Getting an early jump on your baby’s nutrition is one of the best ways to prevent childhood obesity and the preventable diseases that our children can take into adulthood. Since the 1970s, the number of obese children in the U.S. has more than tripled, and our own kids are still suffering from diseases that were typically seen only in adults, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes.
A great deal of our parenting revolves around food. From worrying if baby is getting enough breastmilk or formula to trying to get a picky toddler to eat, food is at the center of our natural parenting instincts. That is why we call it “food parenting.” It describes the way you, as a parent, teach your child to develop a lifelong relationship with food. It’s the tactics you use to influence what, when, how and how much your child eats (or doesn’t eat).
Whether it’s becoming a short-order cook and making separate meals for picky eaters or rewarding good behavior with sweet treats, we most likely learned these habits from our own family. But that doesn’t mean we can’t change. With patience and determination for good food parenting, you can help your child grow up with a healthy relationship with food.