Nursing mothers are welcome to drop by anytime. Mothers who are nursing are encouraged to introduce a bottle to the infant prior to enrollment at Hillcrest. If baby is nursing, and baby has not learned to drink from a bottle, mother must plan to come to the center to nurse baby as needed. If mother cannot make it to the center to feed baby, and baby will not take milk from a bottle, caregivers are instructed to call to have baby picked up from the Center. If a nursing mother chooses to skip the bottle, it is mandatory that the infant has learned to receive milk from a cup, or at the very least has had some experience with it. It is expected that parents are continuing to work through this learning process at home, helping to keep feedings consistent between home and center. It is Hillcrest policy that infants are fed on demand whether bottle-fed or nursed. It is our goal to keep your baby happy. Please see our guide to breastfeeding that was put together by a parent and infant teachers.
Developmental readiness for solid foods:
There is no single, direct signal to determine when an infant is developmentally ready to accept solid foods. An infant’s readiness depends on their rate of development and infants develop at different rates. This is why constant communication between home and Hillcrest is essential about when and what solid foods to serve while the infant is in care. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers the following guidelines to help determine when an infant is ready to begin being introduced to solid foods: the infant can sit up in a feeding seat with good head control; the infant opens their mouth when food comes their way (they may seem eager to be fed or reach for food when others are eating), the infant can move food from a spoon into their throat; and the infant has doubled their birth weight and weighs 13 lbs or more. Hillcrest requires a family to provide a written request to begin introducing foods before the child is six months of age or can not sit in the feeding chair with good head control.
Introducing solid foods
Solid foods tend to be introduced gradually, which means that it may be appropriate to serve the solid food only once per day and then gradually increase the number of feedings per day. The infant does not need to be offered a solid food component that is part of every meal pattern, such as vegetables and fruit, until the infant has established a tolerance for that solid food at multiple feedings per day. It is important to remember that the quantity of food an infant consumes changes from feeding to feeding or day to day. Infants may want to eat less food when teething or not feeling well and more food on days when they have a very good appetite.
On demand feeding
Hillcrest offers all infants at the center meals that comply with the infant meal pattern requirements. Infants do not typically eat on a strict schedule and do not necessarily eat at traditional breakfast, lunch and snack times. Rather, it is best to feed infants when they show signs of being hungry. This helps ensure that the infant gets the right amount of food for growth. This “on demand” feeding is considered better for baby. Additionally, the quantity of food an infant consumes changes from feeding to feeding and day to day. Because of an infant’s varied eating pattern, we are mindful of what the infant eats over the course of the day versus each individual feeding. As long as all the required food components (i.e. breastmilk and/or formula and the solid foods the infant is developmentally ready to accept) are offered over the course of the entire day, they may be counted towards CACFP meals. Infants do not need to consume the entire meal offered to be creditable.
Family preference and requirements
Families are welcome to bring food from home for their child as long as it is labeled with their child’s name, date and meets the CACFP requirements, please speak with Ms. Christina for more information. We ask that families ensure that the whiteboard in the classroom is current with the food their child can have or their restrictions. Additionally, we require a new bottle for each serving through the day; and all bottles, nipples and nipple covers must be labeled with your child’s initials.