Dietary diversification: how do I teach baby to eat?
Your big baby is (finally) starting to eat things other than just milk. It's a big milestone for them, and for you too! You alternate between delight, excitement and stress. You have so many questions: What if they don't like anything? What if they refuse to eat? But don't panic, there are techniques for teaching them to love eating! And here they are!
Explain to them that eating is a real pleasure
Your baby is 6 months old and your paediatrician has told you that it's time to start varying their diet. As you leave the consultation, you jump with joy. You know that it's an important stage in their life and you are delighted about it1!
You will need to explain this joy and happiness to them. Talk to them and explain why they are going to start eating, that everything will be fine and how it will happen. Communication is essential for your 6-month-old to understand why you are putting them in a high chair with a bib and a spoon.
At 6 months, they can understand and pick up on your happiness. It's YOUR job to make them want to eat!
Eating will awaken their curiosity: surprise them!
Every day, your baby surprises you and you love it. Now it's your turn to surprise them by diversifying their diet.
Experiencing new flavours and textures above all means fruit and vegetables, but also the introduction of infant cereals to cover their new energy requirements and awaken their taste buds.
You can also use funny recipes and original plates, share meals with them or play games to make it fun for them… there are 1,001 tips for awakening their curiosity at mealtimes.
The simple fact of discovering new flavours and new textures will be fun for them and will create new sensations. Their sense of smell will also be awoken, so don't hesitate to get them to smell their food before they eat it.
Show them how to eat, get them to join in by letting them watch you and then asking them to help you peel an orange, for example.
They know that eating means they will grow big and strong and you will need to remind them how proud you are of them!
1WHO (April 2002), Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, document A55/15, paragraph 10