Introducing your baby to solids can be a truly lovely experience; watching them get to grips with all those new flavors and enjoying introducing them to the wonderful world of food. It can also be stressful if things don’t go smoothly because if your baby isn’t happy, you’re not happy. Sometimes feeding can result in a messy baby and that’s okay!
For most families, starting solids is a straightforward, fun process. I want to share one of my top feeding tips to help you ensure that your little one develops a positive relationship with food from the very beginning.
Learn To Tolerate Your Messy Baby!
A messy baby can make a huge mess in all surroundings! For some people, messes are no big deal. For others, the thought of puréed carrot all over the cream curtains strikes terror into their heart. The mess a baby can make with food is indeed spectacular, as are the things you’ll learn about how certain foods dry onto your furnishings like industrial strength glue.
These three tips will help you learn to love messy mealtimes.
Wash Your Baby’s Hands
Start meals off by washing your baby’s hands and then, however messy they get, back off with the cloth until she has had enough to eat. If you are tempted to be there keeping your messy baby clean throughout the meal, wiping her hands, high-chair or face, she will learn that the sensation of food on her skin is a bad thing. This can lead to caution around certain textures or sensations, as well as food-related anxiety.
If you know that you are someone who is likely to feel stressed and anxious about food going all over the floor (it will), think hard about how to protect your home rather than avoiding the mess. This may mean being creative about where you feed your baby if your usual eating area is carpeted. It might mean investing in a big piece of wipe-able cloth to protect the floor. Invest in a really good bib and be prepared to change your baby’s outfit after a meal; if giving your messy baby a positive relationship with food means a little extra laundry, it’s a small price to pay.
Ask Yourself Some Questions
Ask yourself some searching questions. What is it about messes that are hard for you? We are all different and this is not about being self-critical, but in order to be able to relax while your child re-decorates your house with yogurt, you need to spend a bit of time processing what your feelings about messes are all about. Does it make you feel out of control of your environment? Can you link it back to how you were raised? Do you have any sensitivity to texture yourself? It’s amazing how bringing these things into the conscious mind takes away some of their power over us.
Sit back and embrace the chaos because if your baby sees you enjoying her mealtimes, she is much more likely to enjoy them herself.