HOW TO HANDLE FUSSY EATING
We all try to do the best for our little ones; we provide them with nutritious foods to promote growth and development, that we’ve taken time and effort to prepare (even though we’re most likely sleep deprived!), but something we just can’t avoid is a little fussy eating – even with foods we know they like!
If this resonates with you, don’t worry – it’s completely normal and it will get better. Thankfully, there are some tips and hacks we can try to make the eating process more enjoyable for your baby or toddler (and for you too!), to help them to get through the challenging fussy eating stage.
The toy trick! – Whether it’s a doll, or a bear – bring your little one’s favourite toy to the table to pretend to feed them as well, offering spoons to each of them. Trust me, they’ll soon get jealous and want it for themselves!
Try something new – Try to ensure there is at least one new food on the plate at each meal time, as well as one to two more familiar and ‘liked’ foods that are easy to recognise. Consider the environment too, if they look uncomfortable in their high chair and are big enough, try using a booster seat as an alternative.
Short handed cutlery – Making the eating process as easy as possible for your little one is important to reduce any distress – especially if they’re finding it difficult to feed themselves. Using a fork can be easier at first to navigate, but when moving on to a spoon try to pre-load the spoon so it’s easier for them to scoop up initially. Check out Beaba’s Set 6 training spoons and 4 training forks.
Repeating exposures – It’s important to ensure little ones have frequent eating practice of different foods once they’re ready for weaning. At 12 months of age, babies can eat chopped up adult food (with no added sugar/salt) of different tastes and textures, which is why it’s best to keep exposing your little one to foods that they may not initially love over and over, especially with more bitter tastes such as green vegetables.
Open cups & thicker fluids – From six months of age, your baby can drink from an open cup (providing they are able to hold it themselves) – to make it easier for them, thicker fluids such as yoghurt mixed with milk can be offered initially in the cup before you move onto water. Baby bottles shouldn’t be used over the age of 12 months as it can affect their oral development. Beaba have a convenient Silicone Meal Set including a cup which is perfect for them to learn with.
Responsive feeding – Try to offer three regular meals a day from around the age of seven month. You decide when and what your little one eats, but they decide how much they want. Their appetite will vary day to day so try to offer more if they’re still hungry, but equally respect when they’re full. By creating a routine, this can help to normalise the experience for them so it becomes easier. Be clear about setting boundaries such as where they eat, and as they get older, when they can leave the dinner table etc. Check out Beaba’s recipes page for inspirational ideas for all mealtime occasions.
I hope you find these tips useful, and if you do have any more, please do share over on my Instagram @mummynutrition so we can spread the word to other parents in need!
By Nichola Ludlam-Raine, Registered Dietitian @mummynutrition