Children do not eat what they like, but what they are served with. Therefore, it becomes very important for a parent to know what to offer her kid and what not to.
We have on board, Geetika Bajaj, a blogger and a mother to a 21 months old daughter Shivanya. Let us know from her about feeding habits in kids along with some of her personal experiences.
Q1. How has your motherhood experience been so far?
When my daughter Shivanya was born, initially I was very intimidated by the responsibilities knocking on my door. I was kind of puzzled about how will I manage everything and whether I would be a good mother or not. Being a mother has changed everything in my life, for the better. Before Shivanya came into my life, I was a lazy person but now I have totally transformed into an active and robust person. It’s like she is my priority now. Even if I have to skip my meals, I will make sure she feeds well as she has always been a fussy eater. So yes, motherhood is a life-changing phase for women.
Q2. According to you, until what age should a baby feed on mother’s milk?
I cannot comment about the age because it is completely a personal choice or decision of a mother. But, it is important to breastfeed a baby until 6 months of age as they are unable to eat solids that early. I have breastfed my daughter for around 18 months. I would have continued to breastfeed her till 2 years of her age, but due to breastfeeding I started facing medical issues and I was losing weight tremendously. When I discussed this with my doctor, she said you should not have continued breastfeeding her and so I had to discontinue it.
Q3. In your opinion, what is the right age to introduce kids with solid food?
Firstly, I would like to say that even if you know that you’ll get all these answers on the internet, never search them or follow them because in my view, every child is different and their needs are different so it entirely depends on the child and the mother. Till 6 months you are recommended generally to not give solids to your baby, but in my case, I started giving my daughter solid food at the early age of 5 months.
She showed us signs that her stomach is not filled enough only by breastfeeding and she always wanted more, so I began introducing her to solids since then itself. So you can give solid food to your child at any age in which your kid is comfortable and especially able to digest solid food.
Q5. What should be the food preferences for a baby at an early age and what did you choose?
I began with the conventional Indian way and introduced her with ‘Dal ka paani’ and served every vegetable and fruits or whatever I cooked in blended form or in the form of soup. But till now I have made sure that she does not eat any junk food. Each kid is different and their food habits and behavior will vary accordingly. My daughter did not like eating bananas and I never forced her to eat something she is not comfortable with.
I gave her food in the form of puree and she adapted to it easily. Whenever I gave something new which she could not digest, she vomited. A lot of people said that I should start giving her solids and not puree and if I don’t, she’ll not learn to eat solids. I always had one answer that she will when she is comfortable, every child has different demands and parents should address that instead of falling for petty advice which may not work for their child.
Q6. Many Kids are fussy eaters and feeding them is troublesome, so how do you manage to feed your daughter?
Well, I too have faced this problem as my daughter is a fussy eater. So to tackle this you can make a fancy environment for them like tell them stories while feeding or hand them a toy to play. Read rhymes or poems to them. I sometimes give my child a bit of screen time to enjoy, and screen time is not bad until and unless it becomes addictive. So, these techniques could be helpful to conquer this issue.
Q7. Should there be a definite time interval for feeding kids?
Yes, absolutely. There should be a definite time interval for feeding kids because it will develop an appetite and your child won’t become cranky due to an empty stomach. I feed my daughter in a regular time interval of 2 hours. Like I gave her a chocos meal for breakfast, then after 2 hours I’ll let her eat some snacks and then again after 2 hours approx I would give her a proper meal. So the interval is very important for the appetite and digestion.
Q8. How to convince kids to eat healthy food?
First of all, convincing is a wrong notion in terms of kids, because they don’t know what is healthy and unhealthy. They will get to eat what you serve them. So parents should take care of what they are offering to their kids. Moreover, parents themselves should develop the habit of eating healthy because kids demand what they see. If they see you eating pastries and chocolates, they will want chocolates but if you eat apples and bananas then they will demand those. So, on the part of parents, it is equally important to opt for healthy food habits.
Q9. Children often crave for junk food, so what alternatives can we offer them?
This topic raises the question that how your kid knows about junk food? It could be only because you served them. Hence, it is the responsibility of parents to not eat junk in front of kids or not offer them junk. My daughter never craves junk because I usually don’t let her have any junk and even if I do sometimes, I make sure her stomach is full so that she eats less of the junk.
Everyone eats junk, you, me everyone. But there are alternatives to this. If you want your kid to have chips, you can make banana chips at home or any other similar recipes. I too have offered my daughter banana chips and she liked it.
Q10. What is a ‘balanced diet’ according to you?
There are several diet charts available for kids which should be followed till 9-10 months but it becomes difficult to strictly follow any such charts. So basically the diet should be healthier than being balanced. Only adhering to the diet won’t be fruitful enough and you should add something extra or something which your kid personally prefers.
Q11. Any message to the readers?
I would like to say that don’t offer junk food to your children because if it ends up being a habit, later they will be facing a lot of health issues. If necessary, cut down your junk consumption too because your kids learn and demand things they see you doing. Make sure you offer healthy food to your kids and make them consume those through different new dishes and present them nicely so that they eat.
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