Friday, October 4, 2013

What am I eating today, MAMA?

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First time mom's are paranoid about starting solids for kids - between opinions from doctors, friends, their moms and MIL's - women have to sort and analyse all the information overload and thereon starts one of the most important journey's of your BABY.

Recipes, what kind of foods to start with has been done to death. In India doctors advise rice kanji (rice cooked in lots of water) or mung dal paani as early as 4-5 months (mung bean, a lentil popular all over Asia). In the US my friends and relatives didn't introduce lentils in the diet till 8months and it is the exact opposite with pasta as it gets introduced there much earlier.

I want to tell you the story of my kids and then you determine what is best for your child - my son now 5, is a typical boy, happy with potatoes in any form, south Indian cuisine(IDLI everyday and he is the happiest), pasta, chicken, paranthas (stuffed Indian flatbread) and any kind of chocolaty treat. He never had a calcium, zinc or iron deficiency growing up, I was irregular with my vitamins and breastfed him for a year. He was very careful about what he put into his mouth and even sweet fruits didn't lure him to eating them. Instead of following the myth of not introducing sweet veggies and fruits first I introduced him to everything but he will have any fruit dipped in chocolate otherwise pomegranate, apple and bananas are his only go to fruit. Now that he is 5 he may have introduced himself to an occasional pizza or some broccoli and carrot once in a fortnight but doesn't budge from his routine and can have the same food day in and day out.

My daughter is all of 11months and has an opinion on what she wants to eat. Her breakfast comprises of a few bites of porridge, a few bites of cheese or some gerber or rice puffs and a fruit - either of which being missing and her breakfast is incomplete and she looks at me quizzically. Her new thing is not to eat anything with a spoon and eat only things that she can self feed or be given with my hand so cut fleshy fruits, dice veggies, roti soaked in dal/lentil or milk are the only options left. She also gives anything a try once and is not a fussy eater.

While beetroot, dry fruits, green anything make my son run - my daughter will at least taste it once. I've tried not to do things differently this time around and though I tried making my daughters diet healthier than my sons, my son was in the 97th percentile  for his weight and never needed supplements. My daughter eats well and is healthy but is on the lower side on weight and was recommended iron and calcium since she was 9months.

I remember when my son was 2 and we were vacationing in Goa, I allowed my son to eat Chocos with milk for breakfast for the first time and a mother looked at me very judgementally, pulled her child away from the cereal table and said, "Alia, no eating sugary cereals for breakfast beta", and I actually felt awful and downright horrid inside while my son looked so content and in a blissful world of his own.

Don't get me wrong, DIET is really important for babies and good eating habits can be inculcated in childhood but don't beat yourself up or blame yourself for not doing a good job if your child has a couple of days of eating nothing but potatoes and cheese or bananas and apples. Think of them as the days that all you want to eat is chocolate cookies and milk or chips and burgers. As long as your child is upto the mark on the growth chart, reaching his milestones and not eating sugary treats as a baby and toddler you're doing a good job.

Also, if a child has eaten whatever you set out for him to eat the whole day and asks you for a treat once in a while then it's ok to give him what he wants... if my daughter has had a whole bowl of porridge, isn't it ok to offer her a couple of the puffs she likes v/s trying to make another bowl of porridge thinking she maybe hungry for more?

Eventually all grown ups have evolved tastebuds and we are not born with a liking for caviar, champagne or steak. We start liking or having dislikes for certain food as time goes by. Food not only effects us as a child but throughout our life and we as MOMS, have enough opportunity to introduce fruits, veggies and various healthy grains into our children's diet as they grow older and WE don't have to do everything before their BIG ONE.

Thanks for reading and if you have an opinion or disagree with anything I say please email me at rbhatnag@gmail.com or comment below. I would love to hear from you.



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