HEALTHY EATING FROM THE START – TIPS FOR PARENTS

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“My child is not eating, what can I do to make him/her eat more?”

This is one of the most common questions posed by parents to Paediatricians daily.

It shows feeding their children is one area most parents struggle with; especially with the infants and toddlers.

In this article, I will share few tips to ensure children are started early on the course of healthy eating.

If you struggle with your child in this area, you should find these tips very helpful.

Feeding is one of a parent’s most important jobs. It is how we help our children grow healthy and strong.

Mealtimes however are more than just food. Meal and snack times give you a chance to help your baby or toddler

  • Learn healthy eating habits

  •  Feel important and loved

  • Feel understood and respected

  • Trust that others will care for her

  • Feel good about her body

    Here are some ways to help your child become a healthy eater early!

    1. Remember: Mealtimes are about more than food.

    They are a time to connect with your child and to support her overall development. Talk with your child during meals and don’t let her eat alone. This helps build strong family relationships.

    2. Create routines around mealtime.

    Routines make children feel loved and secure. Establish regular meal and snack times beginning when your child is 9-12 months old. Routines help children look forward to each meal.

    3. Offer 3 to 4 healthy food choices (that your child likes) at each meal.

    Research shows that children will choose a healthy diet when they are offered a selection of different healthy foods.

    4. Don’t force your baby or toddler to eat.

    I know this is hard for some parents to take though but it is actually counterproductive to force-feed the children. This often results in children refusing the food and eating less.

    5. Don’t give up on new foods!

    Patience is the key. I often joke with new mums that they should add Patience as a middle name. Another good one is Perseverance. Don’t be quickly give in when the child refuses the new food after the first attempt. You may have to offer your child a new food 10 or 15 times before he will eat it. Yes!!! Please be patient. You may even have to revisit already abandoned one and you may be surprised it will now become accepted!

    6. Turn off the TV (computers, etc) at mealtime.

    The television can distract children from eating. It also takes time away from talking as a family.

    7. Healthy eating and exercise go hand in hand.

    So make active play a part of everyday family life especially for the older children

    If you tried all and still have concerns about your child eating habit especially if affecting the child’s weight  gain or activity level, you need to talk to your child’s health care provider especially the Nutritionist and Paediatricians so you can be further advised professionally.

REFERENCE: Here’s to Healthy eating by Zerotothree.org

16 Comments

  1. Yinka says:

    Hello doc.
    My 3 year old eat up to 10 times a day .every minute he keep saying mum am hungry. Sometimes he won’t finish it.will just take small and return please is this normal?y

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      I don’t think that is normal. A 3 year old should eat at regular meal times with healthy snacks in between. He may be seeking for attention from you and realize asking you for food is the only way to get it. Try and see how to engage him otherwise and let him eat at regular meal times.

  2. Temmy says:

    I want to introduce Aptamil milk and Gerber or ogi baba for my baby if he’s 6 months, pls ma is it okay to give? He’s still on EBF now

  3. Vivian says:

    My baby is 4months plus now but she doesn’t suck breastmilk very well n she reduced in her weight so I started giving her ogi ,milk n soyabeans, plz doctors in d house I would love to know some other healthy I can introduce to her, tnx

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      Wrong!!! Please breastfeed since your milk is flowing. You can also express the breast milk as well. You can see your doctor preferably a Paediatrician to also know why the child is not sucking well. Breast milk protects your baby from infections and the digestive system is not yet ready for complementary feeds until 6 months. Read about infant feeding in the first 1000 days here

  4. Vivian says:

    Plz doctors,my 2yrs baby is having hotness since a day n I v been giving her paracetamol n each time is been giving to her it will subside n I do clean her body with wet towel n after some time d hotness will come back n I don’t want to go to d hospital rather than health center n today is Sunday,pls Wat should I do ,or Could it be teething problem, tnx

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      Sorry you should take the child to the hospital as there are many possible causes of fever and you can not know what it is until a doctor has seen. Please do not assume teething at all. That is a dangerous assumption. Read more about teething and fever here

  5. Esther says:

    Good morning Doc. Can I have examples of healthy snacks and biscuits for my 9 month old baby, kindly assist. New mom at 43yrs. Thank you.

  6. Bee says:

    Good day ma’am. My baby is 2months old and he takes breast only. He belches after and sometimes during meals but most time after laying him down, he throws up through his nose little portion of his meal (not immediately), have this startled look on his face, breathes noisily and like in 2 – 3minutes after he’s OK.
    Is there something I should be worried about here? First time mum.

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      That is called REFLUX and quite common in babies at that age. The solution is to keep the baby upright for 15 – 30 minutes after feeding before putting to bed. It gets better as the baby grows older.

  7. Bibiana says:

    Hi Doc, my son of 1year 4months takes tea first thing in the morning after brushing, but the problem is he vomits it after taking it. What can I do to prevent him from vomiting please?

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      Stop giving tea first thing in the morning. Give regular breakfast like cereals. Tea is not meant to be breakfast.

  8. Adeshola says:

    Can a 10months old take corn flakes with baby milk

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      Not recommended except if soaked till very soft….Try other age-appropriate cereals.

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