|My baby is 7 months old and wants to snack all the time...
how much should I allow?
Mothers are naturally worried about letting baby snack
between mealtimes. After all, we have been primed to know
that a fat baby is not a healthy baby. However, babies are
very orally orientated , everything going straight into
the mouth. Other than providing baby with the happiness
of oral gratification, snacks in moderation can play an
important support role between feeds.
Snacking can be learning. At mealtimes
a baby is spoon fed. At snack time he can pick up a snack,
and put it into his mouth himself. No small feat when you
are tiny and have very little co-ordination.
Snacks can supplement. Babies have small
stomachs and become hungry quickly after mealtimes. Unlike
adults it is difficult to last from meal to meal without
a snack. And as baby moves on to solids, snacks are important
to supplement the full range of nutritional needs.
Snacks can change the pace. Just like a
snack on an aeroplane, no matter how small, can break the
time span of a flight for an adult, a snack can change the
pace of the day for a baby. It's something different to
Snacks pave the way to solids. Snacks lessen
the need to nurse between mealtimes. And when the time comes,
a baby that knows snacking is easier to train to solids.
Also consider the following.
When to snack. Not too close to mealtimes..
schedule about half way between, no more. And then one more
snack if there's a long spell before bedtime, or if a mealtime
is going to be delayed and baby is clearly hungry. Too much
snacking gets baby used to oral gratification, a bad habit
for weight gain when baby grows to childhood. And a mouth
constantly full of food leads to tooth decay. Also avoid
the temptation to give baby a snack as a bribe for being
strapped into a pushchair or car. Like adults, eating on
the go, is a bad habit!
Don't offer snacks if baby is bored (offer
a toy), or hurt (soothe him with a cuddle), or has done
well (try clapping and verbal praise).
Snack in the right place. Snacking should
take place in a feeding chair, or whilst sitting if a feeding
chair is not available. This not only leads to good table
habits, but is also much safer. Snacking whilst lying down,
or crawling or walking can lead to choking.
Eating - Not wanting to eat
Eating - To mash, or not to mash