Happy feeding: feeding your baby

View more feeding resources or download a PDF of this resource.

Responsive feeding is when a parent or caregiver responds to their child’s cues of wanting to eat and feeling full in a timely, emotionally supportive and developmentally appropriate way.

A happy feeder is comfortable with and able to enjoy food and mealtime.

Happy feeders are:

  • Able to accept new foods.
  • In tune with their body to know when they are hungry and full.
  • More active.

Providing children with mealtime structure and exposing them to a variety of foods will allow them to develop these skills and foster a healthy relationship with food for the rest of their lives.

DO NOT trick or coax your baby to eat more by playing games.

How much should I feed my baby/child?

Breast/Bottle feeding: Important to follow your baby’s cues.

  • Feed when your baby is awake, calm and showing interest to feed.
  • Let your baby determine the pace of feeding, can be fast or slow.

Solid foods: Start with homemade foods. Follow your baby’s cues.

  • Baby must be sitting in highchair facing you.
  • Let your baby play with and explore the food and spoon with their hands. This is how they learn!
  • Be patient and do not rush.
  • Prepare first foods with semi-thick consistency. Texture can then be advanced based on your child’s skill.

Raising competent feeders takes patience and consistency. Don’t give up!!

How do I know when my baby/child is full?

With any of these signs, stop feeding your baby/ child.

Breast/Bottle feeding:

  • Suck slows down.
  • Baby releases breast or bottle from their mouth.
  • Posture relaxes/falls asleep.
  • Less restless. If starts resisting feeds, will get more restless.

Feeding Solids:

  • Closes his/her mouth.
  • Slows down pace of eating.
  • Pushes food or spoon away.
  • Shakes his/her head “no”.
  • Stops swallowing.
  • Smears the food.
  • Seems uninterested in eating.

The amount of food your baby/child eats is not as important as them learning to feed and enjoy mealtimes. Keep mealtimes pleasant and have fun!

View more feeding resources or download a PDF of this resource.

Based on Ellyn Satter’s philiosophy for feeding. For additional resources, go to ellynsatterinstitute.org