Science is fascinating. I used to love studying Human Physiology, Child Development, Human Nutrition, Food Science while in college. Counseling patients gives satisfaction but implementation of these subjects in own life is more satisfying and helps to counsel others in a more better way.
When I was blessed with a baby, the academics became practical for me. After all I had to take care of it on my own. I had to manage the home , the work,the baby. I had to give him the best. Started with the purest food, the breast milk. But a child needs nutrients as it grows up. Breastfeeding is no doubt the best but the demand of iron and other nutrients is important for a growing baby.
I started early weaning.
Children love to explore different foodstuffs but they get confused easily. Start with a food item at a time. I started with orange juice when he was three months old. On first day I gave him only a teaspoon of orange juice in the midmorning. Next day increased the amount to two teaspoon. By the end of the week he was enjoying half a cup of orange juice. The next week started with apple juice and so on. When he was a year old he knew the taste of most of the food.
Start with orange juice followed by soft rice , mashed cereals , soft fruits , soft cooked potatoes and other vegetables, puddings. When the baby is about a year old , start with hard boiled egg yolk then egg white, fish , chicken or poultry , meat.
Children enjoy finger foods , finger sized piece of papaya , apple or toast massages the gum when teething begins.
I used to have lunch alone when he was not there but after his “annaprashan”(the introduction of cereals to a child at about six months or appearance of the first tooth , whichever is first), we enjoyed lunch together. I used to cook rice , dal , veggies, sweet chutney , set the table took him on my lap, and used to eat. Yes , the food was normal, less spicy but children love texture, appearance and aroma of food.
Fix a proper mealtime and place for the child. No television, no mobile phones, no laptop, no birdwatching at the time of meal. Mealtimes is only mealtime and children will be grown up in some time. Good habits should be implemented from the beginning.
The meal time should be relaxing.
I have food preferences and everyone has it. A child is an individual and he also has it. But don’t show your preferences to the child. They are good in grasping the words. “What a tasty food !” helps the child to eat it instead of “ohho!again this dal .” Acceptance of food helps in proper feeding.
Children love colour. The food should be colourful
Food should not be used as reward or punishment. Don’t bribe the child of his favourite food. We want our children to be good citizens .
Don’t force the child to eat. How would you feel if someone forces you to eat his favourite dessert but you don’t like the smell of it? Insulting. So why a child? If he doesn’t like any food item just remove it. Try again after few days.
Don’t give anything to the child in between meals except water.
A child may eat less sometimes or more, it depends upon the weather, the room temperature, etc, don’t force the child and the food should be given according to the season.
Children love to act as a grown up. Let them to feed on themselves. Clear the mess afterwards. Provide proper utensils for them.
Along with the supplementary food or weaning food , breastfeeding should be continued.
The food should neither be too hot or too cold.
Don’t overfeed the child , give small helpings at a time .
Proper coordination between mother and child creates a positive and happy environment and the child is not a fussy eater.