Have you ever wondered — how babies would put literally anything in their mouth except for food? I mean, what is that about? I spent quality time thinking about this! I’m certain you are looking up for ways to feed your toddler solid food, too.
- What to feed your toddler?
- How much to feed your toddler?
- What not to feed your toddler?
- and the biggest of all, HOW to feed your toddler solid food?
Switching your baby’s breast milk to solid food is equally challenging for the baby and yourself. It can be as easy as candy or as hard as a rock. Nonetheless, every mother’s journey is different and so are the needs of the baby.
So, be patient. With little tricks and treats, we can pass through all the solid food bargains.
What To Feed Your Baby?
The transition of a baby from breast milk to solid food/formula is called Weaning. Parents can begin to wean their babies after 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding.
The time period can differ from mother to mother which is alright. Some breastfeed for max 2 years, others reach the threshold of 6 months. To know more about weaning, refer to the link — ‘Weaning: 8+ Pro Tips To Stop Breastfeeding Your Toddler!’
Moving on, What to feed our baby? It is the first question we ask ourselves, it’s natural! As mothers, we are eager, curious, worried about our baby’s health and well being.
The answer is quite simple — This phase in a baby’s life is very crucial, they are in a constant transition of growth. Henceforth, they need a mix of all the nutrients out there: protein, carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals!
GO NATURAL while choosing the nutrients! All that we need as humans are already there in nature. We just got to get out and pluck them off. These include vegetables, fruits, meat, breast milk.
Do not forget to add iron-rich food to your baby’s diet. After a certain age, babies become iron-deficient. Make sure you help your baby with enough iron to avoid further deficiency!
What Not To Feed Your Toddler?
This is a far more important question. Since babies are fragile and delicate, we need to alter all their moves. They are as new to solid eating as you are to solid feeding the toddler.
With that in mind, we must keep off things that can block their food pipe or have harsh effects on it. For instance, keep off whole food like a grape, pea, full nuts or a small toy.
Some other foods to avoid: Honey, spice, high amount of sugar, hard to swallow food. Avoid ready-made or homemade juices. They can be too sweet and too thick for digestion.
If you plan on home-made juices, give out a small amount at a time. In all cases, it is advisable to avoid ready-made/Grocery juices!
Allergies can be tricky. We never know which one our baby got. So I suggest, once you start to wean, try giving your baby a single food meal and then add on(one at a time) when trying out recipes and human food for the baby.
Keep an interval of 10 days when introducing new food items to your baby. This way you can keep track of your baby’s allergies if there are any.
Some foods to look out for allergies: Wheat, Egg White, Nuts, etc. Note — it is not necessary that your baby will have allergies to these products but you must consult about them with your pediatrician before you introduce the following to them.
How much to feed your baby?
Pregnancy is brand new to us and so are all its eras. Like any other query, how much to feed our baby is a big question, too. Depending on their weight, age, day-to-day activities, food intake differs from baby to baby.
Look for allergies if any and hold out food like peanut butter, wheat, bread until you consult your pediatrician. Usually, a mother would know when the baby is full. Continue to feed your baby up to 1200-1400 calories per day in 2-4 meals.
The chart figure above is rough data of what and in how much quantity must we feed. In India, mothers usually feed the baby when they themselves are having their meals.
Chapatti, rice, fruits, Poha, Dal, Dalliya are some of the Indian dishes we can share with our babies(keep them spice less).
As I mentioned, every baby is different and so are their demands. You must not compare or battle yourself down with a food map/chart. If your baby is sleeping healthy, is active throughout the day then their food intake is probably doing good, too.
A few key factors that you must check into on a weekly basis are their activities, weight, sleeping pattern. To assure yourself, you can also consult your pediatrician for a food chart and your baby’s health.
Why is your baby not eating?
Have you found yourself in the middle of trying to put food into your baby with imaginative plays? Perse, food in the spoon airplane? Sometimes, we try so hard and yet end up with not a single accomplishment.
It is normal, you don’t have to beat yourself down to it. We just need to comprehend what are the reasons behind our child not eating. There are many reasons, trust me.
Some of the reasons that might alter your baby’s attitude towards food can be:
1. Changes: The most common reason why our babies don’t initiate or cooperate with solid food is that they don’t like changes. They want their mummy’s breasts for as long as eternity goes. It is natural for babies to reject changes but with time they catch a better hold of it. (We’ll discuss this forth)
2. Traveling: Traveling is another big change for the baby, sometimes they don’t like it and might reject whatsoever food you give to them. The change in atmosphere/place/people all at once can be overwhelming for the baby.
3. Atmosphere: Babies at their young age try to catch the vibes of a place/person through touch, hearing and sensing. The wrong atmosphere can put them off real bad. It can be unnecessary sound, bad temperature, imprudence, disturbance in the family(Fights/Exhaustion/Too much work).
4. Mood Swings: Babies are big drama queens. They love drama. At this stage, mood swings can hit them just like that. One minute they are hungry, next minute they don’t want to eat.
5. Health issues: Kids lose interest in food completely when they are sick or exhausted. It can be a small discomfort or an annoying cold. Get your baby to the pediatrician the first thing you do. The loss of appetite is unhealthy. If you see such behavior, don’t waste another second.
HOW TO FEED YOUR BABY SOLID FOOD?
Now that we have mapped out what can put off our baby from eating, we can easily find solutions for — how to feed your toddler solid food?
Be playful with the food:
Next to breasts, babies love to play. You can playfully put food into their mouth. You just have to be a little tricky. Say, Playful spoon or finger nibbling. You can also use teething-toys covered in food gravy/syrup/paste, etc.
You can even build-up a short storyline to get your child excited about the food. For instance, the princess would be angry if you don’t eat the food or something light-weighted (I’m bad at story-telling!)
The storytelling works with toddlers. For little babies, stick to colors, Popsicles, actions!
Food to chew onto:
Babies have a natural liking for testing out things with their mouths. We can use the opportunity and help them with home-made food ingredients Popsicles or something that they can lick easily or suckle onto easily.
For example, simple vegetable Popsicle, simple fruit Popsicle, Cereal Popsicles, etc. You don’t have to freeze them, just instant solid food on the stick will do.
Babies are big-time sweet-tooth pals. It can be innate or just like that but they love sweet things! You can get them to solid food with sweet dishes. Of course, it should be mild and healthy. Start with pancakes with the least amount of sugar in it.
Suckle, lick, hand-feed, spoon:
Go slow with your baby, don’t throw a spoon directly onto him. Since the baby was accustomed to suckling, start with giving it something to suckle onto like teething toys covered in food gravy/paste.
Next, you can have the baby lick the food from the plate/utensil or your finger. These ways help your baby to get used to baby-food easily. Then you can switch to hand feeding the baby.
Again, start hand feeding your baby before you you opt for a spoon. It sounds messy but is really helpful!
It’s cultural in India to feed the baby with hands, it initiates a beautiful bond between mother and the baby plus the baby trusts you and so will it accept your hands better than any other tool.
Imaginative, colorful, thoughtful food:
Babies start to see colors at the age of 4 months. We can use this to our advantage and get them gradient colorful foods. Colors excite babies. In general, colors can soothe, heal, even agitate the baby.
Start with calming colors of papaya, oranges, flavored and colored cereal. Slowly move onto broccoli, spinach. Avoid food that your baby detests looking at.
Don’t turn them off is the motto! With that said, you can move on to creative levels such as shaping the food into a heart or their favorite toy. Shaping and garnishing the food can entice your baby pretty good, too.
Love, understanding, and Patience:
These three things are very important in any relationship. Your baby would feel positive, vibe positive when they are given love and compassion. You should appreciate your baby’s efforts and little achievements. Talk to the baby, it works. Your soothing voice inspires your baby!
Try to understand if the baby denies having solid food. Have patience when it throws a tantrum. Every journey is different and forcing things won’t help. Go as slow as your baby wants, you both will soon catch up. All these tricks can help you really fast on how to feed your toddler solid food in no time!
As mothers, we are always half worrying, half taking care of the baby. In the process, we stop taking care of ourselves. I cannot stretch any further on how important self-care is!
The more you will love yourself, the stronger & healthier your bond would be with your baby.
With these tips & tricks, you can get a hold on how to feed your toddler solid food in no time. We tried to call out all the questions mother go through while starting solid foods for the baby, if we missed anything out let us know in the comment section down below.
If your baby still denies the food, let’s discuss it! Till then, have patience, love yourself!