First tastes: Stage one – around 6 months

Annabel Karmel Stage One

Even the most beautifully prepared purées can meet with resistance from your baby, and you may find that all your careful preparation goes to waste. There are, however, solutions to almost any problem that crops up. The important thing is to avoid panicking and slow down to your baby’s pace.

My baby always wants more

Many parents would consider this to be a good thing, but if you are concerned that your baby is eating more than she should, or putting on excess weight, then you may want to stop her when you think she’s had enough. Most babies won’t want more than the equivalent of a few tablespoons of purée at the outset, although some are hungrier than others. Make sure your baby is getting enough of her usual milk—she may genuinely need more milk for her growth and development.

Meeting milk needs. Make sure your baby is getting enough of her usual milk (600ml/20oz) alongside her first purées.

My baby refuses to open her mouth

First of all, be sure that you aren’t anxious when you are feeding her. If she senses that her clamped lips are getting a response from you, she may well continue—and even consider it a game. Try to use distraction. Get her to look up at something on the ceiling, causing her mouth to fall open. Slip in a little food and see what she does. If she resists the spoon, try either rubbing a little purée on her lips or dip a clean finger in it and allow her to suck it. You can also offer her a little bowl of purée, in which she can dip her fingers (which will eventually end up in her mouth). Try eating a little of the purée yourself—many babies are happy to mimic mom or dad!

She cries when I sit her down to eat

It might help to have another familiar person feed her. Breastfed babies in particular associate mom with the comfort of breastfeeding—they can smell her milk and may become upset when it isn’t being offered.

Try sitting her on your lap and holding her closely when you feed her—she may simply feel isolated on her own in a big high chair. Or, you may need to give weaning a rest for a few days—if she becomes anxious and upset, she can become increasingly difficult. Distraction sometimes helps—play games, laugh, and sing so that she associates mealtimes with fun. If all else fails, place a little purée on her tray and let her experiment herself. This way, the pressure is off.

My baby started on solids, but is now refusing them

It’s not unusual for babies to regress during the weaning process. It’s a big developmental leap to adjust to eating new and different foods, and to give up the comfort of milk feeds. Some babies may be slower to adjust to this change and be reluctant to continue. Try to make the process easier by offering your baby plenty of milk after her “meals.”

If she knows that she’s still getting what she wants and that her comfort feeds have not been replaced by a hard spoon with unfamiliar contents, she’ll be less likely to object. Don’t give up altogether, though. Continue to offer new foods daily, but try to stay relaxed and calm if she rejects them. She’ll eventually become accustomed to the new routine and look forward to mealtimes, particularly if they are fun, sociable experiences, and she is praised for her efforts.

“There are solutions to almost any problem that crops up. The important thing is to avoid panicking and to slow down to your baby’s pace“

My baby seems to like the purées, but not the spoon

Babies are unable to lick food from a spoon with their tongue, so make sure you are using a spoon that is soft-tipped and shallow so she can take some food with her lips. Give her one of her own to hold, too, so that she becomes familiar with it. Try using a piece of lightly toasted bread to scoop up some purée and let her suck that to help her get used to the idea.

There is no harm in letting her try to feed herself from a small bowl or straight from her tray, using her hands. Sweet veggies first. Your baby will be used to the sweet taste of milk, so it’s a good idea to start the weaning process with sweet vegetable purées.

She only likes sweet purées

Try to introduce sweet-tasting vegetables, such as sweet potato or carrots. When she seems hungrier, always begin a meal with a vegetable purée rather than fruit. Once she has mastered single purées, try blending fruits and vegetables, then gradually reduce the amount of fruit across a few days.

My baby misses the closeness of breastfeeding

Many babies find the transition from breastfeeding difficult and it’s not surprising that a spoon with mysterious contents doesn’t hold much allure. Try sitting your baby on your lap and holding her close. To begin, it can help to feed her a little expressed milk on a spoon, to help her adjust. From there, gradually add a little baby rice or fruit and vegetable purées.

Excerpted from Starting Solids Canadian Edition by Annabel Karmel – copyright 2010 DK Publishing.

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