The baby eating routine is something that took time in our case. I have always dreamed of an eating baby. Still, in the same time, I loved the idea to have an independent baby. And mine turned out just that. So, he didn’t want to eat anything that he wouldn’t pick with his own hands. Great! Except that was a big challenge to all the family. I had to think of constant renewal of recipes to make him eat something he could grab onto. Soup was a very big challenge, but we figured out ways of making him eat it: straw and separating vegetables and meat from soup. Basically meat and carrots were taken out and he would bite them one by one, then the soup would be eaten with a straw. Sometimes the soup had bigger bites of carrots and sometimes the soup itself had very small bites to fit the straw. For straws on a general note we only used the metal ones and the kid absolutely adores them. Sustainable and practical as mom is always ready to go.
Here are a few lessons well learned:
First lesson and most important one is not to trick or force the kid to eat anything. The main lesson learned while trying to have an eating baby is not to panic in case the baby doesn’t eat. He will do it in his own rhythm. It’s only a matter of time. And milk or formula is perfect for him till later in his first year of life. If he has overcome the milk or formula period, then two-three days would bring him to the end of his “hunger strike”. I have just tested such a period and enjoyed him eating what he likes with a bigger enthusiasm.
Second lesson learned: babies have a very good self preservation instinct. Therefore it is important to keep yourself focused on what you need to achieve and let him pick whatever makes him happy. When hungry he will show you signs and pick anything to eat. He may pick bread for a while. Mine started with bread, biscuits and fruits. Later on the veggies were accepted when hunger strike ended and there was no other option. Meat was also a bit difficult, but again, with fresh cooking right under his nose, he seems to have enjoyed even that. I love to think he is a meat lover just like us.
Third lesson amusingly learned: when he will be challenged by other kids, of course he will eat. I don’t know many kids, but mine just jumped to the table when seeing other kids eat. There is nothing better than a similar self example to help kids eat. They love to imitate. I am a big fan of socializing for the little ones and for their monkey behaviour which is exactly what kids do. My baby was not an eater before he ended up at a big table with all his cousins and he would panic he doesn’t get to eat anything. He tasted some neighboring plates, he got a threat from one cousin not to eat her plate and then he ate all he could grab onto. And then we knew our baby was fine, he just didn’t find his challenge. Next thing was going to the park with a lot of bites and making sure we have enough to share with other kids also. And yes, he will eat anything shared by strangers. All from unknown sources is excellent food. Maybe he doesn’t trust our tastes. What can we do? We just have to live with ourselves as he gets bigger and moodier by the day.
At first I have checked all the items necessary to keep my baby eating at the table, but soon I have discovered it’s not really his style. My son loves playing and eating. It’s not healthy, but it’s how it works for him. And to be honest my entire pregnancy I have done just that: work and eat. Although my Nuna chair is my personal choice in the house, it seems like the simple riser, which he loved from the first day, was a rather better choice for him. This was used mainly for lunch. The snacks would happen outdoors. My eating baby was always on the run as the little one was an active impatient one. So I have learned to feed him as we sight see the city and then he would chew on different bites. If at first he may refuse something, because the landscape is so interesting to him, the little one did not pay attention to what he bites on anymore. It’s a trick I have learned and it worked for my kid taking his fruit snack when he started refusing them. It’s just an example, not a rule though.
Our recipes for trying to introduce different tastes to the baby did not work out according to the usual plan. I have stopped for a while and then tried again. Still, he didn’t like the vegetables at first at all. Finally he has set up to eat avocado and apple. It was not a common recipe, but it was something I have tried out as I was getting out of ideas. Philips Avent Steamer was a good friend in all my tryings. I have steamed the apple and then added the avocado and mashed it together. It turned into a tasty dish which was his first liked one. And we used to have a lot of avocados in our fridge. Nowadays he loves bites of avocado rather than mashed and he doesn’t eat it so frequent.
When he didn’t like our cooking we have gone to the supermarket options. So Hipp food jars and juices were a pretty good option. Later on Babybio became a very good French food friend. These were heavy used as we were always on the run when feeding the baby and they were very handy. We embrace the idea we live a healthy life, but we should also adapt to the reality of his future which may not be so healthy after all. I am not sure how much cooking will my son actually get to experience throughout his life. So teaching him step by step to accept ready made food is a good idea. I have used these ready made products and he loved them. I am not a big fan of home cooking myself. Although pandemics lockdown has taught me to cook, I am still a big fan of easy food. Fast or slow cook food, my stomach loves a bit of pasta, pizza or salad. The rest may be just a bonus if we encounter a good and tasty restaurant.
Apart from these lessons, there are the basic rules when it comes to kid’s diet: never feed them sweets or chocolate. I believe for those who haven’t had a chance to see the effects of chocolate on a child, it’s hard to believe there is anything wrong with consumption. I suggest you read a little bit about it and understand how chocolate works on all of us. Chocolate is giving them a boost of energy and then it comes down to a boost of panic and anxiety. Sweets are similar to chocolate depending on the quantity and type. It’s a personal choice to feed your kids chocolate, but on a general note I wouldn’t advise it. I have made a promise that no matter how stubborn he is, he will not taste chocolate.
Eating babies are not based on any recipe. It depends on each child and his way of dealing with this challenge. Basically they need to adapt their hunger to their eating habits. It’s a matter of getting used to new tastes and new ingredients. They have no teeth, then they have teeth, then they have to chew and so on. I noticed for example on my eating baby that he used to eat up pomegranate seeds and now he chews the cover and spits the seed. This means he has become a finer eater and I can trust he won’t choke on most of the finer things he eats. It’s very reassuring as the eating babies do not really have manners and eat up as if the food will soon be over. This can become a bit of choking hazard.
I keep hearing parents complain about their babies not eating. I have gone through the same drama until he became a moderate eating baby. These days looking back at those times, I realize it’s only a matter of perspective. After all, the kids in Africa are living without food for so long and you see them running later on in life for marathons and winning. That makes them quite healthy in my opinion. Of course, you need to be a survivor to get through a childhood without eating enough or the proper diet. But the survival instinct in babies is the strongest one. So, please do not panic if you don’t have an eating baby! Of course, there may reasonable explanations and solutions for making a baby eat, but we are looking at a little one who will not really process the information and the many ambitions around them. Therefore I am happy to see so many people who are relaxed about their second child. If I will ever have a second child I promise to keep my calm on the matter. Even now with my only child I try to keep my calm when he seems to go through a smaller appetite.
Versiunea in Romana: