Switching from breastmilk or formula to solids is an exciting moment, for mommy and baby alike. Even more fun, is graduating to finger foods. By time baby hits the 8 to 10 month mark, she’s likely started showing an interest in what you’re eating. I remember when my little one, now 2 1/2 years old, would watch us intently spoon mouthfuls of pasta during dinnertime. It didn’t take long for me to realize a mutiny would begin if I didn’t move past solids and let her have in on the fun.
Here are a few tip this veteran mom of two has learned along the way:
One meal really can feed the whole family. Include at least one ingredient you know your little one will like and is easy on her still developing digestive system. Acorn, butternut, kabocha and delicata are just a few types of the many squash now in season. If you’re making a puree to serve as a side or stir into risotto, roast a few chunks and cut them into bite-sized pieces for baby.
Make family meals a ritual. In a perfect world, both mom and dad would be home at 6:00pm to enjoy dinner together. Even if your spouse works late hours, set the table and gather around with the kids, including the littlest ones. Babies are curious and want to mimic parents and siblings, so show off all the good eats on your plate as a hint of what’s to come. Hopefully this will become a habit even the kids look forward to, as a special time to unwind and share some news about their school day.
Variety is a great way to keep baby interested in new foods. It’s easy to fall into a food rut at any age. Just because baby has shown a love for sweet potatoes, doesn’t mean you should make them every day. Keep a few of her favorites in rotation so she doesn’t get bored, and wake up one day dreading the sight of another orange tuber.