We get asked a lot about how to manage mealtimes, especially when baby isn’t fond of the food. Mama Melly shares her mealtime routine with her little Melanie in the video below. Here are some things you’ll notice from the video:
1. Patience and consistency are key.
It takes patience to watch through the whole video, just like it takes patience & consistency for a caregiver to repeatedly sit through mealtime this way. Every mealtime should look the same and be predictable for baby. That means the same chair, the same room, and the same mood (at least at the beginning until baby is rolling through his/her food enjoyably).
2. Ensure a peaceful environment.
A peaceful environment is important so that the focus is solely on eating. Notice that there is no TV on, there are no side distractions like people talking, there are bird chirping in the background, and there is a relaxing tonality in communication between mom and baby. Even when baby is misbehaving or wanting to throw food on the floor, mom does not react and show anger. That will only result in baby wanting to do it all the more.
3. Embrace the “organized chaos”.
Mealtime for baby is never going to look like our adult mealtimes. They want to throw food on the floor (including Melanie here!), they want to touch the food, and more. Embrace this all within boundaries. Notice that sometimes I allow it, but sometimes I limit it. The best way to limit certain behaviors is to distract baby from them.
4. Talk, talk, talk.
Notice how mom is always speaking to baby. And this applies even when baby is just 6 months old. They might not understand everything, but trust me they do understand a lot. This will also pave the way for great verbal skills early on. Moreover, touching food and naming them will lead to baby being able to name them much earlier than had they not touched the food.
5. Get clown-y sometimes!
Sing, dance, smile and act silly when appropriate. We sing two songs near the end! Funny enough, Melanie actually hums Barney’s famous I Love You song now.
Hope these tips help you! Next time you’re stressed at mealtime, remember this scenario and try to replicate it.
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