Don't bother with baby led weaning if all you will teach are bad eating habits
No, I am not a fan of baby food or spoon feeding it to babies, but I can see how it may be healthier than baby led weaning if your own diet is far from healthy. So let me put this straight, baby led weaning alone will not teach your baby to eat healthy food. It will also not stop your baby from becoming a picky, fussy eater.
Wearing running shoes while sitting in front of TV will not make you a marathon runner
Same thing I'm afraid, sorry to burst that bubble. There is a lot more to it. It is simple, but you have to put some effort to see the results. Furthermore, knowing the advice and following it are two very different things. This is why doctors smoke and why people who want to lose weight fail to follow the only advice that works, eat less and exercise more. Everyone knows what is good for them, and yet we don't always follow, not even our on advice we dish out to others.
If you are new to this site, start by reading my no fuss philosophy. This is a brief outline of the important elements of introducing and nurturing healthy eating habits. None of it is complicated, but it is essential.
Malnutrition and obesity are different outcomes of the same problem
Poor diet and poor eating habits. When these occur in childhood, only the parents are to blame. Picky or fussy eating can lead to both. We are not talking about third world country problems with malnutrition due to starvation, but about what happens in quite a few Western families. On one end of the spectrum there are kids who survive on cornflakes alone and occasional chocolate or toast because they will not even touch a vegetable. In some homes, there are no vegetables on the dinner table, it's true, you may come from such a family yourself.
On the other end of the spectrum, are those whose parents would have pushed to eat, no matter what, as long as they were eating something. This leads to poor diet with an added element of excess eating, excess calories, sugars and fats. Soon enough, obesity creeps in and how are you meant to put your child on a diet if all they know is crisps and chips and sweets and juices, and that to in adult portions. They are not able to understand that a better diet is for their own benefit. Even more difficult is the acknowledging of the situation by the parents themselves. Studies show that parents genuinely believe that their clearly obese (not overweight!) children are of normal weight. We are blinded by the love, because after all, we all are doing what we think is best at the time, but when it spirals out of control, it is too hard to go back. At that point, you may not be able to do it alone and the damage may be a lot more serious than what you would expect of just a few snacks here and there to cover a couple of meals.
There is no better, healthier way to eat biscuits
Or lollipops, or any other food that should only be enjoyed in moderation as an occasional treat. And yet we kid ourselves that it is ok, that others give their kids this stuff, and they are fine, that we ate it all when we were kids and we turned out ok. We do this because it makes us feel better, but if you have any interest in being healthier and eating better, you know very well that there is no value in eating junk food, that your body doesn't need it, that you are not eating it to nourish your body.
Baby led weaning can be dangerous
And not because of chocking risk, as that can happen regardless of how you feed your baby. Now, imagine your baby ate something like this. Breakfast, let's just have toast from highly processed white bread with some butter, and maybe a little jam, you don't want your baby to just eat dry toast, right? For lunch, let's have a sandwich. For dinner, just pick up take away chips / french fries, because this is what you do, with ketchup to make them tastier, and fried chicken, which may be salty, but once in a while, you tell yourself, surely nothing bad will happen. And there you have it, a day with barely any fruit or vegetables, because who knows what was in that sandwich, and jam, chips and ketchup don't count towards your 5 a day!
But the baby ate it all on its own, independently, with no help, and you are so proud because you cracked that baby led weaning thing. Not so much.
If you were even spoon feeding your baby shop bought baby food from a jar, at least they may be getting some nutrients and taste some vegetables. It may be all pretty much the same looking and tasting, but so is toast every day and sandwiches and unhealthy dinner choices and snacks, they are all pretty much the same, in terms of nutritional value and even taste. At least mums who bother to make homemade pureed baby food, may continue to offer healthier choices later on once they are passed the puree stage.
Getting priorities straight
We all have priorities. Family and health are usually at the top for most people. And yet we eat unhealthy food, avoid sending time with our families, stare at our mobile phones and sit in front of TV, computer games, or are so busy with work that we have no time for anything else. What does this really tell you about your priorities? This tells you that your priority is not your health or family, but convenience, TV shows, computer games and your career. If this is what you do most of the time, be honest with yourself, it is what it is. If you want to set your priorities straight and teach your child values that are important to you, you must live accordingly. Don't expect that they will just get it, because they won't.
If feeding your child healthy food and them growing up to be fit, healthy and happy is important to you, let's do something about it!
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