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Make Your Baby a Good Eater

by Suzanne Murray on November 11, 2008 at 10:17 AM


photo by cafemama

Have you figured out when and how you're going to give your baby solid foods? I started when my daughter was 7-8 months and sort of just made up my own rules. But I just read an article some of you might be interested in about baby-led weaning, which says you should give babies finger foods and have them learn how to eat for themselves rather than spoon-feeding them pureed foods.

Gill Rapley, the founder of the baby-led weaning movement, just came out with a new book called Baby-Led Weaning, and she also has a DVD, and a web-site with information about how to introduce solid foods with helpful links.

Here, from an article in the Guardian, are Gill Rapley's 10 commandments for turning your baby into a good eater. (They have been condensed by me.)

1. Start weaning at 6 months. It's the best age as a baby's digestive system isn't ready for real food until then. And by that stage, they need the chance to feed themselves real food such as steamed whole vegetables, strips of chicken, pieces of fruit or cheese sticks.

2. Sit your baby upright for meals. If the baby is upright, and you make sure they have control over their food (don't put the food into their mouth - let them do it themselves), choking is no more likely, and may be less likely, than it is when a baby is being spoon-fed.

3. Offer, rather than push, meals. Allowing babies to eat what they want means they'll learn to choose the nutrients they need, and to listen to their bodies telling them when they've had enough.

4. Eat with your child. Eating with people will ensure babies learn more than just how to handle food—they'll learn about taking turns, conversation and table manners.

5. Expect a mess. It's a fun and important part of babies learning about food.

6. Don't get emotional. "If you feel hurt that your child isn't eating the food you've prepared, think about why you're taking it so hard. You might have anxieties about whether you're a good enough parent, and that's the issue you need to address.

7. Don't cut up food too small. Before they master pincer-gripping with their fingers and thumb, babies need big pieces of food they can hold.

8. Treat mealtimes as play times. Food is to be experimented with, played with, and investigated. And to be tasted.

9. Don't give food to hungry babies. Give them a milk feed first so they won't be frustrated, then finger food so they'll be able to enjoy experimenting with the food.

10. Watch your language. Encourage the baby to think of food itself as interesting and pleasurable, rather than associate it with negativity.

Okay, so I broke a bunch of these rules (I pureed away because I'm paranoid about choking). How about you? How did you introduce your baby to food?

If you haven't started giving your baby solid foods yet, do you think you might try baby-fed weaning? If not, what are your plans?



Filed Under: development & growth, solid food

Comments

3
  • Katie...
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    KatieCrandall

    November 11, 2008 at 2:21 PM

    I'll probably still start with the classic baby foods...well, homemade versions of the Gerber jars, anyway. :) But I might be less paranoid about him wanting to eat bigger things sooner now.  I don't like that they reger to an age at which to start this, though.  Every baby develops a little differently, and I think this will put added pressure on Mom's with a baby with a more sensitive tummy...or make Mom's who waited feel bad.  It's definitely an interesting concept, though!


  • kidka...
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    kidkarelady

    November 11, 2008 at 6:17 PM

    My boys are 27, 20 and 16. They all began at 5 mos. with baby foods, 6 mos. i added people food ( I have a pic of my 7mo. old eating a P, B and J sandwhich) I know, peanut butter!!! It worked for me and my children have no food allergies. I HAD to allow them to help eat cause they always grabbed the spoon!!!

    But, as the comment above says - no age is the right age - each child develops differently. i just commented here because now days i see children eating baby food much too long! I was recently teaching in a preschool 21/2 - 3 yr old room and some of them were just weaning off of jr foods!!! Also, the moms in the baby room were not allowing some babies to have cheerios???

    Each to their own, i guess.

     


  • joyfu...
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    joyfullem

    November 12, 2008 at 9:10 AM

    I didnt allow cheerios for a while because so many babies choke from them they take so long to dissolve.... I  fed her soley baby food and formula untill about 7 months and then I would let her eat just about anything I would eat within reason after that ... I did cut it up small for her though including PB&J sandwhiches she loves them!!!  Now she is 14 months and is a picky eater but she eats pretty good so I can't complain!


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