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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Feeding your Baby

I am sharing the guidelines provided for me by a dietitian.

Feeding your baby in the first few months of his life with breast milk is quite straightforward once you’ve got the hang of it. And then after the 6 month mark, something amazing begins to happen. As compared to previously, he will start to take an interest in the food you eat and will stretch forth his arms to grab your food. In other words he wants to eat solid foods.

Weaning Your Little One
Experts generally agree that from 7 months, babies need something more substantial than milk alone to fuel their growing bodies. Whilst there is no strict guidelines regarding the sequence for introducing specific foods, most babies progress from smooth pureed foods to mashed foods, then roughly chopped foods and finally to small pieces of foods. Hence a good food to start baby on is plain rice cereal as you can mix this with breast or formula milk to a smooth puree consistency. The flavour is deliberately bland because your baby has sharp taste buds and can appreciate the natural flavour of foods.

Other foods which can be easily pureed to a smooth consistency can be given next, e.g root vegetables potato, sweet potato, pumpkin or carrot, protein foods like hardboiled egg yolk and tofu, and fruits like banana and papaya. Remember to introduce 1 new food at a time, and wait for a few days before introducing another new food.

As baby gets older, it is important to progress with giving more textured foods every 1-2 months, so that baby is eating small pieces of a wide variety of food, and ready to transition to adult foods by 1 year of age.

But remember, breast milk or infant formula will remain important to your baby’s daily intake, so, do not reduce his milk in a hurry. Transitioning from milk to solids involves some spitting, spills and a lot of mess, so do not fuss over cleanliness as feeding time should be fun for your baby.

Beware of Allergic Reactions

Sometimes, babies can develop allergic reactions to certain foods. So when you try out new foods give one new food at a time for a few days and observe for any allergic reactions or skin rashes. If there is a reaction, stop serving the allergenic food and inform your doctor on your next visit. Some allergic reactions such as an anaphylactic shock (e.g. difficulty breathing) require immediate medical attention. Wheat, eggs, nuts and seeds, cow’s milk, and shellfish are the most common food allergies. If there is a strong family history of food allergy, i.e 1 family member with food allergies, delay introducing dairy foods, e.g cow’s milk, cheese, yoghurt till after 1 year of age and delay introducing egg till after 2 years of age.

Social Eating

During meal time, let your baby join in the family meal an share in the spirit of eating, trying new foods and communicating with other members of the family.

Fish Food

Fish is a good source of protein and essential fatty acids that are good for your child’s brain development. Cold water deep-sea fishes such as herring, halibut, salmon, sardine, tuna and trout are rich in DHA, a type of Omega-3 fatty acid, which is essential to build brain and eye cells.

Some deep-sea fishes may contain high levels of mercury, which can harm your child’s developing nervous system. Avoid serving shark, swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel and albacore tuna to your little ones as these fishes have high mercury levels.

When you prepare fish dishes for your child, bear in mind that bones can be harmful to the child. So be careful as you can and remove the bones.

Fussy Eaters

When your child rejects foods and appears to be eating very little for an extended period, you may be worried that something may be wrong.

If you are concerned about his lack of food intake, take him to see a doctor or a dietitian to find out why he isn’t eating, weather he is getting enough nutrients and what can be done to help him eat. A child in the first year gains about 6-7kg, whilst in the 2nd – 3rd years gains only 2 – 3 kg. You can check if he is eating enough by tracking his growth using growth charts. So as long as your child is healthy, growing well and happy there is no real cause for concern.

Food rejection is quite common and you can expect your child to do this at some stage. As your child’s personality develops, he may even test the boundaries of what he can do by asserting his right to make decisions, one of which is to decide which food to accept or reject! And sometimes, a child would refuse food just to attract attention.

When your child refuses to eat don’t try to force-feed him. This only increases his will and resistance not to eat. Encouraging him to self-feed using his fingers, a spoon or a fork will renew his interest in foods.

Some children have an eating habit of grazing throughout the day instead of eating regular meals. When this happens, do make sure he gets healthy snacks.

Another reason why children sometimes refuse their foods is how the meals are prepared. Is the cooking bland and the same every time e.g steamed or boiled?

Fussy eaters usually don’t starve. They may not eat much today, but they will make up for it eventually. Fortunately for most parents, fussy eating is a phase, albeit a painful one for parents, which children usually go through.

Tips to feed fussy Eaters

1. Serve small frequent meals i.e 3 meals and 3 snacks daily.

2. Make eating a fun time by serving food cooked in different styles e.g grill, bake, braise, boil and fry. You can also cut veggies into different shapes, educate them about the benefits of eating well with interesting stories and encourage self-feeding.

3. Offer substitutions within the same food group.
4. Encourage family meals when your child turns 1. Children are great imitators and they are likely to accept new foods if they see adults eating them.

5. Keep the meal duration to 20 – 30 minutes as children generally have short attention spans. If he doesn’t finish his food, offer him a small snack 2-3 hours later to supplement his total food intake for the day.

6. Involve children in simple food preparation e.g washing fruits. Children are more likely to eat the foods they help to prepare.

Keep Trying

Infants and toddlers may need to be exposed to a food up to 20 times before they accept the new food!

Things not to do to fussy eaters

1. Do not serve milk, juice, soup water or sacks an hour before meals.

2. Do not give milk as an alternative to solid foods if he refuses his meals.

3. Do not get upset, force or threaten them to finish their meals.

4. Do not discuss your own foods likes and dislikes.

Sending this to Healthy Morsels Team- Healthy Morsels- Baby and Toddler Food

Some healthy food for Babies/Toddlers...........

                                            Toddler Foods

Ragi Kazhi/Poridge
for 6+ months old babies

Dhal (lentil/paruppu) and Mixed Veg Rice
for 8+ months old babies

Pasi parupu /Moong  dhal sadham
for 8+ months old babies

Feeding/Weaning Your Baby Tips
Feeding/Weaning Your Baby Tips

from 1+ year old babies

Carrot Milk
from 18+ months

Dates Paratha
from 18+ months

Banana Paratha
from 18+ months

Sweet Pasta with Fruits
from 18+ months

Sweet Rice Bread
from 18+ months

Chicken Soup
from 18+ months

Cheese Thosai
from 18+ months

Orange China grass pudding - A healthy dessert for kids
from 24+ months


1 comment:

Reshmi Ahmed said...

This post has it all !! It has all the info a new mom needs ! beautifully categorized, lovely write-up ! Thank you Jemini for taking effort to draft this for Healthy Morsels-Baby ad Toddler Foods :) We are pleased :)

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