Feed Solids to Babies the Right Way
Feeding Solids to Baby is beyond serving food to infants. Your way of feeding has an impact on your child’s emotional and psychosocial and most importantly physical development. Feeding solids the right way from beginning will save you a lot of trouble in future like challenges in baby led feeding, dental health issues, digestion issues etc. The following Baby Feeding practices and tips are carefully selected from study of various common mistakes new mothers make in solid feeding to 6-12 months old babies.
Mistakes to Avoid while Feeding Food to Babies
Mistake #01: Don’t Entertain Him While Feeding
Many parents adopt this ‘trick’ to get rid of their baby’s, eardrum-tearing cries. What they do, they prefer switching on the television or any media used for passive Visual Communication like phones and laptops. That could catch their baby’s attention, so that he gets distracted from the dollop of baby food they are trying to make him eat.
That’s the other thing that not only babies, even children, and adults should not watch or do anything while eating. But your baby is a melted wax right now, and he needs to be molded well. See how, television could hamper your baby’s development cycle. Why I should not let my baby watch TV?
Mistake #02: Not Eating Together
Usually, new-Moms have their meal after feeding their babies. They never have a meal along with him, thinking that they would be able to concentrate on him in a better way, when they are not occupied with some other work. Just a reminder, they learn what they see. Duo of a baby and a mother shares a deep bond. In the books of parenting there’s a term named ‘Baby Bonding’? Find out why you should bond with your baby?
One fine example to grow and develop your bonding with your child is to spend some time with him, during meal hours. Seeing you eat even he will get intrigued. You will come to know how quickly he would grasp your eating style. I.e. the way you chew your food, the way you swallow it, how you gulp down water and varieties of food you eat etc.
Mistake #03: Not using High-Chair
High-Chairs help your infant sit upright. This way he won’t get choked while eating food. Also, you won’t struggle much as with high-chairs he’s less likely to get distracted and fussy.
Some very important things to keep in mind while making your infant sit on high-chairs are:
• Strap your baby with the safety belt in the chair. It’s as a safe as a car’s seat belt.
• Just because you strap him doesn’t mean he won’t fall from the chair. So never ever leave him alone or unattended on that chair.
• Always stay close to him.
• If the chair is foldable be sure it is locked properly, every time you set it up.
• Your baby’s foot should not touch any surface like your dining table, or rims of your dining chairs etc. Otherwise he could make the chair fall by pushing it against it.
Mistake #04: Feeding Your Favorites
Many parents buy only those food for their babies, which they prefer eating. Do you have this habit too? Suppose if any of the parents don’t like a vegetable, they won’t buy the same veggie for their kid as well.
We are sure you must have tried that vegetable once in your life. That is why you have developed some of your most and least favorite foods. Hence you must also let your baby get taste every food in the market. It will also be fun to find out, whose hereditary likes and/or dislikes your junior has inherited. In short, never deprive your baby, nutritional foods whether you like it or not.
When introducing new foods to babies, you might want to serve it to him when he is hungry. Don’t just try once, introduce the same food to your baby in different manners. If he makes weird faces eating it, chances are there that he is giving his reactions over its taste. That doesn’t mean he dislikes it. If he dislikes a food you know very well the cues he makes when he is full.
Mistake #05: Odd Meal Time
To give Finger Foods you must see your infant’s hunger cues. Fix a timetable for their eating purpose. You can serve them finger foods during snack time and at the morning as a breakfast. It’s better not to make them eat anything, two hours before their meal time. If you would offer him untimely finger foods, this could upset his developing digestive system. Also, he won’t eat the real meal that you would offer at lunch or dinner time, as the case may be.
Mistake #06: Over Cooking
You are not making it ‘easy’ for him to chew the food, by making it all mushy and gooey. You actually kill the nutrients ‘easily’ by overcooking their meals. More overcooking makes the food soft to eat but less nutritious and less tasty. Many people also overcook the food so that no lumps are formed and the baby doesn’t get choked. But that’s a completely a wrong-doing.
Cooking processes like steaming, boiling and stewing should be preferred. As here the food is not exposed to more than hundred degrees. Whereas microwaving, roasting or pan-frying food for ‘quick’ preparation exposes the same up to a temperature of two-hundred degrees or more.
Likewise, Over Processed food is also not good for an infant like refined flour (boiled macaroni or pasta are often suggested as ‘Finger Food’ so they must be avoided), pasteurized milk, sugar, candy, chocolate etc. these all come under the category of over-processed food.
Mistake #07: Stuffing food
You think that since he is a growing kid, you should give him ample of ‘nutrition’ for turning him into ‘one wholesome fat kid’. That’s wrong. Your concentration should be on how much he can digest, not how much you should make him eat.
If your baby’s little tummy would be full, he would make the following gestures:
• Closing his mouth, for refusing to eat
• Pushing away the bowl or spoon
• Making irritated face
• Turning away their head from spoon etc.
Mistake #08: Blending/ Grinding Baby Food
We have consulted with Pediatrician, Pediatric Nutritionist and Breastfeeding Consultant, Dr. Shama Kulkarni (MD). Her first words regarding Feeding Solids to Infants was “Do not blend or grind food for babies.”
As this way they develop:
• Reluctance towards Baby-Lead-Weaning (also known as BLW)
• Constipation issues: When you give them a chance to chew the food, the saliva in his mouth gets mixed with it. This evidently helps him with easy digestion too.
• Blending does not exactly destroy fibers present in a food; it simply chops it into smaller pieces. Since pureed food are made out of blenders. Hence it is not considered good for them as they don’t develop chewing habits this way; neither do they develop their motor skills.
What Should You Do?
Simply strain the food and mash it. Infants have such strong gums that they could press most of the hard foods against their mouth. Gums don’t actually help them chew food but they assist them in mashing it on their own. So it’s better to give them mashed food having rough texture. Rather than giving them pureed food, having smooth texture.
Mistake #09: Complex Honey
Since the digestive system of babies isn’t fully developed. This way not even natural raw honey but also baby foods containing honey should not be given to them. As honey contains a spore or spores of a bacterium named, clostridium botulinum. That is responsible for many cases of food poisoning named ‘Botulism’.
Many parents out of ignorance and a tradition feed honey to their babies. Thinking it to be ‘natural’ as well as ‘healthy’ product, please note that you should give him honey only when he is over one year old.
Some of the early signs of Infant Botulism are:
• Lack of Appetite
• Weak Cry
• Difficulty in sucking or feeding etc.
Such symptoms would be visible to you after 36 hours of consumption.
Other such must avoid foods for babies are:
• Juices should only be given after he completes his 6 months. That too in a cup and not in a bottle.
• Nuts or Seeds
• Raw vegetables
• Fruit Chunks like chunks of an apple, whole grapes etc.
• Chunks of meat or cheese (Shredded or grated cooked-meat or cheese would do, but not their chunks)
• Carrots, Spinach, Beetroots or other such vegetables which are grown underground, must be washed and cooked properly.
Also, you should keep one thing in mind, all Baby food need not be sweet. If you try to give him everything sugary, you would not only make him sweet-tooth (Though this word sounds good, but its effects aren’t as good as it sounds). Also, his tooth would get prone to tooth-decaying and other such dental problems.
Types of solid foods for babies are searched a ton times every day over the Internet. But many people don’t know exactly, how to give Baby Food, to the one with tiny mouth and toothless smile. If your Baby is still not willing to eat his food, try some of our baby food recipes.