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I am Worried my Baby Won’t Eat Solid Food

Top Tips for Encouraging your Baby to Eat Solid Food

 

Don’t start too soon

 

Doctors and nutrition experts recommend introducing solid food at six months although some parents are tempted to start weaning earlier. If your baby is starting to wake in the night and seems hungrier you can try supplementing breastfeeding with a formula milk designed for the hungrier baby – this milk digests more slowly and satisfies babies for long and may be helpful for the period when your baby is starting to get hungrier but is not quite ready to move on to solid food.

 

 

Keep first foods plain and simple

 

When your baby refuses to try a new food, puree or finger food it can be tempting to move on to the next taste or texture in attempt to find what will appeal to your little one. Babies are naturally programmed to be ‘neophobic’ which means they are wary of new things including taste and texture. Your best tactic is to start slowly with plain food that is quite boring in the eyes of an adult; save the exotic combinations for later and stick to a little baby rice mixed with your baby’s usual milk until they are used to experiencing the texture of solid food.

 

Give a sample

 

Allow your baby to try just a tiny sample on their tongue to give them a chance to slowly process the new sensations of texture and taste, build up slowly a little more at a time as they accept.

 

 

Don’t stress – keep mealtimes fun

 

Babies pick up on tension, and if you are stressed about whether your baby will eat of not this will be a hindrance to a conducive atmosphere for trying new things. It can be super-frustrating when your little one repeatedly refuses to try anything or spits it out immediately, but this is normal.  Keep it relaxed; mealtimes should be fun and a time when you can really engage with your baby; smiles and songs can go a long way to keep it light-hearted and positive, however be wary of too much distraction as the focus is the food – don’t forget the old favourite flying spoon trick with airplane noises with the spoon landing in your baby’s mouth. 

 

Introduce self-feeding

 

From 7-8 months old babies’ can start to sample soft finger foods which they can feel themselves – in fact some babies are weaned this way known as ‘baby-led weaning’; some babies prefer to be in charge of their own food and can be allowed to feed themselves however it is very important to follow advice on what foods can be safely given and always keep an eye on how much they are putting into their mouths in case of choking.

 

 

Don’t give in to tantrums and drama

 

Weaning can set the stage for tantrums and melt-downs – you are trying to persevere with enticing your baby to just sample one mouthful and they are refusing with all their might. Once you are sure that there is no other reason for the tantrum aside from resisting attempts to get them to eat it is probably best to ignore the drama and keeping the mood light continue to introduce food as your baby may well calm down. If things get critical and your baby is showing no signs of calming down, then it is best to call time on mealtime and try again the next day.

Remember, there is no rush, babies will start to eat in their own time. Keep trying and keep consistent and eventually they will start to eat. If you have any concerns speak to your healthcare professional but otherwise just carry on at your and your baby’s own pace – and relax.