Thanks to Disney Baby for sponsoring this post and sending us my daughter’s Minnie Mouse cup for free!
There was probably a time in my life when I thought feeding a baby would be simple.
Something along the lines of, “like taking candy from a baby” — a statement that obviously came from someone who had never actually tried to take candy from a baby, because babies are stubborn and they cry, and then you feel terrible.
But the truth is, even something as “simple” as feeding a baby can be filled with challenges, adventures, and a lot of learning. Which brings me to a few simple things I wish I had known as a first-time parent about feeding my babies:
1. Babies can start solids at different times. All of my four kids started solids at different times and most of them started a lot later than 6 months old, which I always thought was some “magical” age when kids wanted solids. In fact, I had to learn to follow my baby’s cues for when he/she was ready for trying solids with signs such as reaching for table food or showing interest in our food.
2. The time of babies learning to eat on their own is one of the most trying of parenthood. The mess after my daughter’s meals around her highchair is enough to haunt my dreams. Honestly, when people say you will miss these days, I really don’t think I’m going to miss the complete and total mess that is mealtime `round these parts, no matter how many strategies I employ to lessen the mess — it still happens.
3. Babies are more adventurous than you would think. Salmon? Mango? Spinach? Why not? I wish I would have tried even more foods that were out of our everyday “kid food” diet when my kids were little because that’s really the time to introduce them to food you might not think they would like.
4. Food pouches are the best invention ever. Sorry, but whoever invented baby food pouches like the delicious Chobani all-natural Greek yogurt versions for tots needs some serous praise because they are the best thing ever, including sliced bread. No offense to the loaf.
5. Some babies spit up a lot. Call me crazy, but I did not know this in the beginning. My first baby? Ate like a dream and I never even had to burp her. My second baby? Was so sensitive and fussy—she spit up with every feeding (not anything worrisome, we had her checked out, don’t worry!) and I soon learned that burp cloths are made for a reason. It’s best to be prepared if you’re unsure what type of baby yours will be, I’m just throwing it out there. My recommendations? Extra burp cloths, many, many bibs, and always a spare outfit. Or three.
6. Some babies won’t ever use a bottle. This was a revelation to me, but it is totally possible that if you breastfeed and your baby refuses a bottle or is maybe older when you try to introduce a bottle, that you can go right a sippy cup. There is no pressing need for a bottle and when our son did it, it was kind of nice to not have to “break” him of using a bottle. There are lot of different options you can use without a bottle, such as a straw cup or a sippy cup.
7. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to feeding. I truly thought that with feeding my baby, it was all or nothing, but it honestly doesn’t have to be that way. I remember being amazed when I was a new mom to meet a fellow, more experienced mother who was working and going to school full-time. Her schedule didn’t work out with pumping, so her son had formula during the day and she wanted to breastfeed him at night for extra bonding time, so that’s what she did. Her body adjusted to it and I was so impressed by how she found a way to make the best of both situations to find a routine that worked for her.
8. Feeding time = fun time. Some of my best memories (and pictures) I have with my kids happened around the dinner table. The first plate of spaghetti, the first ice cream cone, the first attempt at using a fork — all happened at mealtime and I know now how important it is to treasure those everyday, simple moments that make parenthood magical.