Yes – but don’t worry. Most of these are very minor, and can be easily managed.
1. Messy meals:
Learning to eat solid foods can be a messy business! If you’re prepared for a messy situation, it’s often a lot easier to handle.
- Allow your baby to experiment with tastes and textures
- Expect spit and grubby hands
- Playing with food, feeling textures, and tipping meals over is all part of the learning process.
- Place a plastic mat under the highchair
- This will catch any food that’s pushed, thrown or dropped over the side.
- Use a bib to protect clothing
- You can also use a paint smock.
- Avoid wiping your baby’s face
- Allow them to get used to the feel of food, and really enjoy the meal.
- Leave clean up to the end
- Constant cleaning can be irritating and distracting. Focus on enjoying the moment, clean up can happen after.
2. Encouraging variety:
As a parent or carer, you may worry your baby isn’t receiving enough variety. Because you’re the parent, you have ultimate control over the food offered. Sometimes your choices will influence what your child eats over the day, and whether they will or won’t try diverse food.
Things to consider:
- High fat and sugary foods fill babies up quicker
- Chips, biscuits and fruit purees often curb your baby’s hunger, reducing their interest in new and/or nutritious food.
- Your baby may want to feed themselves at 6-7 months
- This is good – let them! Encourage holding a spoon during mealtimes to develop their skills.
- Soft foods can sometimes hinder progress
- If your baby is only used to soup or puree, it may be harder to introduce a spoon or new food. Add blended or finger food to the mix to help balance textures.
- Weight gain slows after six months
- The total number of milk feeds in 24 hours reduces, while solid meals increase to three a day. At one year they may take two snacks if they’re awake and hungry.
- Only offer the recommended amount of milk for their age
- Filling up on milk reduces the need for varied solid foods. Keep track of whether you offer additional milk feeds to help your baby sleep, as this will impact your baby’s appetite.
- If your baby is tired, they’ll be less interested in eating
- Consider your baby’s routine, and offer main meals when they’re alert.
- Your baby may need to retry food
- This can happen as often as 10-20 times before they’ll progress to swallowing. Try pairing something healthy they like, with something they don’t.
- Your baby watches and learns from you
- Have meals with your baby and enjoy a diverse variety of foods to motivate them.
Karitane Tip: Your child chooses how much to eat. There is never a good reason to force feed a baby.