Before six months: from birth, feeding gives the mother the possibility to teach the child pleasure. Whether breastfed or bottle-fed, he feels intense tension when hungry. Eating calms this tension and makes it disappear. However, feeding alone does not make feeding the “prime pleasure,” linked as it is to tender caresses, words and their music and to the exchange between the mother and the child which can accompany each feeding moment. This prime pleasure is essential for the child’s psycho-emotional development. It occurs between the baby and the person who feeds him.

 

From 6 months: the baby recognizes that he is not “one” with his mother. She is no longer an extension of himself but the object of his love. By feeding him, she contributes to the feeling he has of inner satisfaction which stems from outside of him. The rest of the world starts taking shape and a door opens towards socialization. The baby can appreciate his mother outwith food related situations. This is also what can cause him to refocus on her, afraid of the unknown and to show a shyness which he had not shown previously.

 

In practice: Move forward with his diet as your baby’s appetite progresses. Listen to him, notice what he likes, identify his needs. Try to overcome standardization and guilt-ridden messages such as “he should already be eating small pieces”, “she should no longer be breast feeding,” “he/she shouldn’t refuse the bottle” … Trust in your baby, in yourself and in your role as a parent. The relationship is formed day to day that and develops with baby, in this intimacy that is yours and your baby’s and that no one else can really share.