10 Tips For Successful Infant Feeding

So your baby is ready for solids? But, are you? As a mom, dietitian, and expert in human nutrition, I’ve created these 10 tips to help you prepare for feeding your precious little one! Get ready for messiness, silliness, and so many memories created as you take the first step into writing your family’s very own food story.

young toddler self feeding with a spoon

1.) Be Prepared.

Make sure you have finished an infant feeding course and know what to feed your baby and how to feed your baby safely! Check out my Infant Feeding Course.

Also, take an infant CPR course, AND make sure you know what to do in the event that your baby does choke or has an allergic reaction.

2.) Know the difference between choking & gagging

This is usually the biggest drawback for parents when starting solids. Watch youtube videos of babies gagging so that you know what to look for.

Do NOT lunge at your baby, scream, gasp, or show your concern. This can actually scare your baby and cause your baby to choke This can also create a negative experience with food

3.) Keep Mealtimes Positive

Mealtimes are for when you and your baby are happy! Try to avoid feeding when your baby is crying or fussy due to reasons other than hunger.

In addition, you must stay positive too! Your baby can read your face and gestures.

If you act scared, stressed, or upset, that might make your baby feel scared, stressed, or upset.

4.) High Chair Safety

Seat your baby safely in an upright high chair, with hips and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Make sure your baby is not leaning to the side and is able to sit upright to reduce the risk of choking.

Provide a footrest for your baby so that your baby’s feet are not dangling.

With a secure high chair top AND careful supervision, keep your baby unstrapped in the highchair. That way if your baby does choke, you can easily pull her out without scrambling to unclip the safety belt.

I recommend the Ikea ANTILOPE High chair as it has the footrest, it’s affordable, sturdy, easy to replace parts, easy to clean, and modern/minimalist. There are many accessories you can find on Amazon: Silicon Baby High Chair Placemats, TLBB High Chair Footrest, White Ikea High Chair Footrest, and the Nibble High Chair Cushion Cover. (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases)

5.) Embrace the Mess

messy baby eating pasta with bowl on his head

Accept that your baby will be messy. You can buy a splat mat, bibs, and an easy-to-wash high chair to reduce the mess – but know and embrace that a mess is inevitable.

note: try to avoid wiping your baby’s face while eating. This can create a negative feeling toward feeding. Not to mention, it can be a waste of time!

They won’t be messy for long. This is a season. And by allowing them to explore the different tastes, textures, and messiness of food, they will soon discover, on their own, that they have independence with food and that it tastes much better once it’s actually in the mouth 🙂

6.) Eat Together Often

Eating habits begin early. Teach your baby that mealtimes are for families to gather and connect – distraction-free. Turn off the TV, put away the cell phones, stop the chores, and clear any other distractions from the dinner table.

It is time to create an intentional practice of eating mindfully. Try to do this as often as your schedule allows. When life gets busy and mealtimes become more like survival mode, offer yourself grace! It will happen and it’s okay.

7.) Offer Appropriate Portion Sizes

baby led weaning banana, cucumber and some pasta noodles

Provide the appropriate and safe size of food and about 3 to 4 pieces of finger foods per meal. For baby-led weaning, offer finger slices about the size of your pinky finger. I recommend that all parents take a baby-led weaning course if they are planning to offer finger slices of food!

You want to offer enough so that your baby is stimulated but not too much that it becomes overwhelming.

A good rule of thumb is the 3-2-1 rule: 3 oz of carbohydrates 2 oz of protein 1 oz of fruit and 1 oz of vegetables.

8.) Use Proper Infant Feeding Utensils

Plates, spoons, bowls, forks, and cups are all a part of the infant feeding experience. By using utensils, that actually work, you can improve your baby’s eating experience and your own.

Begin using a baby spoon with a shorter handle (such as NumNum Pre-Spoon or EzPz Tiny Spoon (Amazon) as early as possible. At first, you will need to guide your baby’s hand into the bowl and to their mouth, but soon enough they will get the hang of it! (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases)

Plates and bowls that properly suction to the high chair or table will prevent your baby from throwing their food on the floor – less mess for you, yay!

Forks are not necessary at first, but after about 12 months your baby might be able to understand the concept.

9.) Offer Open-Cup or Sippy Cup with Meals

Although your baby should be getting all of her fluid needs through breastmilk or formula, you can offer water at mealtimes for the practice.

Your baby will not drink much of it and it is a developmental skill they must learn. Juice is not recommended for babies under 1 year

10.) Food Safety

Always test the temperature of foods. Food should be lukewarm, not hot.

Check to make sure food is soft enough to eat (like cooked carrots) or large and moist enough to not break into tiny pieces (like a piece of meat).

How To Prevent Foodborne Illness:

  1. Always wash your hands before preparing food – and wash your baby’s hands while you are at it!
  2. Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. Cook foods to the proper minimum internal temperature:
    • Beef, veal, pork, lamb, steaks, & roast: 145 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Ground beef & eggs: 160 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Poultry: 165 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Re-heat leftovers to 165 degrees Fahrenheit

Bottom Line:

There are many things you should prepare for before you begin feeding your infant solid food. From taking a CPR course, to purchasing feeding utensils, and preparing healthy and safe food, it is a good idea for you to prepare yourself to introduce your sweet little one to food! If all of this sounds overwhelming I recommend checking out an infant feeding course. It will be a fun, messy, and entertaining adventure. And the best part is that YOU get to write your family’s food story.

Written by Sheridan Glaske, MS, RDN, LD

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