Feeding Your Baby, A Parent’s Job and a Baby’s Job

Feeding a baby just starting out on solid foods is not just your job; your child has a major role in this as well. Feeding will be easier, more interesting and more nutritionally and emotionally satisfying if you follow your baby’s lead. Don’t worry about them needing to eat a certain amount of a certain food at a certain time of day. By carefully observing your child you will soon become quite good at realizing when they are hungry and when they have had enough to eat. New eaters won’t eat much at first as they are becoming accustomed to new textures and tastes. Most of their nutritional needs are still being met from breast milk or formula. Closer to 1 year of age your baby’s solid food intake will expand in quantity and variety. Then their nutritional needs can be met by the solid foods. Use the list below to keep feeding focused on your baby’s needs, not yours. Mindfully observe your child, let them do their jobs and you do yours.

Baby eating baby food (blended green beans)

Baby eating baby food (blended green beans) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Parent’s Concerns 
  1. Choose appropriately textured foods
  2. Choose 1-2 foods, if rejected- meal is over
  3. Baby strapped in high chair
  4. (Hold baby in lap for beginner eaters)
  5. Keep baby upright to avoid choking
  6. Have baby face forward, looking at you
  7. Talk calmly to baby, don’t entertain
  8. No toys, TV, games
  9. Allow baby to explore food
  10. Use spoon or let baby self feed, or both
  11. Follow baby’s lead for hunger and satiety
  12. Follow baby’s lead for tempo of eating

Baby’s Choice 

  1. How much to eat, by signaling fullness
  2. Whether they eat or not, whether they open their mouth or not
  3. Paying attention to each spoonful
  4. Touching food in dish or spoon
  5. Set tempo for feeding
  6. Self feed if they want, with which ever hand or both

How Often to Feed 

  1. Offer solids once per day until 2 tablespoons is consumed, then increase to two feedings per day
  2. When that feeding reaches 2 tablespoons, add another feeding
  3. Continue until you are feeding 4-6 times a day
  4. Formula or breast milk can be fed with or separate from solids
  5. Where to Feed
  6. At the table and in a baby safe chair
  7. In an adult’s lap
  8. Never feed in a reclining position
  9. Watch your baby carefully the next time you feed them or share a meal

The newest solid food eaters are usually willing to let a parent feed them, but many want to touch the food and/or spoon before it gets to their mouth. This being impolite behavior for an adult, we stop this action. But remember that this whole experience, sitting in a chair, having a spoon move toward your mouth, having something solid in your mouth, and having new taste is all novel.

Of course babies want to examine the food before they let it in. So let your baby check out the situation. Let them know that now they will be eating in a chair just for them. Show them the spoon, without food, let them mouth it. Then tell them that you are helping them learn to eat. Try not to push their inquisitive hands back to their laps. Put some food on their tray and let them explore. While this is happening, offer a small spoon of food by putting the food up to their mouth. If they are ready, they will open their mouth. Their table manners will conform to societal norms as their coordination develops and they start to observe others eat.

Each baby experiences foods in their own way. Some babies will grimace, some will smile, and others will look surprised or excited. However your baby reacts, don’t read meaning into it. When your baby is done chewing, offer another bite. Keep this up until they show you that they are done exploring and eating. As your baby becomes accustomed to foods, they will not need to explore as much. But they will probably still want to use their hands, and/or try to use the spoon to self feed. They want to do it themselves and are very proud of this accomplishment. So your job is to sit back, smile and let them know, “I see you can feed yourself.”

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7044863

By Beverly Pressey

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: