Feeding is such an essential activity for your baby, both physically and emotionally. It provides basic nourishment to ensure that she thrives and it also provides psychological comfort. You feel good when you see her take a “proper” feed.
But the problem lies in not knowing when to stop, not knowing how to ensure that your little one is not overfed.
Because your three-month-old will probably drink every drop of milk she gets, and your one-year-old will most likely gulp down one bowl of cereal after the other without the slightest prompting.
The tendency to put on weight is partly an inherited characteristic.
Some babies put on more weight than others even though they eat approximately the same amount.
In many instances, obesity is simply due to overfeeding.
Research also shows that adults who are fat were more likely to have been chubby as babies, when compared to those who are thin.
And the habit of overeating, which starts during babyhood, can be hard to break later on.
The first step, especially in the first year, is to have a rough idea of the typical food intake for someone of her age and size.
You will be able to get advice from the paediatrician. Of course there are wide variations between babies in terms of weight and food intake, but you should have a guideline regarding her recommended intake of milk (and of solids when she has started weaning).
Weigh her regularly. Your doctor will do this anyway. He knows the upper and lower limits of weight gain during each stage of development, and will give you the necessary feedback.
Some adults think that a chubby baby is very cute. But she is no prettier than a slimmer baby and she is certainly no healthier.
In fact, doctors can list a whole series of health problems that are associated with obesity.
Here are more tips to avoid overfeeding your baby:
Don’t keep giving her more
Resist the temptation to keep feeding her until she refuses to take any more. Remind yourself that she doesn’t have to be “full” all the time.
There is a difference between having enough to eat and being full. She doesn’t have to be so stuffed she cannot swallow another drop.
Encourage breaks during mealtimes
Your baby should not gulp down the entire contents of the bottle in one go without a break.
Make sure she pauses every so often. The same applies to your hungry one-year-old.
Avoid using food as a comforter
Try not to offer food or sweets whenever she cries. Chances are, she is not crying from hunger.
If you feed her every time she cries, she’ll soon cry just for the sake of getting more.
Instead of reaching for that extra bottle of milk during the night, give her a drink of water. She might only be thirsty, not hungry.