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10 Tips on Spoonfeeding Solids to Baby

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a dad spoonfeeding his baby at the kitchen table

Spoon-feeding Do

Wait until your baby is fresh from a nap before you feed her when you’re starting out on spoon-feeding. A tired baby is in no mood to try new things. If your baby is very hungry, give her some milk from breast or bottle first. A hungry baby won't have the patience for a food adventure.

Spoon-feeding Don't

Keep trying if your 6-month-old keeps pushing the spoon out of his mouth with his tongue. Some babies aren't ready for solids until the seventh or eighth month. The "tongue thrust reflex" - a primitive reflex that protects your baby from swallowing what he shouldn't - is just one sign that your baby isn't ready. Wait a week or two. Meanwhile, breast milk or formula is giving him everything he needs nutritionally.

Keep your cool if your baby spits out the food you feed her. That's what bibs are for! She's not trying to tell you that she doesn't want her food; she just doesn't exactly know how to swallow yet.

Spoon-feeding Don't

Expect your baby to enjoy eating from a regular utensil - even a teeny spoon. The best spoons for beginning eaters are a little bit bendy and preferably rubber-tipped. (See our favorites here.) If your baby's gums are sore from teething, try using your finger as a utensil instead - after washing it, of course!

Spoon-feeding Do

Make mealtime a social time. Sure, you could feed your infant with one eye on the baby and one on the TV screen. But healthy food experiences include plenty of interaction, so use this opportunity to talk to your babbler.

Spoon-feeding Don't

Give up on new tastes after a couple of tries. Babies automatically reject most unfamiliar flavors – it’s a natural reaction that might protect them from poisons - and it can take at least a dozen tries before a little one decides she actually likes a food.

Spoon-feeding Do

Feel free to use small amounts of common herbs and spices when you cook your own baby food. Doing do will make it easier for your to introduce new foods; if your little foodie has grown to like mashed sweet potato with a touch of thyme, he'll probably accept mashed zucchini with thyme the first time he tries it.

Spoon-feeding Don't

Add salt to your baby's food - even though it tastes disgustingly bland to you. Your baby doesn't need added salt (babies can't even taste salt until four months) and in fact, too much could damage his still fragile kidneys. On the other hand, it's fine to give your baby a taste of the (not overly) salted family meal once in a while.

Spoon-feeding Do

Watch for your baby's signals that he's had enough to eat. He might turn his head away when you bring the spoon toward his mouth, refuse to open his mouth or seem more interested in playing than eating. When he gives you the signal, call an end to mealtime.

Spoon-feeding Don't

Give your baby honey, or raw or undercooked fish or meat - her immune system isn't ready to cope with potential bacteria in these foods. Also stay away from choking hazards, like whole grapes, cherry tomatoes and popcorn. Experts now say that giving a baby potential allergens like peanuts, shellfish, corn, wheat or eggs whites, does not increase a child's chance of developing long-term allergies. But especially if there's a history of allergies in the family, you should watch your baby closely the first time you introduce any potentially allergenic food.

 
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