Eating healthily is a habit that should last a lifetime. Below is the age wise description of how the habit formation is done:
They require breastfeed throughout the day and also at night. For the first few days the child may require feeds may be at an interval of 30-45 minutes and once the momentum is established the interval can be increased to 2 hours.
It’s important to feed your baby on demand (also known as cue feeding) as it helps the baby to be in control. Your baby’s rate of growth, stomach size and energy level affect feeding frequency to a large extent.
3-6 months: Eating more regularly
While in general older babies have lesser appetite as compared to younger ones, there are a lot of variations. With these changing feeding patterns and seeming disinterest in nursing, parents sometimes think that its time to start solid. It’s better to wait until the recommended six months. Studies have shown that adding solids earlier than six months increases the baby’s risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections—so it’s worth holding off.
6-12 months: Starting solid foods
Squash, sweet potatoes, carrots and beans are often appealing to babies starting solids. But even at this age, babies have different preferences. One likes rice cereal; another hates it.
The trick is to starting out with small amounts, and gradually increasing them. The texture of food is a big deal for many babies. Some want their food puréed; others prefer it chunkier. Parents sometimes need to get a little creative to make a food more acceptable to the baby. For example, many babies gag on the texture of prepared baby-food meats but mix it in with a little mashed sweet potato, and they might like it.
If you offer your baby a tasty spoonful of oatmeal and he spits it right back at you, it’s nothing to worry about: Just wait a week or so, and try again.
Whether your baby is enthusiastic about adding solids to his diet, or takes only a spoonful or two each day, it’s important to keep mealtimes relaxed and pleasant. Don’t try to force your baby to eat more than he wants, even if it doesn’t seem like much.
1-3 years: Prepare for picky eating
Toddlers only eat certain things and reject others. If a child pushes away or ignores the food you’ve offered, don’t make a fuss to get her to eat it. Just offer it again another day, maybe prepared in a different way.
While infants are trying to eat enough to triple their birth weight in a year, it’s natural for a toddler — who may gain only a few pounds between her first and second birthday—to have a smaller appetite. Parents tend to panic when their children’s appetites decrease or they go on food jags, but all these fluctuations and changes are normal. Just keep offering healthy foods and set a good example yourself by eating well, and your children will do just fine.
- Let the baby tell you how often he needs to nurse and for how long. Responding to his cues will help to build and maintain your milk production to match your baby’s needs.
- If you are bottle feeding your baby, watching your baby’s signals is important. Don’t try to get the baby to finish the last ounce or so in the bottle if she’s not interested.
- Try not to compare your baby with other babies. All babies have their own individual feeding patterns suited to their rates of growth.
- If your baby is asking to nurse more frequently than in the past, she may be going through a growth spurt or fighting off an illness. While you may feel as if you don’t have enough milk to meet her needs at first, don’t worry — after a day or two, your milk production will catch up.
- If your baby is easily distracted look for a quiet spot to minimize interruptions. A fan (facing away from the baby) can blot out other noises.
- Even if your baby is happy to be fed from a spoon at first, most babies will soon be interested in finger foods , and some prefer them right from the start. Prepare small pieces of soft food (banana, for example) that the baby can pick up to feed himself.
- Expect mealtimes to be messy. Don’t be surprised if more food seems to be spread over baby’s face and the high-chair tray than actually goes into baby’s mouth. That’s part of the learning experience.
- Keep sugary, high-fat treats like candy, ice cream and cookies to a minimum, especially if your child has a small appetite. You want to be sure she’s getting the maximum nutritional value from the foods she does eat.
- Since toddlers still have small tummies, they usually do better eating five or six times a day rather than three larger meals. Just make sure the snack foods are healthy ones too.
- Presentation counts! Toast cut in triangles may be acceptable when toast cut in squares is soundly rejected. Mashed potatoes touching the peas might cause a serious meltdown, and fruit salad arranged to look like a rabbit with raisin eyes might be gobbled right up.
- Worried that your child is eating too much? Don’t put her on a diet, but do focus on offering nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lower-fat protein sources. (Remember that children under two should have whole milk, not skim or low-fat.)