It is SO important to create a healthy atmosphere for mealtimes, to help your baby develop a healthy relationship with food from day one.
First Things First:
It is best to feed your baby in a relaxed, distraction-free environment so that he or she can focus on his or her food. Have your baby sit in a high chair and make sure that you are approximately at eye level. Hold the spoon a few inches in front of your baby’s mouth and wait for him or her to open up before you feed. Let your baby be your guide as to how much or little, or fast or slow he or she wants to eat. Stop when your baby is not interested anymore.
Let Baby Be The Guide:
Give your baby several chances to warm up to a new food- it may take 15-20 tries before your baby warms up to a food. Do not force feed your baby (even if you feel like your baby hasn’t eaten enough)- this may create a negative association with food and he or she may become more resistant to trying new foods. Be cognizant of your baby’s hunger and fullness cues and do not force your baby to eat or over-feed. Notice how YOUR appetite isn’t the same everyday- you may be SUPER hungry one day and then not so hungry the next- this is normal for you and baby. Your appetite also changes from meal to meal- as does baby’s. Your food intake likely evens out by the end of the week and so will baby’s. Baby’s are VERY intuitive eaters for the most part- they really honour their hunger and fullness cues and will tell you (in more ways than one) when they’re hungry and when they’ve had enough.
Be a Role Model:
Model healthy eating habits by having at least one family meal per day. Research shows that family meals help foster healthy eating habits and a healthy body image from a very early age through to adulthood. Include your baby in family meals by having his or her highchair included at the dinner table and talk to your baby during the meal. Offer a variety of foods and colors at meal times so that your baby grows accustomed to this. Leave food on your plate if you are comfortably full- try not to instil the “clean your plate” mentality in your baby. Rather, show your baby that it’s OK to leave food on your plate if you are satisfied.
Thanks for reading!
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