Bringing Up Babies: How to Cope with Mealtimes
Feeding your baby is often a stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be. The difference between family wellness and family fiasco is all in the way you go about doing it, and, if you follow these tips, you can make mealtimes fun and ensure your growing baby gets all the nutrients he or she needs.
Firstly, introduce your baby to savoury foods, such as vegetables, before you introduce sweet tasting foods, such as custard and fruit. If you’ve ever seen a child be given the option of something sweet or something savoury, there’s a 99% chance they chose the sweet option. Therefore, it’s important that your baby learns to eat savoury foods first, especially mashed veggies, lentils or beans and pureed meats. These foods offer a number of important nutrients including fibre, iron, zinc and vitamins and minerals which are vital for the wellbeing of rapidly growing babies and toddlers.
Next, give it a bit of texture. Once your baby has got to grips with fruit, vegetable and meat purees, you can increase the consistency to finely minced texture. This tends to be possible at around seven or eight months, and is an important stage to get to. Your baby needs foods that he or she has to chew. This won’t only help them to develop their chewing muscle, but it is also a crucial part in learning to talk. At nine months of age, you can start to include lumpier foods such as mince meats and pastas.
When it comes to mealtimes, make sure you always sit your baby in their high chair, at the dining room table, with the television off. Your baby has an extremely short attention span, and so distractions will prevent him or her from fully concentrating when eating. Your baby should be able to have family meals in a happy, social environment at 12 months, but it may be a nice idea to keep the “no TV” rule for mealtimes, so you can all come together as a family. At any age, mealtimes are meant to be fun and enjoyable, so if your child doesn’t eat what you want them to, try not to stress it. If they do not eat a lot today, they will make up for it tomorrow.
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