Your baby’s eating habits develop from when they are a newborn and it is essential to realize and understand what a baby needs at each stage in order to develop healthy eating habits.
Newborns require nursing round the clock and babies generally tend to get hungry a lot more than older babies. Newborns should, therefore, be fed on demand as this helps the baby to regulate what they consume.
No two babies are the same. One baby will nurse every 2 hours while another will nurse every 4 hours. It is therefore essential to follow what your baby demands so that the baby’s rate of growth corresponds with the feeding frequency.
Generally, as babies grow older they tend to nurse less, however, it’s important to understand that there can be variations. Older babies tend to become more distracted and this can extend the nursing time for longer even though the actual time the baby has nursed is much shorter.
During this period when babies are becoming increasingly distracted with nursing is also the best time to start weaning the child and introduce solids. It is recommended that solids be introduced when the baby is six months and not earlier.
During this stage, the baby is interested in eating what the other family members are eating and the trick here is to let the baby taste what you are eating and then going with the flow. Babies have particular preferences with regards to taste and texture so it is recommended to start with small amounts and get a bit creative with how you present the food.
The baby is the best judge of what he needs to consume so don’t force the baby to finish what he doesn’t want to and if he rejects a certain dish, wait a couple of days before offering it again.
Babies can develop peculiar eating habits that can frustrate their parents especially when kids will eat only certain things and reject all others. The correct way to respond to a child who ignores or pushes away a particular food is not to make a fuss or force her to eat it but to offer it another day prepared in a different way.
Mealtimes should be pleasant and relaxed and trying to bargain with your child to clean her plate is not the right way to teach your child to listen to her body on how much she needs to eat. Keep calm and realize that these phases will pass and just keep offering healthy foods and eating well. Your kids will eventually follow your example.
Other tips for healthy eating for your baby
- Serve modest quantities. Babies should eat several times a day; about 4-5 servings and not 3 times as adults generally tend to feed.
- Have lots of fruit and vegetables within easy reach that your kids can easily snack on.
- Have regular mealtimes and eat as a family. Family mealtimes should be relaxed and pleasant.