Time to Eat Play Learn

   Written by on May 26, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Just as we are never too old to have a good time, so are babies never too young to enjoy a little fun.  If your infant tends to be sleepy, you may have to be really inventive to find time to give your baby some sensory input each day.

logo-wee-notesRemember that your baby learns through the senses:  seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling.  Try to provide at least a tiny bit of each of these every day to assist in brain development.

An infant is going to use her sense of taste when nursing or from her formula so you won’t need to provide any other food tastes for her.  Once she is six months of age, she will be eating finger foods so providing foods with a range of textures from crackers and dry cereal pieces to softer foods like small cheese cubes and banana slices are good choices.  Don’t forget squishy foods such as frozen or fresh ripe peaches cut into small bites.

A year old baby with a few teeth can enjoy whole grain toast, string cheese, and yogurt (make sure it has live active cultures).  Talk about the texture of each food he is eating.

Provide a spoon but allow your baby to use his hands and fingers to manipulate his food.

A toddler will be able to understand more about the different textures of the foods he is eating.  Try to provide crunchy, rough, sticky, smooth, soft, and silky foods in the course of a week.  Tell your little guy the name of the food he is eating and what texture it has.

(Ex.:  “Wow, that honey is sticky on your hands.”) Introduce some new foods like kiwi or star fruit.

Young preschoolers will probably enjoy all kinds of foods and textures if you have introduced those foods along the way.  Don’t push a new food on your child.  Just keep making it available over time so that she has access to it.  Let her see you eating and enjoying the food.  Maybe you can add it to whole grain pancakes to encourage her to get used to the flavor of the new food in small doses.  My youngest at age three didn’t much like fruits so I tried blueberry muffins and she loved them!

With older preschoolers, you can play a guessing game with some familiar foods.  Provide different textures and colors and get him to name the color and texture of each food.  Ask him to tell you what he would name a new food if he could.  Show him the difference in a fresh strawberry, one that has been sliced with a bit of sugar, and a frozen one.  Let an older preschooler help you prepare food.  He will be more likely to taste it if he had a hand in the prep.

Have you had success introducing new foods?  Have you found a recipe that helped a wee one accept a veggie that you had had trouble getting her to eat?  Do you have a child who has an issue with a food that you haven’t been able to solve?  Maybe someone has a suggestion that could help others.

©2011 Brenda Holland-Robinson

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