I’ve heard this quite a lot lately and can only assume that it’s because people are so concerned about childhood obesity these days. Childhood obesity is a big problem, there’s no doubt about that and we do need to be concerned. I just think that most times many are over concerned about whether their baby is eating too much. As long as you are offering healthy foods, you really don’t need to worry. I have 3 boys, and our second and third wanted to nurse A LOT.
I never was concerned about them eating too much, though. Every baby is different and has different needs. Some just eat more than others. Especially with breastfeeding, I don’t believe they can eat too much. Your baby should be allowed to nurse “on demand” up until probably at least 10 months. This is when I started slowly cutting back on nursing with my first 2 so that they could wean at 12 months. With my 3rd, I’ve decided to continue breastfeeding him past 12 months and still allow him to nurse pretty much “on demand” since he just turned 1. He only nurses about 3 times a day and sometimes only 2 times if we are out and about. He also nurses a couple times at night still.
Once you start feeding solids, you still shouldn’t worry too much. Just make sure to know the signs of when your baby has had enough. Sometimes it will be turning his head away, closing his mouth so you can’t put the spoon in, losing interest, pushing the spoon away with his hand, spitting the food out (although, that could be because he just doesn’t like what you’re feeding him lol). I used to believe whole heartedly that starting a baby on solids at 3-4 months was perfectly fine, and I did that with our first 2, but with our 3rd, again, I did things differently and I think it has worked out better. I didn’t start Baby on solids until he was 6 or 7 months old and I think it’s better in the fact that they can let you know more clearly when they’re full.
Just go by the saying: You decide what he eats, he decides how much. I still do not limit my older kids in how much they eat(unless it’s almost dinner time and they say they want a snack, then I make them wait :) and as you can see in the pictures, neither one is over weight. The are allowed plenty of exercise, and I am very conscious of what they eat.
- Make sure they get fruits and/or vegetables at every meal(peas,broccoli,corn,nectarines,apples,oranges,bananas,salad,tomatoes,green beans,bell peppers,pears,etc…..)
- Make sure they get whole grains at every meal(unsweetened cereal,whole wheat bread,rice,oatmeal,etc…)
- Make sure they get some sort of meat or protein at lunch and dinner(yogurt,chicken,beef,turkey,peanut butter,nuts,cheese,milk,etc….)
- Make sure they get some sort of dairy at least 2 meals a day(milk,cheese,yogurt)
- Make sure they drink lots of water, and not much juice, and very rarely soda.
So the list above, lists many of the things I feed my kids that are pretty quick and easy. I’ve never worried about them being overweight or eating too much. They go through phases. Some days they seem like they are always hungry, and other days they don’t eat much. You just go with the flow.
If all you offer them are healthy food choices, then that’s what they will eat!
If your older child won’t eat any vegetables, then don’t let him get up from the table till he’s taken 2 bites. That’s what I always did with my boys when they’d go through a phase where they didn’t want to eat the veggies on their plate. I’d say “just eat 2 bites and then you can be done.” They usually would, but if not, I just made them sit there till they took 2 bites or let me spoon feed them 2 bites. You can’t give in. The phase would pass and then they’d be eating their veggies just fine again :) It’s also good to make sure you have a couple choices for them, so they can choose which vegetable or fruit they want. That makes them feel like they have a choice in the matter and they’ll be more likely to eat their choice.
And if your older child doesn’t want to eat what you’ve prepared for dinner, then let him go without. Pretty soon he’ll get hungry enough that he’ll decide he wants to eat. Skipping a meal won’t kill ’em!
I also always emphasized to them how important veggies are to our bodies and that they help us grow healthy and strong. That has really helped a lot with my kids. They are pretty diverse in what they eat, and will eat most vegetables that I serve them. There are always going to be some foods that they don’t like, and I don’t force them to eat those as long as they’ll eat an alternative vegetable, then that’s fine. For example, Nboy(6) does not like bell peppers, so I don’t make him eat them. I have him try a bite if he hasn’t had one for awhile to see if he might like them now, but if he doesn’t then I don’t force him to eat them. Ekid doesn’t like tomatoes, so I don’t put those on his salad or sandwich. Occasionally he will taste one to see if he likes it though. But it’s really great because my kids will always at least taste something once to see if they like it.
I can’t stand picky eaters, and so far I think I’ve done a good job at raising our boys to be adventurous in the area of food and not picky(like their daddy lol).
So as far as babies that are ready for finger foods, here is a list of easy, healthy things that I feed my baby:
- Peas. I also just feed them frozen because it’s nice when they’re teething.
- Toast(100% whole wheat),you also can do frozen bread
- Pears, cut up and fairly soft
- Cooked broccoli cut up small
- Macaroni noodles
- Cooked carrots
- Mini wheats (older babies that can chew well)
- Cut up chicken,turkey,hamburger
Well, there’s a list of what I could think of. I’m sure you could think of more stuff, these are just pretty much what I feed and have fed, my babies, as far as finger foods go.
So I hope this was helpful and if there’s anything I’ve missed or if you have any other finger foods that you feed your baby, please feel free to comment! :)