Battles over food often occur when parents are too concerned about what, how much and when their children eat. Avoid making mealtime a battleground. Your baby is testing his independence. This means that he'll try to do things his way - not yours. Relax and accept your baby's unusual food choices. As he matures, your baby will follow your lead more easily.
- Don't insist on eating foods in a certain order. Resist saying dessert is a treat for "plate cleaners" only. This power struggle makes dessert more desirable to your 11-month-old.
- Instead, serve a nutritious and balanced meal. Let your baby eat it in whatever order he chooses.
- Don't restrict food combinations. If your baby wants to dip his toast in pudding or mix his spinach with rice, let him. He's trying out new tastes. He's eating nutritious food. Try to respect his harmless investigation.
- Don't force your baby to eat. For example, carrots are an important part of a baby's diet. But even a healthy food like a carrot is not worth a battle. Offer him a choice of healthy foods. Follow his cues about when he has had enough.
Eating Too Little?
Do you think your baby is not eating enough? Relax. Offer nutritious foods at regular times in a pleasant atmosphere. No baby will starve himself! To reassure yourself, check these points.
- Look at his growth. Check the growth chart at his next visit with the doctor. Is the upward curve on the weight and height chart steady? If so, he's eating enough.
- Look at his energy level. Is he moving around all day? Does he sleep well and wake happy? Is he interested in new things? If he's active, he's eating enough.
- Look at his milk intake. Is he breastfeeding eagerly or drinking 24 to 32 ounces of formula a day? If so, most of his nutritional needs are being met.
Using a Cup
Weaning is a gradual process. It moves babies from a bottle or breastfeeding to drinking from a cup. For bottle-fed babies, weaning to a cup usually happens around a baby's first birthday.
Now that your baby is feeding himself, it's a good time to offer a cup with his meals. Using a cup with two handles will improve your baby's coordination skills. Gradually substitute a cup for the bottle at the noon meal. Once your baby adjusts to that, do the same at the morning meal.
The evening bottle will probably be the last to go. Your baby is used to the bedtime bottle as a comfortable, secure ritual. Try substituting water in the bottle for the formula. Then just offer your baby a cup of water before bed. If you continue to hold and cuddle at bedtime, weaning will go more smoothly.
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