Help build healthy eating habits
- Introducing a variety of flavors and textures helps your child create his own food preferences.
- Being a good role model includes eating a wide variety of food yourself and being positive when he eats a food that you might not like.
- Use praise and affection, not favorite foods, as a reward for good behavior.
- Don’t force your baby to eat — use his fullness cues as a sign that he’s eaten enough.
By now, your Crawler’s diet is probably growing to include baby foods with more texture and flavor and an assortment of finger snacks. Breastmilk or infant formula is still his main source of nutrition, but solid foods are becoming an important part of his diet.
Let’s build healthy eating habits
As your baby experiments with new foods, you can continue to teach him healthy eating habits. Keep these tips handy when it comes time to eat:
- Keep watching for his fullness cues. Since he’s more developed physically, he’ll be able to show that he’s full in different ways. For example, he may use his hands to cover his mouth or he’ll push away the spoon.
- Don’t force him to finish everything in the bowl, and stop feeding when he signals he’s full. Learning to self-regulate his food intake is important in helping establish healthy eating habits.
- Feed a wide range of developmentally appropriate healthy foods. His diet is expanding with more varied tastes and textures, and new foods will help teach him important feeding skills.
- Try offering one food he typically likes when offering new foods or those he has rejected before. It may take offering a new food up to ten times before your child decides he likes it.
- Avoid using food as a reward for good behavior or for trying new food. Using food as a reward can set up a negative relationship with food for your baby. Instead, use a hug or encouraging words.
You too, Mom!
Your own good eating habits can help teach your child how to eat well. Your Crawler is watching your facial expressions — both positive and negative, and how you talk to him when feeding certain foods. Keep it positive and upbeat even if you’re not crazy about a particular food.
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