Steps to Preventing a Picky Eater: How to Get Your Baby to Eat Different Foods
"If at first you don't succeed, try and try again." This should be your mantra when attempting solid foods with your baby. Once you get the okay from your pediatrician to start different foods, you are ready to begin this exciting and daunting endeavor. First and foremost, ensure that mealtime takes place in a social and pleasant environment. Meals are so much more than just eating. When eating with the entire family, baby will have the opportunity to interact, learn mealtime rituals (e.g. saying the blessing, discussing the day, etc.), and spend quality time with her loved ones.
When starting solid foods with your baby, do not be alarmed if baby is presented with a food that she doesn't like. An infant's sense of taste is very sensitive. Many foods need to be presented 10-12 times before a baby will accept them. This is also the case for different textures. Using a toothbrush on your baby's gums not only promotes good hygiene, but gives your baby that sensory input that is needed in order to be a more adventurous eater.
Be sure to try those new foods before your baby reaches the age of two and is more interested in exploring her environment, rather than sitting for mealtimes. Remember, your toddler's appetite will decrease, as they are not growing quite as fast as they did during the infant stage. So don't worry if your child doesn't finish everything on her plate and don't pressure your child too much into trying new foods. A recent study, Picky Eating, Pressuring Feeding, and Growth in Toddlers, discusses the detrimental effect that pressuring your child to eat can have on family mealtimes. CNN highlighted this study and explored it further in Don't Pressure Your Picky Eater - It Doesn't Work.
For more tips on feeding and oral stimulation, see the Our First Year activity card for the Banana Teether - so many morsels for you to "digest." Purchase you backpack today!