Archive for April, 2010

The Exploration of Eating

 Have you already noticed how your child experiences almost everything new by mouthing it?   They will pick up any object, look at it, move it from hand to hand, examine it, and then put it in their mouth.  It is normal and instinctual for your new eater to want to experience the food before it enters his or her mouth.  After all, food presents new colors, smells, and textures.  As self preservation, a little experimentation is natural. 

 Beginning eaters are usually willing to be fed by spoon, but a parent mindful of their child’s cues may quickly notice that their new eater wants more involvement in the eating process.  Let your child touch, smear, spread, lick, tap, pat and finger the food.  If the amount available to them is small, (about a teaspoon, or 2 peas) the mess will be minimal.  Also allow the tiniest tastes and the rejecting of food, via pushing it out with their tongue or just refusing it.  At first babies may want to do this every time they are offered food.  However, allowing this experience creates a child willing to accept and eat a wider variety of foods.  Remember, many babies need to have a food offered 10-12 times before they are willing to accept it and eat it on a regular basis with little muss or fuss.

 If you just cannot allow your baby to physically touch the food, you can offer similar experimenting opportunities.  Put just the littlest amount of a new food on the spoon and bring it to the child’s lips.  Let your child touch the food, or not, with their tongue.  This will also give your child the opportunity to taste and smell the food.  Young children have a much better sense of smell than adults.  Many babies feel a part of the process by trying to feed themselves.  Let your child have their own spoon while you continue to feed with a spoon.  Whatever experiences you can allow them will make feeding time easier and more enjoyable for both of you.

 As always, offer food to your baby, let them eat it or not.  If they reject the foods offered, you have done your job.  It is time to move on, not to other foods, but to another activity.  Keep meals enjoyable by following your baby’s pace and interest.  They will receive the nutrients they need if you offer a variety of healthy foods over the course of the day and allow them to eat to satiety.

 Beverly Pressey is a Registered Dietician with Master’s degrees in Education and Nutrition and specializes in working with care givers of babies and children.  Beverly has worked with individuals, presented at conferences, consulted with child care centers, taught continuing education and college classes, and presented at numerous parent groups.  As an experienced counselor, cook, teacher, speaker and a mother of 2, she has a realistic understanding of infant/child eating patterns plus the perspective of a busy parent.  Beverly lives in Seattle, Washington, find out more about her and her book at www.creatinghealthyeaters.com

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Helping Your Child Maintain a Normal Weight

 Here it is, nice and simple:

Biggest Indicators for Weight Maintenance

·         No solids before 4 months

·         Breastfed, then family meals

·         Enough sleep

4-12 months: 14-16 hours/day

1-3 years: 12-14 hours/day

3-6 years: 10-12 hours/day 

·         No TV before age 2, limited TV after

“Preschool children exposed to three household routines — regularly eating family meals, getting adequate sleep, and limiting screen-viewing time — had a roughly 40 percent lower prevalence of obesity than those exposed to none of these routines. The study, “Household Routines and Obesity in U.S. Preschool-Aged Children,” published in the March issue of Pediatrics

·         Very limited sugar beverages

Decrease or Eliminate:

Juice

Soda

Sweetened teas, sports or vitamin drinks

·          Limited sugar–added foods

“High-fructose corn syrup and sucrose are both compounds that contain the simple sugars fructose and glucose, but there at least two clear differences between them. First, sucrose is composed of equal amounts of the two simple sugars — it is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose — but the typical high-fructose corn syrup used in this study features a slightly imbalanced ratio, containing 55 percent fructose and 42 percent glucose. Larger sugar molecules called higher saccharides make up the remaining 3 percent of the sweetener. Second, as a result of the manufacturing process for high-fructose corn syrup, the fructose molecules in the sweetener are free and unbound, ready for absorption and utilization. In contrast, every fructose molecule in sucrose that comes from cane sugar or beet sugar is bound to a corresponding glucose molecule and must go through an extra metabolic step before it can be utilized.”  News at Princeton

·         Maternal restrictive eating practices

The more a parent interfers, the less the child follows their own internal cues for hunger and satiety.