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High Chair Features to Look For

High Chair Features to Look For
A lot of people wonder what to look for in a high chair. There are so many possibilities out there! First, you need to decide what you want it to be able to do, your space available, and your budget.

When Brayden was ready for a high chair, we bought a booster seat that was portable, had a tray, and could recline. It turned out to not be the best thing. We did get use out of it, however, when Brayden graduated to a booster seat from the highchair at 18 months.

At 6 months (started solids at 4 months), I got a highchair. He started eating a lot more and I attribute that to the fact that the highchair was a lot more comfortable so he would sit in it longer. Shortly thereafter, he started sleeping longer for his naps. Are the two related? It is impossible to say for sure. At the time, that is what attributed the better naps to. So, here are the qualities I recommend for a highchair. It is personal preference and people like all types, but here are my opinions.

  • The back of the seat is not straight across but is more like a U or smile shape--curved. This seems to prevent the baby from sliding down. The booster I got that I didn't like was straight. The old high chair I use at the in-laws is straight. Both kids are/were falling down in such things.
  • If you plan to have more young babies use the chair, one that the back reclines. The need for this is dependent on the child and on the age you start solids. Kaitlyn has been sitting up straight in hers since before 5 months, but I do have friends who have had babies not be able to sit up well past 6 months old. I like the option, and I would put Kaitlyn in the high chair before she started solids so she could join us at the table for meals.
  • A tray that you can put in the dishwasher (if it is one that would have a tray). Mine has a cover that you can put in the dishwasher, and some have two or more. I wouldn't mind two because then while one was being washed the other one is being used, but honestly you would only have one meal time while the one is being washed and the main tray is getting dirty, so it isn't all that inconvenient.
  • An easy-to-clean seat pad. Some are fabric that can be washed in the washer, some are plastic that can be easily wiped off with a washcloth. I can see benefits to both. It is going to depend on you and your cleaning preferences, but watch for one you can easily clean. Mine is plastic coated, but I will put it in the washer at times--I just don't dry it and I wash it the same way you would wash a plastic shower curtain liner.
That is all I would find necessary. Other features are just nice bonuses that depend on how you plan to use it:
  • If you live in a small space, one you can fold up compactly and put in a closet could be nice, but I would only get that if you would really fold it up constantly. I know I personally wouldn't fold it up. You are using it three times a day for meals and some babies will sit in it to play while you make dinner or whatever, so it seems inconvenient to me. If you would want to put it away for company, you could likely find a place to store the highchair while they were there. Most fold up, some just more compactly than others. My mom's is one that folds up very compactly (at the time it was the smallest on the market, I am not sure if it still is). But she honestly just keeps it out all the time. The highchair itself is not as roomy for the child so it isn't one I would recommend for long-term use, but Brayden at 2.5 can still fit in it just fine.
  • Wheels are nice if you plan to move it around a lot. I think most have wheels anyway.
  • Toys are nice for the child's entertainment, but you could put toys on the tray if you want them to play in the highchair. My booster had some toys on the tray, but they were things you pushed to make other things happen, and it is hard for an adult to push, much less an infant.
  • Mine has a basket under the seat; I keep bibs in there. It also has a bar on the back where you can hang bibs or wash clothes...conveniences.
As I said, there are all types out there and each one is like by someone for some reason. Determine your desired uses and go from there. These are just features I personally like.
Reader Questions:
  • Salina said...
    What high chair do you have that has a basket under the seat? That's a wonderful idea! I was trying to figure out a way to rig up one for mine. I have the Chicco- which I love, but I could do something with all that wasted space underneath!! I hate having to run to the kitchen or his bedroom for towels, bibs, etc.
    January 17, 2008 7:04 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    I have a Graco high chair, but I looked at their site and it looks like they don't make the one I have anymore! It doesn't look like any of their high chairs have baskets anymore. You might be able to find it if you looked on ebay or something.
    January 17, 2008 8:44 AM

Word to the Weary

For those of you in the heat of sleep training, I wanted to post a few words to hopefully keep you trudging along toward your end goal.

This last week we have done a lot of traveling for Christmas festivities. Brayden (2.5) has had to miss a lot of naps. He only takes one a day, so missing one can have quite the impact. Today while driving home, my husband and I talked about what he is like when he misses a nap.

When he misses one nap once a week, he is a little cranky but overall okay. Not great, but okay. When he misses several naps in a week, something interesting happens. He gets naughty. Our sweet boy who typically does what he is asked and told immediately and is so happy to comply and be a good boy stops caring what his parents ask him to do. He does what he wants and seems happy to he doing it his own way. He doesn't seem tired, he just seems disobedient and actually quite hyper.

We talked about how it isn't fair to expect a child to be obedient when they are overly tired. Trust me when I say that your child isn't going to want to nap any more as a toddler than he does as a baby. Some kids like to nap, but I think those are few and far between. Children love to play and have a billion better things to do than sleep. Train your child while he is young so that when he is older he has the skills and you have the authority. You will be better able to teach him obedience and manners and cleanliness and ABCs, etc. if he is well rested. I saw a dramatic difference this week. Train him to sleep! Stick it out! It is worth it and you will be so glad you did.

Related Posts:

Poll Results: What Age Did Your Baby Move to a Four Hour Schedule?


3 Months: 1 Vote (12%)
4 Months: 5 Votes (31%)
5 Months: 1 Vote (6%)
6 Months: 5 Votes (31%)
7 Months: 0 Votes
8 Months/Older: 3 Votes (18%)

Total of 16 Votes.

Dealing with Disruptions in Your Routine

What to do when your routine gets disrupted
In light of the holidays and the craziness it brings, I thought this would be a good post to get up ASAP. Disruptions come in all shapes and sizes. Teething, sickness, travel, visitors, are some tips in dealing with the disruptions when they come (and they will).
  • One is just to realize that the baby is going to get off schedule. Some things are unavoidable. An example for us is church. We have church for 3 hours. I know that Monday will be harder all around since there was a nap missed. This is not negotiable for us--church is important. So we deal with it and it, accept it, and all is well.
  • Do try to limit disruptions until baby is more in the swing of things. If you dedicate the time to getting your baby solid in a schedule before you start throwing disruptions at him, he will bounce back much faster after the disruptions. Usually 8 weeks is sufficient. Older babies may need less time.
  • When you do have to be out and about (whether for church, errands, or for your sanity), just try to stick to the routine as much as possible. Try to get those errands in during waketime. Or some babies will nap on the go. Try to stick to the routine.
  • As far as sickness and teething go, if you do train your child to sleep on their own, these should be pretty much non-issues. My two year old sleeps just as well and on schedule even when he is sick or teething or in a strange place. Kaitlyn is the same way. She even started sleeping later in the morning during a bad cold. Some naps will be disrupted. Oh well. There is a reason for it and the reason won't last forever. Move on with the day.
  • For vacations, some babies will wake in the night if they are in a strange place. If you are somewhere people can hear you, feed your baby rather than letting them cry and wake the household up. You can get back on schedule when you get home. It might take a few days, but the baby will bounce back.
  • Follow guidelines in BW for visitors, adding your own judgment. If the person is there for one day and only a few hours, let them disrupt (if you want to). If they are there for several days, they can get their fix during wake times.
  • See the Let Your Schedule Serve You post.
Reader Questions
  • bethers21 said...
    Val,I can't remember where on your blog you talk about your Sunday morning routine. I know Kaitlyn misses her morning nap, but I can't remember how you compensated for it. My son eats at 7/10/1 and probably shifting to 3 1/2 hour schedule soon. His 1st nap gets cut 30 min short (1 hour if we do 3.5 schedule) so we can get to church at 10am. Today I was able to get him to fall asleep in his car seat for 45 min around 12:15pm. I fed him and put him down at his next regular nap time after that. Do you have any tips for how to compensate for his missed naps? He's 4 months. My biggest concern is that he is in daycare so I try really hard dto be consistent on the weekends. I hate for him to miss any naps or not stay on schedule on the weekend but need to figure out how to fit his schedule around church. Thanks!!
    April 27, 2008 1:01 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    I can't remember is probably just mentioned in several posts :)The way I compensated has evolved as she has gotten older. Once she was at an age where a nap was dropped, I would just give her an extra nap. So she would have an evening nap when she usually didn't. I also put her down early for the next coming nap. Since your son's nap isn't totally gone, you could either add a short nap, extend the afternoon nap, or put him to bed early.Right now, she misses her morning nap completely. We get out at 12. She eats lunch then goes straight down, which is usually somewhere around 12:45. Her nap usually starts around 1:45 these days. She then naps until her normal wake up time. We then put her down a little early for bed, perhaps 30 minutes.
    April 28, 2008 10:06 AM
    bethers21 said...
    In your opinion, do you think skipping/shortening his first two naps on Sunday will be a problem/mess up his week since I can only guarantee good naps on weekends since he's in daycare?
    April 28, 2008 10:44 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    It honestly is a possibility. I know Monday is a catch up day for Kaitlyn, despite the extra sleeping on Sunday. It really is a difficult situation. For me, I would still go to church. You will have to decide your value system and decide what you want to do. It will be shortlived; as he gets older, he will be more flexible and can miss sleep easier. You will have to see how he reacts. Good luck in figuring it out.
    April 28, 2008 11:11 AM
  • hunter'smom said...
    My son is five months and has his bottom teething coming through. This has really disrupted his naps. Not his night time sleep though. Any suggestions on how to get him to sleep through the naps while in pain like he does at night? I have tried letting him cio and shortened wake times. He is sleeping one hour in the morning, 1 1/2 hours in the afternoon, and 1 hour for the evening nap. Is that enough?
    April 27, 2008 7:03 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Your answer is going to come more in the form of alleviating the pain since that is what is causing the waking. If you are okay with Tylenol, giving that to him 20 minutes before his nap should help. The good news is that once those teeth are through, he should go back to normal. I wouldn't CIO for teething pain, though. If he won't sleep more with medication, you can always put him to bed a bit early if he needs to. Be sure to check out the teething post:
    Tips and Tricks: Teething:
    Good luck!
    April 28, 2008 10:10 AM
  • colleenmari said...
    I have a 12 week old and have been doing BW since day one. It has been great, she started sleeping from 10:30 to about 7:30ish...until now. Our typical feeding schedule is 8:00, 11:00am, 2:00pm, 5:00pm, 8:00pm and 10:00pm. We went on vacation last week and now she is waking up at all hours of the night! Last night she was up at 2:30, I let her CIO for 45 minutes until she went back to sleep, but was up again at 4:00. I finally fed her just to get some sleep myself. What do I do? Also, when do I know to drop a nap? She takes a shorter nap after her 5:00pm feeding (typically from 6ish to 7ish) and often won't sleep after her 8:00 feeding until her 10:00. Thanks!
    September 1, 2008 10:25 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    So, remember that a vacation can really mess things up for a while. Also, 3 months is a growth spurt age. In this case, feed more in the day to hopefully remove need for nighttime waking. I would have fed her, especially since she woke up again so soon.See this post for dropping naps:Dropping Naps:
    I might try dropping that nap after 5 to get her to bed before 10.
    September 5, 2008 10:34 AM

Sleepy Newborns

Nursing a newborn is not easy. They tend to fall asleep after they get a bit of food in their tummies. I am sure it is the same story with bottle-fed babies. The day will come when they stay awake and eat, but what do you do until then? You are trying to start the Babywise schedule from the beginning and it is taking what little energy you have to keep the baby up just to eat, much less play afterward!

I only have experience with one child on this. I started Brayden at 9 weeks, and frankly he did not have a problem of not waking up, it was quite the opposite, so some of you may be wondering what on earth I am talking about and how you can get some of that in your life. They just come that way, and yes, in my opinion the sleepy one is easier than the wide awake one.

With Kaitlyn, I worked on one wake time a day each week. She always fell asleep during feedings, and so I just worked on getting her to stay awake for one wake time each week. For example, for the first week I just really focused on keeping her awake after the first feeding. The remainder I let her do what she did. If she fell asleep, I put her in her bed. The last wake time I worked on was after her 1:00 pm feeding. It was a hard one for her! I know that at 4 weeks she was still zonking after that and stayed asleep until I woke her for her next feeding. I can't remember her exact age when she started being able to stay awake for that one, but it was definitely older than 4 weeks.

How do you keep them awake?
  • It requires all of your focus and energy
  • Rubbing her shoulders
  • Cool rag or cold wet wipe
  • Sitting her up
  • Talking, singing, etc.
  • Change her diaper between sides or halfway through the bottle
  • Tickle
Even after all that, there are no guarantees. It is just a difficult time. It will take some time, but the more you work on keeping her awake for a full feeding, the better she will get at it. It is worth the effort. You want a full feeding and you want to get her to stay awake during waketimes in order to sleep better at night.
Reader Advice:
  • Rachel Stellaaa said...
    What I found to work the best with my sleepy baby (tickling him etc was not effective) was to not keep him too warm and wrapped up when I was feeding him, and when he started to fall asleep, put him beside me (or the floor, whatever you like) unwrapped and he would probably kick around and fuss for a second because he wanted to be nice and snug again, which would then wake him up enough to eat again. Sometimes I would have to do this several times throughout a feed.
    May 23, 2008 9:33 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Oh yes, Rachel. I have found that to be true also. Thanks for pointing that out!
    May 26, 2008 10:03 AM
Reader Questions:
  • Catherine said...
    I am having a random problem at night! My son eats and falls asleep lying on me. Then when I move him to his crib, he stays asleep while I move him, although he jostles a little, bit then when he hits the crib he startles awake (I can see him and hear him startle) and can't get back to sleep. The other night I let him CIO but he went 1.5 hrs intermittently crying and just couldn't do it. Finally I just had to put him in the swing bc he was so worked up. This has been happening for the last few weeks- really since he came out of the extremely sleepy, can't wake for anything, newborn phase. It's really frustrating though and really messes up our nights! Any thoughts anyone?
    March 4, 2008 10:42 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Kaitlyn did that a few times. Be sure he is getting a full feeding in--if he falls asleep before he is done eating, wake him to finish. That way you know he is full. As he learns to soothe himself, he will get better about it. Hang in there!
    March 4, 2008 1:42 PM
    Catherine said...
    Thanks Valerie. What did you do when Kaitlyn did that?
    March 5, 2008 10:51 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    It was never consistent for her, I think one time we tried rocking her to no avail so I just fed her. Another time we did the swing, that worked. Then we just moved her up to her bed after she fell asleep and she somehow stayed asleep. It is all a normal part of the learning process. Stay consistent and hang in there! Things will start to improve and you will have less to worry about at a a time :)
    March 5, 2008 10:51 AM

When Do You Stop Babyfood and Move to "Real" Food?

When to feed baby real food instead of baby food.

As far as when you stop baby food, a lot of that is up to you and your baby. There are a lot of things you can't feed a child until they are one for safety issues. Even after they turn one, you have to be careful as far as choking goes.

The answer to this question would depend on when your child starts eating finger foods and how good they are at for safety reasons. Some start at 6 months, some aren't ready until 10 months or later. Brayden and Kaitlyn both started finger foods at 7 months, but I still fed Brayden baby food until after his 1 year checkup. Even after that he had babyfood on occasion. You have the control that way--you know they are getting enough fruits and veggies. Not to mention it is so much cleaner...I have already mentioned my OCD on that issue. I think Kaitlyn is working to cure me of it because she can be a messy little eater....

Anyway, I would say most start to move to just whatever the family is eating around a year. Brayden eats whatever we eat. Enchiladas, veggies, spicy, bland, it doesn't matter. He likes it all. I think Kaitlyn is far more interested in eating whatever we are eating than her mushy baby food. She loves to eat finger foods but drags her feed with the baby food. Move when your baby is ready for it. And you can do it gradually over time.

For more information on what to feed your pre-toddler, see the Feeding Your Pre-Toddler post.

Finger Foods

When and how to start finger foods for babies.

I have to say that eating finger foods is one of my favorite milestones. The baby can eat food while you eat your meals. You can give finger foods when you go out to eat. Offer little snacks at church to get the baby through the it!

I was ridiculously cautious with Brayden eating foods and am the same with Kaitlyn. I don't think there is anything wrong with caution--we don't want our babies choking!

Signs of Readiness for Finger Foods

  • Baby can "chew"
  • Around age 7-8 months
  • A desire
First Finger Foods
With both of my kids, I started with Gerber rice puffs. They dissolve really fast, and it takes 80 pieces to get 25 calories, so they aren't a snack that are going to interfere with eating foods they need. I do that until I can see they are able to chew and swallow. I am pretty slow in introducing new foods. I don't have any set rule, I just do it as the thought occurs to me.

Kaitlyn really likes biter biscuits. They were great for her to learn to get the food in her mouth since they are big. Brayden never really loved those. Kaitlyn also likes toast. Both like/liked the Gerber Wagon Wheels. Peas are an early finger food also.

Other foods I do are ideas I got from What to Expect the First Year. Pieces of whole wheat bagel, whole grain breads, crackers that get mushy in the mouth, cheerios, natural cheeses (pasteurized), ripe banana or other fruits that are very ripe, cooked veggies, pasta...If you have that book, the info is found on pages 387-388. Incidentally, I really like that book.
Teaching Them to Eat Finger Foods
The best option is to give them the food and let them figure it out. I would give them food that is safe, but also big enough they can pick it up and get it in their mouths. Help them be successful. For a 7 month old, the Gerber Rice Puffs are likely too small to get in their mouths by themselves. You can feed rice puffs yourself to gauge the chewing ability.
Brayden had no problems feeding himself finger foods at 7 months old, even the small rice puffs. Kaitlyn could pick the rice puffs up, but wouldn't put them in her mouth. She needed a bigger item to show her that she could do it herself, then she immediately was able to get the rice puffs in her mouth alone.

Honestly, I get giddy about finger foods!
Reader Comments:
  • John and Amanda said...
    Thanks for the great ideas for finger foods! So far I've only introduced the Gerber Puffs and these great cookies that dissolve easily. A friend told me about them. They are Goya cookies (found on the Mexican food aisle). They are called "Maria" cookies... Caden loves them and they are much cheaper than the Gerber cookies.... :) Now, off to see what I have in my pantry that I can try and introduce today! Thanks for the ideas!
    February 27, 2008 6:06 PM

How To Get Picky Eaters To Eat

Do you have a picky eater? "You might find yourself worrying about how to get your picky eater to eat at all, much less east healthy food. In this post, I talk about how to get that picky eater to eat.

It starts off as quite amusing and funny. You baby doesn't like this or that (Kaitlyn hated ALL fruit). Those faces are the best! The shudders. The scrunched faces. The fake gagging.

How To Get Picky Eaters To Eat
Then you start to worry. Your baby isn't eating like you think she should and you don't know what to do. when Kaitlyn was hating fruits I worried about it and did some checking around with people I know and also stuff online to talk to people who had experienced the same thing.

With Brayden, he really hated squash, so I stopped buying it and stopped feeding it to him. My friend still fed stuff to her son even if he didn't like it. I can see how that would be beneficial so you can be sure to get the most variety in the diet. Maybe I didn't worry about it with Brayden because it was the only food he didn't like. I think the older they get, the harder they get to push into something new.

Kaitlyn didn't like fruits for a couple of weeks. She clamped her mouth shut and refused to eat, but I just continued to give it to her every day at every meal, and she now eats it. It isn't her favorite part of the meal, but she eats a good amount and enough that I am not worried about it at all. You have to just keep trying.

Pretty much the consensus for fixing the picky eater is that you keep trying and at some point they will eat. You just have to consistently offer the solids, the baby will eat what they will, and eventually they will eat food. I guess it is like everything else (CIO, sleeping through night, etc.). Some are naturals, some need work, some adapt quickly, some need lots of practice...and it is so hard to look into the future and think "it will happen someday" without knowing when that day is. Kaitlyn adapted rather quickly, much faster than I anticipated. One person said her baby seemed to not like the pureed food, but once he could eat solids (real solids) he ate much better.
  • Offer the food often. Decide what is best for you and LO. Every meal? Once a day? Every so often? Only you can decide what is best, but keep trying. The more you work with her while young the fewer problems you will have as she gets older. Over time I am sure she will get even better. She will eventually grow to like it, or at least eat it. It took Kaitlyn about 2 months of slowly working up to eat it. Expect it to take time.
  • Show some excitement! It really does help. It still helps with Brayden. I always cheer when he finishes all of his veggies at dinner, and he really likes it. Who doesn't enjoy applause ;)
  • If your baby will copy your faces, open your mouth wide. She will follow suite.
  • An idea to try would be to try to feed solids before you nurse her. If she is too hungry and impatient, you could nurse one side and then solids then nurse the other. That is what I did with Kaitlyn until she ate solids well (I did it with Brayden too). Now I nurse both sides before her solids. If she were hungry, she might try it enough to just get her used to the flavors and start to like it.
  • Some babies like the stage one, while others very much dislike it and prefer stage two or three. If you make your own food, experiment with the thickness and runniness of your food to see what your baby prefers. This same principle is true for cereal. Some like it runny, some like it thick. Some don't care so long as they get food.
  • If you buy food, experiment with the brands. I found Brayden liked one brand over another. And even then, there were a couple of foods he preferred in other brands.
Kaitlyn didn't love green beans at first (and neither did Brayden). She didn't refuse them, but wouldn't eat as much as she would peas and eventually the garden veggies. I kept giving them to her every so often, expecting her to only have a few bites and then would follow up with peas so she would get full. She will now eat them. Sometimes it is only 3/4 of the stage 2 container, but she still eats them.

 Helpful phrase to get picky eaters to eat

How Much Food Will Baby Eat at Each Meal?

How Much Food Will Baby Eat at Each Meal?
As far as how much baby food to expect your LO to is really dependent on the child. By the time Brayden was 7 months old, he consumed a stage three Gerber jar of a fruit, a veggie, and at dinner sometimes I would do Blueberry Buckle for dessert if he was still hungry. He also would have cereal at two meals a day--and sometimes that would be 12 Tablespoons! The kid was a monster eater, and a skinny little thing. When I would go to the grocery store and buy baby food, the checkers would always comment on how much baby food I was buying. I don't think he was normal.

At 8.5 months, Kaitlyn eats stage two of everything, has 4 T of cereal at breakfast and dinner, 1 veggie at lunch and 1 at dinner, 1/2 fruit at breakfast, 3/4-1 fruit at lunch, and about 1 fruit at dinner. Feed your baby what your baby wants (within reason). Babies are much better than adults at stopping when they are full!
Reader Questions:
  • Mom2Cohen said...
    I was wondering if you could give me your opinion on how much I have been feeding my little guy. I started him on cereal last Monday (2/18) and have been giving him about 3T of rice or oatmeal cereal everyday at 4:30 (after BFing). I am planning to start feeding him twice a day this coming Monday (3/3) but I am unsure about how much he is actually supposed to get at each feeding. I saw on one website that he should only have 3-9 T a day but that didn't seem right! Anyhow, I hope that all makes sense. Basically I am just wondering how much I can feed him at each feeding because trust me when I say that he will eat pretty much ANYTHING I put in his mouth...he always acts like he wants more. Also, just FYI I plan on doing two feedings of cereal a day for two weeks and then I will do three feedings a day of cereal for a week and then I will start adding veggies (at least this is "My" plan...we will see how things go)I look forward to hearing what you think as far as the amount I can feed him!
    February 28, 2008 8:10 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    BW II says to work up to 6 T per meal if they want it. I would start slowly with your second meal and continue to offer more at the other meal until you reach 6 T. If your son is hard to read for solids, you might like the book Super Baby Food. I haven't ever read it, but heard great things about it. It covers birth to three years.
    February 28, 2008 9:48 PM
  • Mom2Cohen said... for a really stupid question...when people say 4T, 5T, etc are they meaning just 4T of cereal plus the formula or 4T when the cereal and formula are mixed?
    February 29, 2008 12:09 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Not to sound like a teacher, but there is no such thing as a stupid question :). To not ask a question and/or just assume something to be true is far "stupider" than asking and making sure you get it.When I say 5T, I mean 5T dry. Then you add the liquid. Please let me know if that doesn't make sense (by the way, I think that is a really good question :) ).
    February 29, 2008 2:05 PM
  • Jonathan and Meredith Harvey said...
    Hi, this is my first comment, but I love your blog. I use it almost every day and have recommended it to several other mom friends. My 6 1/2 month old is eating 5x a day, cereal at 3 feedings. He only eats 2-3 tablespoons and I am wondering if this is ok. The most he has ever eaten is probably four. We have not started veggies or anything yet, just cereal so far and some juice to help with BMs. Is it ok that he only eats that much? Thanks
    March 11, 2008 10:50 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    That sounds fine to me. My daughter has never consistently eaten more than 4 T of cereal at once, and she is 11 months old. It is always a good idea to follow your child's lead on the amount of food.But there is a book called Super Baby Food. I haven't read it, but I have heard many many good things about it. It covers birth to 3 years old. It could be a great resource.
    March 11, 2008 11:14 AM
  • Gabby said...
    My 6 month old has been eating solids for about 3 weeks. We did 2 weeks of cereal and started veggies this last week. He was eating well (about 3-4T of cereal each time), until the last couple of days. All of a sudden he just holds it on his tongue and will not swallow. I tried feeding solids before and after BF rather than in the middle, but it did not seem to help. I'm concerned that he needs the nutrition at his age. Last night he drank 2 oz of formula after nursing and refusing the solids because he still seemed hungry. Any suggestions??? Thanks!-Gabby
    April 5, 2008 6:52 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Gabby, I was just going through posts organizing comments and saw your comment here. I never was notified of it (sometimes that happens for some reason). If you still have problems, let me know. Hopefully things are better a month later. If not, see this post:Picky Eaters:
    May 8, 2008 2:20 PM
  • Jessica said...
    I need help! I am having feeding/eating issues with my 5 month old little girl. I am having trouble getting both formula and solids in her at the same feeding. I think she is also starting to prefer solids over her formula and is refusing to drink it. When I try to feed her at 10 a.m. she may take 2 oz. of formula but no where near a full feeding. I feel like I need to split up her milk and solid feedings so that she will eat well.She has started waking early in the a.m. and I am not sure if it is food related or what. The waking isn't that big of an issue since I needed to play with her schedule anyway but it is still frustrating.
    September 6, 2008 12:48 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Jessica, how often do you feed solids? Also, is she teething? Often they will not eat well while teething--especially nursing/bottles.
    September 10, 2008 2:52 PM

When to Align Meals with the Family

When to Align Meals with the Family
Mealtimes kind of naturally fall into place as far as lining up with the family. Both of my kids ate breakfast at the same time as the family from the beginning of solids. Lunch came when they moved to a four hour schedule. I didn't move Brayden to eat with us at dinner until he started eating what we ate at dinner, which was after he was a year old. If you are having a meal and the baby is up but doesn't need to eat, I have them eat finger foods so they are with you at the table. I have Kaitlyn eat finger foods at lunch because she eats her solids and then Brayden and I eat our food.

I think the reference to solids aligning with the family's mealtime is more of what the natural progression is over time. Babywise says that will happen, but they also say to do solids at 7-11-3, so I don't think they mean to eat dinner at 3 or to move the baby's dinner to 6. We eat dinner around 5-5:30, but Kaitlyn eats dinner at 7:00. She will move up once she is older and feeds herself for the most part. This would also coincide with the time that she starts eating what we eat instead of baby food. At lunch I feed her then she eats finger foods while Brayden and I eat.

A good thing about having the baby be there for meals is that they can see early on what proper table manners are and also so they are part of the social environment of meals.

If your baby/toddler is old enough to eat what you eat, have them eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with you. I have a friend whose family eats dinner around 6:00-6:30. That was (and often is) too late for her son to wait, so she gives him a small snack after the afternoon nap to get him to wait for dinner. Family mealtime is a great way to spend time together and visit about the day. Make an effort to have it be the norm from a young age.

Here is what your schedule might look like with your toddler eating with the family. In this, I assume you have two naps a day and that you are on a 4 hour schedule:
  • 7:00--wake up and eat breakfast with the family
  • 9:30--morning nap
  • 11:30--wake up and have lunch with family
  • 2:00--afternoon nap
  • 4:00--wake up and have some milk and/or small snack to tide over until dinner
  • 5:30/6:00--dinner with family, remainder of milk from snack time
  • 7:30/8:00--last of milk needed for day, ready for bed, go to bed
Adjust the schedule according to when you actually wake up, nap, eat meals, and go to bed. You might have to adjust exactly when you eat meals (maybe you don't eat lunch or dinner that early) to create a schedule the whole family can be together for. Hopefully this can give you an idea of how to make it work for you.
Reader Questions:
  • Salina said...
    Ok, Val, I know I have 2 more months before I want to start weaning, and that the 3rd bfeeding time (now at 3 pm) will be the first to go, and I want James to start eating at our dinner time (around 6). So for now, what should I do? How/when is Kaitlyn eating dinner now? I remember you said you're giving her solids at her last feeding instead. But could I just bfeed at 3 then offer a snack of finger foods instead of a full meal, then feed him solids at our dinner time (6), then breast feed him again at 7? Would he even eat that close together?
    February 17, 2008 8:02 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    This is how our evening goes right now: 3:30--breastfeed then some finger foods5:30ish--the family eats dinner. She will sometimes eat finger foods, but is usually not that hungry then. She will play with toys and just sit with us.7:00--nurse and dinner I would just offer him some finger foods at 6. I would try to make the finger foods something that isn't filling and maybe even takes him a long time to eat. A couple of things I am thinking of are those Gerber rice puffs (it takes somewhere between 75-85 of them to equal 25 calories) or the biter biscuits (those take Kaitlyn a long time to eat the whole thing). Once he is weaned from nursing, you will be able to do milk and a snack around the 3ish feeding, then do full dinner at 6 with the family.
    February 17, 2008 2:26 PM

Solids: What do they eat at each meal?

Solids: What do they eat at each meal?
It can be  hard to keep track of what your baby ate at the last meal. If you want a varied diet, you want some sort of system and routine to follow. Here is what I do:
  • Breakfast: Cereal and fruit
  • Lunch: Green veggie and fruit
  • Dinner: Yellow veggie, cereal, and fruit
I have heard that nutritionists recommend you try to eat all colors of the rainbow in your fruits and veggies. That is why I assigned a color of veggie to each meal. I try to get the other colors in with the fruits each day.
Reader Questions:

Feeding Solids on a Babywise Schedule

What your daily schedule should be for feeding solid foods. 

Many moms start baby on solids while baby is still eating six times a day. Others are at 5 or 4 and wonder when to do the solids. Here is what our schedule has looked like (after all foods were introduced).

Solid Food Feeding Schedule for a Babywise Baby

Schedule With Six Feedings a Day
You might only encounter this scenario if you start solids before 6 months. Here is our schedule:

    When to feed baby solids during each day.
  • 7:30 AM--Wake up, Nurse, Solids (Cereal and fruit)
  • 10:30 AM--Wake up, Nurse
  • 1:30 PM--Wake up, Nurse, Solids (Veggie and fruit)
  • 4:30 PM--Wake up, Nurse
  • 7:00 PM--Nurse (we didn't do a nap between these two at this point), Solids (Veggie, fruit, cereal)
  • 9:30--Dreamfeed (feeding the baby but you don't work to wake them and you put them right back down immediately).
Schedule With Five Feedings a DayThis schedule looks the same as the six a day without the dreamfeed:
  • 7:30 AM--Wake up, Nurse, Solids (Cereal and fruit)
  • 10:30 AM--Wake up, Nurse
  • 1:30 PM--Wake up, Nurse, Solids (Veggie and fruit)
  • 4:30 PM--Wake up, Nurse
  • 7:00 PM--Nurse (we didn't do a nap between these two at this point), Solids (Veggie, fruit, cereal)
Schedule with Four Feedings a Day
At this point you are on a 4 hour schedule and meals start to line up with the family mealtimes.
  • 7:30 AM--Wake up, Nurse, Solids (Cereal and fruit)
  • 11:30 AM--Wake up, Nurse, Solids (Veggie and fruit)
  • 3:30 PM--Wake up, Nurse (she will often eat finger foods while I fix dinner)
  • 6:30-7:00--Wake up*, Nurse, Solids (Veggie, fruit, and cereal) *your baby may or may not be taking a nap between these two feedings, mine did for a while but that is the next napped dropped.
I am sure you noticed that I don't feed solids at 3:30 like the book says. I do this for two reasons. One is that it is more convenient for me because we often run errands after that nursing (and on those days she doesn't nap) and it is easier to get away quickly when we don't have solids to deal with. If I am not running errands, I am busy fixing dinner. Two is that I just feel better stuffing her full before a long night of no food. I did this with both kids.
This is just what I did. Take my ideas and run with it. Do what works for you. Let your schedule serve you.
Added 12/2009
I wanted to add what I do with McKenna since it is different. This is our solids schedule:
8:00 AM: wake up, nurse, solids (cereal and fruit)
12:15 PM: wake up, nurse, solids (green veggie and fruit)
4:30 PM: wake up, nurse, solids (yellow veggie and fruit)
7:45 PM: wake up, nurse
McKenna has a later schedule in the day. For some reason, my mind cannot feed solids at 3:30 PM, but 4:30 is okay :) Also, since her last feeding is so late in the day, I don't want to add solids to the mix. I want bedtime to come as early as possible!
Reader Questions:
  • heather said...
    Do you suggest doing solids at bedtime for my 6 month old?
    April 30, 2008 8:49 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    That is your call. I fed both of mine solids at the feeding right before bed. Some people find doing that makes their child's blood sugar spike and not sleep well. I think most that do it find no problems, though.
    May 1, 2008 9:25 PM
  • Emily said...
    My 6 month daughter usually eats 1/4 cup of rice cereal in the morning. This morning she only had a couple of bites. Should I offer rice cereal at her next feeding or just have it a missed solid meal?Also I was looking at your solid schedule and had a question. Before she's on green vegetables can I do rice cereal in morning, carrots and sweet potatoes for lunch, then rice cereal and squash for dinner or should I just do one veggie at lunch?Thanks!
    July 28, 2008 6:28 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Emily, I would not offer rice at the next meal if she usually does not eat it. You can do more than one yellow veggie at lunch if you want/need to. Some babies like more variety in their diet (like my kaitlyn). Some will happily just eat more of one food, though (like my Brayden). Just be sure she has been introduced to each veggie one at a time.
    July 28, 2008 11:39 AM
  • Reds said...
    I was reviewing your sample schedules (specifically for 6 months), can you explain why you gave solids at the last feeding (7pm) instead of at dinnertime (5pm)?I am having an issue with my son at bedtime, he needs to stay up after eating b/c of acid reflux. We usually feed him at 530 (nurse + solids), then again at 730, but put down to bed at 8:15. He is started to really cry again, I think he may be overtired. do you suggest having the last feeding a little earlier or switching the solids to the last feeding so it will help keep the liquid down? thanks so much.
    August 12, 2008 7:59 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Reds, There are a couple of reasons. One is that with Brayden, he really needed that meal to be later to make it through the night. He has a really fast metabolism. I think Kaitlyn could have done it earlier and still slept fine, but we often left to do errands after the feed around 4:30ish (I can't remember off the top of my head what time that was at that age). To feed Kaitlyn solids took FOREVER at first, so it was easier for us to leave quickly if she ate later.You might try one or the other or both and see what works. I can't see one or the other being any better.
    August 13, 2008 8:25 PM

Solids: When Will a Baby Master Eating From the Spoon?

When will a baby get good at eating form a spoon.

This post is in reference to using a spoon when you are first starting solids, somewhere around 4-6 months. Babywise says it takes three days to master using a spoon. Brayden had it mastered the moment it hit his tongue. He was obsessed with food and had studied us eating. Kaitlyn took longer. It took her until she had been eating three times a day for three days before she finally started to improve her spoon eating skills, so that was at least a week and a half of eating from a spoon total. That was just improvement, not mastering. She took some time there.

So once again, as far as a spoon goes, it really depends on the child. I found that how good Kaitlyn was with a spoon greatly depended on how hungry she was. Breakfast was not her cleanest time because I had a lot more milk in the morning so she wasn't that hungry. At dinner she seemed to be starving and inhaled both the food without problem or mess. As in all things, it will come.

Other Posts on Solids:

Starting Babywise Late

How to start Baby Wise late

Note 2013--I have a more detailed post on starting Babywise Late here.

You can always start Babywise, no matter what the age of your child. You can start as a 8 week old, 8 month old, or 2 year old. I started with Brayden at 9 weeks. Here is some advice for starting late.
  • Read the tips for starting late found in Babywise.
  • Read the CIO Bootcamp post on this blog 
  • With Brayden, I first started the eat, play, sleep, eat, play, sleep, etc. routine and also on getting him accustomed to eating every 2.5-3 for about a week before I dove into CIO. That is just what I did. You can start it all at once if you want to.
  • Expect your baby to be behind what the book says he should be doing at certain ages. He will catch up though. He won't be behind forever. Brayden was a couple of months behind for a couple of months, then by six months he was pretty much right on.
  • If you are starting with CIO, I would start at bedtime. The child is the sleepiest and it should be the shortest CIO session (though I am sure some child out there is going to prove me wrong!).
  • I would start the feeding schedule in the morning and go from there. Eat, play, sleep. Follow the schedule.
  • Know that Babywise babies who start at birth do vary in the timeline, so yours can and will, too.
  • You might want to keep a log on intervals of waketime and naps and such so you can more easily see a pattern when you need to fix problems.
  • You will run into difficulties. Address them as they come. Do it according to your personality. I like to face one thing at a time, so I address one issue at a time.
  • If you have a much older baby or a toddler, read the books that lead up to your age as well as the age you are at. They all have schedule suggestions and structure suggestions.
Good luck! Be prepared for some crying and some difficulty, but also be prepared for wonderful results. I love Babywise. The payoffs are more than worth the difficulties you face in the beginning.
Reader Questions:
  • Mom2Cohen said... son is 12 weeks old and has yet to sleep through the night. I have just read BW and I am ready to start. My question I just jump in and start at the next feeding or is it best to start in the morning, night, etc? Any other tips or advice for someone like me who is starting late? Thanks so much!
    December 27, 2007 4:51 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    It would depend on what you are are starting. If you are going to start full-on with CIO and everything, I would start CIO at bedtime. That is the sleepiest time of day, so I think it will be the most successful CIO time.For feedings, I would start at the beginning of a new day. Good luck! I will do a post on starting late; I started at 9 weeks with Brayden, so I have been there.
    December 27, 2007 4:56 PM
  • Mom2Cohen said...
    WOW! BW worked great! So here is what we did for our first night...8:30 - layed him down 9:15 - he went to sleep 9:50 - he woke up 10:30 - he went to sleep (This was the hardest period we had all night) 3:15 - he woke up/I fed him (since this was our first night CIO and he is used to eating several times at night I went ahead and allowed one feeding)3:45 - layed him down 4:30 - he went to sleep (he didn't cry for this entire time...he just layed there and looked around) 7:30 - he woke up/ I fed him. Overall, I would say that yes it was very difficult to hear him cry. However, DH was able to "listen" via monitor while I occupied myself doing other things which helped me out a lot! This morning we layed him down at 9:00 and he cooed in his crib until 9:30 when he fell asleep. That is where we are at so far...I will update more later! Thanks for all your help! I will be checking in frequently as I think this is a great resource!
    December 28, 2007 8:46 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    That is wonderful! I am so glad it all went well. Hang on to that memory. You are likely to have some hard days intermingled with the good ones. It does get better!When I started Brayden on BW, he was waking twice a night. Within a week, once a night was his norm. I did nothing to try to prevent him from waking at night, I just worked on the day stuff and the night fixed itself. I look forward to hearing about your progress!
    December 28, 2007 9:14 AM
  • mommynik said...
    I'm back! :) I started doing CIO back in February. We have had a roller coaster and I have a hard time letting my 5 month old cry b/c of small house/hardwood floors/etc. I came to my mom's house to "work it out" and it is just like at home after several nights.My problem isn't getting him to go to sleep, it is the night waking. If I let him cry, he is so sleep deprived already, that he squirms and wiggles to a place in his crib and needs rescued. Do you rescue or just let him cry? He could easily cry for 1 to 2 hours in the middle of the night. If I let him go, it seems to be never ending and it still happens every night.What is the deal? Everyone acts like it is a quick association. It isn't.I am letting CIO for naps, etc. but nothing is stopping his night waking. Do you have some suggestions? (and I'm still nursing 1 -2 times a night b/c BF & not sure a 13 lb baby can reasonably go all night.)
    April 6, 2008 9:31 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    It isn't a fast process, and the older the baby, the longer it will take to work through it. If he gets himself into a strange position in the crib, I would definitely get him. Also, until daytime is worked out, I wouldn't worry about the night. You and he both need good sleep at night to make it through the CIO in the day. He should make it better at night once he figures the self-soothing out. I would just get him, feed him, then put him back to bed. It will take time, but it will improve. Good luck! See these posts:Progress is a Spiral: When Does it Get Better?:
    April 6, 2008 10:44 PM
  • Zasha said...
    Hi there,I just found your blog by chance! I live in Tokyo, Japan and have a 3+ week old baby boy (born on May 2nd). As you can imagine, my life has turned topsy turvy since his arrival. It's the happiest time in my life and yet the hardest.I was encouraged to demand feed and that is what I ha done since day 1. However, it is not working out for me. I am exhausted and it's taking a toll on me physically and emotionally.My baby will not go to sleep (day or night) on his own. I have to nurse him to sleep and then put him in his moses basket. Sometimes he sleeps for 2 hours, sometimes only 30 minutes. It's all very unpredictable. My friend suggested Babywise and is sending me the book. I am looking forward to reading it and practicing it although I must say that I am quite the skeptic! (perhaps my exhaustion talking here) Here are some questions which I hope you don't mind answering:
    1) If I were to start at 4 weeks-6 weeks old, is it too late? Can I undo what I had already done? (nursing him to sleep, putting him in a sling to sleep?)
    2) I have started to loosely try BabyWise by doing the feed/play/sleep routine. I feed him for at least 30 minutes, then we play with him. He often gets tired after about 30 minutes (starts yawning, rubbing eyes, fussing). Then, I put him in his moses basket and he starts crying bloody murder (all the while with his eyes shut)! My husband and I have have left our baby to cry it out several times (for his day sleep) but oh, boy, can he cry! Our baby can cry for 1.5 hours! We tried to soothe him..pat him etc but nothing worked. The cry would just escalate until we get tired of hearing him and pick him up. The moment he gets picked up, he's quiet. Do you think he's crying so much because he's too young to understand? What am I doing wrong? I read that other babies cry for 15 minutes or 30 minutes and mine goes on endlessly. What should I do? Should I wait until he's at least 6 weeks old? I am at my wits end...Thank you so much for your blog..I look forward on starting our baby on BabyWise and hope that it works for us!
    May 25, 2008 9:37 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Zasha, I am glad you found the site! Hopefully it can be helpful to you. 1-4-6 weeks definitely isn't too late. I started at 9 with my son, and he really is a model BW kid (now 3 years old). You can undo--though you should expect some difficulty. The later you start, the harder it is; I started at birth with my daughter (13 months) and it was much easier with her. 2-I think he is crying because it is something new and not what he is used to. Since he stops crying as soon as you get him, I would say nothing is wrong with him other than he doesn't like the new arrangement. Be sure to check out the CIO bootcamp linked in this post, also see this post:Should You Do CIO?
    Also, many many babies cry for much longer than 15 or 20 minutes. So, your son isn't strange in the least. Whenever you start, just be sure you are ready to do it all the way. If you don't stick it out, it will make the training even harder, so it is better to start when you are really committed. Be sure to look through the blog index...there are so many posts :) Good luck and don't hesitate to ask questions when they come up!
    Take Note of the Index:
    May 26, 2008 10:17 AM
  • Skvaril's said...
    Superb site! Thank you for such a valuable source. I have a 5 month old and I definitely fall into the "starting late" category. Before finding Babywise, we had consistently had our baby on a wake eat sleep cycle schedule and had implemented CIO resulting in our baby going down for naps and sleep fairly easily. However, at the 4 month mark, naps became short and night wakings for feeds became more frequent. This is when I sought an answer and found Babywise and your site. My question is: What problem do I address first? He is on a 3 hour schedule, gets the dreamfeed but still consistently wakes 2 times (1 and 4) a night for feeding. I've tried CIO for these periods but after over 2 hours, fed him and he ate a full meal. Seems from all the postings on this site that he is getting plenty of calories during the day since we still haven't managed to get past the 3 hour routine. I started the introduction of solids but that is a work in progress. His waketime during the day is roughly 90 to 105 minutes. However, his naps have begun getting shorter (45 minutes). I tried the suggestions of shortening wake time (this whole past month has been trial and error...mostly error) but his nap times are still not increasing. I read a post which you indicated your son hated to sleep. I'm wondering if I just have one of those. When he wakes early from naps he's fussy so I know he's not well rested. Nowadays it seems the only thing that I have been able to control is morning waketime and bedtime (he's a 6:30 - 6:30 baby). I try to devote each day to establishing the Babywise routine but after seeing no results after a month of trying to implement the Babywise books and this site and not seeing any results, I'm just discouraged. Any advice would be welcome!
    July 15, 2008 9:50 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Skvarils, Thanks for the thanks! I would suggest this post:Getting a Consistent Schedule:
    I always suggest getting the day down first because the night will usually follow. There are some babies out there who, despite their mother's best efforts, sleep only 45 minutes. It is rare, but does seem to happen. I would work on it, but try to not stress about it. Remember it takes at least 8 weeks for things to seem to click, and possibly longer when you start late. I would give it some more time for both of you to figure it out. See my post from today; the work is hard, but so well worth it! :)
    July 17, 2008 9:05 PM
  • Katie said...
    Hi, My daughter is 10 weeks old and I've been doing babywise for about a week now. Prior to babywise, I was parenting on demand, and Lily was fussy a lot of the day and up erratically at night. Now, she puts herself to sleep (happily) and sleeps from 9PM to 6 AM, eats, and goes back down until 9 AM. She is happy when she wakes up! My problem is with naps! She simply does not want to take as many naps as recommended but I am confused on how to schedule in a three hour cycle that does not involve a nap every three hours (or if I skip a nap, wait for 6 hours, which is too long!) For naps she wants to take, she happily goes down with not a peep but if she doesn't want to nap, she screams the entire time she's in her room (max 45 minutes is my limit). To me it seems that is she has learned to go down herself, and is sleeping through the night, that I have accomplished the goal of the book and can adjust the rest of the schedule accordingly. Have you had experience with this? If so, how?Thanks in advance for your advice!!
    September 11, 2008 3:44 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    I would caution against not getting enough sleep. See this post:Sleep Begets Sleep : What I would do is keep a log and try to see a pattern in the times she doesn't "want" to sleep. See if it is the same time each day and what happens before these naps. 10 weeks is young enough that she needs her nap each cycle, so I would find out the reasons for her fighting certain naps. These posts can help you:Waking Early From Naps/Won't Fall Asleep For Naps: Nap Cues : BW Tips and Tricks: Keep a Log: She sounds like she is doing great, so you should definitely feel good about where you are thus far.
    September 15, 2008 3:11 PM