1/22/08

Independence

Sometimes feeding our sweet, lovable babies can turn into a wrestling match trying to keep food from flying all over the kitchen, getting on your clothes and into your baby's hair. I can't get over how quickly my laid back, anything goes child can turn into such a protester when he gets into the high chair. He won't swallow his food and it dribbles down his chin, he frantically waves his arms around trying to knock the spoon (full of food) out of my hands, or he'll cry protesting peas one day and sweet potatoes another. Maybe I was too quick to declare how un-fussy of an eater he was when we started solids. He would approach anything I fed him with an open mouth. He still eats pretty much anything I feed him, but when we have an episode it is a battle of the wills between us.
"Mealtime should be fun," I keep telling myself.

I am learning (slowly) to take meals less seriously. The goal is to nourish my child and help him become an independent eater. If I can involve him in mealtime, then he will have a positive attitude toward food. What I am learning is that this is one of the only places in his life where he can assert his independence. He can choose what he likes to eat and if he wants to eat it. He wants to feed himself with the spoon and gets mad when I won't let him. I wish he could understand the reasons I list for him as to why I need to hold the spoon instead of letting him, though!

Here are a few tricks I have learned to make mealtime with my 8-month old a little easier:

- I give him a toy or clean spoon to hold. It distracts him and gives him somewhere else to focus all that frenetic energy.

- I take little breaks in between bites to let him have a rest, play for a moment, swallow his food completely, and take it all in.

- At the end of a meal I give him the spoon with a little food on it to let him practice feeding himself.

- I place a little soft piece of mashed banana or other food on the tray of the high chair and let hom play with it. He will squish it with his hands and I know that one of these days soon he will put it in his mouth reinforcing his independence. This is something you can do once they start picking things up with their fingers. If your baby doesn't have teeth yet, be very careful and make sure the food it tiny and very soft so that it is not a choking hazard.

Are there ways you are involving your babies in mealtime and overcoming the challenges of an independent eater?

Good luck! We're in it together.

1 comment:

kristi.bennett said...

I like the new look/photo header as well!

 

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