Dr Glenn Berall answers parents’ questions about feeding
You wanted answers, and we’ve delivered! Here are the answers to some of your burning questions about feeding, by Dr Glenn Berall, MD, FRPC,MBA.
Usually children are able to discern when they need to drink water. However, if children are not drinking enough water and it is causing digestive problems, you can try to flavour water lightly with fruits to encourage child to drink water. Cut up fruits like berries, cantaloupes and watermelon, and place them in a jug of water to give it more flavour and make it look more enticing and colourful to your child.
Is there any way to encourage a fidgety child to stay still to finish his meal?
It doesn’t matter if children sit still during meals, it matters more than they stay at the table long enough to have an adequate meal. If a child is refusing to sit at the table to eat, try using a ‘timeout’ method. Don’t coerce or force the child to come to the table, instead, the rest of the family should sit down and have their meal as per usual. Set a place at the table for them and serve their food. Wait 20 minutes, and if the child hasn’t come to the table, remove the food.
After which, if the child gets hungry and asks for food, tell him that he has to wait until his next meal because he missed his last one. If you use this method, your child will eventually realise that eating occurs at a specific time, and if he misses that time slot, he’ll just have to wait for the next one.
How do I know if my 1yr old is getting enough solids? How much milk should she consume at this age? If she doesn't want to finish her meal can I replace it with milk?
One way to know for sure if your child is getting enough food is if she’s thriving. If she seems healthy and alert, it’s probably a good sign. Parents should let their child listen to their own hunger cues instead of feeding them constantly. When parents focuses too much on giving their child food when they want to, instead of when the child is hungry, it sends out two messages to the child. Firstly, it makes the child feel that they aren’t capable of governing her own appetite. Secondly, it conveys the message that a parent knows better about the child’s hunger than she does herself, and the child will eventually start to ignore her own hunger signals, leading to more long term feeding problems.
Set a healthy balanced meal out for your child, and let her have as much of it as she wants. If she doesn’t finish her food, let her have milk after her meal and she’ll finish as much as she needs to feel satiated. When parents do this, a child has to access their developmental abilities and also learn how to read their own hunger and fullness signals.
Is weight loss normal in children who are transitioning between liquid and solid food?
Weight gain does slow down during transition periods, but the child should probably be seen by a physician if there’s prolonged weight loss. It may be a feeding difficulty, and it’s best to detect and treat it early on.
About Dr Glenn Berall: Dr Glenn Berall is the Chief of Pediatrics and Medical Program Director, North York General Hospital, Toronto, ON and the Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto. Recently, Abbott Nutrition invited Dr Glenn Berall to speak at the Scientific Updates in Paediatric Feeding Difficulties Seminar where we had the opportunity to interview him. Read 5 feeding tips every mum should know from the same interview.