Meal Time Tips For Your Infant & Toddler

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A mealtime routine helps build strong family relationships and a healthy relationship with food. Children are born in all different sizes and weights. Some grow faster and bigger than others, and babies and toddlers can be healthy at many different sizes. Parents often worry about their child’s eating habits. Is she eating a balanced diet? Is she eating too much? Or too little? 

Good nutrition is an important factor responsible for your child’s brain development. But there can be more to mealtimes than just the nutritional benefits. Mealtimes are the perfect opportunity for you to shape up your child’s developing brain through positive, supportive interactions and face-to-face communication while also promoting his/her independence through self-feeding.

Infants start learning self-feeding skills as they develop fine motor skills and gain better control of the mouth and face muscles. It is between 6 months and one year of age, that infants are generally ready for self-feeding.  So here are a few tips on how to teach your baby to eat solids.

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Teaching your baby to eat finger foods: 

Even before they develop teeth, babies often enjoy soft finger foods and are able to mash foods into smaller pieces using their gums. At this time, developing important feeding skills by introducing finger foods helps your baby get used to different food textures, improves coordination and encourages self-feeding.

Read also about Benefits of Cooking with Your Children

Teaching your baby to eat with a spoon:

As you begin encouraging finger feeding in your toddlers, gradually introduce them to the spoon and fork.  Give them food pieces that are bite-sized and can be easily picked up and eaten.

Teach your kids how to sip with a cup: 

At six months, it is okay for your toddler to begin using a cup for drinking. During the initial phase, try using sippy cups. Drinking from an open cup uses different muscles of your child’s face. You may introduce your child to regular, open cups between six and nine months of age.

Ensure that you do not hurry with the mealtimes as children take time to practice these new feeding skills