Newborn babies seemingly nurse nonstop and new mothers sometimes feel like their person is no longer their own, as there is always a tiny human attached to her. If someone was to tell that mother that a day would come when the baby would press his lips together and would not allow a morsel of food to pass through or even keep food in the mouth for half an hour without swallowing, she would never believe that.
Unfortunately, babies become fussy eaters when they start solids, and mothers consider themselves lucky when their baby will take at least ten spoonfuls of food in succession without screaming their lungs out. All the weight that the baby had gained when breastfeeding or on formula begins to drop when he is on solids and no amount of screaming and threats and not even bribes work.
No mother wants to see her baby starve and so over the years, mothers have devised tricks to make sure that the baby starts to enjoy his meals and eats a little more. Some of these tricks are considered safe enough and they are quite effective, but there are some that doctors are opposed to.
20 Make a Schedule
When it comes to babies, the most important thing is to ensure that the baby gains a healthy amount of weight. When one goes to wellness check ups, the baby's chart should always go up and even though sometimes it holds constant, the aim should be to ensure that the baby adds on at least a few ounces of weight.
According to Parents, “Children need to eat every three to four hours: three meals, two snacks, and lots of fluids. If you plan for these, your child's diet will be much more balanced and he'll be less cranky because he won't be famished."
19 Dip It
Babies sometimes hate the taste of food or even the texture. The food may be good for the baby and it may be part of a balanced diet but his palate is not refined enough to appreciate this.
To help him eat more or even like the food, feel free to dip some of the food in soup or sauce to make it more palatable and enticing for the little guy. A dipped carrot stick or broccoli will go down a lot faster for him and it will taste different enough to fool him. Eating dipped food is a lot better than no food.
18 Plan Dinners
Planning meals is not something most of us are big on and sometimes, even planning one meal can be quite stressful. When it comes to babies though, it is imperative that a mother has a mental picture of what food to give the baby and when.
If she feels that planning weekly meals is too hectic, she should try doing three daily meals instead and take it from there. This will ensure that all the baby's meals are balanced and not hurriedly tossed into the microwave to make a meal. Well, prepared meals also give the mother the freedom to be creative and this will keep the baby munching.
17 Make Mornings Count
Fibre is the one thing that most babies never get enough of because most families do not put much emphasis on it. The best time to sneak in this essential commodity is in the morning.
This does not have to be fancy or elaborate, there are quick fixes of fibre, like whole grain pancakes or waffle batter, that will not only be enticing for the children but will also be gulped down as most people tend to wake up with an appetite. If the baby is sharing a table with grownups and sees them enjoy this meal, he is most likely to join in the delight.
16 In Soy
Many babies have allergies and for a commodity that is packed with nutrients essential for the baby’s growth, milk comes with allergies for some children. For these children, soy milk is a great alternative, but even for the kids without this allergy, soy milk is rich in healthy phytochemicals.
Most children do not like this superfood but it can be sneaked into a recipe and they will be none the wiser. When mashed into potatoes or oatmeal, soy will give the baby the immunity he needs while making the meal sweat enough to whet his appetite and asking for a second helping.
15 Let Her Make a Mess
Some parents obsess over the baby’s napkin and the dining table and keep wiping off bits of food that falls off the baby's plate. This is one mistake that we make and mothers who allow their babies to make a little mess will attest to the fact that the baby eats a lot more than when the place is neat.
When she can play with her food and feed herself, the food that lands in the mouth is a lot more than the spoonful mom tries to force her to swallow. Babies are imitators and when she feeds herself, albeit unsuccessfully, she feels all grown up and eats better.
14 Offer Finger Food
This one has to do with the fact that the baby is feeding himself. Bits of fruit sliced into chewable safe bits will make the child feel grown up and he enjoys the meal a lot more. Mothers should not worry about giving the baby a spoon in this case and the mess the baby will make should not be a factor either.
The idea here is to ensure that what the baby is eating looks appealing to him and that he can actually hold it and be able to put it in his mouth. Finger foods can be offered any time of the day as a snack.
13 Introduce New Foods Slowly
Sometimes, mom will find out that babies like to stick to what they know and they may resist anything else. A new food item will be resisted and before she gets used to the flavor or texture, she may not like it.
This should not discourage a mother and she should keep at it but the sure fire way of ensuring that the baby enjoys her new meal is to introduce it slowly, next to other meals and with time it will become a favorite or an alternative to any menu. If the baby really does not like it, shelve it for a few days and reintroduce it again.
12 Vary Textures
Nothing makes a baby fussy faster than boredom, especially with food. Most mothers feed their babies the traditional way by giving them mashed everything. From butternut to potato, to bananas and back to butternut. As time goes by, babies start to get fussy because like adults, they too get bored with a certain meal.
While giving large chunks of food items may cause a choking hazard, one can vary the textures without giving potentially dangerous food items. Some foods are too soft while others are buttery. Ensure that the child has variety and does not eat the same food texture day in day out.
11 Allow Treats
We want our kids to eat better and a lot more and therefore giving them treats may appear counterproductive. However, the truth is, in giving the baby a treat during dinner time, he has something to look forward to. Giving kids a treat at this time ensures that the food does not become “forbidden,” thus reducing its appeal.
Human nature is such that we tend to love that which is not allowed and treat anything we can get as normal. Let the child enjoy some treats sometimes and he will not be craving them as he eats his broccoli.
10 Cut Back On Junk
Junk food comes with empty calories that give kids more problems later in life. If a child fills up on junk food, he will not be able to eat his balanced meal and that is what will keep them healthy. The idea here is to ensure that when one goes shopping, the foods that come into the house are healthy and that the amount of junk food is kept to a minimum.
If a child only has the option of snacking on an apple then that is what he will go for. If there are cookies on the table and an apple, chances are, he will go for the cookie.
9 Have Fun
Make mealtimes fun and the baby will love it. Smiley face pancakes are a great way to have the baby wolf down a high fibre pancake. So, by all means, make snacks that are shaped like animals or vary flavors and give the meal a different taste than what the child is used to.
Doing the helicopter landing trick will also get the babies mouth open in a snap as opposed to “open your mouth!” A smiley parent has a better time feeding a child as opposed to the stern mother who wants the plate clean in a hurry and the meal over.
8 Be A Role Model
Babies imitate their parents and they are more likely to pick on the parents eating habits and adopt them. If you want your child to eat more veggies then it may be time to get over your veggie hangup and wolf them down.
Whatever the baby sees you eat he will want to imitate, but if he sees you play with your plate of vegetables he will most likely do the same no matter how much you yell. Research shows that mothers who are overweight and who feed on junk food pass the bad habit to their children, while those who watch what they eat pass the habit too.
7 Make The Most Of Mealtimes
To help the baby eat more, it is a good idea to eat meals together and offer some form of encouragement as he eats and treat him as one of the adults.
According to Wiki How, "Your baby will copy a lot of what you do, so eating together can encourage her. She will watch you carefully and learn from what you are doing. If she turns away from the spoon, eat it yourself to show her how tasty it is. Talk to her when you feed her and include her in family mealtimes. Having regular mealtimes can help your baby learn what time is food time.”
6 Focus on Tasting, Not Eating
Most of us want our baby to eat and fill up on whatever we serve and when the baby spits his food out we get very frustrated. After all, the idea is to have the baby eat and not taste right? Wrong.
According to Parents, “The more your child tastes a food, the more likely she is to accept and enjoy it. But tasting simply means the food touches the taste buds — she doesn’t have to actually swallow it. If you remove the pressure to chew and swallow and allow your child to spit things out, you’ll encourage her to try more foods.
5 Not Recommended: Offering Sweets Too Often
We sometimes choose our battles as mothers and when our little ones will not eat fruits or vegetables, every trick works and we can say, “At least she ate the fruit.” Most babies do not like fruit, but when the same is sprinkled with a bit of brown sugar, they wolf the food down without a fuss.
Most mothers use this trick and will even put a dab of root beer into the baby's prune juice to make it extra sweet. While this trick works well enough, pediatricians are opposed to mothers offering sweets to the baby too often. Too much sugar leads to diabetes, as well as other lifestyle diseases.
4 Not Recommended: Bird Feeding
This one is exactly as it sounds and it is just as yucky. This is where the mother chews food on behalf of the baby then gives it to him. This method of feeding children is wrong on all counts and should be avoided.
Not only because it is highly unhygienic and the baby is prone to a lot of infections and transfer of bacteria, but also because by the time mom is through with the chewing, she has consumed all the nutrients and what she is offering the baby is nothing but an empty husk. Chewing food for him also means that he will take longer to learn to do the same for himself.
3 Not Recommended: Forgetting Important Nutrients
Most of us tend to give the baby the same old food and if the child does not like one food item or the other, we just give up on it in the hopes that at least he will eat the rest. By so doing, we end up giving the baby foods that are lacking in most nutrients all in the name of filling his stomach.
According to Dr. Greene, “Repeat as necessary. Studies say about three out of four moms throw in the towel after their baby refuses a new food five or fewer times. The problem is, research shows it can take up to 15 tries before a child will accept a new food. If you can get your child to try something six to 10 times, you have a very high likelihood of forming a preference for that food."
2 Not Recommended: Spoon-Feeding For Too Long
Having a baby comes with the responsibility of shaping him into an independent person. Most parents prefer to keep spoon feeding mainly to control the mess a baby makes while eating, which is a big mistake.
According to Jill Castle, “Babies can begin the transition to chopped, table foods around 8 months of age. And if you’re a follower of baby led weaning, you know that solids can be introduced at 6 months. By one year, your baby should be eating table food, aka the food you are eating in age-appropriate textures (shredded, chopped, etc), and self-feeding with assistance as necessary. Baby should also be using an open-top cup.”
1 Not Recommended: Ignoring The Signs Of Satisfaction
Babies have a limit to what they can eat and their tummies are not as big as adults. The more a baby eats, the more his stomach expands and this can lead to problems with his weight in the long run. According to U.S. News, babies will show signs that they are full and this should never be ignored.
There are those children who become obese not because of their own doing but because their mothers kept shoving food down their throats. The rule is to feed the baby the right healthy food in the right proportion.