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‘Distraction feeding’ or ‘force feeding’ is not a healthy idea; instead it results in bad food habits in the future. Read how beautifully the author justifies this fact.
A few days back, I and my daughter both had an upset tummy. I just felt full as I had eaten a lot of food the day before and my toddler didn’t want to eat for God knows what reason which is very usual with her. So, I thought I should skip breakfast. My girl also did not eat her usual amount of food.
By noon, my tummy wanted to continue the food strike but I ‘wanted’ to eat. My body did not need food yet I ‘craved’ for food. Food was on the back of my mind all the time, until I gave in and ate. I felt bloated and nauseated all day. On the other hand, my daughter had only a few morsels for lunch, nothing for snack, and a very light dinner. She was happy, active and chirpy… her usual self.
That day, I realized that I eat for so many reasons other than my hunger.
I eat when I am sad.
I eat extra when there is something that is my favourite.
I eat when I can’t sleep at night.
I keep on munching when I am not actively doing something.
I eat as I want to FINISH food so that no leftovers go into the fridge.
I eat for so many wrong reasons. For me, food has become a way to reflect my emotions. Whereas my daughter eats to satiate her hunger.
So, to all those parents justifying ‘distraction feeding’, and all those grandparents saying ‘force feeding’ did no wrong to their children and they turned out well: no, we did not turn out well. Definitely, I didn’t turn out well.
I am 31 years old and my toddler understands her hunger cues better than me. I know other kids in the family who were distraction-fed or force-fed, and they were good for a few years. Ate to their parents’ heart’s content, were chubby and everything. But, a few years down the line, they started rejecting food altogether. Now, even Maggi can’t come to the rescue. The food and feeder are enemies, while the dining table is a declared war-zone.
On another note, my husband was also force-fed, but his food habits seem fine. Unlike me, he knows when to stop and when to even skip meals. So yes, not every kid who is force-fed or distraction-fed, ends up rejecting food or having a compulsive eating disorder.
But can I risk my daughter’s eating habits just in the hopes of her turning out okay like her father? No, she may end up like me. And that’s too big a risk, which I would rather avoid than take.
In the end, no one can take a better decision for a child than their own parents. But weigh the choices you have because; yes, they will start eating on their own someday, no kid keeps getting fed by their caregiver. But your attitude towards food today will decide their relationship with their plate for their whole life.
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: shutterstock
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