I have some very exciting news to report…the food war is over in our house! It took a while and a few tears (mostly from me) but Noble is now eating, and enjoying, three meals a day. Patience and perseverance were pivotal.
When it comes to eating, it is important to remember that all babies go at their own pace and comparison will kill you. Your baby is your best guide through the process, following their cues and going at their speed is most important, along with these six tips I learnt along the way.
Start small and slow
When Noble turned six months and it was time for him to eat I was SO excited! I don’t know how many times I went to the store and bought a big bag of organic carrots or beans, came home, prepared them, only to be met with pursed lips. I think during the first feeding month we threw out more than he ever ate.
Be realistic, especially when starting out, about how much your baby is going to eat. In the beginning a tablespoon or two will do. I found it easiest to puree a batch of organic food and then freeze it in ice cube trays. Each morning I just pull out the number of cubes I need for the day.
Make milk first
When you start feeding your baby it’s about teaching them how to eat. Think about the last time you had to learn a new skill, were you able to master it on the first try? Don’t worry if your baby is not “a good eater” or is not going at a pace, or sticking to a schedule you would like.
At first it is not about the nutrition, it is about the experience, which is why it’s so important to make sure you continue your milk feeding routine, followed by food. As a general guideline I feed Noble within an hour of nursing. Never forcing him if he’s not interested.
Stick to vegetables and fruit
Although you want your baby to try everything it is important to remember that at first it is about actually learning to eat. I found I had the best experience with foods that did not have a strong flavour. Pureeing really helps. The more liquid it was, the easier it was for him to get down without gagging. It’s all about experimenting with your baby and what they like. I had the most success with carrots, green beans, sweet potato and blueberries.
Go organic whenever possible
As I have shared in the past, there are lots of reason to go organic. This is especially true when we think about how tiny our baby is. Doing whatever you can to reduce the amount of chemicals they are exposed to is a good idea. Unfortunately, there are currently no long term studies on the impact of pesticides or GMOs. While the jury is still out, I recommend, whenever possible, shopping with the dirty dozen and clean 15 in mind.
Avoid the baby food aisle
Let’s be honest, we are all busy and time strapped. As a result, sometimes foods that are convenient are chosen over foods that are probably better for our baby. This is especially true when you walk down the baby section of the supermarket. Many of the foods that have been marketed as “nutritious” are anything but.
Filled with extra sugar, sodium and preservatives, prepackaged and processed foods are not a good choice for the nutritional needs of your baby. Stick to whole, fresh, organic foods whenever possible.
Try, try and try again
Whatever food you decide to start your baby on, stick with it for at least five days. This will give your baby enough time to get used to the flavour and give you the chance to monitor if there is going to be a reaction. Sticking to the same food will take the guess work out of trying to figure out what could have caused the reaction if it does happen.
I can’t stress enough that as much as you want your baby to eat, they may not be ready. Every baby is different. Avoid the comparison. Follow your baby’s cues. Don’t rush it. Make a plan that works with your schedule but always allow for flexibility.
How did your first few months of solid food feeding go? What was your biggest challenge? What did you find most helpful? I would love to hear about your experiences and tips below.