And put them on your fridge for extra encouragement!
When the time comes for those first foods it can be such an exciting time in your baby’s first year!
But the reality is also that it can be stressful. My hope is that these mantras keep you encouraged as your baby starts solids for the first time!
- Recognize your own biases and insecurities when it comes to weight and food.
- Introduce them to food even before they eat by bringing them into the kitchen with you and allowing them to smell the cooking and see you cook.
- Eat in front of them from a young age so they look at this as enjoyable.
- Look at mealtimes as play. Playtime should be enjoyable. As we wouldn’t pressure our children to play, don’t pressure them to eat. Sit with them, eat next to them, and always remember: No pressure!
- Encourage them to get messy. Mess is great for the senses and can avoid picky eating. It also makes it more enjoyable and works various developmental domains, making eating a fun experience.
- Provide positive facial expressions. If we make scared faces with food, they will too. Make it enjoyable, and make sure your face shows it too.
- Eat with them as often as you can. Meals are a social experience that is filled with language, communication, and social and emotional development.
- Sing, laugh, and make it a family affair whenever possible.
- Always try to give them what you eat in consistency or pieces they can handle. After six months, seasonings are okay! Just avoid the five-alarm chili!
- Try to avoid distractions such as screens. We want our kids to be mindful eaters and learn to listen to their bodies, and screens and distractions can take away from this. Try to make screens a rare exception and not the rule.
- Remember, you don’t have to be TEAM purees or TEAM baby-led weaning.
- You can do a mixture of both. If you do both, encourage self-feeding first before you follow with some spoon-feeding. OR encourage self-feeding skills with a spoon!
- Always respect their fullness cues and don’t force them.