The Experiments & Battles - Blog on 'Early Years & Eating Habits'
Introducing solids is one of the most interesting and challenging phase in the motherhood. Catering to the nutritional needs and to their changing preferences as the babies grow can both be fun and tiring. It’s the first step of a lifelong journey for the baby, which is greatly impacted by how, when and what they eat and see from the people around. Many researches point that the food choices in later life for most of us is impacted by food exposure right from our womb days, let alone the early years.
The first weaning year of the kids is very crucial and learning for both mummies and kids. The first six month of recommended exclusive breast feeding goes on a demand based cycles .Whereas the solids weaning phase is the time to establish patterns.
The experimental phase (6-9 months)
Babies by 6 months gets very curious about everything around them and the food on the parent’s plate is no exception. They show their interest by pulling the plates or grabbing the cups making our mealtimes much more adventurous .This is the time they start salivating when they see someone enjoying the meal. Pureed vegetables, fruits, Ragi, anything mushy are best options to start with. Introducing as many new food as possible at this stage is crucial as these food choices appeal to their future innate predilections. It is advisable to keep salt and sugar at bay at this stage as baby’s kidneys are small to process the excess. The required amount of salt sugar for the babies goes through their milk .It is highly likely that these early days of no sugar diet keeps their chocoholic tongue short in the later days of their life. .
As much as this transition phase is challenging it is also a safer phase .It is the buffer period to experiment with solids as the kid gets most nutrients until 10 months from mother’s milk or formula milk .So any refusal or acceptance will not hinder their growth unlike the later months. Kids easily tend to accept new foods mostly as each flavor is new to them. Their exploring and curious mind loves trying new flavors and textures. Introduce one new food at a time and try it for three days before introducing the next new one. This helps determining how your baby reacts to each food. All said there definitely will be rejection phases but trying the same food 7-8 times helps them to accept the new taste. Be prepared for enormous food going to the bin .Food they liked first time may not be their choice the next time you try. Patience is the key to weaning.
Battling the growing demands( 9-12 months )
As the babies grow they get to become choosy and gets bored easily too. They might guzzle on many dishes and show a sour face to a few .By this stage they start showing interest in feeding themselves .They get very clever. They even check if the spoon has got their favorites or if the mommy is trying to cheat with a lesser favorite dish. The cheating part gets harder for the mommies .There was a time I used to dip every spoonful of food with a wee-bit of my little one’s favourite yogurt at the tip .She will open the mouth only when she sees the white yogurt .As weeks passed by she learnt to just lick the yogurt from the tip and spit the rest of the non-yogurt food out!! The hand mouth coordination gets better at this stage and this is the best stage to start with finger foods. They begin to enjoy munching their own food and love mimicking their parents. This is the phase the food and sleep patterns establish and things get steady. Most kids start crawling around and anything on the floor makes way to their mouth than the food served in spoon. They just love to roll around and holding them to one place for a meal begins to bore them. That’s when the autos, crows, dog walkers on the streets come to our rescue. There was a time I used to yearn for autos to cross my street every 2 minutes as the tuk-tuk sound catches my little one’s awe I just literally stuff a mouthful into hers.
Many kids tend to get picky as years go by .Every child has their own unique experience with food. They Trying the best to keep mealtimes interesting and sticking to healthy foods as much as possible helps imparting a lifetime goodness for them .As baby matures into toddler they learn most things from environment ,so it is crucial for us as parents to set examples for healthy eating A good beginning never goes wrong.
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