Healthy Eating Habits in Babies: When to Start Teaching Them
This post mainly focuses on How to make your baby a healthy and a non-fussy eater.
As I have been mentioning this in my many other previous posts that a baby learns from his mother through observation.
You should not make the habit of feeding your baby separately. First two months of solids are exceptional as you have to feed the baby with focus as he may not be sitting up straight.
Once your baby starts sitting and after two months of solid foods, follow the below practices to avoid the possible future troubles.
Have Meals Together
When a family eats together, they come closer to each other and learn a lot of things from each other during the meals. When you make your baby sit with you, he will learn the basic dining etiquettes from you. He will also learn how to hold the spoon, how to chew foods and other mannerisms.
Also, a habit of eating with clean hands and sitting on dining table will be developed in them. Leaving him alone for meals can add to his screen time and he may start playing with the meals and spread it around.
No Screen Time While Eating
During the meals, never allow your kid to hold a smart phone or sit in front of any screen. He should only focus on his food and not the entertaining stuff on the screen for completing his meals quickly. Many a time, parents have to allow their kids to sit in front of the screen as they often show a disinterest towards meals and keep moving here and there. But, from childhood only, parents should develop the habit of sitting on the dining table and concentrating only on the food.
More screen time for kids is a strict NO. Longer exposure to screens like smart phones, TV, tablets or laptop can affect the physical growth of the kids. Also, many other problems like myopia and obesity occur in kids due to longer screen time.
Eating on Own
Yes, he may create a mess sometimes when you stop feeding him and let him eat on his own. But, at this stage, i.e. around 9-10 months, it is very important to teach your baby to eat using his own hands. This will develop motors skills in him. He will learn how to hold a spoon or hold food firmly and eat. This may need lots of patience and efforts but believe me, it will save your efforts and time in multiples in future. Moreover, when he will touch the food, he will learn about the temperatures like hot or cold. No matter how he picks the foods in the first place, he will get an idea regarding the aroma and taste of the foods in a better way.
Bland eating is a practice that every parent should follow while feeding their little ones. Babies below 1 year should be given bland and unseasoned food only. If you introduce sugar, salt and spices to your baby before he turns 1 then he will develop an intense taste bud and will not agree to eat bland food in future. Bland foods can be easily digested and they are good for baby’s health. The goal is not to make the food yummy but to make it healthy and digestive. In fact any food be it greens, startchy roots whatever, they have their own flavors and one should admire it. We Indians are spices addicted which is not a healthy habit. This is the stage you can make your baby accept and love the real taste of any food item. The baby develop an interest for the bland foods as you haven’t yet introduced salt, sugar and spices to him. Avoid adding ingredients like oil, butter, spices, chilly, salt and sugar to his diet before 1 year.
No spices, no oils no junks. Set rules and be strict on them.
Your baby is small and so is his stomach. Rather than feeding him more, try feeding him in small amounts throughout the day. Follow a good set schedule in order to keep the digestive system healthy. Always consult your paediatrician before setting a dietary schedule for your baby.