Eating is a natural part of life. Babies come out rearing to go and ready to eat. When children transition from breast or bottle to solid food it is a huge developmental milestone. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing solid foods around 6 months of age. They also encourage exposing your child to a wide variety of healthy foods and textures.
MINIMIZE THE MESS
As excited as you may be that your child is eating solid foods it can be very messy. Here are a few tools that minimize the mess while encouraging your child to be an independent eater.
For the Baby lead weaner that explores everything and insists on eating their own food. The sleeved bib is the way to go. Cover everything. Although it may seem like overkill it can save on the amount of clothes you have to wash every time your child eats a meal.
Some children try to remove their bibs and can just pull them off their neck. For these children the pullover bib is awesome. This bib is harder for them to pull off and these in particular cover a lot of area. Just be sure to fold it as you take it off so the food on the bib doesn’t get onto their face and hair as you remove it.
Silicone bibs with pocket to catch food are great for the child developing their dexterity. For foods like melon or a crumbly biscuit these bibs are great. When you have super moist foods like melon. These bibs allow the clothes to stay dry and give the child a second chance at eating the food. As children learn to manipulate the food with their tiny fingers, they may lose grip but if it lands in the pocket they can just try again
Eating is learning process for children. They learn how to move their muscles and explore textures. Certain foods lend themselves to exploration like cut up veggies or fruits. How can a child not want to just take a piece of fruit and squish it between their fingers. Or see what happens when they tip their food over. This plate with built in placemat can help minimize the mess by covering a larger area and is also more difficult for children to flip over because it suctions to most surfaces.
FEEDING AND EATING
When we feed the younger babies in the room the ones that don’t have the coordination to hold a spoon yet, the soft tip infant spoons are our preferred spoons. This kind of spoon is gentle on baby’s gums as they learn how to move their mouth and also as they may be teething so you don’t want to aggravate the area.
Older children that want to hold their spoons and attempt to feed themselves (remember the bib) do much better with a spoon or fork that has a wide handle for them to grip.
As your child transitions away from breast milk or formula, it is best to introduce water. Up until six months, infants do not need additional water. The best time to introduce water is at meal times. Two kinds of water cups are popular amongst our parents. A trainer cup with a weighted straw is very popular for the 6 month infant that is being introduced to liquids not in a bottle. This one works because it can be held at different angles and minimizes spilling but also allows the baby to still get water. For the older child around 9 months this trainer cup is very popular. It helps teaches children how to sip from an actual cup without spilling.
There are so many products out there for parents and children at mealtime. These are based on what we have seen the families that visit our space use and which ones the staff find most helpful.
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