1. Give him a wooden spoon or bowl. Kenya loves having his own spoon to put in his mouth or just clank around. Sometimes he’ll put the food on his tray in the bowl. This is the perfect activity that prepares him for feeding himself and being part of the process.
2. When you’re preparing a recipe, make a little extra to cut up and put on his tray such as broccoli florets, tiny chicken cubes, baby carrot coins, etc..
3. Sometimes I’ll sing songs, do the itsy bitsy spider, make silly faces or other fun games when he’s losing his eating steam.
4. Stay focused! Baby is there to eat, so make sure meal time is always in the same place and go through a ritual. We always tell him that we’re going to put him in his high chair, we wash off his hands with a moist towel, show him his bib and put it around his neck, hand him the bowl and spoon and then start eating. This way he knows what to expect.
5. As I feed him, I tell him what we’re about to eat. He knows all the names of his favorite foods because I point to them and call them by name. When he hears “sweet potato” his mouth flies open!
6. I save avocado for last since that’s always a winner and feed the foods that might be a struggle first when he’s really hungry and focused.
7. Stay off the telephone! Nothing pisses Kenya off faster then me talking on the phone. Wouldn’t you hate to be at dinner and someone was yammering on the phone while you ate?!
8. Eat the similar foods or together. Babies want to know what you’re eating. No matter what I’m about to put in my mouth, Kenya wants to try it. This is also a great way to get him to try new food.
9. Water. When Kenya starts to get fidgety I offer him a sip of water out of a regular glass. I hold it and help him slurp it up. It makes him feel like a big boy that he’s doing something we do.
10. Sometimes babies need a time out. They might be antsy, tired or just not in the mood. When Kenya starts resisting he will “hold food hostage in his mouth,” grunt as to say “no more” or just spit it out. These are definite signs that baby doesn’t want to eat or just needs a little break from the high chair.