Feeding Precautions To Keep Your Baby's Appetite & Health

Healthy and happy babies are one of the sweetest sights in the world. We usually visualize babies as a chubby squishy bundle of cuteness and this is something that makes them way too adorable.

Maintaining a healthy weight in babies can be a challenge, as every baby's eating habit is different from the other. Also, it is important to note that once the baby starts eating solids there will be changes in the baby’s weight which you will notice soon.

Let us explore some important feeding precautions to keep your baby's appetite and weight problems in check:

Enhancing taste to help the baby:

Your baby might dislike a lot of food, and it is natural because he or she is getting the taste of solid food for the very first time. This is why it is vital to introduce every new solid food in a likable or creative manner.

Not feeding the baby every time he or she cries:

A baby cries for various reasons, like being bored, uncomfortable or even a wet diaper. But responding to it with a feed every time will not only create an imbalance of his or her dietary habits but might also develop an unhealthy association with food.

Spitting issues:

Every baby starts spitting out solid food when it is introduced. This is common as long as it stops after a certain age. Also, spitting out food should not hamper the baby's weight, which needs constant monitoring. However, if they still continue this as a toddler, let them know clearly that it is not acceptable and needs to be avoided.

Food Allergies:

Food allergies are never fun, as they can give the new parents some pretty bad scares. Allergies limit the food options available to the baby and any ignorance can lead to fatal results. It is important to ensure that you look into any food offered to the child, be it at home or a restaurant and give strict instructions to any caregiver or babysitter attending to the baby.

Give healthy food:

Give your child healthy solid food as per their age and preferences. Having the kind of food that they see the adults having might make them want to try something that they are not used to and make them feel excited.

Don't overfeed:

As parents, it might feel that the more food the child is having, the better, however, overfeeding the child might not be a good idea. This might lead to health problems like obesity, as well as unhealthy associations with food.

Get your baby moving:

For healthy digestion of the food, make sure you keep the baby moving. Let your baby do tummy time, crawl around on the floor or encourage any kind of movement which he/ she likes. Once the baby can walk, let them practice walking in an open space. Introducing movement and exercise at an early age as a normal part of lifestyle helps your baby stay at a healthy weight, and be active healthy individuals in the future.

Starting family meals when the baby is young:

Once your baby sits in his/ her highchair, start serving him meals along with the family. Kids who tend to eat together with the family are more likely to develop healthy eating habits and therefore less likely to be overweight. It also helps to induce a value of bonding and healthy relationship in the child from an early age.

Additional tips:

Always warm up baby's bottle or food in a pan of warm water instead of a microwave. Shake the bottle after the warming of the food so that the food is heated evenly.

Don't let your baby fall asleep with a bottle, as the milk collects in the baby's mouth and can lead to tooth decay, choking or ear infections.

Avoid spicy, salty, and sugary foods or foods which might cause choking, like popcorn, nuts, sticky food like peanut butter, etc.

When your baby can bring his or her hands and objects to the mouth, you can slowly cut down on mashed/baby foods and offer more finger foods options.

Don't use food as a reward or take away food privileges as punishment. Also, refrain from using words like ‘fat’, ‘chubby’ or ‘skinny’ to prevent any unhealthy associations with food and any body-image problem which may rear heads later in life.

Feeding details According to Age

0-4 months

  • Breast milk or infant formula (50 to 100 grams); Feedings per day: 8-12

4-6 months

  • Breast milk or infant formula (150- 230 grams); Feedings per day: 4-6
  • Infant cereal (1-2 tablespoons)

6-8 months

  • Breast milk or infant formula (150- 230 grams); Feedings per day: 3-5
  • Infant cereal (2-4 tablespoons)
  • Biscuits (2); bread (1/2 slice)
  • Juice or water (0-150 grams)
  • Fruit or vegetable (2-3 tablespoons)
  • Home-cooked meal (1-2 tablespoons)

8-12 months

  • Breast milk or infant formula (150- 230 grams); Feedings per day: 3-4
  • Dahi (1/2 cup)
  • Infant cereal (2-4 tablespoons); biscuits (2)
  • Juice or water (150 grams)
  • Fruit or vegetable (3-4 tablespoons)
  • Home-cooked meal (3-4 tablespoons)

Feeding time can be a great bonding period for both your little one and you. It is a delight for every parent to watch your baby hold his first solid food or try a new food item for the first time. Solid food plays a vital role in the baby's growth as much as breast milk. Thus the introduction of solid food should be a happy experience for both baby and you.