Ten Things You Should Know Before You Introduce Solid Foods to Your Baby
Inculcating Healthy Eating Habits
Feeding your baby solids is a big step toward the independence of the baby and the parent. Children must learn to eat well and more so like what they eat as they transition from a baby to a toddler and later into adulthood.
Therefore, it is the parents' responsibility to inculcate healthy eating habits in children so that they grow up into happy adults later in life.
There are a few things that should be kept in mind by adults while teaching eating to children. Somewhere between 7-12 months, many types of foods can be introduced to a baby.
1. Before introducing a new thing, eat the same food in front of the child yourself. Repeat this step 4-5 times without offering it to the child. If he/she asks for it, give it. Do not offer more unless the baby asks for more.
2. Next, give half the quantity of regular food that your child usually has for eating. At the very next sign of hunger, try to give the new meal.
3. It is essential that if the child refuses, do not force, but give your child the regular food he/she is used to having.
4. As the next step, make the child hungry by making him/her skip a meal. Some adults may feel that the child cannot go for an entire day without food. Generally, that does not happen. Human beings cannot go without eating or drinking for a very long time. If food is not served for a little more time than the adult’s usual limit of patience, the child should eat whatever is offered next.
5. When the child is eating a new thing for the first time, do not insist that it be finished.
6. One must give various kinds of foods and try new recipes to keep the child interested in eating. So go ahead and be creative.
7. Every day, designate at least 2 meals that the child is supposed to have on his/her own. During these 2 meals, do not run after them or force them. Let these be their favorite foods too! These could be finger foods or even semi-solids. Don’t worry if they make the house messy at this time. After all, it is part of growing up. If they are allowed to experiment themselves, at around 12 months, they will learn how to eat properly.
8. Remember, making the child a little hungry before feeding is always better than forcing them to eat. This ensures that the child starts liking food instead of seeing it as a punishment.
9. Make your child do some physical activity every day. So get out of your couches, switch off the TVs and computers and make your child play. This exercise, especially done forty-five minutes to an hour before feeding time, goes a long way in helping your child like food.
10. Lastly, work towards making your child have regular food that is eaten in the family. There is no need to give food without spices. The idea is to make the child have everything that the family is used to having.
© 2011 Ashima