How to Make Feeding Fun
5 tips for easy feeding are here! Believe me, I have seen it all with the good, the bad, and the messy with feeding. Let me tell you what works best for making feeding an enjoyable time for both you and your baby! It can take babies 15 times looking at or tasting something before they get used to it (so, don’t give up!). When I work with parents, sometimes I wonder what else in life do we have to slave over and get thrown in our face 15 times before it works? Anything?
Some tips to make your busy life just a bit easier:
- Prep foods in small portions so that you can offer more than one kind of food at a time without prepping different foods each time. Portion sizes for 6-12 months is 1 tablespoon of each type of food!
- Feed in a highchair or feeding chair with a tray ALWAYS. Kiddos thrive with eating when they have a supportive eating place that they recognize -plus you can sit with them and eat at the same time to model eating and have a good viewpoint if choking occurs.
- Use a spoon AND allow for play. Let them be as much as you can to explore with the food. You can offer bites of food if baby opens their mouth and accepts the spoon. Putting the spoon in his mouth without him fully accepting a bite or forcing him to feed may get another bite in… but 9 times out of 10, this often backfires in the long run. This shows that you are leading the feeding and his lack of control may make him timid to try new things and fear feeding.
Also, be wary of grazing habits because grazing is what kills good eating habits for so many kids. So, no grazing allowed, even in the early days of feeding. Start offering food on a somewhat standard schedule to get your baby used to an eating routine.
An example feeding schedule can look something like this:
- In the first few weeks, start offering an eating time at 1pm in between breastfeeding sessions.
- The next few weeks offer 2 feedings, one 9am, in-between morning breastfeeding and one at the 1pm time.
- Then by 9-12 months, you can work up to a 9am, 1pm, 6pm.
- Then, at 12 months she will be perfectly ready for a healthy eating schedule of 3 meals and 2 snacks.
This creates hunger and interest in eating their meal. This can also increase the intake of the nutrient-dense foods that kids need to thrive. You don’t have to be a chef to make feeding tasty and fun. Babies do not know what 5-star recipes look or taste like. Therefore, be creative with mixing and matching foods (of course after the first introductory period of trialing one new food every 2-3 days is complete). Picking a type of protein, fruit, vegetable and healthy fat, and making flavor combinations is interesting for babies even if the thought of something like peas, mango, and eggs mixed together in a pile gives you the heebeegeebees. Popsicle molds, feeding nets, small spoons and bowls make experimenting with foods fun, even if it makes a mess (that’s why kids love it!). I think my kids ate naked more often than not so I could just rinse them off in the bath!