Thanks to Plum Organics for sponsoring my post about tips for baby feeding magic. What if you let baby choose what’s for dinner? Check out their cute “Quest for Yum!” video and see what happens!
With 2 kids under my belt I like to think I’m an old pro at getting babies to eat. Now toddlers on the other hand, oh man, don’t get me started. The thing is, babies and toddlers alike go through stages where their tastes change. They may be happily eating spinach and peas one day & refuse to even look in your direction at the brief mention of them the next. So I’m going to give you a few tips that I’ve learned along the way that has made feeding time at our house a lot easier.
- Take It Slow – Don’t be in a rush to feed your baby solids for the first time. A lot of mothers will take to heart the old wives tale that putting cereal in babies bottle will make them sleep longer. Wait until at least 5 or 6 months and start out with a spoon! Babies have something called a tongue thrust reflex. It protects them against choking. Their tongue automatically pushes food out instead of down the throat. By around age 6 months this disappears. And here’s a little tip, all that rice cereal in babies bottle could give them a lot more belly aches. (Rice cereal is known to constipate. Babies can better digest it after 5 or 6 months when their intestines have matured.)
- Write Down What Baby Eats – There’s a very good reason for this and my youngest son is the proof. I assumed because my first son didn’t have allergies that my second wouldn’t either. WRONG. It took around 3 separate incidents of my baby getting violently ill before I figured out he was allergic to bananas amongst other things. I had mixed bananas with rice cereal, with oats, with toast. I literally had to take each thing away and deduce what it was that was harming him. Keep a list of what baby eats. Do 1 food at a time. Sweet potatoes 4 days in a row, carrots 4 days in a row, and on and on. Once you have 2 foods that you’ve tried you can combine the 2. I know it may seem tedious but I wouldn’t wish what we went through on another Baby & Mother, ever. It’s better to be safe than sorry & if anything happens you’ll have a list of what baby ate that day to present to the Doctors.
- Let Baby Get Messy – Its Fun – It can be hard to give in and let baby go at it when you’re trying to get them ready for daycare or school, the babysitter, or even bed. You’re in a rush & sometimes it’s just easier to feed them yourselves. But where’s the fun in that? really? Baby has to learn how to use utensils. Both of my boys were using utensils before the age of 1 because I took a chance on letting things get dirty. I guarantee you, put a spoon in front of a hungry baby & let them watch you use your spoon, they’ll be feeding themselves in no-time. If things get too messy just thicken up their foods a bit with cereal. Things won’t splatter quite as easily!
- Try, Try, Again – And if baby doesn’t like it, try again! I’m serious. You may have to present something 10 times before baby goes for it. Don’t push it on them, if they don’t like it, let it go. In a day or two try again! Babies tastes are constantly changing. Those peas they hated yesterday they may love tomorrow.
- Be Sneaky – Once you’ve relaxed and mastered having fun feeding your baby the time will come when they start getting picky. Not all kids, but most will. There’s a big debate on whether to hide veggies in kids foods or not and after dealing with my oldest son, who loved everything and then out of the blue loved nothing I’m all for sneaking in veggies. Lately I’ve been really adventurous and made my own mini muffins for the baby & my toddler. I found a simple recipe for zucchini bread, removed most of the sugar, substituted half the oil with applesauce and a bit of apple juice & upped the amount of veggies to about 3 cups instead of the 2 it called for. I made them into mini muffins and the kids LOVE them. They beg for them! They have no idea they’re eating veggies!! This is your kids health we’re talking about.. sometimes you just have to get sneaky.
- Practice What You Preach – Kids learn by example. Plain and simple. Once your babies are a little older they’ll be watching everything you do. If they see you eating broccoli once a week for a month they’re going to want to try it sooner or later. Believe me they will. Put it on your plate and eat it with them. Show them what it is to make healthy choices. If you’re not a great eater yourself now is the time to experiment. Find something new and healthy the whole family can enjoy together. Practice what you preach and eventually your kids will come out of that picky stage and you’ll have a healthy eater on your hands who when they get a bit older just might thank you for setting such a great example.
I hope you’ll put these tips to good use. Most of all, just remember that babies grow up quickly! Savor the moments and have fun with it all while you can! And don’t be afraid to get messy!! It makes for great memories.