...the chance to experience frustrationYou'll come to know your baby's "help me, Mommy," wail -- it's an angry, urgent sound. If she makes it when she's got her foot caught in the vacuum-cleaner cord, come running. But what if she's trying to turn the pages of a book?
"Even if they aren't happy about it, sometimes babies need to struggle a bit. It's the only way they develop independence," says Punam Kashyap, M.D., a developmental pediatrician at the Institute for Child Development at Hackensack University Medical Center, in Hackensack, New Jersey. Say your child's trying to reach a teddy that's a foot or so out of her reach. If you simply hand it to her, she'll have no motivation to figure out how to wriggle across to it.
Whatever she's trying to do, cheer her on and, if necessary, make it a little easier for her (position the bear so she can grab his leg; give her toddler-friendly books with easy-to-turn pages). You'll both be better off.
Unseasoned purees are a smart way to introduce a baby to solids, but if you get more adventurous after a few months, you might be pleasantly surprised. "If you want your child to eat a variety of foods, exposing him to different tastes and textures by the time he's a year old is very important," says Dr. Kashyap.
You may not realize it, but your baby was exposed to a sampler of your favorite foods even before birth -- tastes from what you ate mixed into the amniotic fluid he was floating in. And he may have gotten another pass at your "taste" in food if you nursed him, since breast milk picks up hints of whatever you nosh on.
No one's suggesting you heap your baby's serving tray with spicy chicken wings, but there's no harm in mashing up a little lasagna or your legendary sloppy joes. Even if he spits them out, don't assume he dislikes them; he could just be exploring the texture. Give foods two or three tries over several weeks, and if he doesn't take to them, offer them again in another month or two.
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Poonam is a Johnite from Batch 1973