Follow the baby!

Jan Roberts from Better Babies and author of Healthy Parents Healthy Babies  (Random House) has some sage advice for parents who are wondering how best to start solids and when:

Is your baby ready for solids?

Only when she’s reaching for food from your plate! Now Dr. Mercola has weighed in with support for the “follow-the-baby” approach which is not about mashing, pureeing, blending then spooning once the baby reaches the magic 6-month marker. Rather it’s about letting the baby decide when she’s ready for solids and if your baby is breastfed ad lib, that may actually be well beyond six months. It all depends on how quickly the baby’s gut and digestive systems are maturing and when she starts to reach for food from your plate is a good indication that the time is right. Then let her be part of family mealtimes, encourage her to select whatever she fancies and can manage in her hand.

There’s no doubt that lots of families set themselves up for a battle of wills at mealtimes, and a lifetime with kids who are picky, unadventurous eaters. As I’ve blogged about in the past, my approach to family food was based on the line of least resistance – the thought of separate meals and separate mealtimes was too horrible to contemplate. I ask … where are the positive role models for the baby sitting in a lonely high chair, having a bowl of mushed gloop (even if it’s home-made gloop!) spooned into her mouth?

My advice is this: sit her up at the family dinner table – that means no high chairs and no more dinners on the lounge in front of TV. Wait ‘til she shows interest in your meal, then let her choose. At first it’s all about fingers and tastes and textures, and watching what her parents and siblings are eating. Make sure the role models are doing the right thing! Lots more on introducing babies to family food and to getting toddlers into the kitchen in Healthy Parents, Healthy Toddler.

Jan’s range of Better Baby books are available from all good bookshops nationally. She blogs at Better Babies and created Flurishh, a game for healthier parents and babies.



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