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Wholesome Feeding for 1-6 Year Old Children
So your baby is one year old. He grew enough, feel independent and can do many of the things that adults can do. Mother’s milk and various purees are not enough for his growing and development already. A baby is ready for a gradual transfer for more serious food, which will finish by about 5-6 years. This “transitional period” requires especially responsible attitude from parents. Experts note that it is irrational feeding in early childhood that is a reason of many problems with digestion and metabolism, appearing already in mature age. To avoid dangerous mistakes, let’s arm ourselves with scientific facts.
– How and in which terms a baby’s transfer to an “adult” food should be carried out?
– It’s very important for a baby to receive food of consistence that corresponds to his age. Many parents, taking too much care of their babies, keep on feeding him with grated dishes up to 2-3 years. But such “care” brings no good, and is rather injurious to health. Food should stimulate, not delay development of masticatory apparatus and digestive system of a baby.
One year old baby should be already given minced dishes, instead of purees. By 2 years a baby already has 20 calf’s teeth, he already can chew well, so it is possible to transfer to larger pieces. After 3 years a healthy baby should already receive a piece of dish. He already can chew, digest and assimilate even beef.
– How much meat a baby of 1-6 years should eat? And which meat is good for a baby?
First of all, remember that every child is individual and his needs in meat, fish and other food are individual too. So we can talk only about approximate norms and recommendations, oriented on such “average” baby. Taking this into account, we can say that a baby from 1 to 1,5 years needs about 60-70 g of meat gross per day. In this case a baby will receive enough protein, easy assimilated iron, and also a range of vitamins of group B. It will be better, if this is minced meat or – if a baby already can chew rather well – meat-balls.
At 1,5-2 years a baby should already receive 70-80 g of meat gross per day 4-5 times per week. In this age you can already cook steam cutlets for a baby. A child of 2,5-5 years should eat 120 g (gross) of meat per day-and-night. You can and should offer not minced boiled meat, in the form of beef and bird meat, goulash, schnitzel. A 6 y.o. child needs 120 g of meat, including bird meat, daily. Exactly meat, not sausage food and other convenience foods, which, as it’s known, contain much more fat, than protein.
As for sort of meat, for children feeding lean beef or veal, chicken, turkey are preferable, you can use lean pork and mutton. Moreover, meat by-product: kidneys, tongue, heart, liver should be definitely included in menu. Don’t forget about fish, which is also the most valuable source of some indispensable fatty acids, iron, vitamin B12 and other health-giving elements. It’s better to choose lean sorts of sea and river fish, such as pike perch, cod, hake, perch, shrimps.
– After year a baby already eats enough solid food, this means, his necessity in liquid increases. How much should children from year and upwards drink?
– For children from 1 to 3 years a daily norm is about 100 mL of water on kilogram of weight, from 3 to 7 years – about 80 mL. Probably bigger quantity. In connection with children’s high activity, losses of water are rather significant, so you should not restrict your child in drinking.
It’s better to drink water – children mineral gas-free or boiled and cooled till room temperature. Sweet compotes, juices and drinks should be drunk during intervals between meals, not during eating. The matter is that if a child drinks water during eating, water fills his stomach and a child feels satiety prematurely. In a while he will become hungry again, and this will lead to breach of dietary habits.
– Many parents complain that their child eats little. Why does a child eat little? How to improve his appetite?
– As for the first question, children appetite lowers due to different reasons, but most popular is wrong organization of feeding. It’s desirable that a child upwards year would eat according to strict schedule. When a child takes snacks all the time, he just has no time to get hungry, and good appetite is out of the question. Moreover, if a baby applies himself to sweets and drinks, he does not receive many more wholesome products in necessary quantity.
Another reason of bad appetite can be a monotony of food – a child is just tired of eating the same food. So you should not cook in store, moreover while keeping and warming up food value of products lowers.
Sometimes there are cases, when a child secretes not enough saline, and because of this it’s difficult for him to chew and swallow food. Of course, such child eats unwillingly. In this case you should cook more liquid dishes, pour second course with sauces, offer taking drink while eating.
Often it happens that a child is just playing up. In this case you should not rush to cook something “special”. It’s enough to explain a child calmly that he can refuse from food, but next time he will be invited to table only in several hours – during next feeding. As a rule, this helps.
Frequent walks on fresh air, movable games, fun help to work up appetite. At the same time excess excitement of a child as a result of active games, watching TV etc. can serve as a reason of bad appetite. So, it’s desirable for a child to be in quiet atmosphere and have a rest, before he is invited to have a meal. Moreover, good sleep is very important for a child feeding. On no account feed your child forcedly – this will form a child’s stable disgust for food. And meal should be always accompanied only by positive emotions, bring pleasure.
– If a child, on the contrary, has good appetite and sometimes he wants to have a snack between basic meals very much – should we refuse him strictly or no?
– No, if he does want, then you should not refuse him. Sometimes a child even needs some additional “recharge” – for example, after he has had enough of running about on fresh air. You can give him a piece of dried bread, some dried apricots, raisins. But, again, do not offer him snack with sweets – they will slacken the appetite, and when time of constant feeding comes, a child may refuse from food. If a child is really hungry, then he will gladly snack with a crust of bread.
In general, when a child’s daily ration is composed correctly, then it’s not wishful to supplement it with anything without serious reasons. Experts all over the world consider that problem of adults’ excess weight, which is so actual today, is connected right with wrong schedule of feeding in early childhood.
– What are recommendations as for plump children’s feeding? You know, it’s difficult to prescribe a diet for a baby.
– There are no universal recommendations in this case. Reasons of excess weight may be various, including firstly inherited ones. So, a professional who observes a child should compose a diet. But if a plump child is healthy, active, then the reason of his excess weight is really in wrong feeding.
The main what should be considered, – is frequency and volume of taken food, quantity of fats and carbohydrate is especially important. There are special norms of daily quantity of energy and food substances for children of different ages, and you should orient on them while composing ration. Of course, you should not count milligrams carefully – these norms are averaged. However, if you notice that a child eats more, than he needs, do not rush to deprive him of his favorite dishes. You should reduce quantity little by little, restricting consumption of some products, to prevent a child from traumatizing.
It’s important that while reducing calorie content, food would not become less tasty – this will requite inventiveness and even ruse from parents. For example, baked potato is not less tasty than fried. The same is with meat and fish. You can increase portions due to vegetables (for example, cauliflower, spinach, leguminous haricot, but not potato), so that a child would feel satiety, without receiving excess calories.
– What if a child is too thin, on the contrary?
– Often parents worry for excess leanness of a child – he eats well, but is thin all the same. However, if a child is healthy, movable, has good appetite, then you should not worry – most likely, this is just his individual peculiarity. In majority of cases everything will become normal with age. Sudden weight loss requires attention – in this case a child usually becomes sluggish, gets tired quickly, eat and sleep little. You should consult a doctor to find the reasons.
– Probably, weight loss is connected with lack of vitamins?
– Most likely they are not straightly connected. But lack of micro-nutrients, including vitamins, as a rule is accompanied by lowering of general vitality of organism, worsening of appetite and sleep, what may lead to weight loss too. Parents should know that even the most perfect ration cannot provide a child with necessary quantity of micro-nutrients. So children should take vitamin-mineral additions daily. This is not a trick of manufacturers of vitamins, but a scientific proved fact.
Children should take vitamins twice a year – in spring and autumn, a course should last 1-2 months.
Researches show that it’s better to take vitamins and minerals in different time during a day. This way they are assimilated better and act more efficient. Also, when you choose multivitamins, pay special attention on dosage. Hyper-vitaminosis may bring the same harm to a children organism, as lack of vitamins. Moreover, a child receives a part of nutritive materials with food.
– It is known that during cooking or keeping of food many vitamins are lost. Are there any ways to keep them?
– To keep maximum of nutritive materials, you need to know what they are “afraid” of. Thus, for example, vitamins A and E are not destroyed while heating, however they are very sensitive to sunshine and oxygen. So vegetable oil and butter should not be left on light and in open ware. Vitamins B1 and B6, containing in bread, macaroni and soy, and also vitamin K, containing in spinach and cabbage, also do not like light.
Vitamin C is very capricious. Many mothers like to peel off potato since evening and leave in water for the night, to boil in the morning.
However, in this case potato, like other vegetables, loses most part of its vitamin C. According to the same reason it’s not desirable to cut and grate vegetables and fruits – cells are broken and anti-vitamin gets free, it destroys ascorbic acid quickly. If a child can already chew by himself, it’s better to give him vegetables and fruits as a whole.
Wrong heat processing of products also leads to loss of vitamins. Frying destroys vitamins most of all. And least of all they are destroyed while steam boiling, baking in foil or pot. While boiling in water you should put vegetables into boiling water, not cold, to neutralize anti-vitamin.
It’s also important not to overdo food. For example, potato is boiled 10-20 minutes, cabbage – 20-25, carrot, onion, marrows – 10-15 minutes. A pan, where vegetables are boiled, should be covered with lid tightly and filled to the brim.
For better safety of vitamins, boil products in aluminum or stainless steel crockery.
– Which crockery a child should eat from?
– Best crockery for a child – is that made of unbreakable porcelain or faience. Be careful with plastic, many parents prefer it because it is unbreakable, but plastic items, not meant for food purposes, can excrete poisonous substances.
Place settings for children should be made of stainless steel, nickel silver, and ideally – of silver, which has anti-microbe effect. You should not use wooden crockery, as microbes may stay in pores of wood. Souvenir wooden spoons and dishes are better used like toys.
It’s desirable that a child would have his own set of crockery and place setting, and also tissues and dish-cloth. Children things should be definitely kept separately from adult’s ones.
– What is the main principle of feeding for children of 1-6 years?
– Perhaps, the main is calm, attentive and careful attitude to a child, as they help to support both good health and feeding. It’s very important for food to be varied to the maximum and include all groups of products. Follow experts’ advices, but consider a child’s needs, value personality in him. And then he will make you glad with good health and mood.
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