Is your infant ready to try his first solid foods? Have you already tried and found it to be a messy job? Read below to find some helpful tips on spoon feeding a wiggly infant.
You can find Infant Sectioned Bowls with Spoons online or where baby supplies are sold. I like these bowls because they hold the cereal and fruit or vegetable in one bowl. The rubber bottoms keep the bowls from sliding on the highchair tray. I like the spoons as well because the food doesn’t drip out as easily compared to other baby spoons.
It’s a good idea to have an ample amount of bibs available as feeding time can be messy.
When your infant is ready and the doctor has given you the OK to try solid foods, pick a time of day when he is not tired or cranky. You want him to be a little hungry, but not all-out starving. You might want to let him breastfeed a while, or provide part of the usual bottle.
Most infant’s first food is a little bit of iron-fortified infant rice cereal mixed with breast milk or formula. During this introductory period, the rice/milk mixture should be soupy and not too clumpy or thick. At first, you will only need to mix just a little bit of cereal to a small amount of milk.
He will need practice in learning how to swallow solids. While leaning back in his highchair (some highchairs have a recline position), place the spoon near his lips, and let him smell and taste.
Don't be surprised if this first spoonful is rejected. Wait a minute and try again. Usually infants tend to stick their tongue out while pushing the food around their mouth. This is a way of exploring something new. Most food offered to your infant at this age will end up on his chin, or bib. Again, this is just an introduction.
Most pediatricians discourage adding cereal to your infant's bottle. It has been said that this can cause babies to become overweight and doesn't help the baby learn how to eat solid foods.
Once he gets the hang of eating cereal off a spoon, you can change the consistency of the cereal by adding a little more cereal to the milk mixture. This is also a good time to introduce a fruit or vegetable. When introducing new foods, go slow. Introduce one food at a time and wait several days before trying something else new. This will allow you to identify foods that your infant may be allergic to.
Your infant may take a little while to "learn" how to eat solids. During these months you'll still be providing the usual feedings of breast milk or formula so don't be concerned if he refuses certain foods at first or doesn't seem interested. It may just take some time.
- When introducing new fruits and vegetables, stick to foods that aren’t mixed, for example use just applesauce and not apples and pears mixed together.
- If your baby doesn’t like a new food like green beans, scoop a half spoon full of green beans and then dip the spoon in a favorite fruit so there is a little bit of fruit on the front of the spoon. Your baby might recognize the fruit taste and might like the green bean along with the fruit. Do this for a little while and then try feeding the vegetable by itself in a few days.
- After a few months of using rice cereal, your infant might be interested in trying a different type of cereal like infant oatmeal.
- If you use commercially prepared baby food in jars, spoon some of the food into a bowl to feed your baby. Do not feed your baby directly from the jar, because bacteria from the baby's mouth can contaminate the remaining food. If you refrigerate opened jars of baby food, it's best to throw away anything not eaten within a day or two.
- If he gets wiggly or tries to grab the spoon away from you, place a toy with a suction cup (sticks on the tray) to entertain him.
- If he is a little older and can self-feed soft foods, place some soft foods on the tray and let him self-feed while you are spoon feeding. Also, sometimes I place my free hand on his hand(s) while I’m feeding to keep his fingers out of the way.
- To prevent choking, be careful and pay attention to the size of bite size servings. A good general rule to follow for bite size measurement should be your finger tip size. At this age your baby will swallow the pieces whole. The concept of chewing is still a learning process.
- Your goal over the next few months is to introduce a wide variety of foods, including iron-fortified cereals, fruits, vegetables, and pureed meats. If your baby doesn't seem to like a particular food, reintroduce it at later meals. It can take quite a few tries before infants warm up to certain foods.
At around the age of ten months, introduction of soft table foods begins. However, some may not be ready for this until they are closer to the age of one year. Reminder: To prevent choking, be careful and pay attention to the size of bite size servings. A good general rule to follow for bite size measurement should be your finger tip size. At this age your baby will swallow the pieces whole. The concept of chewing is still a learning process.
I strongly encourage communication with your child care provider to make an agreement as to when your infant is ready for finger foods. It’s a good idea to be in an agreement as to which foods are appropriate to try. Usually parents are waiting for the Pediatrician’s go head before they take this step. Keep in mind that certain foods could be a choking hazard. If you are not sure which foods to feed infants, I suggest connecting with your pediatrician as well as searching the website for valuable information on sites like:
Kids Health @ http://kidshealth.org
Baby Center @ www.babycenter.com
Momtastic’s Wholesome Baby Food @ http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/forbiddenbabyfood.htm
I also encourage keeping track of what was fed to your infant. If for some reason there are signs of an allergic reaction, you can refer to your list of what you have fed your infant recently.
Your infant may be used to the routine of being in the highchair and exploring food placed on the tray. This involves your infant using his senses of sight, touch, smell and taste. So, I encourage letting him explore and even get a little messy with food dropping on the floor and in the highchair. I usually start off with just a little bit of cut up soft finger foods (bite size) on the tray while I’m feeding baby food. Eventually, he will be more successful at directing the finger foods into his mouth without so much messiness. Gradually, he will find more interest in eating finger foods and weaning from baby foods.
HELPFUL NOTE: How to sanitize surfaces?
- Spray and rinse off with a soap solution of a little bit of liquid dish soap to 1 cup of tap water. Dry off with a paper towel.
- Spray a sanitizing bleach solution of ¼ cup of household liquid chlorine bleach in one gallon of tap water. Or to keep it simple, you can mix ¼ tablespoon of bleach to 1 cup of water and pour the mixed solution into a small clean spray bottle. Let the sprayed surface air dry.
Hope these tips helped. Enjoy feeding time with you precious little one . . .