There are some children who might be underweight or with whom it is a struggle to get them to eat and put on the adequate weight necessary. Below are some tips to help with feeding your baby or toddler and help your child gain weight.
- Children who drink a lot may not eat as much food. At mealtimes, give your child food first. (Drinks are filling and have fewer calories.)
- Limit packaged juices to 4 to 8 ounces per day if at all . Also limit intake of water and carbonated drinks. Give your child milk or formula instead.
- Don’t worry if your child wants to eat the same food every day. It is more important that he or she gets enough calories and protein.
- Junk foods have little protein and fewer calories than some other food choices. Junk foods will not help growth.
- Add margarine, mayonnaise, gravies, and grated cheese. For snacks, use cheese, pudding, bananas, or dried fruit.
- Offer foods that are easy for your child to handle (such as Cheerios, french fries, slices of banana, or peas).
- Make sure the food is the right temperature and the right consistency
- Blend fruits and vegetables and add it to the diet if it is difficult to get the child to eat a balanced diet.
- Children need to eat often, but not all the time. Offer something every 2 to 3 hours, to allow 3 meals and 2 to 3 snacks a day. Avoid snacks right after an unfinished meal.
- Children work well with schedules. Try to keep mealtimes and snack times about the same each day.
- Allow 1 hour without food or drink (except water) before a meal so your child gets hungry.
- Do not make mealtime too long for your child. (Fifteen minutes is probably long enough for a toddler.)
- Try to relax. Mealtimes should be nice for everyone.
- Learn how your child acts when he or she is hungry or full. Learn what foods he or she likes.
- You can choose what food to feed your child, but your child chooses how much to eat.
- Avoid battles over eating. Do not force, bribe, threaten, or punish your child. Instead, praise your child for eating well.
- Do not punish your child by not feeding him or her.
- Allow your child to feed himself or herself. Try very small amounts at first. Offer seconds later. Expect a mess and be ready for easy clean-up (use bibs, newspaper under high chair, etc).
- If your baby wants to hold the spoon, use 2 spoons. Let your baby hold one, and you use the other to feed your baby.
- Try to eat together as a family so that brothers, sisters, and parents can show a young child what good eating behaviour is.
- Limit things that take your child’s attention away from eating, such as television.
- Make sure your child can reach the food (use a high chair, booster seat, telephone book or small table)
Don’t worry mum, once you start implementing most of these tips (if not all), your little munchkin will start adding weight in no time.