This little one takes to food immediately. She loves most tastes and flavours, and all your mum friends watch in amazement as she polishes off her veg and fruit with a great big grin.
“You have the dream weaner every mother wants,” says Amanda Ursell, author of Baby and Toddler Food Bible. “This type of tot will probably really take to baby-led weaning. This is where you start straight off with age-appropriate food — for example, buttered toast fingers and softly boiled carrot sticks — and let her get on with it by herself.”
The dairy lover
This baby can’t get enough milk. Whether it’s from your breast or a bottle, she knocks it back.
As long as she’s getting the right amount of milk for her age, tough love is needed. “Give her milky foods and add breast or formula milk to purées, so there’s still a taste of it,” advises nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed. “You will need to keep at it, so your baby gets used to different flavours and textures.”
The sweet-toothed one
This baby loves fruit and yoghurt, but turns her nose up at vegetables and protein.
All babies are born with an innate preference for sweet foods because breastmilk is sweet. “Fruit like apples and pears are a great choice, but babies need vegetables, too,” says nutritionist Helen Gardiner. “Give her less-bitter vegetables, like carrot or pumpkin, then slowly add in stronger tastes, like broccoli.” Watch out for overly sweetened yoghurts. “You’re better off adding a fruit purée to natural yoghurt,” Gardiner advises.
This baby wails at the sight of a good meal. And, after a couple of weeks, you’d be forgiven for thinking she’ll never eat.
Keep things relaxed. “It’s important not to get stressed yourself,” Ursell says. “Even though it’s very difficult trying to feed a screaming baby, just stay calm and keep smiling. Put the spoon down and take a deep breath. Try feeding her around older children, so she can see how it’s done, or take her to a park, so she’s distracted by what’s going on around her.”
This tot eyes broccoli with suspicion and is reluctant to try new foods. She’s also likely to be fussy about texture and temperature.
It’s important for a baby to experience a range of food in her first year, but you also need to remember she won’t be like this forever. “Babies are born with food neophobia — a fear of new foods. It’s a survival mechanism, so they’re careful about what they put in their mouths,” says Stirling-Reed. “You’ll need to keep offering a variety of foods, sometimes up to 15 times, before she eats them. Once she becomes familiar with it, she’s more likely to give it a try.”
A win-wean situation
Score a point for each statement you can identify with and see how you’re doing…
- Purée narrowly misses the curtain — but hits the sofa.
- Your baby laughs in your face while spitting out food.
- You mutter, “I’m never buying butternut squash again”.
- Food missile in the hair (yours, that is).
- Crying or wailing (that’s you again, not the baby).
- You curse the day you decided on a cream carpet.
- You get a spoonful right in the eye.
- Food up the nose (both of you this time).
1 to 3: You're the alpha mum of the weaning world. Almost no dry cleaning for you!
4 to 6: Semi-pro. Just wipe that carrot purée off your top before you go out. Oh, and cover the stain with a necklace.
7 to 8: A for effort. Your baby is having way more fun than you right now, but go with it (perhaps start wearing overalls, though…).
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