Introducing a baby to real-people food is totally fun. For about a week. Then the novelty wears off, and it can be anything from frustrating to terrifying—challenging, to be sure. For some tips on surviving the transition, we asked Catherine McCord, founder of the wildly popular baby-food blog Weelicious, for her top 10 things to keep in mind.
1. Change texture, not flavor. When you’re cooking a meal for your family, make a little extra for baby . . . minus the spices and condiments. This way you are changing the texture—but not the taste—of the fresh flavors your baby is used to eating.
2. Invest in a pair of kitchen shears. They’re much quicker than a fork and knife for cutting things like fruit and pasta into tiny toddler-size bites.
3. Be careful with leftovers. Fresh is best: foods that sit in the refrigerator for more than three days start to lose their nutritional value.
4. Save the best for last. At mealtime, introduce new foods (or foods your baby doesn’t usually prefer) first, so baby doesn’t fill up on old favorites before trying healthy new fruits, veggies, and proteins.
5. Get them involved. Toddler utensils like these Bambu forks and spoons will allow your baby to feel like he’s part of the process—even if he’s not quite ready to eat with them yet.
6. Lead by example. If you eat the same foods as your baby, at the same time, she’ll be more likely to give the foods a whirl. You don’t need to be overly theatrical about the yummyness, either: kids naturally emulate their parents.
7. Be mindful of teething. If your little one is pushing away the bite-sized meal in front of him, it may be because his gums are hurting. Try offering a cool puree instead.
8. Have patience. Your baby won’t love everything the first time she tries it. You probably don’t love every type of food either, so try not to get frustrated. Have fun helping your baby discover her own palate.
9. Don’t overwhelm your baby with too much food. Space out a few bites at a time on the tray, then replenish as necessary.
10. When all else fails, make popsicles. You may not like the sound of a spinach puree pop, but your kids . . . .
—Catherine McCord, founder of weelicious.com