Bonding with baby at mealtimes

Feeding your little fella involves more than just food. Here are ways to bond with bubba while breaking bread.

When your little one first arrives, nourishing him with breastmilk or formula should be your number one priority. Newborn babies usually drink every two to three hours during the day and three to four hours at night.

Once bubba reaches the 6-month mark, you can start introducing solid food to him in purée form. Not all babies take to solid food naturally — some dig into anything you put in front of them (lucky you!), while others may need a bit of coaxing.

Don’t be too worried if your mini-me doesn’t seem interested with the menu for the day or just outright refuses it. Babies take a while to “learn” how to eat solids. But if you feel like you’re not making headways, here are some sure-fire suggestions to make mealtimes more enjoyable for you and your tyke and enhance your bond along the way.

Eat together

After a hectic day you’re probably looking forward to putting the kiddos to bed and have a quiet, peaceful meal while catching up on The Good Wife or some one-on-one time with the hubs. But eating together with your tyke will actually expose him to mealtime dynamics and allow him to observe what everyone is eating and how they’re doing it. Soon he’ll be the doing the same thing. Put your peewee in his high chair and pull him up close to the table so he feels like part of the family and can reach out and grab the broccoli off your plate!

Ditch the gadgets

While we’re on the topic of family time, make sure you don’t bring your mobile phone, iPad or laptop to the dining table during meals. Focus your attention to your sweetie and your loved ones. This will also stop you from being tempted to rely on gadgets to distract your child into eating, which not only encourages poor eating associations but also puts a full stop from any real conversation and social development from taking place.

Give him his own set of cutlery

Babies learn best from observing and mimicking those around them. If junior sees you eating from a plate and using chopsticks or a spoon and fork, he’ll want to do the same. There’s a very slim chance that he’s going to master the art of feeding at this age, but while he’s busy clanking on his empty plastic bowl and spoon, you can actually sneak in some food into his mouth. Or make a game out of it, put some of his food on your spoon and feed it to him. After a while, he’ll learn to “feed” you back with his spoon. Take turns and have fun!

Maintain a happy atmosphere

Talk to your little man, praise and high five him when he takes a bite. Keep the encouragement coming with a smile even if he doesn’t. Babies pick up on your energy — whether negative or positive — so if you remain in good spirits your young ‘un will also be eager to please and all of you can experience more together at mealtime as a family.

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Photo: iStock