Kerstin Kuhn is a food writer, mom and founder of Little Foodie Club, the Los Angeles baby food delivery company that is transforming the way babies eat and learn about food.
Has anyone ever told you that “food before one is just for fun?” It’s one of those catch phrases new parents will hear a lot but just like so many common myths out there (like going outside during an eclipse when pregnant will give your baby a cleft palate), it’s exactly that: a myth.
Food before one is so much more than just for fun. In fact, it is more important than at any other stage of a child’s development. Not only do babies from six months on need adequate amounts of iron to develop healthily – a nutrient that breast milk or formula alone cannot sufficiently provide – it is also in these very early stages of experiencing flavor that babies’ palates and food preferences are shaped for life.
First Tastes and Memories
The more variety of fresh ingredients and different tastes babies are exposed to right from the beginning, the more likely they are to grow up to become healthy and happy eaters. And this already starts before they’ve even had their very first mouthful of solids.
Scientists have discovered that not only are the flavors of foods mothers eat passed on to babies through amniotic fluid and breast milk but babies begin to form memories of these flavors even before they are born. One study, for instance, found that babies, whose mothers often drank carrot juice during pregnancy and nursing, happily ate twice as much carrot-flavored cereal compared with babies whose mothers avoided carrot juice. On the flipside, babies, whose mothers consume a lot of junk food, will be much more likely to be drawn to unhealthy and processed foods. What this means is that the foods a mother eats while expectant or breastfeeding can result in her child’s preferences for these foods for a lifetime to come.
Vegetable and Variety
Once babies start to eat solids, variety is what’s most important. “Children are very receptive to new tastes [during weaning] and we want to take advantage of that opportunity by introducing a great variety of vegetables during that time,” says Dr Alison Fildes, a research psychologist at University College London, whose study found that starting babies on a variety of simple vegetables during the first 15 days of introducing solids makes them significantly more willing to try, accept and like new vegetables later on.
So the conclusion is simple: Give your baby lots of healthy foods from the start and you’ll have a healthy and adventurous eater. Feed them a repetitive diet of bland tastes and you’ll end up with a fussy one.
Easy As Pie – Or Not?
All this makes a lot of sense and seems pretty straightforward, right? But the reality is that starting solids can be extremely daunting for new parents. When do you start? How do you start? Which are good first foods and which aren’t? How often do you safely introduce new ingredients? And what if your baby chokes or has an allergic reaction?
These are just some of the questions parents might be asking themselves and with the internet being a jungle of conflicting information, it’s no surprise that often it’s anxiety rather than happiness that rules mealtime.
21 Days To Solids
At Little Foodie Club, we understand that starting solids can be daunting. That’s why we have designed the Little Foodie Club 21 Days To Solids Plan: to help, support and enable parents to introduce their baby to solid foods with confidence and ease.
Developed in conjunction with a leading pediatrician, the plan helps you to introduce a new ingredient from our carefully selected range of organic vegetables and fruits each day for 21 days, paving the way for a lifetime of healthy eating. Our plan comes with a handbook to guide parents through the process and beginnings of introducing solid foods, from when a baby is ready to start, to what you’ll need to get started, how and when to feed your baby, and troubleshooting tips; plus a fun meal planner for each day of the process.
So if you want to give your baby the best start to a lifetime of healthy eating and also make food before one fun but need a little help in getting started, Little Foodie Club is here to support you all the way.
Order your Little Foodie Club 21 Days To Solids Plan now and get $10 off using promo code EDUCATEDBABIES17 at check out.
Establishing deep connections with children helps them feel safe, supported, and deeply invested in. By building quality connections with your child you demonstrate that you value your relationship and want to protect it at all costs. Another benefit of building strong connections with your child is that it will foster a cooperative attitude. The child will be more likely to cooperate because he/she values connection and doesn’t want to lose it.
The list below offers helpful tools to increase the connection you have with your child:
Ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions foster connection with children because it encourages them to engage in conversation. Close-ended questions such as “How was your day?” are not specific and won’t get much more than a one word response. Instead, try asking questions like: “Who did you play with today?” or “What was something cool you learned about today.” As your child shares what’s important to him/her, you will feel more connected with one another.
If you do something wrong, apologize. We all make mistakes. When we do it causes a disconnect in the relationship with the one we hurt. When you fail, apologize to your child and ask for their forgiveness. Apologizing will help repair the relationship, build trust, win their heart, and restore your connection.
Create an environment of connection by seeking to understand and not react. It can be really difficult to respond with empathy when your natural response is to lecture your child when you disagree. If you can resist the urge and instead seek to understand your child’s point of view, you will strengthen your relationship. Your child will remember your desire to connect over winning an argument.
Identify how your child feels loved. Gary Chapman wrote a book called The 5 Love Languages and in the book he identifies 5 different ways people receive love which he calls love languages. By identifying your child’s love language and speaking it you will connect with her heart and strengthen your connection. To take the love language quiz click here.
Let your child know you’re on his/her side. In the classic book by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish titled, “How To Talk To So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk” the authors encourage parents to communicate you’re on your child’s side even when you set a limit. If your three year old is yelling for Cheerios but his older sibling just finished the last bite, let him know you would give him a bowl if you had more, but you ran out. Sometimes children, especially toddlers, simply need to know you’re on their side, connected to their desires, and you care about them. This stops many a tantrum!
If you have connection tips, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will share them in a future blog post!
(photo credit : bossip)Read More