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Ask any mum and you would know that the most tiring and taxing part of baby care is feeding the baby. If you are a mum you already know it. Managing a fussy eater, dodging toddler tantrums, keeping up with new demands all can make you be at your wit's end. While no one is sure what would exactly work with a baby, try these tips to make your toddler's meal times fun and less troublesome:
Keep fixed meal times: Make sure you offer fruits; snacks and meals at a fix time of the day and keep the routine same at least for a fortnight. In this way your baby would come to terms with what to expect when and slowly adjust to the time table.
Invest in a good high chair: Many mums believe that feeding a toddler out in the open while you show a crow, dog or a flower helps to polish of everything that's there on the plate. But it's not a very good practice. This would in fact set stage for your baby to evolve into a fussy eater later who would have troubles enjoying meals. Instead invest in a good high chair and keep it in a fixed spot of the house, either next to your dining table or in the baby's room. Try and always put your baby on the chair when you feed. This sends a clear message to your baby that meals have to be had in peace and at certain times. But if your baby gets cranky or feels cumbersome being seated in the chair at anytime during the feed, take your baby off the straps and allow him a little stroll in the house.
Engage in some fun activity: This definitely doesn't mean switching on the television while feeding your baby. Instead try and weave a story with the food you are feeding. Like if you are giving a pureed apple tell your baby about its colour, texture, places where it is grown. Let your imagination rule. You would be amazed to see how receptive your baby is during the meal times and how attentively he picks up every bit of information while taking his spoonfuls. You can also sing a song to your baby while you feed. But keep away from TV or mobile phones as they only distract the child from meals and fail to deliver desired results.
Add variety to the plate: Wouldn't you get bored if you are served the same food every day of your life? It is no different with your toddler. More reasons why you should change the food items in your toddler's diet plan every fortnight. This would keep your baby's interest in food alive and help him take in the taste and texture of different foods. So if you offer a pureed apple in the morning, change it to a pear or chickoo, add veggies to the mundane dal khichdi, make a milkshake or kheer with fruits. Variety is the trick to tame a fussy toddler. Know more about how to wean your baby off breast milk.
Eat together: Try this when your baby is little older or about two years of age. You can have meals together and this will help your baby learn how to treat food and complete everything that's in the plate, provided you are yourself a disciplined eater. Eating meals together even helps in bonding too. Learn of more ways to bond with your newborn baby.
Allow your baby to make a mess: Many babies like to be fed themselves. This would really mean a mess for you and leave you with more washing and cleaning after the meals. But encourage your baby to feed by himself. This would not only help in improving the hand to mouth co-ordination but develop an association with food too. This will help you make sure that your baby gorges food happily and in good amounts. Once your baby gets acquainted to tastes and different foods chop fruits in a bowl and help your baby put them in his little mouth on his own, or just hand a piece of digestive biscuit.
Don't restrict tastes: You are supposed to give your baby boiled, pureed and mashed foods during the initial months of weaning. But don't restrict the variety of tastes. If your baby asks for a spoonful of pulav from your plate offer it, provided it isn't too spicy. This will make you realize that your baby is ready to increase his food spectrum and gives you more ideas to experiment with other recipes in a baby-friendly manner.
Invest in baby cutlery: Pick bright coloured spoons, bowls and sippy cups. These add the fun element to the meal times. You can also weave your stories around these items. Like tell your baby, 'if you finish your greens you would be able to see a monkey beneath it.' Often such surprises help. But don't repeat the same ones during every feed. It will only make your baby bored.
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