Preparing for Solid Food
I can’t believe it’s almost time to start giving James solid food! While our pediatrician said it would be okay to start now, we’re following the WHO guidelines and waiting until six months (or at least close to then). I want to wait until he’s sitting up on his own anyway. That doesn’t mean we haven’t started preparing though! I’ve been doing several things to start familiarizing James with food and the eating process, and so far it’s been lots of fun.
For a while, I was grocery shopping on my own, usually early on a weekend morning while James was asleep. This was certainly easier and quicker. However, I do think that involving children in grocery shopping and cooking can really encourage them to be adventurous eaters, so why not start now! I admit, I feel a bit spacey when I take him grocery shopping, mainly because I’m trying to get it done quickly, but I do try to talk to him a little about what we’re buying and show him some of the beautiful produce. I may get some crazy looks from other shoppers as I talk to little James about sweet potatoes, but that’s okay 🙂 I’d like to make it to the farmers market with him soon too, but that hasn’t happened yet.
Including him in Cooking
I love to cook and can’t wait for the days when James can help me in the kitchen! For now though, I try to include him by placing him on a blanket right outside the kitchen, in a way that he can see me. If he’s not busy doing something else, I’ll bring over the ingredients, especially fruits and vegetables, for him to look at. I also talk to him about the smells and sounds he may be noticing.
Including him at Meal Time
We do not always manage to eat dinner before James goes to bed, but at least a few nights of the week, we try to have a “family dinner,” where James sits on my lap. It’s so sweet to watch his eyes intently follow my fork to my mouth as I eat. He’s just started trying to grab my food off of my plate too (though he grabs everything, so I’m by no means assuming that he’s trying to eat it). This may be a less relaxing way to eat dinner, but it is definitely entertaining. When we don’t manage to have family dinners, I at least try to eat a snack while sitting with him at some point during the day. He always seems highly interested.
I have no idea if any of this makes a difference, but I enjoy it and see no reason not to include him in daily life as much as possible. It seems to me like maybe eating will be more fun and make more sense when the time comes if he’s already somewhat familiar with how it works. I would also love to find some beautiful photos of food to give him, or a book about food with great pictures, but haven’t done that yet.
Does anyone have any tips on including babies / children in meal time and preparation?