Some top feeding tips for complementary feeding.
It is important to note, that the guidelines are there for the safety and health of your baby. Don’t introduce solids prior to four months and no later than seven months. Make sure your baby is ready for starting solids within this time – they will show you they’re ready by showing an interest in food, not extruding the tongue when you try give them food, and they’ll be able to hold their head up safely on their own.
Side note: You do not have to fit into a baby-led weaning or traditional weaning box – you’re more than welcome to do both, and you do not have to do what your sister or friend did with her children. Choose what is best for your family.
1. Introduce new foods one at a time.
It’s important to only give baby one new food at a time, and then stick with that food for 3-4 days to observe any reactions (or changes in nappies) that occur. If you introduce six foods in one week, and your child ends up constipated or has an allergic reaction, you will not know which of those six foods was the issue, or if more than one caused it.
As our cousin so eloquently put it with her new baby. Carrots = explosions, Banana = stopped everything, Pumpkin = Poo slime. It’s good to know what each food does, so you know if their digestive system is ready for it or not.
2. Use baby-friendly spoons or sticks, and warm cloths.
If you want to create a positive environment for eating then be aware that scraping a metal spoon across a child’s face or using a cold cloth usually doesn’t feel great. Some Plunket clinics are giving out some pretty cool stick-type-spoons for feeding which means your child can suck the food off, rather than try get his or her mouth around a weird shaped spoon that may not fit right for the first few months. Some children don’t have a care in the world, but if you’re starting to find feeding is a little harder then expected, then take a quick look at the environment it’s occurring in.
If you’re having trouble with feeding then have a look at changing how you feed first. I find often, that during the first few weeks of introducing solids, babies do very well simply sucking food off your finger for the last few mouthfuls if they’ve tried to take the spoon but a little more coordination is still required.
3. Don’t make two different meals for you and for baby
If you’re cooking dinner, then simply putting some mince aside to puree before you season yours, or roasting some extra vegetables to puree and then freeze in portions are perfect ways to help create less stress when it comes to meal times. You’re busy and tired enough without having to create more than one meal at every single meal time. Once baby has adjusted to solids and is eating plenty of variety, then this becomes easier, but in the meantime, grab your ice tray and freeze some portions for ease and convenience.
4. Take cues from your child
As adults, we simply override our satiety (feeling full) levels because we tell ourselves we must finish the plate, or we love the food so will eat it even if we don’t need anymore. “Food coma” has become part of our vocabulary. Babies have yet to learn that negative skill, and when they’re done with their meal and are full enough, they will tell or show you. Listen to them, and don’t force feed more just because they haven’t finished what you had prepared.
5. Start with feeding pattern, rather than a strict time.
If you start feeding your baby at 10am every morning then one day when you’re stuck at the doctor, or out with friends and are running late with that feed, you may end up with a stressful melt down. If you have a feeding pattern, rather than a strict time then you simply make it easier on yourself. Ideally, you’ll have a wake up breast or bottle feed, and then most likely another in your morning, then mid/late morning is food time, and then breast or bottle again for lunch. A pattern is easier to sustain and makes it less stressful when you’re not clock-watching.
Don’t worry – I’m not telling you how to parent.
I don’t have children yet, but it’s interesting that people feel the need to point this out to me and comment that maybe without children I shouldn’t focus on this area. I don’t have kids, partly because I’ve been very busy studying over the course of 6 years to help you with yours, partly because we have a 100 year old villa restoration going on that is more work than mentally appropriate, and partly because last year my partner was away for almost 7 months with work – not an ideal time to bring a baby home when dad isn’t there to enjoy being a parent.
I work with so many clients who struggle to get pregnant, so on their behalf please be mindful not everyone finds it so easy to have children. When you assume someone without children shouldn’t work in this area, you inadvertently insult those who work with children daily who may not be able to have their own, and simply those who are struggling to make a family.
GP’s, childcare workers, teachers and nutritionists to name a few are trained and experienced in their chosen careers to put your children first if you ask for their advice.
Thanks to this little cutie in my life and his amazing parents. More happened to get this little dude into the world than many people would even understand. I feel blessed every time his mum calls me for anything – questions, comments or simply to talk about his poo!
Thanks for being my poster child Meihana!