Sign in
Download Opera News App



Why Nigerian Mothers Should Stop Force-Feeding Kids

Parents always want to feed healthy food and balanced diet to their babies which help them in growing fast. In order to make sure that kids intake an adequate amount of proteins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates, parents try to force-feed them.

Photo Credit:

Force- Feeding kids is a widespread childcare practice in Nigeria. It is passed from generation to generation and done mostly by the elderly mothers. Armed with good intentions, these mothers go as far as forcing pap and tea down the throats of the kids each time they refuse to eat or when the kid is ill, most times overpowering the little ones who struggle, cry and vomit in defiance, even some mothers turns the babies’ heads down with their legs up, while force-feeding them. Some people will argue that this approach to feeding has been in existence since time immemorial but the truth is that, the fact that something has been going on doesn’t mean it is the right thing to continue doing. Times are changing and we are getting more informed; we should let some practices just die and adopt safer and more productive means of getting things done.

Why Nigerian Mothers Should Stop This Method of Force Feeding Kids

Force feeding babies can result to the following health problems in kids:


In human throat, the pipe going to the lungs (trachea) and the pipe going to the abdomen (esophagus) cannot be open at the same time; the esophagus is supposed to receive food while the trachea is supposed to receive air. So, when the trachea is blocked by food, drink, or foreign objects as a result of force-feeding, it can lead to choking and sometimes death in babies.


Vomiting or throwing up, is a forceful discharge of stomach contents. When you feed your child against his wishes, it may end up in him throwing up or vomiting.


Photo Credit: TheEconomicTimes

Sometimes, the technique applied in force-feeding the infant involves covering the child’s nostrils so he/she is forced to open the mouth. Food, most times in fluid consistency such as pap, is then forced down the open mouth. Though some women say there is a skill to this technique, but it can increase the risk of suffocation as air supply is blocked from the nostrils and food is stuffed in the mouth, thus also blocking air from going in through the mouth. This can easily kill a child.

Aspiration pneumonia

Aspiration-pneumonia occurs when one inhales food, drink, saliva into ones lungs, this trigger pneumonias. Force-feeding babies can cause foreign materials like foods or liquid into the lungs repeatedly and this can lead to pneumonia.

Eating Disorder

Force feeding a child can lead to the child developing hatred for food. Once a child develops hatred for food, the hatred might lead to eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. Also the child would start seeing feeding as stressful.

What You Can Do to Make Your Kids Eat Properly Without Forcing Him/Her

1. Eat with your kid- Children copy adults; When you are feeding your child you should also eat from the same plate. Relish the food and talk about its taste and texture.

Image Credit: Masterfile

2. If you find out that your baby is not eating well or does not want to eat, do not scold her, rather change the way and pattern you prepare her food. Have you ever notice a child who refuses to eat his mother’s food is eating that same food when prepared by another woman. For example It could be that kid likes her plantain, boiled and not fried.

3. Offer 3 to 4 healthy food choices (that your child likes) at each meal. Research shows that children will choose a healthy diet when they are offered a selection of different healthy foods.

4. Remove every possible distraction when you are feeding your child. TV and mobile should be off and there should not be any distraction around. Even if your child gets distracted gently bring his attention back to the food. Do not scold him.

5. When a child constantly refuses to eat regardless of all efforts, it is advisable to take him or her to see a paediatrician or dietitian, They are experts on children feeding issues and problems.They can work with you on the best ways to make progress about feeding your child.

These tips and tricks will lead to give you and your child healthy eating habits. So just relax and try it out for a happier child! 

Please be careful of nannies and carers you employ to take care of your kids, many of them are into the act of Force-feeding kids.

I hope this helps. Thank you.


Content created and supplied by: Health-Talk (via Opera News )

Nigeria Nigerian


Load app to read more comments