The baby is ready to eat. What if we gave up the purees and tried the DME, the dietary diversification led by the child? Far from being a simple trend EMR, this method of learning about food is of interest to more and more parents, but requires being well informed and, above all, not being in a hurry!
Where to start? Baby eats alone experts advise us before starting.
Be well informed
Even before baby girl dresses show his desire to eat (see point 3), he must be well equipped. The DME cannot be improvised. Although it is safe, it still requires taking precautions. Before embarking on the adventure of the DME, we make sure of the procedure to follow.
Need info? Baby eats alone has brought together the basics of the method and various tips in a book that is both theoretical and practical.
Respect our values
The DME is a method that encourages the values of autonomy and discovery by the child, and which is completely natural since it respects the baby’s abilities.
But it must also respect those of the parents. It is therefore important to feel good about this approach and not adopt it because it is fashionable.
Waiting for baby to be ready
How do you know if baby is ready to eat? He must first be at least 6 months old; he shows his desire, he is able to chew, he adopts a sitting posture and puts his hand to his mouth. Attention, it is necessary to make the difference between our expectations and the capacities of our child. Every child has their own rhythm, let’s not forget that!
Offer baby pieces of the right size
Baby is provided with appropriate pieces of the right size and texture. Let’s not forget that a beginner baby cannot crunch, chew or shred food: he will crush the food by putting his tongue on the palate.
Over time, when your skills have evolved, you can add more and more complex foods. It is the period of 6-9 months that requires the most monitoring!
Consult if you are worried
Baby not eating enough. Does he have an intolerance or an allergic reaction? If in doubt, consult your family doctor or a nutritionist. A nutrition expert will also be able to guide us if we want to introduce a vegetarian or vegan diet.
During meals, baby needs to be guided and to feel encouraged. Be close! Doing the dishes or watching TV during meals can be tempting, but can also be distracting for the child, who could then choke.
Forget clean clothes
Yes, EMR is messy! A word of advice: always have large bibs and wet washcloths handy. An even easier option is to put baby in a diaper and get them dressed again after feeding!
Cook foods that baby shuns
Baby threw mango or strawberry pieces on the floor. Don’t throw them away! At the price where food is, it is better not to waste it. One trick is to put a tablecloth on the floor, under the highchair, to collect the food that is still intact. For others, cook them! The experts and collaborators of Baby eats alone offer 100 recipe ideas for recycled muffins, soups, or smoothies.
We will of course offer these cooked meals only to baby and not to our visit!
Manage quality, not quantity
It’s baby who manages his food alone and not you! By putting a piece in your mouth instead, you skip a step. If he can’t do it on his own, he’s not likely to be able to handle it on his own, which poses a choking hazard.
Generally, it will take several days (sometimes a few weeks!) for baby to discover the pleasure of eating. The first meals serve more to explore and understand the principle of eating alone.
Each baby is unique and develops their skills at their own pace. EMR not working? Let go and wait before proposing again. Does it do a lot of damage?
Our essentials for getting started in EMR
We love the compartmentalized plates and the silicone placemats. This type of tableware offers a good surface to put food on so that baby can take it alone. The ledge also gives beginners a boost. Plus: it’s dishwasher safe!
We fell in love with Jamie Kay ‘s new collection (in the photo), with its spring and playful shapes!
We stock up on bibs of different sizes, with or without sleeves, easy to clean. Leave a few copies in the diaper bag for meals on the road or at daycare.
Store prepared baby food and meals in airtight containers, like these from Beaba. A trick: we go ahead and cut the fruits and vegetables into pieces on Sunday afternoon, during the siesta.
We always have plenty of washcloths (because we can never have too many!) and Sun San sandals, soft and delicate. Even on the go, they are preferred to disposable wipes.
We choose a highchair or a booster seat that will be comfortable for the child and easy to clean (did we already say that this was one of the criteria for the DME? ;)).
Below, Stokke’s new Click chair has just arrived in store.
We facilitate learning with the help of a calendar of first meals which offers a turnkey menu for the first 5 weeks of DME with the integration of allergens, adapted foods, recipes, and various information.