For the first few years of her life, till about the time till she was 3nhalf, my daughter was a round, chubby, teddy bear! She was all that a baby should be - roly poly, rounded, chubby cheeks, pudgy arms and legs...ohhh how I miss that! And then, she turned 4! And began losing all the baby fat, and yes, to my, as well as to the compliments she gets from many, she is now growing taller with each passing day, in fact, she is quite tall for her age, which is 5, and people regularly tell me that! I love hearing that too.
But if you ask me, I would have still loved to have her a bit more chubby for a bit more time. And this is exactly what her doctor scolded me recently for. Our friends and relatives complain each time they see my daughter that she is thin. I prefer to call her tall and lean. Her weight is perfect for a baby her age (I still call her baby, and I guess will always will!), even though it may seem by looking at her that she is lesser on the weighing scale than she should be.
There have been many times that I have asked myself if my daughter is eating enough. Most of us mums are plagued with this question, isn't it? And as if our anxiety wasn’t enough, the constant questioning of family members and friends, and the usual questions of ‘oh look at her, she’s grown so thin!’ or comparisons like ‘my son was quite chubby at this age, how come your daughter is so thin? Did you check with the doctor?’ are sure to make you go running to your baby’s doctor, or to sit browsing through the many books and websites to try and find out answers as to why your baby isn’t growing chubby and fat, while other babies are!
It's only now that I've begun to learn to relax as a mother, that I've understood the logic of it. See, you may be a perfectly fine and healthy adult, but aren’t you secretly always trying to reduce a little extra weight, or trying to slim down a little bit more and get back to how you were during college days? The point is that when, after growing up, we constantly want to try and reduce our weight, why do we want our children to unnecessarily pile on weight and look chubby just because it looks cute, or just because others say so?
Being fat or chubby does not mean that baby is healthy. My daughter is lean and thin, but she still has a great stamina, lots of energy, an ideal weight, and is quite healthy. On the other hand, a child may be chubby, yet doctor may have advised that baby be given healthier and nutritious food, and baby may be showing signs of tiredness.
As a parent, your main concern should be that your baby is eating healthy and nutritional food, things that provide energy and nourishment, food that is good for a growing developing baby, and that is fresh and guaranteed to provide your child with all the required nutrients.
All children have different eating patterns; some may follow a routine while others may not. What your child likes or does not like, what time your child eats or doesn’t eat should not be compared to what other children are doing. Of course every child should ideally get used to the habit of three full meals a day and extra bites in between, but how much to be eaten is something that you really cannot force.
Following a few simple rules may help:
- Don't force your child to eat
- Don't scold or bribe
- If baby is genuinely full, don't force food down the throat
- Try giving smaller portions at a time, and re-fill if your little one asks
- Try and break up the meal into smaller meals
- If your child's weight gain is fine as per doctor, there's really no need to worry
Many people may tell you that letting your child starve for a day will teach them a lesson, but come on, do you really want to do that? I've heard this from quite a lot of people, well-wishers in fact, but I've never done it, I can't! And in many cases, children would rather be playing and doing their own thing than ask for food. Punishing and forcing a child about food is an extremely negative approach, that, unfortunately, many parents adopt. As long as your child is active enough, is growing in height, shows proper concentration and alertness and is not falling sick often, chances are, your little one is doing fine on the eating front.
It’s not correct to judge your child’s health by how many times a day he/she eats. Just observe their behaviour and activities, and you'll soon figure out if they are healthy and fit or not. After all, you know your baby like no one else, isn't it? :-)
- Debolina Raja Gupta
And like I always believe in and say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ
Be good to your little one, and to the millions of little ones out there who truly need every bit of love and compassion they can get.....Be a grown up...save the little ones.... Debolina Raja Gupta