Many experts encourage parents to keep in mind that food before one is just for fun. At this age, Henry is still getting all the calories and nutrients he needs from his liquid diet of formula. For the most part, only a small amount of solids are making it down to his stomach. If he was being spoon-fed, Henry would be swallowing more. With baby-led weaning, however, he is learning how to get food to his mouth and chew it before he learns to swallow.
|Starting solids is about exploring new flavors and textures, not about how much Henry eats.|
The World Health Organization suggests offering food two or three times per day when baby is six to eight months old. Henry joins us at the table whenever he is awake for a meal. He is usually awake for breakfast and dinner, but he is often napping during lunch. If he misses two meals in a row, I just add some vegetable soup to one of his bottles to make sure he gets some flavor variety that day. I do not offer snacks or make-up meals. As Henry consolidates his naps from three to two per day, he’ll be able to join me for lunch on a more regular basis.
|Henry joins us at the table whenever he is awake for a meal.|
The experts do not seem to agree on the quantity of food Henry should be eating, with recommendations ranging from a quarter of a teaspoon to several tablespoons of food per meal. I am leaving it up to Henry to decide how much to eat. I place a few items on his tray and he chooses what to try. When he drops some on the floor or begins to lose interest, I place a new item on his tray or offer him a sip of water. If he is still not interested, then I do not pressure him to take another bite. This removes the need for games and tricks that parents often resort to in order to get their child to eat. As he gets older, I am trusting Henry to learn when he is satisfied. This should encourage him to listen to his body’s signals of being hungry or full.