Top 5 Mistakes for Feeding
Five of the most common mistakes parents make when feeding their baby with five strategies to support feeding success
Introducing Solid Foods
Keys to knowing the right time for introducing baby to solids.
Baby’s First Food – Banana
Easy ways to prep your baby’s first food
Baby’s First Food – Avocado
Easy ways to prep your baby’s first food
Frequently Asked Questions
My two favorites: banana, avocado
Directions: get a banana, peel it, and mash it with a fork as best you can to get close to a puree texture. You can add water to it if you feel like it is too thick. You can also do the same thing with an avocado.
Why? I LOVE these foods because it’s the simplest way to make homemade baby food without all the work. These foods have great nutritional value that are natural and higher calories that children need. Also it is uncommon for children to have negative reactions to these foods. (Bananas can be constipating so look for more information about that).
Goal: Help your baby learn to eat safely while optimizing their independence and control
- Place your baby in a supportive position (see “Where Do I Feed My Baby”) with a seat with a tray.
- Place a spoonful of food on the tray in front of them.
- Yes, getting messy is part of the deal. Exploring with their hands first is a great way to help them feel safe, in control, and supported by you. You can use a bib or preferably no clothes so you don’t have to worry about them (let’s do all we can to eliminate any parent worry/ anxiety). You’ll have to wash your child anyway after they eat so just go for it.
- If your child seems comfortable with food on their hands you can present a small spoon to their lips. If your baby is calm and attentive you can put the food in their mouth.
Note: It is likely they will push it out (can look like “spitting”) the first several times, for up to a few weeks, depending on what age they start food.
Make sure you read about the language you use when you are feeding your child (“Does What I Say Matter When Feeding My Baby”)– this is important!
Another way to introduce solids is to give your child, what we specialists like to call, a “hard munchable”. This means a carrot stick, celery stick, jicama stick, large apple slice etc. It is large enough that they can hold and put in their mouth and explore a new taste and texture without getting a bite off so they don’t choke. This is a great activity for their sensory and motor development. Make sure they are in a supportive seat with a tray. Let them practice holding it and bringing it to their mouth. You can do this at each family meal or various times throughout the day.
The last option (and my favorite) is to do both! Giving your baby a spoon or hard munchable while you are spoon feeding them is a great way to encourage their own independence and help them feel safe and in control.
When they are first learning to eat, babies can eat anywhere from a few tastes to a few tablespoons. As they grow and become more comfortable with food, they can start eating anywhere from 2-4 ounces per meal. The volume of solids also depends on the amount of calories they are getting from breastmilk/ formula. When first introducing foods you can try 1 time per day for a few days. If your baby does well with that then you will gradually increase to two times per day for a few days and eventually up to 5x/day within a few weeks to a few months.
One of the big measurements we use to know if babies are eating enough is if they are growing and gaining weight. This is part of your well-child check and your doctor will let you know where your baby is on the growth scales.
No. There are several different approaches and one is not necessarily right or wrong. Some people like baby-led weaning and others prefer the traditional approach with rice/ oatmeal cereals. There is value in each approach. I support parents in working with different methods based on what the parent/ family needs are as well as the child.
Typically 15-30 minutes is recommended for mealtimes. This is appropriate for breast/ bottle fed babies as well as toddlers and older children. In fact, that’s about the time we spend eating at mealtimes as adults. Spending less than 15 minutes is rushed and often parents have not given the child the time or space they need to explore eating. “Feeding” is the entire act from first sitting in the chair and playing with it, smelling it, touching it, to eating and swallowing it. Spending more than 30 minutes can lead to malnutrition and kids can expend more calories than it is worth. Also it is really stressful for parents spending more than that amount of time with eating.
It’s important to choose a supportive seat with a tray that gives them back and trunk support and allows them to have their feet supported. Ideally you want your child to be able to hold their head up by themselves without much effort. If they have to work on holding their body upright, it is more difficult for them to focus on the work of eating.
No. I like to think of store bought baby food as “training foods”. These are foods that children are learning to eat. They are introduced to new tastes, puree texture, and learning how to move food around in their mouth. They are not as strong in the calorie and nutrition department as homemade baby food but they still have their place and are valuable to our babies.
No. Feeling bad, guilt, shame, not enough will lead to your child feeling these things as well. We don’t want our children experiencing these emotions with food. Why? They will not want to eat, will develop unhealthy relationships with food and with you- their parent. Remember to praise yourself and feel gratitude. Praise yourself for giving your child the best you have in that moment and know that you are. Feel grateful for the option of having store bought baby food- it really does make life easier sometimes and it is ok to make life easier. Let’s bring the joy to mealtimes!
Imagine the scenario: You put food in your baby’s mouth, your baby pulls “a face” and you say “you don’t like that! It’s yucky!”. OOPS! What are you teaching your child? You are teaching them that new foods are yucky and they don’t like it! What you are saying is the opposite of what you are actually trying to create. We do this all the time unconsciously and it’s a surprising mistake parents make. Now I know that they don’t understand the words but what they do understand is the energy behind these words. Do your words encourage or discourage eating? So, try these phrases instead:
“That’s a new food for you!” “Yay you tried it!” “You are learning to eat new food!” “Great job!” “YAY!”
“You are brave!” “I like how you tasted it!”
These words will create more of the thing that you actually want- your kid to eat!