Five effective solutions to ensuring positive food relationships when introducing solids to your baby
We’re starting solids here with my number 2 offspring, Georgia. Oh my how we are doing things way differently this time round. My clients have taught me to learn from their mistakes so here is a list of the top 5 things i’ve discovered to help a child make positive relationships with food on their journey into solid-hood. Texture is the scariest sensory property to overcome for young food explorers, I wish I had of known this when my son was a baby (mind you, he’s a good eater now, but it’s still often a battle for him to willingly eat good food).
- I’m taking cues from my daughter as to when she’s ready: on this occasion cues happened, my daughter watches what you eat with amazement and drools like an Alsatian. I didn’t trust it with my son as he never seemed to even cry for a milk feed. I’ll never know if I allowed his own survival instincts of hunger and self nourishment to kick in. Just one of the many reasons I feel he wasn’t given a chance to be a good eater.
- Hold back on the purees! Purees teach babies to swallow first then chew. This works fine until they are faced with a lump. With food cut up into manageable pieces they learn to chew first and swallowing will come a short time later.
- Serve food how it should look and feel: serving rice cereal and purees, although filling, isn’t how food normally looks and feels. We love to eat whole food in this household so to achieve having our baby eat what we eat, we now cut up some bite size pieces for her to try.
- Allow mess. I’ve seen countless clients with fussy babies and toddlers that are averse to having food on their hands and face. Having a messy baby might frustrate the OCD type, but if I can get her to withstand food on her hands and face then we may alleviate the most difficult sensory barrier of texture. How are they going to learn about different textures unless they can squish it, smoosh it and paint with it?
- I will provide and she will decide. There will be no hiding vegetables that she’s unfamiliar with or placing food into her mouth. She will be the master of her own destiny when it comes to food and I will listen to her cues of discomfort to avoid negative associations with food.