Pediatrician and Neonatologist
Coordinator of the Department
of Pediatrics and Neonatology
HPA Magazine 12
Mealtimes are not just a matter of nutrition; they should also be moments of pleasure! But this is not always the case. And for all of us parents, mealtime can become a real torment for us and our children.
The main rule is to know that there are no rules. However, there are some basic rules: we mustn’t forget that we will all be able to feed our children, as do other parents and other families!
The second rule is to insist, to insist and to insist once again without forcing ... and to never give up! It has been proven that it takes 8 to 11 attempts for a child to get accustomed to a new food! The sweet taste is innate, however one must learn to like others (salty, sour, and bitter) and this takes time. The first time we might manage one spoon, two spoons, tomorrow we will most likely manage more.
When the child does not have physical or neurological problems, there is no reason why he should not eat according to the eating plan provided by the pediatrician.
From the age of one, the child is prepared to try the same meals as the rest of the family. As long as food is not excessively seasoned and is low in salt and fat. Sugar should be avoided.
Food and meal times, in particular, should translate into moments of pleasure and learning for the child. In addition, chewing and swallowing is important for balanced facial development and language. During meals the various flavors, odors, colors and textures of food are integrated, originating a motor response in the child, not only for chewing and swallowing, but also neuro-sensorial.
For some children this process is easy and natural, for others these mixed flavors, odors and textures provoke reactions and the answers may range from refusing to open the mouth, sticking the tongue to the roof of the mouth, not swallowing or even inducing vomit.
The child is discovering new flavors and preferences, so is natural for it to enjoy this or that food more than the other. Of all the food he hates, there will surely be one that he dislikes less.
If the mother has had a diverse and balanced diet throughout pregnancy it will help in the introduction and diversity of food for the child. This concept is integrated in the first thousand days of life, which includes pregnancy and the child’s first 2 years. We therefore have approximately two years to get our child to eat healthy, balanced and diversified.
Yes, believe me, he will eat soup and vegetables!
Happy family meals!! And no tantrums!