Starting on healthy eating habits
- Start teaching healthy eating habits early.
- Help your child learn to self-regulate by following his hunger and fullness cues.
- Offering choices and variety in solid foods lets your child develop his own food preferences.
It’s hard to believe, but your baby begins developing his food preferences and eating habits as soon as he starts solid food! Being mindful about what and how you feed your baby helps him develop healthy eating habits.
Tips for teaching healthy habits
How you feed him can influence his eating habits later in life
It’s not only about what you feed him, but your feeding style. Help encourage a positive environment by keeping your focus on him when feeding and keeping calm and peaceful.
Also pay attention to the pace at which your baby is eating, and wait for him to open his mouth before feeding him the next spoonful.
Watch his reactions to food
If your baby makes a funny face when trying a new food, it doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t like it. It could be “hmmm, that’s new.” Remember, it may take up to ten tries before your baby accepts a new food.
Pay attention to his eating cues
He might turn his head away from the spoon to let you know he’s full, similar to how he turns away from the breast or bottle. He’s continuing to learn how to stop eating when he’s full.
Choose a variety of developmentally appropriate foods
Iron-rich infant cereal is typically a baby’s first solid food, followed by pureed, single-vegetable and -fruit baby foods. Providing a colorful mix of baby foods helps your little one learn about new flavors and gives important nutrients that he needs.
While it’s true that babies have a preference for a sweeter taste, they’re more likely to accept other flavors if they see it on their tray over and over again.
Even if he rejects a food at first, keep trying! It may take up to ten tries before he decides whether or not he likes it, so don’t give up too easily.
Offer more than one option
Try offering different foods on his tray at each meal to teach him about different flavors and textures. Include at least one food you know he likes. If he doesn’t eat other foods or eats them less than you think he should, don’t force him to eat it.