The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Unnecessary introduction of bottle feeding or other food and drinks will have a negative impact on breastfeeding. After six months of age, infants should receive age appropriate foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. Consult your doctor before deciding to use infant formula or if you have difficulty breastfeeding.
Fibre-rich foods like grains, fruits and vegetables can do wonders for one’s digestive tract. Toddlers aged one to three should aim for 19g of fibre per day1, so pile on those apples, raspberries and whole-grain bread for the your little one.
1. Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for energy, carbohydrate, fiber, fat, protein and amino acids. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2002/2005.
Not only is exercise great for the overall well-being of your child, it is also a crucial aspect of digestive health. Keep the workout light and fun, but keep them active – this will encourage the movement of food through your child’s gastrointestinal tract and will help with digestion.
Especially true in our tropical climate where kids are more prone to perspiration and losing bodily fluids, hydration is key to keeping it all running smooth. To make that glass of water more enticing for your child, add fresh fruit like lemon or berries to give it more flavour.
Another trick is to have smaller meals more often throughout the day. This way, your child will be less likely to experience discomfort caused by bloating and will also be less likely to overload his digestive system with heavy portions of food.
Monitor your child’s eating habits and make sure he or she is not eating too fast and too much as a result. When eating out, portion food with serving plates, so your child doesn’t over-indulge in too-big servings that will make it more difficult for the digestive system to do its job.
Our bodies produce enzymes to help us break down food. These enzymes can also be found in our saliva, which is why you should always encourage thorough chewing to get all that stuff rolled up in enzymes. Other natural options can be found in food like papayas, mangoes, honey and pineapples.
Processed food such as instant canned food or sweet snacks usually lack nutrients such as fibre and enzymes. They’re also loaded with trans-fats and other preservatives that are not beneficial to overall health when consumed on the regular. Try to load up on fruits and vegetables for your child instead – his digestive tract will thank you for it.
At the end of the day, children learn by example. Eat as healthy as possible and make exercise a family activity – these great habits are just as beneficial for adults as they are for children. Moreover, this will also help you to bond with your child and also make wholesome, healthy living an integral aspect of your family life.