Look what arrived in the post today!
The Munchkin Portable Booster Seat! My 2.5 year old has been refusing to sit in his much-loved low chair during mealtimes lately and I resorted to propping him up on top of two cushions at the family dinner table the past few days. Although he had been enjoying sitting on top cushions, i thought he needed a sturdier portable version for when we visit family and friends . So after much research on the Internet, I settled on the Munchkin portable seat and ordered it on Amazon for under £ 20. Here’s a picture of my son giving it a test run. My first impressions are that, it’s quite well made and definitely fits the purpose I bought it for. It is also lightweight and high enough for my son to reach his food at the table. The seat is actually a padded and hollow plastic compartment that can hold quite a few baby necessities. It comes with a shoulder strap for carrying around easily too. Overall, both sonny boy and I love it. I think we are going to get good use out of it everyday, especially when we go travelling to India to see our families. On to a topic that can be a right pain in my neck on occasions, but thankfully for the most part is an enjoyable and healthy every day affair – My toddler’s mealtimes. Gleaning from my experience of feeding a sometimes-fussy 2 year old, here are my suggestions for helping you through mealtimes with your toddler or young baby
- Allow your child to self feed. I weaned my son on to solids roughly around 5 months of age and since then mostly followed baby led weaning (BLW) than the traditional methods (feeding him cooked & mashed or pureed food) I think that practicing BLW early on with my toddler gave him the right foundations to being a good eater. If you haven’t heard of Baby led weaning so far, it is basically letting your child feed him/herself, no matter what their age. Although it sounds crazy, it does work and I have seen it with my toddler. He eats more when he is feeding himself than when I am spoon feeding him. Its OK if you didn’t wean your child the BLW way, you can start letting them eat their food on their own at any time.For me, It was important that he has good memories associated with mealtimes and that meant him having fun and exploring the food with all of his senses. So be it handling a spoon or feeding himself with his fingers and making a right mess of his surroundings, it’s all good for my son and I. I can always clean up any mess afterwards, but letting my child enjoy his food is vital to forming a good bond with food and healthy eating. Be warned though, it does take a while; when my son was much younger it would take between half an hour to 1 hour for him to feed himself. Of course, if your toddler gets distracted and starts playing, you can always carry on from where he left and feed him the remaining food. BLW or child led feeding is great in that even fussy kids show great improvement in just a matter of weeks of being allowed to feed themselves.
- Don’t stress if your toddler or baby skips a meal. He/she will make up for it in the next meal. It takes a few tries before your child starts eating or liking a new food item. So be patient and try offering the same food prepared in a different way perhaps at a later time. You can also place some cut up fresh fruit on a coffee table or a place he/she can easily reach, and if they are interested, they will reach for it and fill up as they play and move about. As tempting as it may be, do not try to force food into their mouths. It may put them off you and mealtimes, and memories of being repeatedly force-fed can have a negative effect, lasting well into adulthood. Plus, switch that TV off. Let food and eating be the focus during mealtimes. Distraction strategies may work for a while, but on the long run you want to encourage good eating habits.
- Split the week into cooking-heavy days and cooking-lite/raw food days. If you are Indian like my son and I, it can be very easy to eat rice based cuisine everyday and ignore fresh foods. So try just steamed vegetables, cooked lentils/beans or a colorful salad with boiled eggs or croutons for a few days every week.
- Go easy during snack-time. With my son I’ve noticed that even a small snack tends to make him too full for mealtime. So I offer the snack as a treat for finishing the meal instead, if he is still interested.
- Eat meals at the same place and time everyday. Kids love familiarity and routines and they get easily conditioned to eating at regular times preferably in the same place at the dining table or highchair. So try to encourage that practice by having consistent mealtimes everyday. For my son, his mealtimes are at 8.30 am, 12 pm and 5 pm with a snacktime or two in-between depending on how much he’s had to eat and how much activity he’s had.
- Let them take part in the cooking process. Children love observing and helping in the kitchen. It makes food and ingredients rather fun for them. See one of my previous posts on this topic for more information. Kids are more likely to eat foods they see being prepared in front of their eyes. So let them hang around while you prep.
- Sometimes kids just need a break! Once in a while kids will go through a time of not wanting to eat much or ask for their favorites repeatedly; you cannot avoid it. Just stay calm and try again the next day. Although it is easier said than done, don’t get worked up. Offer them alternatives or take your meal outside and eat it as a picnic.
There you have it. These are my words of encouragement for helping you through mealtimes with your toddler. If you have any tips or suggestions that have worked for you, tell me by commenting below. I hope you have a blessed start to the month of March ahead.
I’m linking up this post for My Parenting Challenge linky hosted by a lovely blogger at taughtovertea.com. Do check it out x
Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.