As a parent, there’s enough to be thinking about without having your baby as a fussy eater thrown into the mix. Unfortunately, though, babies being fussy eaters isn’t uncommon and it’s something that a lot of parents have to adapt to.
You might be at your wits-end with your little one rejecting nearly everything that you present to them, but there are some useful tips and tricks to employ that might just help you to overcome the hurdle. Take a look at this guide for 8 tips on feeding a fussy baby:
1. Don’t force feed
When your baby rejects their food, make sure that you stop there and don’t force it. If you become forceful, this is likely to reinforce your baby’s fussy behaviour and result in them creating an association between eating and negative feelings. As frustrating as having a fussy eater baby may be, the key is to be patient and try again next time with the food they have rejected. Try to hold back any visible anger or frustration!
2. Allow baby to play with their food
It’s not uncommon for parents to advise their children not to play with food, but in the instance of a baby being a fussy eater, it might just be beneficial. Allowing your baby to play with their food allows your little one to get to know the food product being fed to them and, if they’re playing with it, they’re at least somewhat interested in it! Which is half the battle.
3. Share mealtimes with your baby
Babies love to copy the behaviour of others, particularly parents, and another good technique for promoting baby food for picky eaters is to eat your food at the same time as your baby. Your little one is likely to want to imitate you and this could be what your baby needs to stop their fussy eating.
If this doesn’t have the desired effect, another good tactic is to sit your baby at their highchair next to your table and start eating your food before presenting your baby with theirs. This often makes your little one impatient for theirs and in many cases this can make them more accepting of their food when you put it in front of them.
4. Prevent distractions
With a fussy baby, the last thing you want is for a blaring television or a toy being a stone’s throw away to distract your little one from their food. Make sure that all toys are tidied away to prevent distractions and encourage your baby to focus on their food. It’s also important to make sure not to feed baby when they are tired as this is likely to make them even more stubborn about their food.
5. Persevere in the Long Run
If your baby doesn’t like something in the first instance, it doesn’t mean that they are never going to like it. Don’t give up! Just as we are as grown-ups, babies are apprehensive to try new types of food and it can take some speculation and frequent exposure to change their tune. This is where point #2 comes in handy – allow your baby to play with the new food and they might become more accepting of it!
6. Make meals look exciting
Your baby might be turning down the food you present to them, but will they turn it down when presented on a funky plate? Or when it resembles a smiley face? The way that you present your baby’s food can have a large impact on how appealing it looks to your little one, after all, would you want to eat a heap of mush? Try to get creative and see if this helps to minimise your baby’s fussy eating.
7. Alternate between favourites and new foods
If you have a fussy eater baby who has a favourite food that they are guaranteed to eat, you can utilise this to work in your favour and help with their fussy eating. Prepare a half-and-half meal where half is made up of your baby’s favourite food and the other is made up of the new food. Give your baby a bite of their favourite and follow up with a spoonful of the new food. Keep alternating with this pattern and see how it goes. The idea is that the favourite food should help to distract away from the new food!
8. Experiment with textures
Your baby’s fussiness might actually stem from their dislike of certain textures rather than the type of food itself. Carry out a little experiment of trialling different textures to see if you can notice a pattern with your baby’s preferences. If you find that your baby is more opposed to certain textures, you know what to avoid and can encourage them to eat the food they would normally turn their nose up to by presenting them in a different texture.
There’s no go-to baby food for fussy eaters as each baby and their preferences are different, but different tactics work for different babies! These 8 tips on feeding a fussy baby are all easy to do, so make your way through the list and see if they help your fussy eater!
If you’re in the weaning stage with your little one and are struggling to find the right foods to feed your baby, NHS Inform has a useful article on weaning your baby and introducing them to solid foods!
For more tips and tricks to help you with your baby, our blog is a hub of informative advice!