What is Food Therapy for Toddlers?
Food therapy for Toddlers is a technique by which the eating habits of your little ones are developed and you take your toddler from “just milk” to chewing some solid food. At first, it seems natural and easy but for many, it is not as easy as it seems to be. In this article we will discuss the difficulties you may face and methods may adopt to pursue the food therapy for Toddlers.
Why Food Therapy for Toddlers is important?
Food Therapy for Toddlers is extremely important because as your little ones grow, their bodies need more nutrition. At that point, milk alone won’t be able to provide all the necessary nutrients, therefore you have to add solid foods. At this stage, the right choice of solid edibles and ways to get them consumed would optimize your food therapy for toddlers. The aims of a food therapy for toddlers are to:
- Get your toddlers to learn to chew
- Get the little ones the right and nutritious food
- Take care of meal timings
- Take care of their health and teething issues
- To make them adopt new types of foods over the time
Let’s discuss each topic point by point.
1. Get your toddler to learn to chew
As your young ones turn around 6 months old, you might have noticed them chewing their fingers or toys. This is the first indication that their teething process has started and they are ready to chew solid foods soon.
Chewing is a process in which solid food is ground and broken down into smaller particles to assist the digestive system for optimum digestion.
At this stage, you must be careful with a few things, the toys or teethers you provide must be soft, clean, and sterilized. Practicing your toddlers with grabbers would stimulate their motor sensory system and would enable them to learn chewing, which is a basic aspect of food therapy for toddlers.
Secondly, at this stage, the little ones might feel some pain in their gums due to the teething process, you have to be patient at this stage and should consult your doctor for a gum pain relief gel or medication.
2. Get the little ones the right and nutritious food
As the second step of food therapy for toddlers, you have to introduce a soft and suitable, yet nutritious food for your petit ones. At this stage of their growth, their bodies require excellent sources of carbohydrates and fiber. Carbohydrates would provide imminent energy, required for the growth of your toddlers, while, fiber would strengthen their digestive system.
Among the suitable natural foods, your choice should be banana and egg whites in the beginning. But as the young ones grow some teeth, you should add foods like semi-solid baby foods, mashed potatoes, fruits, vegetables, and even minced meat.
Remember, your little ones are innocent and have no idea what to eat, it is your responsibility to develop their eating habits as part of food therapy for toddlers.
3. Take care of meal timings
As a parent, taking care of the meal timings of your infants is of utmost importance. Provide your toddlers the right meal at a right time but never overdo things. Don’t stuff your kids with unnecessary edibles, remember, their bodies are adopting a new change. Overdoing can be detrimental to their digestive system. Start things slowly and let them adapt to the new solid food over time. Sometimes, they might not like the food at all, don’t push them to eat if they don’t like something. Look for a suitable alternate, this would help you in your food therapy for toddlers.
4. Take care of their health and teething issues
As mentioned above, your toddlers might be experiencing teething issues. Sometimes, the teething process also impacts the digestive system of babies. If this happens, immediately consult your doctor and never do home remedies. Once the issue is resolved, you may start again with the food therapy. Remember, every child is different, and so are their physiology and medical needs. Consulting a doctor, in this case, would help you understand your food therapy for toddlers.
To make this stage easy for your kids, use soft silicon toys and utensils, you don’t want to hurt the aching gums of your little ones.
5. To make them adopt new types of foods over the time
Once your young ones are accustomed to chewing solids, this is the time for you as a parent to add new foods to the menu. Here is a general time scale that would be helpful for you to understand this stage of food therapy for toddlers:
Milk Only (0 – 4 Months Old)
Semi-Solid Foods (4 – 5 Months Old)
Hygenic Teething Toys (5 – 6 Months Old)
Start Introducing Soft Solid Foods (6 Months Old & Onwards)
Start Introducing Solid Foods (7-8 Months Old & Onwards)
Does every toddler needs a food therapy?
Yes, every toddler needs a proper therapy for learning how to chew the solid foods.
Should we keep the toddlers only on milk after 4 months?
No, the toddler’s body need additional nutrition to grow. Milk alone cant provide the enough nutrition at that point. Therefore, inlcusion of solid food is necessary to provide all the required nutrients.
Can we give toddlers meat in the beginning?
No. One should start with soft foods like jellies, mashed potatoes etc.
To summarize, as a parent you should be cautious yet experimental at the same stage when it comes to food therapy for toddlers. Be patient and start gradually with time. Never over or underdo things but keep the health of your babies a priority. Following the above-mentioned steps, you can successfully follow the journey from liquid-only to a multi-matrix food system for your little one. Following all these steps would enable you to accomplish your goals related to food therapy for toddlers. Also, learn to tame you toddler’s tentrums.
Hi, I am Humayun, I hold MS and PhD degrees in Chemical Sciences from Germany. Currently I am working as faculty at the Department of Chemistry, Food Science and Technology, at a Public Sector University. I have immense interest in the fields of Food Science and Sports Nutrition.