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Understanding your baby’s food habits

Mother Feeding Her Baby

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici,

Mothers are naturally concerned about what their babies eat and how much they eat. The health of your baby is ultimately dependent on whether or not he has consumed sufficient nutrients to enable a stable growing pattern. Mothers also tend to panic when the baby starts avoiding certain meals or starts to eat lesser during the first year. This alarm escalates when the baby’s weight begins to drop. Even the pediatrician’s confirmation that the baby is sound and healthy is met with a certain amount of skepticism.
But what your child specialist says is true. Your baby is healthy despite the weight loss. Babies are as different as adults in their tastes and choices. In fact, certain studies have proven that babies develop their taste and food habits in the womb of the mother. You have to understand that your baby’s food inclination might be different from other babies around.
Some babies are born hogs and demand to be fed every second hour, causing their mommies to lose weight while other babies are fussy eaters and only eat as much as they want, spacing their meals and maintaining a slender form. It does not mean your baby is unhealthy. It just means he or she is not a foodie.

Teach your baby to eat

It is a common known fact that babies watch and learn. Start eating in front of your baby and make it look like an enjoyable experience. Smile when you put a spoonful of food in your mouth so that your baby registers a happy association with the act of eating. Smile when you offer your baby a spoonful of baby food.
[quote]Reinforce that eating is a good thing.[/quote]
Parents often tend to distract the baby by allowing them to play while they are eating. The common belief is that it is good if you can unconsciously stuff the baby’s mouth with enough food because the baby will gulp it down in his distracted state of mind. Give your baby the benefit that he is smart enough to ask for food when he is hungry and deny food on a full stomach. There is no point in force feeding your baby.
Instead of distracting your baby with toys during a meal, make the act of having a meal a fun experience. Sing your baby’s favorite song or talk to him in a happy manner making him believe that you enjoy feeding him as much as he is enjoying eating.

feeding time

Image courtesy of stevanin,

Try different flavors

Just because your baby seems to like a particular flavor, don’t always feed him the same thing. Babies have a habit of scrunching up their nose when they try a new flavor.
Some babies even squint their eyes and rub their baby fists over their mouth. This does not mean that your baby does not like the new flavor. All it means is that your baby is trying to adjust to something new.
Smile as you feed him the new flavor and work past his resistance. Babies are naturally resistant to change in their regular patterns.
Be patient and persist with your new flavor. Make sure your baby knows that eating the new flavor is the only choice of food he has.
Over time your baby will get accustomed to a variety of flavors and feeding will get easier.

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