When Relatives Want to Feed Your Baby

When relatives want to feed your babyWhen little ones approach 6 months of age, many moms begin to consider starting solids. Up until this point, breastmilk or formula is all your little one needs. For me, I wasn’t in a hurry to start solids. By 6 months, I had just gotten into a good rhythm of nursing with my daughter. I didn’t see why she had to have vegetables and fruits just yet, when she was happily satisfied with breastmilk. Then, we went home for the holidays.

She was not quite 5 months old at this time. I remember the moment: A close relative asked to see her, so they walked off holding her. And then, it happened. They let her eat chocolate icing. I cringed. I didn’t speak up. I let them feed my little baby chocolate icing.  She was returned to me with laughter and a gummy smile coated in chocolate.

This same scenario played out months later when another relative wanted to feed her something fun that mommy didn’t allow her to eat just yet. Cheetos puffs chips. Oh the horror.

What do you do when your relatives want to feed your baby? I mean, these are the people you love, trust, and adore with your child. So, why is this such a tricky subject?

While I don’t have the answers, here are some ways to handle this awkward situation:

  1. Be honest. When I look back at my scenarios, I wish I would have spoken up. But, I didn’t. If a relative wants your little one to sample mashed potatoes over the holidays but you haven’t started solids, speak up. Just be honest. They should respect you as the child’s mother and understand.
  2. Be realistic. In the grand scheme of things, my child’s taste of chocolate icing and Cheetos has not stunted her growth or made her become a sugar addict. But if food allergies run in your family or you are worried about food allergies, keep baby close or within sight. It’s unrealistic to brief everyone at every party about how to handle your baby, so stay close enough to monitor the situation.
  3. Bring your own food. If you are concerned about what your child may be offered at the holiday gathering, bring your own food. Bring their drink in one of these fun Re-play sippy cups. Bring some snacks that you are comfortable with. For me, I always had a couple Gerber Graduates pouches in my purse for my kids. This way, if I knew they wouldn’t eat the meal, there was some kind of a healthy option out there.
  4. Be the Mom. If this means you have to leave the room, take your child out of someone’s arms, or have a heart-to-heart with a relative, it’s okay.  Don’t be like me and hold it inside and still obsess over it years later. Now when my family feeds my daughter, I am grateful. This usually means she is well cared for, and I get to enjoy a meal without worrying about what she’s eating.

No matter what you eat this holiday season, remember your baby’s needs should be met. You can decide what they eat and when they eat it. It’s okay to sample holiday foods with your baby IF that’s what you want. You are the mom. You got this.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana. She can’t wait to go home for Thanksgiving.

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