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Monday, September 2, 2013

Healthy Eating Habits for Babies

Introducing solid food begins when your baby is about 6 months old. Solid food is, at first, an add-on to the main source of nutrition, breast milk or infant formula. Until your baby is 12 months old, solid food remains a secondary source of nutrition. If you don’t know much about healthy eating,don’t worry. You have about 6 months to begin learning. There is no better way to learn what’s healthy than to make baby food at home.

    Teaching your child healthy eating habits will have lifetime benefits. There is no better time to start than with the first bites of solid foods. Having healthy eating habits does not mean dieting. Unless your baby’s diet is being watched by a healthcare provider, you do not need to count calories or choose low-fat or non-fat foods. It is really quite simple to form healthy eating habits. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Be a good role model. Babies learn through watching you and others around them. Be a positive force for your baby by eating healthy foods,such as fruits and vegetables. Remember, your baby will respond to what you like.
  • Don’t give up. Babies’ tastes change daily. The fact that your baby spits out peas one day does not mean he doesn’t like them. Unless he has shown signs of an allergic reaction, try the food again in a couple days-you may be pleasantly surprised.
  • Offer variety. All foods contain different vitamins and nutrients. Eating many types of foods will lead to a balanced diet. When your baby first starts eating, the amount is not as important as the variety.
  • Encourage drinking water. Water helps the body digest foods. As your baby is introduced to solid food, the need for water is greater. At about 8 or 9 months old, offer your baby 2 to 3 ounces of water at each meal.
  • Don’t be in a rush. Many babies are slow eaters. At the beginning feeding time may go REALLY slowly. Allow plenty of time for meals so you and your baby can relax and enjoy your time.
  • Never force babies to eat or to finish all their food. Your baby will eat when she is hungry. And she will eat the types of foods her body needs most. During meals allow her to eat as much or as little as she wants.
  • Avoid distractions. Make mealtimes a family event. The whole family should eat together any time you can. This will help your baby learn to interact with others at mealtime and to begin developing social skills.
  • Be positive about vegetables and fruits. Let your baby know what he is eating when you are feeding him. Talk about the vitamins he is getting and about how important they are for growing bigger and stronger.

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