Science and Feeding Blog

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Brian for Web

Brian Wadsworth
brian@thrivefeeding.com

Technologist, entrepreneur, visionary, skeptic, and father of two great kids

Flowing Innovation into Baby Nutrition

I am the inventor of the smart feeder. Four years ago I met a brilliant researcher into the feeding challenges of newborns and the price we pay for not solving them. I was inspired to act.
She described a pervasive epidemic of problems getting little attention outside the health and wellness community and mothers themselves. And, over the next few years, I went on to learn enough to come up with ideas on how basic tools and technologies might help. Which brings me to today.
There is so much information and advice on the feeding of babies, often conflicting, that it is usually hard to know where to begin. As a male guest in a female domain my own, hopefully helpful, contribution is the application of basic science and technology to feeding.

Current Post

ParadoxTHE PACED FEEDING PARADOX.

How paradoxical that we ignore nature when using baby bottles described as “natural”.

The research shows that Paced Feeding works in the NICU. Plus, mothers who breast-feed use Paced Feeding to mimic natural feeding and avoid nipple confusion when using a bottle. The literature on Paced Feeding efficacy is extensive. It does seem obvious that getting as close as possible to nature’s way is a good idea and its pretty clear that Paced Feeding is that way. Why isn’t Paced Feeding usual?

Perhaps it is cultural?

We are a goal-oriented, time-deprived society. We eat on the run or in the drive-through. Eating is a necessary evil in the business of life. And we like routines and metrics such as three meals a day and calorie counts. Do we treat our babies similarly? Do we force them into our adult nutrition regime ignoring their unique vulnerability and needs? We value control. We actively manage our children. Trusting our babies to have control of their feeding and acting as their coach is not necessarily the obvious thing to do. The Cue Based and related Infant Driven feeding movements reflect a change of philosophy, mainly among health and wellness professionals. The tide is turning.

Should we blame the designers and manufacturers of commercial products?

Why not. It would seem they encourage forced feeding. We are told to tilt the bottle to make feeding easier for the baby. We are conditioned to believe that the bottle should drip milk into the baby’s mouth and to experiment with nipple hole sizes to try to match the rate of drip to the baby. We now have elaborate mechanisms for protecting bottle fed babies from overwhelming flow and overfeeding.

If only we had a feeding bottle based upon independent research. Hmm, there’s an idea.

Post History – Oldest First

The Context – a pervasive problem relegated to obscurity.

It is generally assumed that all is just fine in the world of babies. Infant mortality, at least in the Western world, has largely been eliminated. In the USA, we are down to 6 deaths per 1,000 live births according to the CIA World Factbook....

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The Genesis – how simple it seemed four years ago!

It was 2012 when I met my future mentor. She had spent a quarter of a century studying infant nutrition with funding from the National Institutes of Health. Her body of work is unparalleled as far as I know.

What did I hear?

Rejection and dejection – the Eureka moment.

It was 2014.

We had spent time designing an ergonomic self-paced bottle for premature babies. We knew it would help babies in hospitals. We also though it would resolve a lot of the very obvious frustrations of mothers with standard bottles. Amazon bottle reviews...

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Your Baby the Athlete.

You emerge from the womb, take a deep breath, and get to work.

Your job for the next few months is to grow and get stronger. Hopefully, you body weight will at least double during this period. You will need to feed every few...

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A Fitbit for Babies.

Having come up with the "infant as athlete" insight, it is just one more step to arrive at the thought we need a Fitbit for baby feeding.

What if feeding does not go well?

Baby is struggling to latch on...

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The Paced Feeding Paradox.

How paradoxical that we ignore nature when using baby bottles described as "natural".

The research shows that Paced Feeding works in the NICU. Plus, mothers who breast-feed use Paced Feeding to mimic natural feeding and avoid nipple confusion when using a bottle....

Continue Reading →