It’s difficult not to feel bad about yourself when Facebook moms post updates about parental bliss. Somehow these moms always manage to feed their child homemade baby food while you barely find the time to pop open a jar of puree. There are so many videos of babies eating everything on their plate and without a fuss, meanwhile your little one is always throwing food on the floor. Our minds are plagued with self-doubts—we question whether or not we’re doing enough for our children. Is my child getting enough food? Am I a bad parent? We may not know the answers to all your questions, but we’ve tried to answer some of the most common ones below:
1. When Should I Start Solids?
The American Association of Pediatricians and The World Health Organization recommend introducing solids from six months onwards. That’s when the baby’s digestive system is ready to process solid foods. Notice the keyword here is to ‘introduce’ and not replace with milk/formula, for example. At this stage, breast milk/formula is the primary source of nutrition and solids may be given as practice food. But age isn’t the only requirement for starting solids—look for signs of readiness! For example, if your child can sit without support to hold his head steady, or if he can take food from a spoon without pushing it back out of his mouth, then there’s a good chance he’s ready for solids. Some children are drawn by color and smell, which leads them to try and grab food while you’re eating.
2. What Type of Food Should I Start?
Start with simple blends that are smooth and easy to digest. As baby tries more food or eats a larger volume, introduce textured blends. This helps to develop oral motor skills, which in turn develop the child’s central nervous system. Oral motor skills like chewing, licking, biting, etc. are a proper workout for the tongue and they even help during speech development. Introduce variety in your child’s diet early on so that they don’t grow up to become fussy eaters. For example, this kale baby food is the perfect way to sneak in a little kale so that they grow up to love it!
3. Is My Child Eating Enough?
This is perhaps the biggest concern for all parents, especially if their child is a fussy eater. It is quite normal for toddlers to eat in small quantities and be fussy about food. It’s because toddlers aren’t growing as fast as babies and don’t always need a ton of food. Besides, they’re exploring the world around them, taking in the sights and sounds. They tend to have the attention span of a goldfish, so food isn’t always a priority. Children are also beginning to ascertain their independence by constantly trying to push boundaries. While blueberry baby food may be a favorite one day, it could be completely unacceptable another day. To counter this, provide healthy food options for the child and let them choose how much they want to eat. You can also reduce the amount of food per serving. Between meals, serve them some healthy snacks so that they aren’t hangry during meal times.
Got any other questions about feeding toddlers? Send your queries to email@example.com and our in-house team of pediatricians and nutritionists will answer any questions you have.