A baby who eats without complaining is every mother’s dream. Unfortunately, feeding your fussy eaters can be a major challenge. From being obsessed with one flavor and refusing to eat anything else to not eating enough food, your child can give you a hard time cooking a meal for them. It may seem impossible to feed them any healthy food, but rest assured, it isn’t! It is rather simple, oif you follow these simple tips to tackle your child’s fussy eating habit:
Fussy eating isn’t a problem as much as a bad habit. Every child may show different signs of fussy behavior. In many cases, it can be because of not getting enough attention from their mothers. Babies who feel neglected by their parents may act up during meal times to get some extra attention. One way to deal with this habit is to play with your child during the day so that they don’t seek attention at meal times.
Feeling neglected is not the only reason for your child’s fussy eating behavior. Studies have concluded that there is no pattern or specific cause that can be attributed to fussy eating. Some babies may push away food simply because they do not like the taste. Adapting to tastes they dislike is something that will happen much later in adult life. Others may have a health issue that makes eating difficult. Identifying the reason for your child’s fussy eating habit is the first step towards trying to solve this issue.
Most mothers get worried when their baby isn’t eating well and try to force-feed the infant so that they get the nutrition they need. However, instead of bringing the situation under control, this could worsen things. Do not push food in your baby’s mouth. If your baby pushes the spoon away, stop the feed and play with your child instead. You can try to feed them again a little later.
When your baby starts eating solid foods, their palate is getting developed. It is normal for them to act choosy about what they eat. Do not be afraid of trying new flavors. There are many ways you can experiment with flavors and make healthy meals for fussy eaters. Try steaming and pureeing different fruits and vegetables to introduce new flavor profiles. Avoid mixing foods until you are sure your baby is not allergic to them.
Health issues are a common reason why babies may not eat their food. In the case of infants below the age of 12 months, teething is a common issue that causes fussy behavior. As the baby’s teeth emerge from the gums, eating solid foods can be irritating and painful. If you have a fussy eater, check your baby’s mouth and throat for signs of infection. Infections can make your baby feel restless and irritated leading to a fussy eating behavior.
Babies take time to adapt to new flavors. When introducing any new food, give your baby time to get used to it before you introduce something else. This is also important from a health perspective. Introducing one new food at a time helps in identifying potential allergic reactions.
In the first few months, solid foods should be seen as a compliment and not a replacement for breastfeeding. For this reason, solid foods in the first year of a baby’s life are also termed as complementary foods. If your baby is fussing with food, you should check your diet as well.
You may not realize it but when you are stressed out, the stress is transferred to your baby as well. In most cases, a picky eater will grow out of this phase and begin enjoying various foods. So, there is no need to get worried. If you can relax during meal times, your baby will relax and be more receptive to food as well.
Many mothers turn to ultimatums when their baby does not eat. It is natural to say you can’t get up until you have finished your food. However, this can make your baby even more estranged towards food. Be firm with your child, but do not be too harsh on them.
Like adults, most babies don’t like the food they are forced to have. When your baby is hungry, give them 2-3 food items to choose from. Babies who choose their own food are less likely to be fussy, than the ones who are forced to eat something.
Feeding your baby may seem like a chore and it is tempting to say ‘I’ll eat later after my baby has finished’. However, eating with your baby may encourage them to eat too.
Leaving your baby with a bowl of food at irregular hours may not be an effective way to feed your baby. In most cases, your baby will ignore the food and get easily distracted. To tackle a fussy eater, try setting a routine for mealtimes. As your child gets accustomed to the routine, they will be more acceptable to solid foods.
Your baby has a tiny stomach that is not bigger than their fist. Thus, it is important to recognize that portion sizes will differ for you and your toddler. Fussy eaters often push away food because their stomach cannot digest so much food at one time. Hence, feed your baby a little at a time and ensure that all their meals are nutritious.