As a rule, all parents want their babies to eat breakfast, dinner and supper with zest, and also ask for a second helping. In real life we often see contrary situation: mom, dad and grandparents are literally “attacking” a loved baby with a request to eat another spoon for mom, and another one for dad… And a creature is sitting with tight lips, sometimes shedding tears or, eats all offered “a spoon for mom, and for dad” like a lamb…, but, when meal is over, he eructs.
Let’s clear out – is it so useful and necessary to feed a baby by force?
If your baby (we speak about babies over 1 year) is growing and developing the way his coevals do, and feels excellently, but eats half a portion of a neighbor’s Billy, don’t worry and leave him alone: he has such metabolism, he is satisfied with nutritive materials in that quantity of food, that comes to his stomach.
If your offspring is head and shoulders below his coevals, it’s another cup of tea, but there’s no universal recipe here too.
First of all, look at mom and dad closely, and, if it turns out that their height is below average, then what can we expect from a son or daughter? (As they say, like father like son…).
Don’t force such baby eating like everybody does, moreover, you cannot feed him by force (imagine yourself on his place), this can lead to a bigger dysorexia up to indigestion. Such baby should have a food ration, appropriate for his physical development (i.e. his real height and weight), not for age norms. Usually during pubescence period such children start growing quickly and catch up with their coevals.
Unfortunately, underweight body appears mainly as a result of wrong nutrition (or diseases). And here we receive vicious circle: as a result of long unbalanced (mainly – in quantity and quality of protein) nutrition, activity of digestive juices lowers, digestion and absorption of nutritive materials worsens, what, in its turn, leads to dysorexia and further reduction of body weight.
Here parents should learn one pattern: normal wish to eat appears in one only when his stomach is completely released from another portion of food (as a rule, in children this happens 3-4 hours after feeding), but a baby with hyporexia, as you remember, has lowered secretion of digestive juices, and a usual portion of food just fails to be digested properly and “leave” stomach, if you still force a baby to eat some food in this case, then he can start vomiting, and it will be a defense reflex against overfeeding, and if such situations recur often, then risk of usual vomiting not only during feeding, but even on one looking at food (we meet this on practice much more often, than we would like to, and, what is even sadder, some parents try to cure vomiting with medicines, not realizing reasons of its appearance, what can lead to overload of baby’s organism with medicines, and further – to medicinal allergy or inflammation of gastric mucosa) is possible.
Well, how can you help a child to break the cycle and teach him receiving not only use, but also pleasure from food?
Here’re several practical advices for parents:
- you should stick to a feeding schedule strictly and give nothing to a baby in intervals between meals, including juices (especially sweet ones – banana, peach etc.) and even water. Then a child will gladly start a meal with a liquid dish.
- perhaps, adults’ calm behavior during feeding (may be this is the most difficult thing, but if a mom cannot show patience and endurance, then what can we expect from a child?) is one of main moments.
- if a baby refuses to eat by the moment of regular feeding, then you should miss it (remember about patience and endurance).
- during some time (1,5-2 months for children over 1 year!) you can use a so-called free feeding method, i.e. feed your baby only wish dishes he likes. In further change recipes little by little imperceptibly (not accentuating baby’s attention on it), adding necessary products.
- try to make dishes looking appetizing, buy beautiful and comfortable dish for a baby (allow him choosing what he wants), lay the table beautifully.
- try to prevent a baby from sitting down to table in excited state, play a calm game with him or read a book for 10-15 minutes before feeding.
- some children don’t want to eat well in the morning, if parents offer them breakfast right after awakening, when children are still half asleep. You need to consider this and feed your child only after he switches in a daily regimen actively – washes face, dresses himself, sometimes plays a little. You can offer 2 breakfasts for such child: I – tea, juice or compote right after awakening, and II – something more substantial… (but remember that in such case lunch time can be postponed for a while, may be, even after sleep).
- children often refuse from eating in hot summer days, - the matter is that while excessive fluid loss production of digestive juices is reduced ( this is especially important in a sick child’s nutrition, we’ll mention this below). That’s why in summer it’s recommended to change feeding schedule slightly, and during hot weather you should offer your child not a dinner, but a second breakfast (for example, yogurt, cotton cheese, light porridge, fruits, juice), and after sleep rather hungry child will easily cope with the dishes you cooked him for dinner.
- and, finally, several words about sick child’s nutrition. As a rule, in 80% of cases sick children have heat and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea, what can lead to dehydration quickly (as we mentioned before, in such state activity of digestion processes is lowered abruptly), so, please, remember this simple and almost universal rule (excluding rare serious diseases of heart and kidneys), you need to water a sick child, not forcing him drinking 2-3 glasses of liquid at one go (what can provoke vomiting), but offering him some liquid little by little, 20-30 ml (1-2 table spoons) of mineral water (preferably non-aerated and slightly heated), tea, fruit drink or herbal decoction, every 10-15 minutes. As for food, here any easy-digestible food, not irritating mouth and stomach mucous membrane, is ok, little by little, but more often (milk, yogurt, semi-fluid porridges), on no account force your baby eating. You can not only cause negative emotions in him, but also worsen course of a disease, making sick organism spending precious strengths on digestion of food, not for struggle with infection. When a child’s condition improves and temperature normalizes, a baby will ask for food and, be sure, will repair an omission with interest.
In conclusion, we would like to say again that strong wish, common sense and good patience will help growing your baby strong and healthy.
We wish you good luck in the most difficult (but gratifying) labour.
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