Cultivating good eating habits in babies is essential for their long-term health. It promotes proper development, reduces the risk of chronic diseases, and establishes a positive relationship with food. By introducing nutritious foods and creating a positive mealtime environment, we set the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating.
♥︎ Establish mealtime routines:
It’s important to establish specific mealtime schedules for your baby, whether it’s for milk, main meals, or snacks. This helps your baby develop a biological clock and recognize feelings of hunger at specific times. Avoid giving too many snacks between meals to ensure they have a proper appetite for their main meals. Also, refrain from offering any food or snacks within an hour before a main meal.
♥︎ Create a dining ritual:
Before your baby sits down to eat, ensure they wash their hands and face. Set the table with their own utensils and put on a bib. Take a moment to talk about the food they will be eating, creating a sense of ritual and anticipation for the meal.
♥︎ Provide a designated seat:
Prepare a comfortable and attractive high chair for your baby, placing it in a fixed location preferably near the parents, at eye level. This allows your baby to feel more involved and engaged during mealtime. Remember to secure the safety straps properly.
♥︎ Eliminate distractions:
When it’s time for your baby to eat, turn off the TV and keep toys and mobile devices out of sight. This helps your baby focus on the food and chewing. Avoid making your baby laugh or getting angry, as it could lead to choking hazards or a negative association with mealtime.
♥︎ Set a time limit for meals:
It’s important to set a reasonable time limit for each meal. Allowing your baby to eat for excessively long periods can develop a habit of playing with food instead of eating. Limit mealtime to around 30 to 45 minutes. Regardless of how much your baby has eaten during that time, remove the utensils and let them leave the table. Avoid harsh criticism. Until the next scheduled meal or snack time, refrain from offering any additional food, giving your baby the chance to experience feelings of hunger and then eat properly.
Pro tip: For picky eaters, parents can focus on the presentation and preparation of the food, such as changing cooking methods or creating cute shapes. Mixing disliked foods with other foods can also help encourage acceptance.