Saturday, July 10, 2010

Introducing “F” for “Food” to your baby

I’ve heard many moms complain how fussy their babies are when it comes to food. Often meal times become a nightmare for parents when babies or toddlers refuse to open their mouth at all. It need not be that way always.
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Here are some tips and tricks I learnt while introducing food to my older princess Diya:
  1. Plan for introductory foods – specially made for babies, often sweet or bland – for about a month or a little over a month. Not too long.
  2. Once you feel that your baby is able to digest most stuff and is not allergic to most items, simply take a few things like rice, daal, veggies that you prepare for everyone else at home, process it in food processor to soften it and feed it to your baby. This way your little one and you do not need to have two cycles – first for getting used to bland food and then to get used to usual food that your family eats.
  3. If at times you feel some dish is too spicy for your little one, you can simply add water / dahi (curd) / butter-milk (chhanch) to tone it down.
  4. Allow your little one to play with the food. Babies are explorers. They like to experiment with things by taking it in their own hands, feel the texture, look at the colors etc. Make sure you take care not to let your baby put fingers dipped in spicy curry to their eyes etc. Otherwise if your baby is safe, it’s ok to become messy. Babies will love food times and it’ll be less fussy for you too.
  5. Give enough time between two meals. Let your baby feel the need to eat. Don’t force feed.
  6. It’s never too early to start learning good habits. Wash your baby’s hands and mouth or wipe clean before and after eating.
  7. Avoid getting into the habit of watching TV while eating food. You can spend time talking to your child, making stories, telling names of the dishes etc instead. You can even play games. Diya’s favorite one is where she is the dinosaur and is going to gulp down the naughty kid (that is the food). She even plays this to this day (she is 4!) when does not particularly like the meal we have prepared.
  8. If you child does not like some fruit / vegetable, don’t give up on it. Try a different dish with the same thing. Change the way you cook it and introduce again after a few days. Babies and kids will often surprise you.
  9. Start reducing intake of milk (specially the feeding bottles) when you start giving food to your baby.
  10. Avoid junk food. Specially with toddlers, you’ll have to be strict, but it will be worth it.
Above all, make sure the older kids at home or even elders, do practice what you are trying to teach your baby or toddler.

Do you have some interesting tips for our readers? Do share your experiences with us.

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