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Feed as needed: This is what babies should eat
When mothers breastfeed their babies, the amount of milk and needs are usually regulated naturally. When feeding them with bottled milk and complementary foods, it is important for parents to know how much the little ones should eat. Experts have some important tips here.
Ability to self-regulate
Babies grow particularly quickly in the first year of life. If the baby eats or drinks a little less, parents quickly become worried. When breastfeeding, the recommendation is “as needed by the child,” reports the Federal Center for Nutrition (BZfE). But what about formula (baby food) and porridge? Here, too, parents can trust the child's feeling of hunger and satiety and even support their ability to self-regulate, advises the network “Healthy Living” at the BZfE. And that through so-called responsive feeding.
Healthy eating behavior of the child
In English, “responsive feeding” refers to feeding behavior that supports the child's self-regulating ability and thus long-term healthy eating behavior for the little ones.
This is a mutually dynamic process in which parents and children play an active role. The child shows through posture, facial expressions, with sounds, later also with words, that he is hungry or does not want to eat anymore.
The parents perceive these signals and react adequately to them. If the need is met, the child feels understood and satisfied, which in turn makes the parents happy and both are encouraged in their actions.
If, on the other hand, the hunger and satiety signals are ignored, misinterpreted in the long term, or every uneasiness is answered with food, this can lead to large or small consumption quantities.
Experts see strengthening self-regulation as an important starting point for overweight prevention.
The child's hunger and satiety signals are crucial
“When breastfeeding, the amount of milk and the need are naturally regulated, as most people know. What is less well known is that the child's hunger and satiety signals are also crucial when feeding with bottles and porridge - and not the portion size given, ”said Maria Flothkötter, head of the Healthy into Life network.
In an earlier communication, the experts explained when the first complementary food should be started: at the earliest at the beginning of the 5th month and at the latest at the beginning of the 7th month of life.
The child does not have to drink the bottle empty and should not be encouraged to start and follow-on feeding.
If the child develops healthy, grows and is active, parents can assume that they eat enough.
If parents are worried that their child is appetite, refuses to eat or spits out, then they should contact the pediatrician in charge. During the preventive medical check-ups, he regularly checks healthy development and growth. (ad)