Some babies master the art of eating much quicker than others but with all children you should try to make meal times a pleasant experience for you both.
Feeding your baby falls into two clearly defined stages – weaning from 6 to 12 months and then continuing feeding from 12 months and beyond.
Babies under 12 months
Babies under 12 months are usually very receptive to trying any foods you offer. It is a time of learning about different tastes and textures, and learning to recognize foods. The wider the variety of foods you offer, the more foods your baby will learn to recognize.
Your baby may show surprise when you offer a new taste and they may scrunch their face up if it is a bitter taste. Do not be put off by this but don’t expect them to eat a large quantity of something new. However, do keep offering it as they will learn to like it if you give them the opportunity by offering it several times.
Your baby may eat less than you expect or would like them to. Remember it is their choice how much they eat and they will still be getting most of their nutrients and energy from their milk feedings, so do not despair. Just keep offering a routine of 3 meals each day and they will eat more some days and less other days.
Meal time tips for babies 6 to 12 months
Smile and talk positively to your baby when you are offering food so that your baby is confident something pleasant is going to happen.
Offer nutritious but flavorsome food for your baby to enjoy.
Go at your baby’s pace and let your baby decide how much they want to eat. Your baby is telling you they are happy to eat more when they:
Open their mouth as the spoon approaches.
Your baby is telling you they don’t want any more food when they:
Keep their mouth shut
Turn their head away
Put their hand in front of their mouth
Offer some finger foods at all meals and as they get older give them their own spoon so that they can try feeding themselves.
Keep them involved in the meal by allowing them to play with their food. This helps them learn about foods and develop a positive attitude towards food.
Expect mess and clear it all up at the end of the meal, not after each spoonful.
Prepare for mess and make it easy to clear up by putting down paper or a plastic sheet around the highchair.
Give both a savory and sweet course at meals. This gives two opportunities for nutrients to be consumed and increases the variety of foods they are eating.
Desserts are a valuable part of the meal and should not be used as a reward for eating the savory course.
Please be aware that the information given in these articles is only intended as general advice and should in no way be taken as a substitute for professional medical
advice. If you or your family or your child is suffering from symptoms or conditions which are severe or persistent or you need specific medical advice, please seek professional medical assistance.
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