Advice from Canpol's experienced mothers.
1. Regular meal times are the basis. Of course, I am not considering the only breastfed babies, as they can eat whenever they want i.e. on demand. A baby fed with a bottle or at the stage of introducing solid foods should be fed at fixed times. There should be 3-4 hour breaks between meals that facilitate digestion. Moreover, fixed meal times establish a baby's daily schedule. The little one who knows when it is breakfast time, lunch, a nap, or time for a walk or play, feels safe.
Unfortunately, we failed for a long time to introduce fixed meal times, which resulted in different sleeping times. My daughter often got asleep well after midnight and then I could not wake her until midday. Sometimes we went to a walk before lunch and sometimes before tea time. This led to continuous crying, screaming and restlessness. All this was related to lack of safety. My daughter just never knew what would happen next. When I set a daily schedule and fixed meal times with maximum one hour tolerance, my little girl calmed down and began to sleep normally.
2. Do not give your baby any food between meals and do not force him to eat. Sometimes half a bowl of soup is enough. Of course I know many cases of smuggling food. The mum turns on a cartoon to interest the baby and then she tries to feed him. This is, however, very unhealthy, as it stretches a small baby's stomach.
You can not force your child to eat either. I know how difficult it is. Before I had became adept at feeding and learned how much my daughter was able to eat, we had had numerous fights over every spoon of the lunch food. Unfortunately, such behaviour can only discourage the baby from eating and he will associate the eating time with coercion.
And remember the the child must be a bit hungry to eat with appetite. Then he will certainly eat his lunch with pleasure.
3. One year old child should have five meals a day. Try to count how many times a day your little one eats. Remember to count each roll or yogurt. There are cases when a child eats 10-12 meals a day. This is far too much. If your situation is similar, try to quickly change the child's diet and reduce the number of meals. You can always ask for help from your child's pediatrician or dietitian to help you compose a nutritious and valuable menu for your kid.
4. Smaller portions facilitate digestion. An infant's stomach is of the size of a fist, thus too large a meal may burden his gastrointestinal tract, which is not yet fully mature.
If you can see that after eating half a bowl of soup the baby has had enough, do not push him any further. Do not run after him just to make him eat the whole prepared portion. When the baby gets hungry he will surely announce it very loudly.
5. Nothing worst for a baby than monotony I can not imagine eating the same every day. There is a wide choice of food on the market and you can easily compose a very diverse menu for your baby, even at the beginning of introducing new foods. There is a huge choice of cereals: millet, semolina, mountain or rice flakes. Everyday you can add different fruit or make your own compositions. Older baby can be given cereals every second day and you can introduce sandwiches or fritters instead. This way the baby will learn new tastes.
Of course it can happen, as was the case of my daughter, that a child wants only one kind of food for some time and does not want to eat anything else. Despite that we should encourage the baby to try a more diverse diet. I will tell you what I did in this situation. When my little daughter took to sandwiches she ate them for breakfast, tea and dinner. For the first few days she eat only ham sandwiches, then for a change I added some vegetables under the ham and changed types of bread. In the beginning she was very reluctant to these novelties. After a time, when she got used to and liked them we got back to the sandwiches once a day, in the full version with vegetables and wholegrain bread.
6. Give up salt and sugar. If you do not add salt to food and sugar to drinks or fruit, your child will not demand it. After all, we do not miss a taste we do not know. Remember that salt can burden an infant's kidneys, and sugar reduces appetite. Poor eating habits can lead to obesity in adolescents or in adulthood.
For a long time I did not salt dishes for my daughter, and eventually lost the habit of salting e.g. potatoes or pasta. I serve only natural juices and fruit. If an apple is sourish, let it be. Some children love such tastes and eat lemon or grapefruit with a smile on their faces.
7. Do not serve pappy foods for too long. It is not only monotonous but can result in various disorders as well. I do realize that feeding a baby with a mixed dinner is faster than waiting until everything is chewed and swallowed, but practice makes perfect. The sooner you teach your little one to bite, the better for his stomach (food will be digested quickly). Feeding a child only on mash, you can make him lazy.
8. Sweets - the later the better. My daughter has not known the taste of chocolate, because we rarely ever eat sweets at home. If it were not for a well-wishing aunt, who offered it to her when she was almost 2, she would probably not know what it even was for a long time. Now while being a guest, my daughter always tries to beg for chocolate and unfortunately I sometimes surrender. But basically I try to limit her intake of sweets.
If you want to treat your child to something sweet, choose your own cakes. Homemade cakes, cookies or a tort are free of preservatives. And when the little one craves for chocolate, give him dark and plain one, containing maximum amount of cocoa. Apart from calories the white and milk chocolates contain a lot of unhealthy fats.
9. BAN on fast food I can not even count how many times I saw a child under 2 or even just teething babies tucking into chips or a hamburger. It is just hard to believe the thoughtlessness of parents who serve such processed food to their children.
If you feel like eating something unhealthy, do not give to to the baby. Serve him a meal prepared by yourself. When we go out for a long time I always take some food for my daughter so as not to be tempted to feed her with something bought in town. When I eat a hamburger, or a pizza, my little girl always nags me to give her a try, but I flatly refuse. It always works.
You should avoid fatty, processed food. Offal such as liver, blood sausage, pate, or tripe should also never find their way to the baby's plate. If your toddler wants to try a pork chop, you can treat him to a piece, but remember that it is heavy and his tummy may ache.
10. Do not put the baby on a diet! Even if your kid does not fit in the centile chart, you can not introduce a low-calorie diet. Such treatments can be used only when the child reaches 7 and is under strict medical supervision.
Breast or formula fed baby will lose weight when he starts to move. He will have to invest a lot of energy in turning, crawling and then learning to walk and therefore will lose the excess weight. My daughter was outside the centile chart for a long time. She was very plump and tall child. I often heard advice such as: "Limit food! Put her on a diet!" It was only our pediatrician who forbade any diets. He only recommended sticking to proper number of meals. When my girl began to walk she lost weight and now she looks like a walking stick. Looking at her pictures from infancy, it is hard to believe that now she is such a shapely and slim girl.
Even if your baby is plump, do not forget to add some olive oil or butter to his dinner. Fats facilitate vitamin absorption, are a valuable source of energy, and play an important role in proper functioning of the brain.
11. Cow's milk from 3 years of age. During their first year all babies should absolutely drink breast milk or special milk formula. Cow's milk may burden an immature digestive system or kidneys as it contains too much protein and electrolytes. Besides, it can also cause allergy. Some time ago I discussed the topic of feeding babies with my grandma. In her times cow's milk was given to children much earlier than now, but still the phenomenon of food allergies was not so widespread. Perhaps a change in approach to cow's milk and a recommendation to introduce it into the children diet only after 3 years is due to technological developments. The milk available currently on the market is highly processed and thus it is fresh for a long time. Or maybe a different approach is due to greater knowledge on feeding and a healthy diet. Regardless of this information I treated my daughter to the cow's milk when she reached 3.