There are so many tactics on what and how to start solids with your baby. And no parent seeks out having a picky & poor eater in a child but so many children are! Here are some tips on ways my husband and I encourage my son to be a good eater & things we will be doing with my daughter as she begins solids in 3-4 months.
First off, these things are not the only ways to help your child become a good eater, but these things did work for us. Ultimately, do what’s best for your child; that might look differently than what we do for our kids.
Start introducing solids early.
Once your child can sit up and shows interest in food, bringing things to their mouths & watching you eat, they are ready for solids. I love the baby led weaning approach to introducing solids but I do think there’s a time and a place for purees. Here is a link to a website describing what baby led weaning is if you’re not aware. Basically, baby led weaning is the idea that you give your child solid foods from the start- things they can pick up and eat on their own without your help. Typically you introduce on thing at a time and that slowly progresses into a mixture of things, adding seasonings, etc. For example, giving an avocado slice or half a banana or strips of a plain egg omelet. These are all foods that a 6-month old baby can pick up and bring to their mouth. You are teaching them independence & can more easily decipher any allergies early on.
This goes hand in hand with the previous one. The more times you let your little one figure it out on their own and aren’t spoon feeding them everything, the faster they will learn. Now, we did do some purees with my son, so I’m not saying purees are horrible to do, but we started my son early on feeding himself as much as able. And to this day, as a 16-month old, he uses utensils and eats his food on his own. This is also going to help them be able to stop eating when they’re done and not continue to be fed when they’re no longer hungry.
Giving a Variety of Foods.
As soon as you begin solids (or baby led weaning), it’s up to you to help give balanced, whole foods to your child. Your child is not at the age of being able to say, “no” or choose what they eat. It’s in your hands. Also, your child is less likely to develop an allergy to foods introduced early on. So, give them peanut butter, eggs, fruits, vegetables, etc. There’s an app called ‘Solid Starts’ that tells you exactly at what age a food can be introduced and how to prep it for each age. It’s a free app & has such amazing info.
Introduce Cups, Utensils, & Plates/Bowls Early.
As soon as your child seems ready, start giving them a cup to drink out of, silverware to use, and a plate/bowl to have their food in. We weren’t the best at the plate; we kind of gave up since he liked to dump his food out, but we’re beginning to do this now and it’s going well! They will need your assistance with these things at first, but kids catch on so quickly!
Sometimes it takes patience to make your child’s food. Sometimes it takes patience to wait for them to finish their food and clean up since they’re slow at eating. Whatever it is, give them their space and time. When they’re first beginning to be given food, they’re exploring and learning so much. Don’t expect all the food to actually be consumed (or any right away), but with time & patience, they’ll be eating like a pro!
What things do you do to encourage your little one to be a good eater?
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