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7 Health Lessons From My Daughter

baby feet

Little feet, big lessons for mom and dad. Credit: sabianmaggy

Years ago, I wrote about health lessons that my dog taught me. Continuing the theme that babies and puppies share about a billion similarities, I thought I’d share a few health lessons I’ve learned from my daughter since she was born almost 11 months ago.

7 Health and Fitness Lessons From a Baby

1. Try, try again. It’s pretty rare that a baby will get any skill right on the first attempt. Few skills are learned overnight; instead, it’s lots of baby steps that combine to form one major milestone.

Lesson: You won’t get in shape/run a marathon/do 100 push-ups/lose baby weight just because you decide to do it. It’s baby steps getting there!

2. Don’t be afraid to make a mess. Most adults are fairly well set in their eating habits. But babies who are just learning to eat follow no rules. They mix fruits and veggies in creative ways and aren’t afraid to make a total mess enjoying the feast.

Lesson: Don’t follow so many rules (recipes?) in the kitchen, and try to have more fun!

3. Take your time. Feeding a baby for the first few times (okay, the first few months, or actually, years) is not a speedy affair. Whether you’re feeding purees or letting the baby go to town on her own, speed is not the name of the game. Babies don’t want to be force fed and instead prefer to make meal time an event.

Lesson: Pace yourself so you can savor and enjoy your meal (and avoid overeating!).

4. Eat what you need. Stop when you’re done. Ever been around when a baby is done eating? Objects begin to fly across rooms; food and drool begin to go the wrong direction in the form of blown raspberries. Babies never keep eating just because food is there.

Lesson: When you’re full, stop eating and move on to a new activity.

5. Sleep when you need to sleep. Ideally, babies fall asleep when they’re tired. Yes, they may get cranky first, but put them in a sleep-inducing environment and they’re out for the count if they need sleep.

Lesson: Stop fighting sleep. Stop doing one more task, checking off one more to-do, watching that late-night show. Just go to bed so you won’t be so darn tired in the morning.

6. Look at the week. Some days my baby is a chow hound. Others it seems like she barely eats. I’ve heard not to look at a toddler’s eating habits by the day, but rather over the course of a week to make sure kiddos are eating a balanced diet.

Lesson: Don’t beat yourself up if you goof one day of the week, but look for an overall healthy eating pattern. All things in moderation!

7. Go. Go. Go. Rest. Now that my daughter is crawling, it’s a total Go-A-Thon at our casa. She doesn’t stop crawling and exploring unless she’s physically restrained or in baby jail.

Lesson: If you’re awake, make the most of your day—go, go, go. Then rest.

So many lessons and it hasn’t even been a year. Have your kids taught you any good life lessons? —Erin

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