Independent Eating: The path to independent eating
Perhaps, like many young parents, the mere thought of eating and feeding will break out in a sweat. For your child, however, the earliest possible development of healthy eating habits is essential. Babies can learn to eat best when they can live out their natural urge to explore and have fun. This is exactly what the independent eating approach makes possible. In the following, Kleiner Fuchs provides you with all the necessary information on the subject of independent eating.
How babies learn to eat
You want to start with Independent Eating right away? Excellent! First, it is important to understand how children learn to eat. The foundation for nutrition is laid in the womb. The mother's eating behavior during pregnancy and breastfeeding has a major influence on the subsequent development of food preferences. It has been proven that children prefer taste impressions that they got to know through breast milk or in the womb.
Within the first year of life, your baby goes through numerous developmental steps in connection with nutrition. Milk is the staple food over the entire period. In the first few months of life, healthy children are exclusively breastfed or bottle-fed. From the age of five months, they can also receive vegetable puree. Nevertheless, breast milk or formula should remain the core element of the newborn's diet. This is particularly recommended if there is an increased risk of allergies. From the eighth month of life at the latest, you can then integrate porridge as a permanent part of your baby’s menu. From the sixth month of life you can feed milk porridge. A month later you can start with fruit puree. During the second half of the first year of life, your baby will gradually develop an interest in complementary foods. If the child receives an appropriate offer of food, it will soon begin to develop independent eating habits. You should take into account that babies and toddlers naturally show a pronounced neophobia. As a result, they will be critical of new foods. Interestingly, this neophobia is less pronounced in breastfed infants than in bottle-fed infants. After all, as mentioned above, they have previously become acquainted with different flavors through breast milk. Gradually, however, interest in unfamiliar dishes grew. From the age of eight months, the child can increasingly participate in family meals. A baby bowl or a children's plate from Kleiner Fuchs enables your baby to imitate the other table companions while eating. In the second year of life, you should also start offering your child meat and fish.
As with all stages of development, when it comes to feeding your baby, every child is unique and develops at its own pace. And that's perfectly fine. The development of children's eating behavior in the first years of life can take place in different ways. For example, some babies don't like porridge. Nutritional principles such as independent eating or BLW (baby led weaning) are ideal for them in particular.
Independent eating instead of mash feeding
Bye, bye porridge! Hello complementary food! We all had to learn to eat on our own. Why not start with it as early as possible? In fact, babies who feed independently in the first few months of life benefit in many ways. In addition, independent eating brings a lot of benefits for the whole family. First, complementary food is usually always available. You don't have to buy them, heat them up or prepare them especially for your baby. Your youngest family member simply takes part in the meal together. The effort associated with eating is therefore significantly lower. When it comes to eating independently, there is no fixed plan. The motto is: (Almost) everything can be done, nothing must. It is better not to offer foods that are difficult to digest or types of fruit and vegetables that cause flatulence. The same goes for fish and meat, as well as processed foods. However, the interests and preferences of the baby are decisive. It can get to know different foods and decide for itself what it wants to eat or what not. This satisfies the child's urge to explore and boosts your baby's self-confidence. Children want to actively experience and discover the world. Regular liquid feeding is the complete opposite of this. The baby cannot learn anything here, but has to endure everything passively. Independent Eating makes eating a pleasure rather than a compulsion. This has a huge impact on your child’s later eating habits.
Of course, as parents, you should pay attention to a certain balance when eating independently. If your baby gets excited about a certain food, that's great. Despite all the joy, the child's diet should not consist exclusively of bananas, tomatoes or peas. Variety and variety are the be-all and end-all. By the way, food preferences are not set in stone. That's why it's worth offering food repeatedly, even if your baby has previously refused it. Of course, the whole thing should be done without coercion. It is important to remember that the youngest member of the family at the table will imitate the older ones. It is therefore best to pay attention to your table manners right from the start. In addition, a positive atmosphere during meals has an effect on the child's eating habits. A beautifully laid table and attractive crockery make a big contribution to this. You can start right away with the lovingly designed baby bowls and children's plates from Kleiner Fuchs.