Getting started - How to help your baby enjoy eating


Title:Getting started - How to help your baby enjoy eating

How to help your baby enjoy eating

Heading: Getting Started on Healthy Eating for 6 to 24 month old children - How to help your baby enjoy eating

Sub-heading: How to help your baby enjoy eating

Hostess: During feeding, it is important for your baby to enjoy eating and to find meal time interesting. This helps him to accept various kinds of food so that he will be less likely to become a picky eater, or have other mealtime problems. For you and your baby to enjoy mealtimes, you should feed him according to his hunger and fullness signs. You should also provide him a comfortable environment so that he can stay relaxed. First, let's look at how babies behave when they are full.

Sub-heading: Signs of fullness

Narrator: If your baby does any of the following, he is probably full, slows down while eating, spits out Mommy’s nipple or the teat, stops eating and falls asleep, becomes distracted or doesn't seem interested in milk or food, turns himself away from the food or spoon, pushes away Mommy's breasts or the bottle, has strong reactions, e.g. arching his back. Babies adjust the amount of food they eat according to their needs for growth and activity. Sometimes they eat more, sometimes less. If you always insist that your baby eat more, either by urging him to empty the bottle, striking the bottle, or using the teat to tickle his mouth, it makes him feel unhappy, and he links these feelings with eating. He would end up eating less, or even refusing to eat. However, some babies are easy-going. Although they are full, if parents push them to eat, they will only resist slightly before continuing to eat. In the long run, these babies may become overweight.

Hostess: Some parents may ask, If my baby always looks around during feeding, how do I know whether he is full or not and what should I do next?

Sub-heading: How to know if baby is full or not

Narrator: You should follow him and take a pause. Then call to him and draw his attention to the food. If he still shows no interest that means he is already full.

Hostess: Besides understanding and responding to your baby's needs, a comfortable feeding environment is also essential for your baby to enjoy eating. It helps him to develop healthy eating habits and to lay a good foundation for a healthy lifestyle. Next, we'll talk about what makes a good feeding or eating environment.

Sub-heading: Good eating environment

Narrator: Before mealtime starts, take him to his chair or table to dine. This helps your baby to understand that it is time to eat. He will prepare himself. This also helps him adapt to daily family routines and to feel secure. Then, make your baby get used to mealtime routines such as putting on a bib, chatting with him and cleaning his hands and face. Second, remove anything that may distract your baby, for example: turn off the TV, or put away the toys. This helps him to focus on you and the food.A safe and comfortable high chair or booster chair is one of the best things a baby can have for feeding. You and your baby can see and talk to each other easily this way. This serves as a good time to increase bonding with your baby. Facing your baby also allows you to closely observe how he eats, how he reacts to new food and whether he chokes.

Hostess: Now that we've got the environment ready, how should we feed him? What are the important things that we should pay attention to?

Sub-heading: Points to note during feeding

Narrator: At the start of feeding solid food, it is simply for the baby to get used to eating food from a spoon. The amount he eats may be very small. Breast-milk or formula is still his major source of food, therefore you should not reduce the number of feeding times. Babies of this age usually have their own regular daily routine. In general, they need to be fed 5 to 6 times daily. You can give your baby pureed food in between 2 feedings of milk. Give your baby pureed food 30 minutes before milk feeding. Usually, he tends to accept new food more easily when he is not too hungry. When he looks at you and smiles, moves his head closer to the food and spoon, this means that he's quite willing to try the food. When babies are very hungry, they may become impatient or even cry. They are eager to have milk and will not be interested in the spoon. This is not a good time to try new food. To start, feed your baby solid food once a day. Give 1 or 2 teaspoons of runny congee pureed vegetables or rice cereal, and let your baby learn to eat from a spoon. When babies get used to eating from a spoon, you can gradually increase the amount of food.

Hostess: We have talked about when to give your baby solid food. Now let's see how to feed him.

Sub-heading: How to feed your baby?

Narrator: During feeding, you should respond to your baby appropriately. Hold the spoon in front of him so that he can see the food. Feed him when he opens his mouth. When he closes his mouth, gently take the spoon out. Be careful to hold the spoon level when you feed him. Remember to wait until he closes his mouth before you take the spoon out. Do not try to pour the food into his mouth. While feeding him, you should also talk to and interact with him. Use words, smiles, facial expressions and gestures to encourage and praise him. Feed your baby at the pace he wants to eat. Offer the next spoonful after he has swallowed and opens his mouth again. During the first few trials, food may spill out from the sides of your baby's mouth. This will improve after trying several times when he controls the muscles of the mouth better. When your baby can eat from the spoon, you can feed him solid food 2 to 3 times a day.

Hostess: Generally speaking, babies take 2 to 3 weeks to learn how to eat from a spoon. Once they can handle runny puree, you can thicken the texture of the food, from runny puree to thick puree. In the meantime, let your baby taste more kinds of new food.

Sub-heading: Getting Started on Healthy Eating for 6 to 24 month old children - How to introduce new food