It’s hard for young children to differentiate between ads and actual information. 

When possible, substitute screen time with free play, games, and activities such as reading and role-playing. Most importantly, get your children out of the house and have them play in a more open area. Offer them activities and games like tag, hide and go seek, basketball, and other activities that get them moving and enjoying one on one time with you. You can also work on teaching them how to roller skate, ride a bike, or skateboard.  

Managing screen time will be an ongoing challenge, but developing rules and constantly reinforcing them can make it a little easier. Let us know how you manage screen time in the comments.  Visit and subscribe to our Facebook and Instagram pages to keep up with deals and discounts. Check out our blog section for more parenting-related posts. 

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Importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Natures 3s

This week we decided to discuss the importance of omega-3 fatty acids and their role in our lives. Read on to find out what they are and how you can get the most out of them.

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Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain and eye development.

What are Omega Fatty Acids?

Omega fatty acids are a group of fats that are important for our health and wellbeing. Omega-3 and omega-6 are essential fatty acids. On the contrary, omega-9 fatty acids are not considered essential. Our body cannot synthesize essential fatty acids. Therefore, they need to be obtained from dietary sources.

Omega-3 fatty acids are divided into three types; ALA, EPA, and DHA. Omega-3 fatty acids are a crucial part of our diet. In fact, they are one of the few most widely researched nutrients. You can get numerous health benefits by devouring omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. Add them to your diet in the form of food or supplements. Most importantly, consult your doctor before using any supplements. 

Why are Omega-3 Fatty acids Important?

So, why are omega-3s important? For starters, omega-3s play a key role in brain and eye development in pregnant women and early childhood years. These fatty acids support proper brain function, heart health, joint and bone health in adults amongst many other benefits. They reduce the risk of osteoporosis and arthritis. Omega-3s also help people with conditions like eczema and depression.

Importance of Omega-3 fatty acids for Children: 

Omega-3s play an important role in development for children even before birth. Moreover, a good supply of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to assist brain development and intelligence in unborn children.

Similarly, omega-3s boost mood, brain function, memory, learning, eye health, and sleep in children. Getting enough omega-3s early on may also reduce the risk and symptoms of ADHD, developmental delays, and autism.

At DINO BARS, it’s always been our aim to provide snacks that are convenient and nutritious. That’s why we incorporate the best ingredients into our bars. One of those magical constituents is hemp seeds. Hemp seeds contain polyunsaturated essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6). Not only that, but they are in the perfect 3:1 ratio. Check out our nutrition facts here

Dietary Sources Of Fatty Acids for You and Your Children:

If you’re interested in increasing omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, there are a a variety of options to try. Always consult your doctor before using any supplements. 

Fish and Seafood sources:

Fish sources such as salmon, herring, and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Similarly, caviar and oysters are a great source of omegas!

Important omega-3 fatty acids are found in plant oils.

Plant Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

There are many plant sources that provide a good amount of fatty acids. Sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn oil, avocado oil, soybean oil all contain good amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. 

Apart from plant oils, brussel sprouts and algal oil are good sources of omega-3s. In fact, algal oil contains both DHA and EPA that is well tolerated. 

Nuts and seeds are high in omega-3s

Nuts and seeds:

Seeds and nuts are healthy options to look to for getting omega-3s. Flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are all comprised of omega-3 fatty acids.

Stay up to date on more articles about nutrition and parenting by following us on Facebook and Instagram. Head over to our blog section for lunch and snack recipes you might like to try. 

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Breast Cancer Awareness: Self Examination and Screening

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, we have decided to play our role in spreading awareness. Our aim is to help you learn how to self examine, when to get a mammogram, understand your risks, and practical tips for listening to your body. 

October is breast cancer awareness month

What is Breast Cancer?

Cancer is a disease which involves the abnormal growth of cells and it’s invasion to other parts of the body. Breast cancer is cancer that develops in the breast tissue. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer amongst women in the United States. Hence, the need to spread awareness about it. Although men can also develop breast cancer, it is more common in women. It is equally as important to acknowledge and understand metastatic breast cancer, which is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and currently has no cure.

What causes breast cancer?

Factors such as age, genetics, obesity, and being a woman are the main reasons that contribute towards your risk of developing breast cancer. Apart from those, previously pre-existing breast conditions, radiation exposure, alcohol consumption, dense breast tissue, or a history of breast cancer or lumps increase chances of breast cancer. Similarly, a woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has an immediate relative who has breast cancer. If you have a family member or multiple family members with breast cancer, it is advisable to see a specialist earlier in life and get monitored more regularly.

What is My Risk of Getting Breast Cancer?

Sadly, about 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their life. A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has an immediate family member who has breast cancer. 

About 85% of women who develop breast cancer have no known family history of it in contrast to women with inherited gene mutations. This occurs due to genetic mutations that occur as a result of increasing age and life in general. Age and gender play the most significant roles.

How Often Should I Self Examine and Get Screened for?

Early detection plays a vital role in treating and recovering from breast cancer. Moreover, becoming familiar with your breasts through self examination is critical in knowing and understanding your body. This, in turn, helps you recognize unusual changes. Any changes such as lumps, discharge from your nipples, pain, changes in size or appearance, or skin disruptions such as flakiness should receive medical attention.

In conclusion, experts agree that women should talk to their doctors about breast cancer screening from age 40 onwards. Women age 50 and above should talk to their doctor about getting screened every 2 years. As mentioned above, if an immediate family member has breast cancer, you should consult with a doctor for a personalized plan of action and early detection.

Breast cancer Awareness, know the symptoms.

How to self examine your breasts:

Self examination for breast cancer is fairly easy and can be done using your hands. No special equipment is required at all for self examining your breasts.

Stand in front of a mirror and undress the upper portion of your body.

  • Face forward and look for puckering, dimpling, or changes in size, shape or symmetry.
  • Check to see if your nipples are turned in (inverted).
  • Inspect your breasts with your hands pressed down on your hips.
  • Inspect your breasts with your arms raised overhead and the palms of your hands pressed together.
  • Lift your breasts to see if ridges along the bottom are symmetrical.

Next, use your hands to examine your breasts. 

  • Lying down. Choose a bed or other flat surface to lie down on your back. When lying down, breast tissue spreads out, making it thinner and easier to feel. Thoroughly use varied pressure to inspect the breast tissue.
  • In the shower. Lather your fingers and breasts with soap to help your fingers glide more smoothly over your skin.

Remember to take your time and follow a pattern such as a clockwise motion when inspecting your breasts. This ensures that you have thoroughly gone over all the tissue. Consult your doctor immediately if anything seems out of the norm. 

We hope that this clears up any confusion you have regarding breast cancer. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes whole foods and exercise helps reduce health problems and your risk for cancer. Let us know your thoughts on breast cancer and its awareness in the comments. 

Don’t forget to like and follow our Facebook and Instagram pages. Check out our blog section for parenting articles that are relatable and easy to follow.

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7 Healthy and Easy Homemade Snacks

Having a few recipes for healthy and easy homemade snacks can make a huge difference. We know that schools have opened and weekdays are busier than ever. Mornings, afternoons, and evenings are spent planning out and organizing the next day. 

Your in the midst of putting in the laundry and packing lunches. Suddenly, your kids who are either finishing up their homework or busy in free play start asking for something to eat. You look at the clock, it’s not dinner time yet, so you think about offering a snack. But you also know that if you hand out whatever snack-sized junk you have in the pantry or fridge, it’s going to backfire. Come dinnertime, they won’t be hungry enough to eat. 

That’s why we came up with a few healthy and easy homemade snacks for kids. They provide nutrition along with sustaining your kiddos up until the next mealtime. These recipes are the perfect sweet spot between leaving kids too hungry or too full.

Worried that your picky eater won’t even try, let alone eat homemade healthy snacks? Don’t worry, we have some tricks up our sleeves that could help them give a second thought to healthy snacks. While eating something is entirely up to them, appealingly presenting food and continuous exposure is up to you. Both of these factors play a vital role in developing better eating habits.

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What to Pack in a School Lunch: Ideas and Tips

We know that figuring out what to pack for a school lunch and snack can be time consuming. When you’re running late in the morning and you want to get the show on the road, a prepped lunch can be a lifesaver. 

Whether you have toddlers, kindergarteners, middle or high schoolers a little preparation can go a long way. That’s why we pulled together a few bits of handy information that cover some nutrition basics along with easy recipes that can be modified wherever you need them to be.

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Back to School Transition: Tips for Parents

At DINO BARS, we are always looking for ways to make parenting a little easier. Since schools will be opening soon, whether at home or on campus, back to school transition can be a source of dread for parents and children. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We put together a few tips and tricks to make the process a whole lot easier. Do you know what the crazy thing is? Everything listed is doable. 

Ever since the pandemic struck, children and adults have been through a whirlwind of changes. Parents have suddenly turned into work at home chaperones. They spend their days juggling work, chores, and their child’s classes/school work. The fact that they manage all this is pretty amazing. 

Even though every family and child is unique, we all wish that just this once someone would give us a handbook on how to “parent”. Keeping that in mind, we came up with tips and tactics that could get the job done and save your sanity.

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