It’s strange to think how important Baby’s eating habits are before they even have more than a couple of teeth, but it’s true. Right now, as they are only just figuring out how they feel about flavors besides breast milk or formula, they are fueling the growth of their body and brain that will carry them through till adulthood, and they are forming their very first ideas about taste in food and table manners.
Variety is the spice of life
At this point, Baby would have to have worked pretty fast to pick up any unbreakable eating habits, which is why it’s a great time to get them interested in and used to a bunch of different types of food. Even if Baby doesn’t seem thrilled by a new flavor when they are first introduced to it, don’t be afraid to offer it to them a few more times as time goes on – it can take children as many as ten or so times trying a taste out before they can decide if they like it. Variety isn’t just important as a way of standing against picky eating, either – the more varied Baby’s diet is, the more likely they are to get the right balance of the nutrients they need naturally.
Follow Baby’s lead
It can be hard not to worry if Baby’s appetite seems to vary wildly, or if they go through periods of eating almost nothing, especially as they grow into toddlerhood, and their growth and metabolism start to slow down. At this point, Baby has no real concept of overeating, and they will eat as much as they need. In fact, feeding them when they isn’t hungry can teach them to ignore their body’s cues. As long as they are getting the nutrients they need to keep growing at a healthy rate, there’s no harm in following Baby’s hunger cues, even if they’re unpredictable or strange. Baby‘s doctor will be able to reassure you if their growth is happening at a normal, healthy rate, and will definitely let you know if Baby‘s growth rate suggests that it might be a good idea to alter their diet a little.
Baby may not have had the time to acquire a taste for sugar yet. They probably will, as few kids miss out on the instinct to hone in on anything candy-related eventually, but there’s no need to hurry that day along. Baby‘s kidneys also aren’t ready to process any added salt, so there are a few aspects of cooking it’s a good idea to hold off on introducing to Baby quite yet, even when they are first introduced to table food.
A family affair
One of the best ways to help Baby have positive associations with mealtime, and to help them start to participate in normal family life in a way that will carry them through childhood, is to sit them down at or near the dinner table with you for meals, and to eat with them. Baby just wants to be a part of the gang!