When your baby is enjoying a variety of solid foods, having fewer breast or bottle feeds, and is able to sit well in a high chair, try to adjust mealtimes so that the whole family can eat together. These should be happy times that baby (and you) enjoy, rather than being stress-filled ‘battlegrounds’ that will make baby associate mealtimes with stress and pressure, and react with negative behaviour – refusing food or seeking attention in other ways.
Keep the atmosphere light and cheerful; talking to baby and including him or her in family chats; praising and encouraging the good things and not reacting negatively to any problems. Baby will probably go through periods of ‘fussiness’ at some stage, but if you don’t make a big issue of this, the stage should soon pass. Other Mums will reassure you that they all have similar experiences.
Here are some tips that may help you:
- Bring baby to the table as late as possible and don’t keep him or her sitting there for longer than necessary – especially alone.
- Sit baby as close to the table as the high chair will allow so that he or she is part of the occasion, not sitting on the side-lines.
Use distracting tactics…
- Put some finger food such as dry crispy rice cereal, squares of toast, pieces of fruit, or a few cooked pasta shapes onto baby’s tray. Slippery banana, peach, or similar foods can be rolled in a little wheat-germ or crushed cereal to make them easier to pick up.
- While baby is concentrating on these finger foods, you can finish preparing the meal – and sit to start enjoying yours!
- Have two spoons (possibly more, as baby may drop them) and two dishes of food. Put one dish on the tray, containing a little food for baby to try to spoon up – the second dish will contain the rest of the meal.
- While baby is busy with the dish on the tray, you can spoon food into baby’s mouth without him or her even noticing!
- Baby’s dish should be one of those with a suction pad to keep it on the tray.
Don’t worry about mess…
- Don’t fuss and clean mess continuously – unless it’s in baby’s eyes! Do one big clean-up at the end.
- Use a good big bib to protect baby’s clothes, and cover the floor with wipe-clean material.
Enjoy a special family experience and establish good eating habits that will last throughout the years.
This information presented to you acts as a guide which contains researched information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.
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