Track your baby's milestones — Feeding

Your suckling babe will soon become a ravenous tot ― here’s how you can develop her taste buds.

Out of all the major milestones your mini-me will hit during her formative years, feeding will have to be one of most exciting ones. She literally goes from being a milk monster to a taste tester in a matter of months. We’ll be honest ― it’s going to be a messy business, but so fun, too! Here’s how to teach your tyke essential mealtime skills.

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0 to 6 months

• Bubba subsists solely on breastmilk or formula ― or a combination of both ― as her main source of nutrition for the first 6 months.
• Babies are born with tiny tummies that fill up quickly. So, expect junior to cry out to be fed every two hours if you’re nursing her and every three hours if she’s on formula. This is because breastmilk digests more quickly than formula.
• Your little one is born with natural oral reflexes to root (make sucking noises with the mouth), swallow, gag and burp. She also has a tongue-thrust reflex, an instinctive reaction to push food out with her tongue, to ensure that she never chokes.
• With a doctor’s recommendation, 4 months is the earliest you can introduce solid food to your sweetie. Signs of readiness include ― she can sit up unassisted, shows interest in what you are eating, holds her head up high and she has outgrown her tongue-thrust reflex. 

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6 to 12 months

• Ideal first foods include cereal, puréed root veggies such as sweet potato, yam and carrots or mashed avocado or bananas. Mix them with either breastmilk or formula, so that it smells and tastes familiar to her.
• Junior’s first spoonful will be memorable, so make sure to use a spoon with a soft, silicone or plastic cover to protect her tender gums, in case she bites down on it.
• Timing is key when starting junior on solids. Offer milk first to whet your wee one’s appetite, then bring on the main course. Start with one meal a day, then slowly move up to two or three. If you want junior to get used to participating in family mealtimes, let her join you at the dining table daily.
• By 10 months, your mini-me should be able to cope with lumpy or coarsely-mashed food. This is a great time to try baby-led weaning ― offering your munchkin bite-sized “real” foods appropriate for her age. This could be anything from steamed apples and thinly-sliced raw carrots, to even tiny pieces of cooked meat. This gives junior control over what she’s eating, hones her pincer grip, encourages self-feeding and independence, plus she can decide how much she wants to eat.

Click to find out how to outsmart a picky eater…