Ellyn Satter's Division of Responsibility in Feeding

Ellyn Satter's Division of Responsibility is a great guideline for understanding children's and parents' responsibilities related to food. From infancy through adolescence, parents decide what, where and when to eat, and children decide whether and how much. Remember this: "Fundamental to parents’ jobs is trusting children to determine how much and whether to eat from what parents provide. When parents do their jobs with feeding, children do their jobs with eating."

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Ask Gastromommy: Signs of Being Done

I am often asked: how do I know when my baby (or toddler) is done with his meal? This is an entirely valid question, as they can't tell us with words - at least not until they are older! 

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Sign Language for Meals

We've been using sign language for meals since early on in our BLW journey. We really started to see the benefits around 14-15 months when Theo signed for "more" and "all done." Some babies are faster with language and may sign much earlier, like Theo's girlfriend Ellie who is super verbal. I recommend starting sign language early on, as it aids in communication and may prevent some frustration for both you and your child. Popular signs include "more," "all done," "eat," "milk," "please" and "thank you."

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Herbs, Spices, Oils & Seasonings

Variety is the spice of life, right? No pun intended. ;) Just like toddlers, older children and adults, babies enjoy flavor! With BLW, there is no need to deprive your baby of herbs, spices, oils or seasonings. In fact, their use is encouraged, which makes the whole experience more delicious and interesting for your baby and more enjoyable and creative for you as parents. It also makes it easier to feed your baby what the rest of the family is eating. There’s no need to make bland food!

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Utensils

EXPOSURE TO UTENSILS: The best way to introduce utensils to your baby is through exposure from the very beginning of BLW / solids (if not beforehand!). Exposure means giving him opportunities to hold, play with and use utensils. Embrace the mess and let him explore and have fun. :) It is also crucial to give him ample opportunities at social meals to observe you, other family members and meal companions using utensils.

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Ask Gastromommy: Food Quantity

For this first installation of Ask Gastromommy, I am going to focus on food quantity. I’ve gotten several questions about it, such as: How much food should I give to my baby? What about when he’s older? 

In the beginning of BLW, it’s best to offer your baby a small selection of foods. Overloading your baby with too many options can overwhelm him! In the first few months, I put only 3-4 pieces / kinds of food on his tray at a time. I always had more food ready in case he wanted it, which he almost always did. ;)
 

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Introducing Non-Animal Milk with Solids (8+ Months)

Around 8 months, you may want to start introducing non-animal milk (almond, cashew, soy, coconut, etc.) in a straw cup at meals. This is a great way to get your baby used to drinking milk (besides breast milk or formula), which will aid in the transition to cow’s milk around one year. It will also help with the transition from bottle to cup, which should occur (fully) between 12-15 months.

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Introducing Water with Solids (6+ Months) & Recommended Cups

Introducing a cup around 6 months with solid foods is recommended to expose babies to a different substance coming from a different vessel, and to begin to learn the skill of cup drinking. The best cups support muscle development in the mouth and are helpful in supporting the skills of language development and open-lidded cup drinking (Babygroup, 2016).

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Constipation

Babies often become constipated when they start eating solids. Their GI systems have to get used to digesting food! In fact, it may be more common for breastfed babies because their stomachs are used to processing only breast milk, which is easily and highly digestible.

The consistency, appearance and smell of babies’ poop will change when they start eating solids.

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