During the first year of life, babies grow at an astonishing rate. The milestones they reach are numerous, from sitting and standing and from crawling to walking. But there’s one big milestone that has to do with food. Between four to six months of age, babies start to eat purees after being exclusively breastfed or bottle fed. After a few months, they start trying soft solid foods and eventually, they can eat regular foods, just like the rest of the family.

Unfortunately, not all babies develop good coordination or eating reflexes as quickly as some parents would hope. Or, perhaps your baby is a bit pickier than you would like. There are plenty of things that can stand in the way of your baby becoming well-adjusted to solid foods. But don’t fear, read on to learn several simple tips to help make the process more effective and less stressful for everyone.

To help your baby adjust to solids, you can try the following tips:

  • Don’t force your baby to finish all their food, as this can create bad associations with feeding time. Let them set the pace.
  • Allow your baby to play with their spoon while you supervise. This lets them become familiar with it and develop the fine motor skills necessary for feeding themselves.
  • Offer your baby the same food up to three times at different sessions before deciding they don’t like it. Sometimes foods require an “acquired taste” to become a favorite.
  • Bring your baby to the table when the family eats together. They can sit on your lap or in their highchair. This allows them to create positive associations like family bonding with feeding time.
  • If your baby doesn’t seem to be eating enough at their meals, offer snacks between them. Just like adults, some babies don’t eat a lot in a single sitting.

One or more of these tips can help your baby adjust easier and more naturally to solid foods. Just remember to practice patience and before you know it, they’ll be eating the same foods as you and these difficult days will be nothing more than a memory.