The New year 2019 has arrived! Let us all get into this train of an year and wait for each station to arrive! Let each station signify an experience, a realisation and learning to become a better version of ourselves .
As for new mothers, fathers and caretakers let us learn to walk the first few steps of this new life with care and confidence as we choose foods for us and our little ones. This station, parenthood reveals itself in its most myriad kaleidoscopic experiences which presents us with joy when wisdom rules its roost.
As a child progresses from being a breastfed baby to a child ready to explore the new world of food, introduction must be a slow and a gentle process as nature would have it. Who are the best guides to help us bring up our tots in the safest way? Our paatis of course! No amount of education can equal the experience, tact and resourcefulness of the wise. I would like to summarise a few things I learnt from the elders in our family and not surprisingly nutrition science that has been progressing in the last two decades at a rapid pace, leans in the favour of 🇮🇳 Indian tradition.
1. When we start weaning, let us sit on the floor and try feeding the baby by placing him on our lap and look at the baby 👶🏻 eye to eye and feed him. Let our conversations be any story that might entertain him and make eating an enjoyable experience. Let us not rely on images and sounds of the television 📺 to be more attractive than ours. The trust we build now, the personal care we nurture now takes the baby a long way in forming meaningful relationships with people rather than devices or instruments. No pretty dolls or cars or any distracting toy for playing while eating.
2. Allow the child to actively play after eating instead of immediately putting him to sleep 😴 by forcing him or her to sleep. If they sleep on their own , it is 👍 ok but otherwise allow the child to be receptive of his/ her body’ s needs on its own.
3. Don’t try to persuade the child to finish off all that you have set out to feed. Set out on the process of weaning by fixing small portions for the 👶🏻 baby. If the baby needs more, we, as caretakers will get cues from them. Allow them to figure out how much they want from a young age.
4. Don’t compare the size of your child’s meals with some other child. Every child 🧒🏻 is unique as every parent is too. Let us not try to copy others.
5. Discussing of copying let us specifically not try to imitate the diet of the babies from other nations. We as Indians have a rich food culture and tradition that has evolved after a lot of trial and error. Let us choose the type of foods and the portions be based on the child’s need. Choose foods that are locally available and that which is in season. Don’t try to buy cherries 🍒 and strawberries 🍓 in summer when our country grows bananas 🍌 guavas and papayas all year round.
6. As the child learns to sit on his own, let him join us in our meals even if he makes a mess of himself. It’s a learning process after all.
Finally, as a closing note, every day is a new beginning, though the new year calls for “special beginnings” with celebrations 🎊🎉. Let us make a healthy start whenever we start and let the First Spoon the baby takes be the one that takes the child on the route of good health and ultimately a good life.
Happy 😃 New 🎀Year 🎁 2019 !