Parenting

Happy New Year, Happy Healthy Baby

Suzanne Murray
4


baby with spaghetti face

photo by BusyBee908

My baby just celebrated her first birthday and she had a cupcake with frosting for the very first time. I baked them for her party and decorated them with flowers, which she loves. She dove into the cupcake with such joy, and relished every little crumb. We captured it all on video and it's so sweet. But I have to be honest: I felt very guilty putting sugar into her pure little body.


The next day we went to an adult birthday party, and I didn't allow anyone to give my daughter cake. I thought that giving her two big sweets, two days in a row, would be too much for her little body to handle. Everyone thought I was just plain mean.

I have an friend who fed his four kids all organic, all the time. No sweets, no soda, no candy, no nothing. The result was that they went overboard whenever they were somewhere other than home and sweets were offered to them. They stuffed themselves silly—and got sick. Of course, the other extreme is feeding your child junk all the time, and that's not good either. There's got to be a happy medium.

Since it's a new year (both calendar-wise and in my daughter's life), I've decided it's a good time to set some ground rules for teaching her about healthy eating without depriving her of the enjoyment of food. I found some good advice in "Healthy Eating Habits for You and Your Baby."

1. Be a good role model. Your baby will mimic you and respond to what you like so don't talk about how you hate vegetables or your baby won't want to try them.

2. Take your baby to the store or local farm stands. Teach her the names and colors of different fruits and vegetables. Let her touch them.

3. Encourage drinking water. As your baby starts to eat solid foods, the need for water is greater.

4. Don't give up. Babies tastes change from day to day. Give peas a chance.

5. Offer a variety of foods to ensure a balanced diet. Different foods contain different vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. When your baby first starts eating, quantity is not as important as variety.

6. Never force babies to finish all their food. Your baby will eat when she is hungry and she will eat as much as she needs.

7. Make a schedule. Babies have little tummies so four to six small meals is recommended over three big ones. Establishing set times for these meals helps the baby learn a routine.

8. Don't be in a rush. Babies are slow eaters so give yourself plenty of time for each feeding.

9. Make mealtimes a family event. Whenever you can, the whole family should eat together. This will encourage your baby to interact with others.

10. Allow your baby "fun" food. Okay, this is mine, not the experts. I'm a very healthy eater, but I definitely indulge in a cupcake once in a while without feeling guilty, so my child can too. After all, I've always thought eating is one of life's greatest pleasures. Everything in moderation.

How do you plan on teaching your baby to be a healthy eater?



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