If you’ve got a baby in the house, you certainly know the challenges that baby feeding time can present. Babies quickly develop particular tastes for certain foods, as well as those they dislike and inevitably refuse to eat. They have no idea of dental health or what will help their teeth grow. They can’t say the word “dentist” and don’t care a lick about the dentistry industry. Come at them with a spoon of commercially prepared beef and be prepared for the worst – either a deft little hand which sends spoon and beef onto the floor, or a big ‘fffflmmmth’ as the remark on what managed to enter baby’s mouth. However, you’re intent on making sure that your baby eats a nutritious, well-balanced (teeth happy) meal. Here are a few tips to making baby feeding time a happy time that satisfies your nutritional goals.
1. About an hour before baby feeding time, curtail beverages such as milk and juices. These beverages serve to fill baby up and thus be not quite so amenable to certain items on the menu. You don’t have to deprive your baby, just low-play the beverage end of the meal. This also helps keep baby’s taste buds in the welcome state.
2. Almost every baby has favorites when it comes to foods. Your baby may love bananas and peaches, but be less than happy about applesauce or blueberries. Remember, your goal is nutrition, so check your labels for nutritional value. All things being more or less equal, let baby eat the favored fruits. Pushing disliked foods on a baby can result in a very picky eater down the road.
3. Lots of babies balk at meats, especially the ones that come in jars. If proffering meat at baby feeding time brings the child to tears or tantrums, there are other ways to get that protein into an acceptable form. For example, you can cook a boneless chicken breast, cut it into several serving portions and freeze. When you’re ready to serve, put a portion in a baby food grinder, grinding until smooth. Baby will not recognize this as the same offensive product from a jar. The same technique works for veggies. Fresh is definitely better! After all, which would you rather eat? It’s also a good way to reduce the salt your baby consumes. Commercial baby food usually contains added salt. Of course, there’s no guarantee baby will like this any better, but it’s certainly worth a healthy shot!
4. Much as adults might freshen their palate between courses, with a small sorbet cup, try keeping baby interested by alternating the foods on today’s menu every couple of spoonfuls. A spoon of chicken, followed by a bite of applesauce, may suit baby’s taste. On the other hand, some babies are natural born ‘Dutch eaters’. These kids want to consume every last bite of one food before proceeding to the next. Whatever works!
5. Sometimes, baby feeding requires an ‘intermission’ to obtain the desired results. If baby starts acting fidgety, rejecting all food offers, it’s probably time for a break. Turn on some music, sing a happy tune or play a little game, counting fingers or gently squeezing that cute little cheek. Toys can also provide a diversion, convincing your little tyke that he or she is not being forced to toe the line, spoon after spoon. Get a few giggles going, and offer an empty spoon for baby’s choice of the next bite.
6. The much maligned tube is good for something. Cartoons are a good way to divert baby’s attention, automatically accepting the spoonful as the cartoon character weaves a spell on baby. Aha! Another bite accomplished.
Using these six tips at baby feeding time will surely result in more food in the tummy and less on the bib, high chair and floor! You can worry about dentistry, braces and future trips to the dentist at a later date. Aren’t babies cute?