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10 Fun Ways to Feed Baby Solid Foods


Eating solids is not always the most natural new activity for baby – here are 10 ways to make it more fun for you both.

1. Take Off the Pressure

For the first year most of baby’s calories should be coming from breast milk or infant formula–solid food is just icing. This means that if you wee one clamps his lips or would rather finger paint with the puree you lovingly made, it’s OK. Don’t push anything–it should be relaxed. If baby’s not interested, just move on to the next thing and keep trying gently, without tears–she’ll eventually want to eat food.

2. Try Finger-feeding

Though you may want to jump to a soft spoon, at first baby may respond better to something more familiar–you! Scoop up whatever you’re feeding baby with your index finger and feed to baby. She may respond much better–even giggle–as she eats.

3. Demonstrate the Yum

Baby wants to do what mommy and daddy are doing. So whenever you can, have a bite yourself (or mime it), make yummy noises and then feed baby. Chances are he’ll be excited to taste what all the fuss is about.

4. Eat When Baby Eats

The family meal can start just as soon as baby can sit safely in a high chair. Try and get one that pulls up to the table and has baby at about the same height as you, and make a family meal of it. If there are baby-safe foods on your plate, all the better. Feed her some mashed potatoes, mushed up avocado, smashed tofu–anything she can easily swallow, and isn’t too salty. (Babies’ kidneys have trouble processing excess salt.)

5. Be at Peace with the Mess

Learning to eat is messy business. Set up a splash mat under baby’s high chair and relax. It’s going to be messy, and that’s OK. If you’re a mom who tenses at each splash or splatter, food time’s going to be no fun. Take a deep breath and know you can clean up later–this is what wipes are for!

6. Try a Variety of Flavors

Some experts say that the more flavors babies are introduced to now, the less picky they’ll be as toddlers. Other than extremely spicy foods, go for it! Try curry, or a little garlic, some lemon, or herbs like basil and dill. Remember to keep the salt low and enjoy!

7. Keep Trying Foods

In the parenting memoir “Bringing Up Bebe,” the author, an American living in Paris, notes that parents there are committed to expanding their children’s palates: They let their kids sample the same food 15 different times. That does not mean force-feeding, but it does mean trying different preparations. If steamed zucchini sticks (for babies 8 months and up) aren’t working, trying a zucchini puree. If that gets the shake-off, next week try some baked and mushed zucchini with lemon, and so on.

8. Make Sure Baby Isn’t Too Hungry or Tired

Just like you, baby gets upset when he’s exhausted or famished. Try feeding solid food at times when baby is nice and rested and has recently had a milk feeding. That way he’ll be more able and willing to focus on the food in front of him.

9. Mix It Up

Since exploration is more the name of the game here than calories, make sure baby tries plenty of textures and flavors. Not everything needs to be bland mush. They can handle spices, a little bit of chunkiness, and can even gnaw on slices of cooked fruit.

10. Try Taking Baby Out

Though restaurant food generally isn’t appropriate for baby, eating in a social setting is a great thing to get used to. Just prepare to be relaxed about noises and a little bit of mess. Though you’ll want to keep self-feeding to a minimum, baby can handle soft, steamed veggies and being fed a puree. It won’t exactly be like date night, but it will get you out of the house, eating as a family. And that’s good for everyone.

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