1. Get in shape prior to pregnancy, and go over your weight and diet very carefully with your doctor. There have been some indications that children of obese parents are generally three times as fat, by the age of seventeen, as children of lean parents. The study seems to indicate that this is due to the home environment rather than hereditary factors.
2. Let your baby decide when it's had enough to eat. Your doctor will monitor your child's growth rate, and you'll find the baby won't be malnourished if it doesn't finish all its formula at one sitting.
3. Feed your child only at regular mealtimes. A crying baby is not necessarily a hungry one. It might need burping, a diaper change, or even just be cranky. Also during the first few months the need to suckle can be very strong, but it doesn't necessarily indicate hunger, and can be met with a pacifier. Remember, if the child has eaten a meal, it will take about three hours for its stomach to empty, and hunger to set in.
4. Don't feed solid foods to your infant too early. Check with your pediatrician, but most feel that four months is early enough to start.
5. Using food as a bribe, reward, or comfort too often teaches children inappropriate responses to food.
6. Keep the house free of junk food. If snacks are wanted, treat your child to fruits or have them nibble on vegetables rather than candy or cookies.
7. Create a positive environment for exercise.
8. Try not to give in to a child's tyrannical demands for sweets. A child needs discipline, and this is an important one.
9. If you have a child already overweight, talk to your pediatrician about a weight control program. A youngster can diet safely with a sensible regimen of nutritionally balanced meals, and a behavior modification program to retrain poor eating habits. The sooner the problem is dealt with, the easier it will be.
10. Remember, food is not another word for love. Hugs, kisses, discipline, and attention are the healthiest signs of affection of all.