1. The Stages
0-6 months your baby only needs breast milk or formula, after 6 months your baby’s first foods can include mashed or soft cooked fruit and vegetables (like patato, carrot, apple or pear) all cooled before eating. From 12 months your baby will be eating more regularly with 3 meals a day so by this point you’ll have more structure in place and can have your child get excited by the meals.
Avoid overdoing it with the formula powder as it can cause constipation with your baby and never warm up infant formula in a microwave as it can heat the feed unevenly and may burn your baby’s mouth.
3. Spoon to finger foods
When your baby begins grabbing the spoon as you try to feed them, it is a sure sign they are ready to get some cutlery of their own. Let them explore this as you get a break from fighting with them and seeing food land on the floor.
4. Start on solid foods (weaning)
An important step in your baby’s development and great fun to explore new flavours and textures together. Start slow, worrying less about how much they eat and more about getting them used to the idea of eating.
5. Present choices
Empowering your child with choices over food, plates, cutlery, bibs etc – this enables them to feel more involved in the process and results in them being more helpful and less resistant.
6. Don’t worry about the mess
It is futile. The more you try the messier things will get and the more you’ll have a nervous the little one. It’s better for them to be playful with food, understanding texture along with taste, flavour and smells. Just keep some tissues or baby wipes to hand.
7. Go at their pace
Let them take their time, and if they are not eating as much as you like or have started to play at the table then mealtime is over – don’t get stressed over it – if they are hungry they’ll eat!
8. Eat as a family
If possible try to encourage this as much as possible, having the whole family on the table encourages social skills to be developed. It’s also a good chance to show the little ones how to eat.