Mindful Feeding Tips For First Time Moms
Congrats! You’ve made it. Just a few months ago you were figuring out the ins and outs of nursing or the overwhelming options in the formula aisle. Now you’re entering the fun next stage of solid foods for your baby.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies can start to be introduced to solid foods around 6 months old. There are even some studies which suggest not waiting past 6 months to introduce children to potentially allergenic foods because it may lead to a higher risk of it becoming an actual food allergy later in life.
With all of this information along with the advice you may be getting from other moms and family who’ve “been there and done that”, this new phase in eating could be overwhelming.
As a second time mom, fortunately, I have the gift of experience to help me with my 6-month-old daughter. The transition has been much smoother this time due to the stress-filled mistakes I made the first time around.
Here are a couple of tips I believe will help first-time moms ready to introduce solid foods to their baby:
1. Listen to your heart.
If there is one piece of advice I would give to every new mom this would surely be it. Checking in with yourself, listening to your heart, and doing what feels right for you and your baby is key.
Oftentimes, we are being swayed by the well-meaning advice of others around us. We might be told to add a little bit of rice cereal in our baby’s bottle at a certain age or to start incorporating baby foods earlier than what feels right.
The best thing to do in these situations is what feels right to you.
If you have any questions about what physical milestones your child should be hitting, always consult with your doctor. With that reassurance, move as slowly or swiftly through the next stage as what feels comfortable for your family.
Here's Victoria and her family of four's typical daily meal routine
2. Do Your Own Research
In the tech-savvy world, we’re in, the internet can seem like an overwhelming resource. A simple search for answers can leave you more confused than you started.
However, it can easily be a great place to research-proven information to help to ease your fears on a variety of baby issues. In addition, there are forums where like-minded parents share their own experiences.
It was through these measures I was able to successfully approach transitioning to solids much differently with my second child compared to my first.
In an effort to expose my youngest daughter to a variety of flavors, I took the time to investigate types of first foods from different cultures and also the most current findings on what foods are best.
I was often told by friends and family to start kids out with rice cereal because it was bland. However, I found that thinking is now outdated.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the current research shows iron-rich meats and veggies (pureed for easier absorption) and allergen-prone foods can be slowly introduced within the 4-6 month window. This includes foods such as peanuts and eggs which were previously advised against because it was deemed risky. Without doing my research and running it by my pediatrician for confirmation, I would never have known. So take the time to find out what’s new and right for your family.
3. Give Yourself A Break
While this next step opens up a new world of fun for you and your baby, it can also seem like a lot of responsibility. As a mom determined to give my kids the most nutritious homemade meals from the start, I happily took on the task of making all of my oldest son’s purees from scratch. It was all going well until life kicked into overdrive with work, family, and everything in between.
As much as I wanted to give him what I considered was “the best”, I was not taking into account what was best for me and our lifestyle at the time. Subsequently, I would mentally beat myself up if I wasn’t able to get it all done.
After a while, I finally accepted I was spreading myself too thin. I found balance by researching store-bought purees and meal options that met my standard to have on hand and scheduled time on the weekends to make meals we could have the time to enjoy together.
So, from one mom to another please give yourself grace and a break as needed.
At the end of the day, we all want to be the best parents we can be. Each new phase is as much of a learning experience for us as it is for our little ones. In addition to the more traditional and logistical advice for making mealtime successful, consider these as additional tools to feel completely prepared for the journey.
Tiffany "itsmeladyg" Stuart (owner and editor-in-chief of itsmeladyg.com ) is a plant-based mom, internationally-published blogger, Huffington Post contributor, YouTuber, public speaker, organizer of several women's groups in the NYC area, and one of 2017 and 2018 Natural Products Expo East Top Influencers in the wellness industry. Tiffany is also a Holistic Health Coach who studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She currently lives in New Jersey and is enjoying her recent switch to suburban life after a lifetime of living in NYC.