Most babies will be ready to eat solid foods between 4 and 6 months as a supplement to breast milk or formula.
Before you panic, we have some good advice on how to feed your child a healthy diet, cope with picky eating + (most importantly), take the time to enjoy this exciting and often hilarious moment in the child development.
Whether you choose to introduce fruits, vegetables, or grains first, keep in mind that baby’s first months with solids are as much about exploration as they are nutrition.
Expose your child to a variety of tastes to foster more varied interests in food later in infancy. It’s perfectly fine if your child forgoes eating some (or all) of the choices presented. Your job is to decide what foods to offer, but the child’s job is to decide self And how much to eat. It’s entirely likely that your little one will change his mind after repeated exposure to foods he doesn’t like, so don’t stop offering them just because your child rolls up that cute nose. Heck, my little guy changes his mind about foods every hour. Trying to predict what your child will eat is a task best left to the fools.
So, the child hasn’t touched a vegetable in days and you’re convinced that scurvy is inevitable?
Do not be afraid! Starting from the beginning.
Your baby’s nutrition should be considered over the course of a week, rather than just a day or two, so try to keep an eye on the big picture.
Second, even if your baby goes a week without touching the green stuff, there’s more than one way for your baby to consume the vital vitamins and nutrients needed for healthy development. It turns out that healthy eating is about more than just munching on raw broccoli and kale smoothies. Some of your baby’s favorite foods are rich in fiber, fat, protein, calcium, folic acid and vitamins A, C and K, some of which are essential nutrients for your baby’s health. That’s right… fruit can be just as healthy as vegetables! They may have more sugar than vegetables, but nothing to worry about when compared to sugary snacks and drinks. True, fruit may not pack quite the nutritional punch of some vegetables, but as the old saying goes, “A fruit in your mouth is worth two vegetables on your plate.”
Are you still worried that your little one is missing something important?
First, tell that annoying guilty mom to hit the road! Second, check out our handy checklist for ensuring proper nutrition. (Veggies only make the list once, so we bet you’re doing better than you think!)
1. Offer your baby milk and water, avoiding too many sugary drinks and juices which may suppress your baby’s appetite for more beneficial offerings.
2. Schedule your baby’s meals and snacks every two to three hours to avoid hunger (and cranky pants!).
3. When baby is old enough, or if you are trying baby-led weaning, give your little one the opportunity to try a well-rounded variety of whole grains (Cheerios, pasta), greens (sweet potato cubes, spinach cooked), fruit (blueberries, banana), and protein (boneless fish, chicken, or, if your child is vegetarian, an assortment of beans). A simple trick is to offer your kids foods that represent the colors of the rainbow. This technique will almost ensure that your baby is getting a variety of nutrients while enjoying a dazzling display of colour!
4. If the child has been offered two or three options and doesn’t seem interested, don’t force the issue. The child can refuse an entire meal and that’s okay. End your feeding session smoothly and pick up where you left off at the next session.
5. Try not to eat foods in front of the child that you would not like the child to eat. Yes, we know how difficult this is! But restricting foods from your baby while eating them yourself sends mixed signals and may increase your baby’s preferences for those foods later in infancy. Try modeling admirable eating behaviors in front of your child, and if you just can’t help it, hide behind the refrigerator door for a bite of that heavenly chocolate chip cookie. Just kidding. Guy.
6. When your baby loses interest in eating, end the feeding session afterward. Otherwise, you may find most of your day spent around the dining table!
Whether you’re at the dinner table with your Cookie Monster or Anthony Bourdain, feeding your baby doesn’t have to consume everything. Your baby will eat when he’s ready and there’s nothing you can do to change that. We wish you success in your baby’s food adventures!