Weaning a baby can be difficult to say the least. The baby has grown accustomed to nursing on a bottle or breast for months and sometimes even a year or more. Eventually the baby will start weaning himself but that may not come soon enough. We took a proactive approach to weaning out of necessity and have had good results. This is what we did.
When our baby was old enough to start handling different kinds of real food we started him off slowly by giving him small samples of food whenever there was some around. For the first few months between months six and eight our son basically tasted foods between bottles and between meal times but we never sat him down to give him a full meal of baby food or a puree version of our dinner.
In essence this has acclimated our son to many new tastes while never introducing a bad vibe to the situation of eating. Whenever he was curious about foods we were eating he had some until he didn’t want any more.
This is obviously dependent on your child and his or her level of interest in the food you are eating but by doing this we instilled a sense of curiosity and pleasure surrounding food. Now whenever we eat our son is curious enough to crawl over to us and ask for some of what we are eating. This has made it really easy to start giving him less bottled milk and more real food because we time our meals around his eating patterns.
How To Get A Baby To Start Eating Real Food
We stated young. At four and five months we gave our son tastes of simple foods with mild flavor. Bananas were good for this because they were squishy and not potent in any way. This helped our son to develop a curiosity around the food his mommy and daddy were eating and for the following few months we only gave him food when he came over and “asked” about it. You could see he was curious so we gave him what he could eat.
After this level of curiosity was developed we started setting dinner time at the exact time our son would be getting hungry and wanting something in his belly. We wouldn’t sit him down in a high chair as we didn’t feel he was ready for this yet but we would prepare our food and some of it would be broken down to pieces he could handle.
After sitting down to eat our son would inevitably get interested in what we were eating so he would crawl to us and want to try what we were eating. Because he was getting hungry he would end up eating quite a bit of regular food before losing interest. After a while we would then give him the bottle and he wouldn’t drink nearly as much as before because he filled up so much on real food.
During the day we do much the same process except we always try to introduce snacks between meals which are intended to help stretch him out between bottles. Without snacks our son would want a bottle or breast more often but just like at dinner time by starting to snack ourselves first he would get interested in trying the same food and would ask for it.
In our family we feel it’s very important to not force anything on our child unless absolutely necessary. Babies under one should start experimenting with real food but it’s not absolutely necessary yet. During this time we are teaching him to be naturally interested in eating real food rather than forcing it down his throat. We have yet eliminate milk from his diet and have no plans to eliminate it until well after he turns one but we look forward to the day when he refuses the milk in favor of the food his mommy and daddy are eating.