For babies and toddlers, feeding is a significant part of life. It is the way that they get nourishment to grow physically and mentally.
It is also the way that they feel nurtured and cared for. It is through feeding that we communicate to our babies and toddlers how much we love them.
The way that we feed our babies and toddlers has a significant impact on how they grow and develop. The way that we feed them can also significantly impact the way they relate to us and the world.
In fact, the way we feed our babies and toddlers is a major key to developing their temperament. Four basic feeding styles are common in our culture:
1. The Traditional Feeder
This parent follows the traditional “baby-led” approach to feeding. The baby is fed on demand and is allowed to self-regulate. The Traditional Feeder is not concerned with how much the baby eats or how often. The Traditional Feeder allows the baby to self-feed as soon as the baby is old enough.
2. The Scheduler
This parent follows the traditional “parent-led” approach to feeding. The Scheduled Feeder has a rigid feeding schedule. The Scheduled Feeder is concerned with how much the baby eats or how often. The Scheduled Feeder follows a feeding schedule regardless of hunger cues and self-regulation.
3. The Caregiver
This parent is somewhere in between the traditional and the scheduled feeder. The Caregiver allows the baby to self-feed but will intervene if the baby is uncomfortable. This parent is likely to feed the baby more often than the traditional feeder but less often than the scheduled feeder.
4. The Protector
The Protector parent is at the other end of the spectrum from the Traditional Feeder. This parent is extremely concerned with how much the baby eats or how often. The Protector parent attempts to control how much the baby eats to avoid obesity. The Protector parent is also concerned with the type or the quality of the food being offered.
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