Child Health and Nutrition
One of the most important things that keep parents of toddlers worried is the health of the child. Once the child has been weaned off breastfeeding, or even before that, once the child starts with additional food in his/her diet apart from mother’s milk, a mother’s mind is flooded with questions. A most common query is, ‘‘How do I ensure the baby is getting full nutrition?” or “What to feed baby to ensure proper nourishment?’’
All these are very pertinent questions. The importance of nutritive and hygienic food for healthy growth cannot be emphasized enough. It is the food that your baby is fed at this stage that will make a big difference in his/her overall development, physical and mental. Whether you’re at home with your child, or your baby goes to nursery all day, there are ways to surmount this challenge. Gadgets and facilities today for mothers to store their baby’s feed abound. Find a good nursery who will feed your baby well in your absence, preferably one that encourages breast milk to be left with them for baby. But along with that, your baby will now need more, and should be fed with additional food.
Fresh fruits are a great option. Rely on fresh fruits and juices rather than canned stuff. The difference is huge, and always worth the effort. If your baby is fussy, leave their favorite and soups or puree mix made out of fresh veggies at the nursery to be fed during meal time.
The baby recognizes the smell of familiar food and will eat it more readily. Experiment with different combinations of such purees to find what your baby likes most.
A great advantage of introducing fruits and vegetables at an early age is also that it serves to build healthy eating habits from the word go. Children who fall into junk food eating can become really difficult to wean off later, so starting them young on health food is a great way to avoid difficulties down the road. Make sure your child gets sufficient amount of fiber as well. That keeps the digestive system robust.
Give your child enough food and the right food. But don’t end up overfeeding the child. Sometimes the fear of not feeding the child enough can lead to overfeeding by the parent. Ask your doctor how the baby is doing, and also observe if the baby is having fun while eating, and is able to digest what you feed him/her.
A healthy, nutritive diet will also ensure a good night’s sleep for the baby and hence a happy, healthy baby who loves and enjoys activities. Conversely, a poorly fed child will not be able to perform his/her best in school/nursery.
More than anything, make meal times fun. If the baby senses you are trying to get them to eat, it will almost certainly backfire into resistance from the baby. So the best approach often is to make it look like a game, and a fun activity, with food as incidental. This will take the stress out of feeding and both parent and child will enjoy the experience.
While the market is full of options on baby food and child-friendly packaging, be careful what you buy. Awareness on part of the parent is invaluable in this context. So ask around, read up on the available literature about various products, and be a responsible parent.
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