Use these baby feeding tips to make family mealtimes with your baby both pleasurable and stress-free.
As solid foods begin to take over from milk as your baby’s main source of nutrition, it’s important to include your little one at the family dinner table – soon he’ll be enjoying the same healthy food as the rest of the family too!
It can be tempting to try to feed your baby at a different time to the rest of the family – if only to let you enjoy your meal in peace!
But by sharing meals with you, he’ll develop better eating habits … and there are things you can do to make life easier!
Make sure you bring your baby’s high chair right up to the table, so he feels part of the family.
Some people tend to set the high chair to one side – but this can cause baby to create some attention demanding scenes! It is also better for him to observe everyone else enjoying their meals, as he’s more likely to do the same.
Many babies will start using a spoon at this stage, although some don’t master the art of feeding themselves until well after their first birthday.
But as soon as your baby seems interested in giving it a try, then give him a spoon and bowl … and protect the carpet!
To minimize the mess, it’s a good idea to have two bowls and two spoons at the table – one set for you and one for baby!
Try using a baby bowl with a “sucker” that sticks to the table, then put a SMALL amount of food into it. This ensures that there’s not too much food for baby to throw at you … and that you have the majority of your baby’s meal intact, to feed him while he occupies himself with his exciting new spoon!
We’ve often taken advantage of the fact that a baby, busy concentrating on something, will absent-mindedly open his mouth when you hold a spoon to it!
If you’ve been having trouble getting your baby to eat, then this can be a very useful technique!
Help your baby learn to feed himself by trying to give him foods that stick easily to the spoon – it’s so sad to watch a baby work hard to pick something up, only for it to roll off before it reaches his mouth!
You’ll need to draw on your huge reserves of motherly patience during this stage – it can be VERY messy. Make sure you protect your baby’s clothes and put a “splatter” mat or newspaper on the floor – that way, you’ll feel more relaxed and your baby will happily “dig in”.
Another way to make sharing mealtimes easier is to provide your baby with finger foods, such as pieces of cooked pasta or little squares of toast.
These will keep him busy – allowing you to enjoy YOUR food too.
We often used this technique at breakfast time and would pour cereal, such as crisped rice, straight on to baby’s high chair tray. While he was busy picking up and eating all the tiny pieces, we could get on and prepare the rest of his breakfast … and everyone else’s too!
Maintain a happy atmosphere at the table … talk to your baby, praise and encourage him and smile sweetly if he refuses to eat.
Keep any feeding problems in perspective – “fussy feeding” phases seem awfully long and worrying at the time, but most babies go through them.
Just continue to offer a wide variety of healthy foods and things WILL settle down – talk to other Mums and you’ll find most have experienced the same thing!