This is the second part on how to focus on baby weaning during infancy. Before reading on you might like to read about why we as parents must focus on baby weaning during infancy here.
At every family feast, a mother trying to coax a child to eat something effortlessly manages to hold the public eye. If the persuading doesn’t serve, focus is driven towards other tactics: nagging, forcing, enticing, enraging, until one of them drops by the wayside. That face-off, invites an impending battle at home.
Subsequently, when the child grows, at the family dinner table, a special dish for children is commonplace; a set norm, not even challenged. Likewise, food regulations authority, each child imposes exclusive regulations for his/her meal such as: not so peppery, no greens, no peculiar veggies and fruits like broccoli or grapefruit, no bitter in smell foods like eggplant or bitter gourd and so forth. Years later, exclusive food fades without even a citation. Because, switching the whole meal to a comfortable meal for the child is made an obligatory reform. With the parents fondly giving up their likings or healthy choices, we unlikely see them again at dine in.
Do you think all this is a righteous move?
If not, what do you think about taking an alter step, instead of giving such a noxious ideology room to grow.
Fussy eating, once acquired, is a mysterious habitude, strenuous enough to unwrap. As is well said, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’.
You can bypass it simply, with a bit of know-how:
- Say No to Aversions, Munch Healthy Assortments
Parents, the potential role models for child, need to put off their taste aversions; as children are more likely to embrace parents taste preferences. It may sound obnoxious to some, but notably not unreasonable; Irrationality is compelling someone to serve well, being reluctant yourself. Moreover, it certainly won’t be a piece of cake to persuade the child to have salad, while you served yourself a pizza.
Furthermore, woman carrying a child passes the flavors she consumes to the fetus through breast milk; consequently, helping baby to develop taste preferences by exposure to a variety of flavors. It means, if you consume spicy or sour foods during pregnancy and lactation period and it suits your body, your baby will be more likely to put up with them.
Isn’t it the most convenient and tempting way to follow?
- Add Variety and Flavor to Healthy Food
Young children are curious creatures ready to explore the new tastes. Try to offer them different sort of food at each meal. Dash a stereotyped feast with a new ingredient, with variant nutritional value, an enticing appearance such as roasted or steamed or grated or baked or fried, and sprinkle with some spice or zest and serve them.
Presenting them with identical meals will make them picky eater.
Don’t you think it would be better to toil an hour longer sooner than later to prepare everyday special meal to fill a demanding eater’s stomach?
- Respect Food and don’t use as Bribe or Reward
Statements like ‘If you will finish your meal, I will let you watch your favorite TV show’, ’If you will wrap up your assignments, I will let you eat your favorite dish’ and so forth, from parents have become cliché. By spurring in such a way, we are teaching the innocent child, the first lessons of bribery and to expect rewards for customary tasks. Beware; the move may backfire anytime with child subconsciously bribing you by asking ‘What will I get for eating my breakfast’. It might seem mirthful intermittently, but it might be undermining the inner strength of child in a sneaky way. Moreover, it certainly won’t ingrain healthy eating habits in them.
- Abstain from Conflicting Emotions
Parents often tend to refrain from serving foods, that do not delight their own taste buds or that sound unappetizing to them, even if they are healthy to their child. If at all they serve, they already make up the mind that child won’t relish the meal and thus involuntarily display the preparedness to serve an alternate meal. Thus, the child’s unwillingness to consume it is readily and sympathetically accepted due to parent’s strong distaste for the dish and thus, is offered a savory meal instead. Later on, that food is not given another try as it is concluded that the child doesn’t like it.
- Handle with Aplomb
Presenting a child with a variety of food, needs patience: to neither compel nor praise them to consume food. As Joyce Meyer said,”Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it is how we behave while we’re waiting”. Keep cool, don’t stress, if an unfamiliar flavor is not able to convince your child. Pleasantly, with love and without frustration, try to give it a shot and another shot and so on. Children take time to accustom to new flavor; they have erratic mood swings, one time they may fondly eat a food, other time on the same day they may refuse impolitely to eat the same food. Backing off, not trying again and succumbing to offer a likable feast often will deprive them of nutrition.
Isn’t it better for them to seldom go to bed supper less rather than regularly consume unwholesome food?
- Schedule Family Meal
Family meal – a time off from work load, social media, television, etc., when everyone prepares food together, then sits and makes small talk while enjoying the food, later contributes to cleaning chore. Doesn’t it sound incredibly fantastic? Stealing an hour or so, at least weekly if not daily, for family meal, from your occupied schedule works wonders. Whether you dine in or dine out, introducing a new food with no nagging the child should be crucial. It should be an exposure to air of care and affection: Spice up the evening by jesting and narrating salty anecdotes from your childhood.
A time to acquaint with your child’s preferences, introduce a new food, fulfill their emotional needs and develop a strong rapport with them is imperative. Isn’t it?
- Avoid superfluous Snacking and Drinking
Age influences a child’s appetite: Young children have small stomachs and therefore less hunger. Accordingly, excess consumption of liquids including water, milk, fruit juice and other drinks and snacking like gnawing cracker, sweets, etc. can quench their appetite for healthy meal.
Consult a doctor for the required intake of the liquids you offer to child. Certainly, drinking milk is of paramount importance yet not at the cost of nutritional privation.
- Adopt a Feeding Routine and Setting
Switching from an unusual feeding routine to an ordered feeding routine, consisting of 3-4 meals and 2-3 snacks according to child’s need, soon after the child starts solids will do wonders for you. The sooner it is done, the more likely the child is to fall into it, and soon the ball is in the parent’s court, as they become responsible to maintain the routine.
Undeniably scientific inventions have brought human life in a good shape; but the usage of products of technology like televisions and tablets for feeding children cannot be favored. Using technology to divert the child’s attention while feeding would rather lead to dependency instead of healthy eating habits.
Not introducing technology driven feeding setting to the child is the way to go. Try to entertain the child by sharing fun facts such as type, color, etc. about the food or read to them instead.
Don’t you think you are being discourteous towards food, a rare resource that you are lucky enough to get? How about persuading children by teaching the value of food instead?
By all this, the child learns that it is absolutely fine to say no to certain foods and ask for another. And gradually he starts rebuffing the meals offered habitually. The innocent child unknowingly concludes that food is to be consumed for taste and filling the stomach and not for nutritional benefits. Is the child’s conclusion right? Before questioning the child, shouldn’t we question our decision about not giving the food another try? Shouldn’t we understand that the child is still developing and cannot decide whether the flavor enticed him or not in one go?
We work so hard to provide them with all the comforts we couldn’t avail. Likewise, how about helping them adjust their taste buds for the healthy foods, we couldn’t cultivate?
Perused both the why (link) and how aspect of baby weaning? While putting it into practice, feeling weary enough to give up?
How about taking a shot to invite a family with siblings for a brunch? It might egg you on.
On a serious note, Please don’t take baby weaning lightly, it is the question of your child’s health, his or her life. Time flies, the day will soon come, when your child will be old enough to be in college, and decide for self. Take as much care as you can, till you can.
Please do share the information if you found it beneficial. Also, share your experience and what strategy you use in the comment box below, it might help someone.
Featured image from I, Ravedave,CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.