As a parent, feeding your child is one of the most stressful moments (among many others...). While breastfeeding, we often ask ourselves the following questions: Is he eating enough? Does he nurse well? Is he gaining enough weight? You will have little time off until the next stage of your child's life: the famous and sometimes dreaded food diversification. In collaboration with YAMO, let us give you some advice on when to start introducing solids and how to stay calm in this key step of your child's development.
To begin with, do not worry, your child will end up eating, at his own pace (often wanting to imitate his parents, his brothers and sisters or friends).
Introducing solids takes place between the age of 4 to 6 months old, as a complement to your breast milk or powdered milk. Generally, you start by introducing purees (salty and sweet) of one ingredient at a time, such as carrot puree. This can be called the "classic" method. Today, we also hear about EMR.
What is EMR?
In other terms, it is a child-led diversification. It is a method that is said to be more fun and pleasant for the child. The idea is that he discovers solid foods by himself in small pieces instead of purees. The pieces should be the size of his fist. With this approach, parents do not spoon-feed their baby: the child will use his fingers. This method is generally introduced to children over 6 months of age. He must be able to bring the food to his mouth and eat it himself.
The EMR is especially recommended for babies and children who simply don't like purees and porridge or who have older siblings who will inspire them to eat "like a grown-up" at the family table. Your child doesn't need to have teeth for this, because babies can also chew soft foods with their palate. With this method, you complement with breastfeeding or with a bottle until the baby is weaned.
Don't hesitate to reach out to your pediatrician for more information.
Whether you prefer the "classic" method or the EMR, it must be done gently, gradually, and above all without stress. The meal must remain a pleasant and positive moment (for everyone).
4 signs that indicate that your child is ready for diversification:
- Sit up straight without support in a highchair.
- He is able to support and hold his head up straight.
- Shows interest in food (when he makes facial expressions with his mouth to express his desire to taste).
- When the sucking reflex is gone, and he can open his mouth and close his lips on a spoon (otherwise he may push the food away with his tongue).
Sooner or later, your child will express on his own that he is ready to try new things. For some parents, diversification is easy because the child is eager to eat and discover new flavors. For others, it might be more challenging and stressful.
How to stay calm when feeding your child?
- Dress yourself and your child in clothes that are not fragile and can be stained (avoid your white silk blouse and the new Jacadi outfit gifted by grandma. Avoid unnecessary stress and keep bibs and wipes in reach.
- Protect your floor with a washable plastic or cloth floor mat: www.nouinoui.com that will help you let go when your child spills food everywhere. Breathe, it's going to be okay.
- Don't be in a hurry. Take your time for the meal. Every child reacts differently to the introduction of new foods. One day he may finish a whole bowl of carrot and the next day he may not want to touch it again.
- Pay attention to your child's signals (listed above). Maybe on that day, your child will settle for a bottle of milk and that's okay.
- Don't force your child to eat. If he doesn't like the new ingredient, try it again the next day and if he's no longer hungry, don't force him. You can also try to taste what you serve him. Chances are he'll try it himself, by mimicking you. Haha, you have to be clever and better prepare something healthy and good!
Keep in mind that introducing solids must remain a positive experience for him and for you. Set a good example and don't get frustrated. Stay calm and Zen.
Homemade or industrial purees and compotes?
As parents, we want to do things right! We usually start by introducing homemade compotes and purees with fresh, organic, local vegetables and fruits bought at the market. This is great and amazing when we have time for it, but it often turns out to be a source of stress!
Once again, if you can this is amazing! But no need to put that much pressure on yourself. Between work, appointments, and daily stress, you won't always have the time or energy to shop or spend hours in the kitchen and that's okay.
We have good news: small ready-made cups do exist! Don't feel guilty if you need to find some time for yourself and serve a ready-made meal to your child from time to time! However, it is important to know what products you are feeding them and to choose them well. Make sure you pay attention to the ingredients (fresh, natural, organic), the additives (without salt and sugar), and the transformation process (cold-pressed).
Simply ask yourself the question: would you eat this little cup/jar of vegetables that have been on the supermarket's shelf for months with a validity date of more than 12 months and full of additives and ingredients you don't even know what they mean? Probably not...
This is why we are proud to have been collaborating for more than a year now with YAMO, a Swiss brand that offers compotes and purees with 100% natural and organic ingredients. Thanks to the gentle cold-press process, the vitamins, taste, and natural colors of the food are preserved. We recommend their products with our eyes closed!
Do you want to test them?
Benefit from -25% on your first order with the promotional code: MOTHERSTORIES to be indicated during your purchase on their website.
Share with us your experience of solid introduction & diversification.
Your testimonials will inspire and reassure other moms. Motherhood is an everyday challenge! Don't forget that MotherStories is here to inform and support you at each of these key steps!