Are you a parent struggling to get your picky toddler to eat healthy? Fear not, you’re not alone! It’s perfectly normal for babies to become fussy eaters, especially as they grow and go through developmental changes.
Understanding the reasons why babies may become fussy eaters
Babies can be selective or fussy eaters, making it difficult for parents to ensure they are getting the nutritious food they need. Teething, developmental changes, and introduction to new foods are common factors that can contribute to this behaviour. Illness can also affect taste and appetite.
Your little munchkin may have been gobbling up everything in sight earlier, then suddenly become the pickiest of eaters. As frustrating as this can be, it’s important to understand some of the common reasons why this may be happening.
Common reasons for fussy eating
For example, teething – imagine having molars push through your gums all day, wouldn’t you be a bit irritable too? Illness can also play a role, resulting in a loss of appetite or aversion to certain foods. As babies develop, their taste buds change, and they may prefer different flavours or textures than what they liked before. And let’s not forget, the introduction of new foods can be a daunting experience for anyone, let alone a tiny human. It can take up to 10 tries for a baby to accept a new food, so don’t give up hope! As always, trust your instincts as a parent, and remember that your baby’s behaviour around food is just one small part of their overall development
So how can you introduce new foods to your little one?
Your little one is at an age where they are starting to eat solid foods and you want to introduce new foods to their diet. Introducing new foods to your little one’s diet can be challenging, as they may reject certain foods or be hesitant to try new things. It is important to make sure that your little one is getting a balanced diet and is getting all the nutrients they need.
One strategy is repeated exposure – offering the same food in small amounts several times. This can help them get used to the taste and texture and eventually learn to like it. Gradual introduction is also key – start with small amounts of a new food mixed with familiar foods, and slowly increase the amount over time.
But let’s be real – mealtimes with a fussy eater can be stressful for both parents and babies. Here are some tips to make them more enjoyable:
- Start small: Introduce new foods slowly and in small quantities. Don’t overwhelm your little one with too many new foods at once.
- Keep it positive – avoid using negative language or pressuring your child to eat. Offer praise for trying new foods, even if they don’t eat much.
- Make it fun – try creating cute, colourful meal presentations or involving your child in food preparation. Kids love feeling involved and in control.
- Be creative: Try new baby food recipes and mix up different types of fruits and vegetables, like bottle gourd, carrots, rice, quinoa, apples, etc. For example, you can add cooked dal to mashed sweet potatoes or puree spinach with butternut squash.
- Offer choices – let your child have some say in what they eat by offering healthy options and letting them pick what they want.
- Let them explore: Give your little one a chance to explore different textures and tastes like Mother Nurture’s baby food that comes in categories that cater to different growth stages. Let them touch and play with their food and don’t get too hung up on making a mess.
- Role model: Your little one is more likely to try new foods if they see you eating them too. Make sure to eat a variety of foods in front of your little one and talk about how yummy they are.
- Keep trying: Don’t get discouraged if your little one rejects a new food. Research shows that it can take up to 10 tries for a child to accept a new food. Keep offering it and don’t force them to eat it.
- Be patient – Introducing new foods to your little one can be a long and sometimes frustrating process, but be patient and stick with it. Your child’s taste buds are still developing and they will eventually learn to love a variety of foods. it can take up to 10-15 tries for a child to accept a new food. Don’t give up and keep offering it in small amounts.
Lastly, you can try the ready-to-eat baby food recipes by Mother Nurture since they are made with Indian tastes in mind. For example, one of their popular recipes is called The Staple (Dal Khichdi) and it contains smooth dal, rice, turmeric, cumin, Himalayan pink salt and desi ghee.
Remember, every child is different and what works for one may not work for another. Trust your instincts as a parent and keep trying! Eventually, your little one will learn to love healthy foods. And in the meantime, don’t forget to have a sense of humour – sometimes laughter is the best medicine (or appetite stimulant).