Wednesday, 25 March 2015

#BabiesWhoLunch together are more likely to try new foods

Holly Bell, finalist in the Great British Bake Off and author of Recipes from a Normal Mum, launches the ‘Babies Who Lunch’ campaign with Organix, the baby and toddler food brand. The campaign encourages parents to get together and share their weaning experiences.

I think it's a great idea, but I'm sure some of us who struggle to find new mum-friends will find the idea of socialising whilst eating a little bizarre. I'm yet to find friends with kids the same age but when I do it would be interesting to see them interact whilst eating.

To support families on their baby’s food journey, the ‘Babies Who Lunch’ campaign looks at the benefits of sharing experiences and getting together at mealtimes with other parents and their little ones. Both psychologists and parents say social experiences have had a positive impact on their little ones being more open to trying new foods.

With Holly Bell, who is currently weaning her third son Lawrence, and a group of her friends who are weaning their little ones, Organix has made a ‘Babies Who Lunch’ short film to show their experiences of weaning together, you can find the video here.

Top tips shared at lunch:

1. Better together - it’s great for babies to be sociable and eat together, and for parents to share experiences and ideas with each other. Eating with your little one allows baby to copy how you eat and seeing other babies eating makes them curious and interested in what they are enjoying.
2. Trust your instincts - every baby is different and your experience will be your own, you’ll know what’s right for your baby.
3. Try lots of different tastes and textures – prepare and share food in different ways. It can take between 10 and 15 times before a baby accepts a new taste or flavour, so don’t be afraid to try, try and try again!
4. Play games and get messy - encourage little ones to lick, mash, squash and squeeze the food so they get used to different shapes, textures and tastes – playing with food is fun!
5. Let baby have some control – try giving them a spoon, or some soft finger foods that they can pick up or start to dip into their puree.

Anna Rosier, Managing Director at Organix, says, “We love helping little ones grow their love of good food, and weaning is a great time to start your little ones off on the path to healthy, no junk food habits. Meal times are all about being sociable and sharing good food, and weaning together with other parents is the perfect opportunity to share ideas and experiences and try lots of new foods.”

According to the Organix survey:

· 75% believe that eating together with their baby makes a difference to their interest in food.

· 91% say their baby loves to watch them eating and enjoys the time together.

· 81% say they regularly try to sit down and eat together as a family.

Holly Bell says, “We’ve found support and encouragement through meeting and eating with other mums and their little ones. Spending a day together over lunch, we shared advice and tips with each other, and our babies were trying new foods together in a way they just would not do at home.

“I love it when we eat as a family, it’s a real shared experience and we make sure Lawrence is part of mealtimes by pulling his high chair up to the table, so we can enjoy food together, talk, laugh and have fun with him.”

Social Weaning - Psychologist Dr Angharad Rudkin explains why it’s good for weaning to be a shared and social experience.

Psychologist Dr Angharad Rudkin says, “Food is a strong social glue, and eating together as a family or in the company of friends is strongly associated with healthier eating and an adventurous attitude towards food. Food can be fun and eating together and sharing creates a positive experience from a young age.”

It’s good for little ones to eat with other little ones:

- Eating together is one of the most important social skills we teach children – weaning is primarily about introducing a variety of foods but learning to sit and eat with others is also important.

- Children learn by watching others – it’s a good idea to create lots of opportunities for learning and imitating other people.

- Peer influence - watching peers will make it more likely that your child will try new food or behave in a different way - you will be surprised by what they will try out when they would not at home.

- Eating together is great fun - and babies can learn eating and social skills from one another.

It’s good to sit down to eat with your little one, and to eat as a family, and try food together:

- It shows your baby that they’re important and that eating and mealtimes are important.

- As your baby eats they learn about a whole new world of sensory and social experiences and they’ll be more relaxed with mum or dad by their side and so more likely to try new foods.

- If you have a bit of a wriggler it will be even more beneficial to sit with them, chat and have a little fun while they eat.

It’s good to wean together and share experiences with other parents:

- Talking, chatting, laughing and trying new foods in a social environment turns weaning into a really positive experience for parents and makes it an exciting and fun time for little ones too.

- Being a parent can be hard work at times, just as children learn from other children parents can learn from each other too.

- Talking about your experiences and sharing tips is great for encouragement, it can give you more confidence and give you new ideas to try.

- You may be surprised to find your little one is prepared to try things with others that they wouldn’t try with you!

Disclamer: the above information was provided by Organix.

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