Feeding your baby can be a difficult task, especially if you have a picky eater. When feeding a baby, it’s sometimes tricky to know the right amount and combination of foods that your little one needs to grow up healthy and strong. Thankfully, there are plenty of online resources available to assist in determining exactly what she needs.
Learning How Much Food to Feed Your Baby
There’s one important saying to keep in mind when feeding an infant under 12 months: “food is for fun, until one”. This simple saying means that it’s important to make mealtime fun for your little one, and doing so will go a long way to stop any stress later when it’s time for your baby to eat those carefully prepared veggies!
Until the age of one, a baby’s main source of nutrition is either breast-milk or formula milk. Any additional food they eat is just a bonus and will help to acclimate them to solid or semi-solid food. Generally, babies won’t consume very much solid (or semi-solid) food before they reach 12 months of age, but they still drink plenty of milk or formula, just as they did before weaning. If you’re worried that your baby might not be getting enough food to eat, there’s a simple way to tell: dirty diapers! As long as your little one has plenty of wet and dirty diapers, there’s nothing to be concerned about!
Reading Your Baby’s Hunger Cues
As you get used to feeding your baby, you’ll soon become accustomed to her unique set of baby hunger cues. It becomes clearer in time to understand what your baby wants when she cries. Especially when it comes to hunger pangs, your baby will be keen to show you what she needs. If a baby is hungry, she will often wiggle around looking for a bottle or breast. A baby may also suck her hands (or tiny fingers) and smack/lick her lips. Older babies might try to take food from your hands.
If your baby hasn’t caught your attention by demonstrating her hunger cues, then she could start to become agitated, and that’s when crying and fussing kicks in. It’s always best to feed your baby before her hunger reaches this point, if possible. Not only will paying attention to those cues avoid unnecessary distress, but it’s also much easier to feed a calm baby.
How To Tell If Your Baby Had Enough Food to Eat
Sometimes, it is difficult to know when a young infant has consumed enough food. Even though your baby obviously can’t talk yet, she will develop a unique way of communicating to you when she has eaten enough. That said, if you watch her sucking carefully, you will see that it starts to slow as she loses interest in the milk. She may also stop sucking entirely, or just halfheartedly continue, when she's getting filled up.
From the ages of four to five months (about) of age, a baby will begin to push away the bottle or breast when she's satisfied. Older babies will start to play with their baby food, and test out this great thing called gravity by throwing various lovingly prepared snacks onto the floor!
What to Feed Your Baby and When
One of the main concepts you’ll need to consider when weaning your baby off liquids and onto solid food, is which types of food to feed her, how much and when. The variety of foods suitable for a young baby will vary according to her age, so it’s a great idea to check out some of the baby food charts available online for all the information you need as a quick, accessible guide to baby’s first foods.
When it comes to weaning, some things to decide are which solid foods are suitable, and when you should start to feed more solid baby foods. For example, when you first start weaning, it’s best to stick to simple things like fruits, veggies and grains. After a couple of months of weaning, you can start to incorporate small tastes of appropriately prepared meats. It’s good to start with something simple like small amounts of chicken or turkey. Dairy foods shouldn’t be introduced before your baby reaches eight months (about) of age. When you do incorporate dairy, start with cream cheese and yogurt, before exploring more unusual flavors or foods. That said, there are two things you should never give your baby before they reach their first birthday: honey and cow’s milk.
Following the above feeding suggestions will help you get started on your journey to a whole new world of food that your baby will love! Whether you’re opting for baby food purées or traveling the weaning road, there’s so much fun to be had! Get creative with your baby’s menu and they’ll soon develop a love of food to make you proud.