So these are the rules I try to stick to when it comes to feeding my kids:
- I try to introduce them to a variety of foods as much as possible. It is easy to get stuck in ruts, so I definitely have to make a concious decision not to.
- Eat together as a family whenever possible. We sit at the table for every meal (when we're not on the go). The babies sit in Tripp Trapps (the one baby product I whole-heartedly recommend) and we eat and talk and enjoy each other. They're learning good manners and they are much more likely to try something if we're eating it, too.
- Model good eating habits. Babies are social learners - so if you want them to eat well, eat well yourself. This is much easier said than done, but it's a continuous work in progress.
- It's ok to run out of their favorite thing. When they get hungry they'll eat something new. Ellie used to fill up on goldfish crackers and not be interested in much else. One day I stopped buying them and she didn't starve to death or anything. When she got hungry enough she tried something new, and she's been just fine since.
- I also stick to the rule of no sweets until their first birthday. It keeps them from getting hooked on sugar too early, and it makes their first birthday party that much more fun!
- It's ok to use sauces, like ketchup or ranch, to introduce new foods. Hopefully you will eventually be able to wean them off their need for sauces to enjoy dinner.
- Baby food grinders are a gift from God. Use them to get your baby eating the same things you are from early on. I prefer the little hand held ones like this one, which are easy to throw in the diaper bag and take with you wherever you go. It's much easier to remember just that instead of all the other little snacks and jars and so on and so forth.
- Be careful. With all of these things I think the most important is rule #2 - eat with them. Watch your baby carefully to make sure they can handle new textures and that they don't have any allergic reactions when introducing new foods.
P.S. We're on our way back form our Disneyland and San Diego adventures today! So I'll post pictures soon, of course! Happy Weekend!