What is fussy eating?
Fussy eating happens when usually your kid starts rejecting food or seems choosy about what is being fed.
When does a baby turn a fussy eater?
This can be a regular habit or can be at intervals. The baby may have an immature digestive system, which will cure itself with time, or might be teething, have an infection,food allergy, or just may not be ready for solid foods yet.
What symptoms should I look out for?
Your baby may push away the spoon or turn her head from it. She might close her mouth,as you try feeding her, spit out food, or become cranky or tired at mealtime. They might also start throwing food when they are playful.
Suggestions to avoid fussy eating stage
- Don’t delay introducing lumpy foods. Keep changing frequently between purees and lumpy food.
- Remember that your child will never voluntarily starve themselves. Hunger and fullness can be very well judged by kids.
- Do not make a fuss of whether your child is eating or not. Remain calm. All we need to do is to concentrate on making mealtimes enjoyable family events. If an occurrence is enjoyable, your child will want to repeat it
- Be genuine about the amount of effort you put into making your child’s meals. Don’t feel annoyed when they refuse to eat.
- Don’t threaten and shout at them. This might make it even more difficult
- Do not use desserts as bribes.
How do I adjust to my child’s eating habit:?
Part of the problem is solved when parents avoid to force feed a child like a adult.
- If your kid is in the age of 2 months to 2 years, we need to understand that their stomach size would be small. If they have too much of liquid intake say fruit juice or milk, that might be filling them up and say no to a solid when offered.
- The meal size should be that is something that should suffice a child- size. If they are hungrier they would ask for more. Ideal plan would be three meals spaced at an equal interval and a snack in between.
- If the family is used to eating late at nights. This would not suit the child. They might get tired and start getting cranky. So always feed the last meal earlier.
- Weekly assessment is better than daily.
- Let the kid decide when they have had enough, this would help them understand their body and make them realize when to stop and when to ask for more.
How to tame my fussy eater?
- Do not force feed the child. If the child turns the head away and rejects food by closing mouth , it’s a clear sign that they are full, even if it is very little. Trust your kid that they know how much to eat. Despite the above signs, if you still try to force feed it might lead to tension and discomfort.
- Experiment with food textures. Even babies have food preferences. Some enjoy wet gravy foods, while the others prefer finger food. Some might want o continue with liquids, while the others might want to graze over half a dozen meal. Offer healthy options and he’ll develop a taste for them. But do not trick them with junk to eat the meal.
- Change the speed. Some babies are fast eaters some are slow. So try changing the pace to see if there is a difference.
- Do not distract the child. Keep away toys, books and turn off TV. Main focus should only be on eating.
- It’s tempting to let a picky eater take as long as they want to eat. Keep meal length reasonable. It should not be more than 30 minutes. You can tell them you should eat before your hands become dry.
- Let the baby touch and feel the food that is being offered. There is nothing wrong in exploring.
- Follow your baby’s timeline. Most babies begin eating solid foods between 4 and 6 months, but some may start a little earlier, others later. As with crawling, walking, potty-training, and just about every other infant milestone, there’s no perfect time .No baby is unique. So let them take their own time.
- Encourage self-feeding. By about 9 months, many babies are interested in trying to feed themselves. Although your picky eater is likely to make a mess waving around the mealtime spoon, letting him take control is important to a child’s growth and development. Let them participate, which makes it enjoyable for them.
- It’s a natural feeling for babies to slow down on their feeds. This is usually at the end of year one babies’ growth tends to slow. So does their calorie need. Be patient; growth spurts are on the way.
- Keep trying, gently. Some babies may need to try a food eight, 10, even 15 times before they enjoy it, so be patient and continue to revisit a rejected food over time, time as long as there are no allergies.
- React passionately to a picky eater and even a 1-year-old will understand her power over you. Realize that you want your baby to eat for her own well-being, not to please you — and that baby’s rejection of a food is not a rejection of you. Don’t let on that you’re frustrated or angry.
- Even if it’s our job to feed the baby, it’s their choice to choose what to eat and when. As long as the child is active and has a healthy weight gain, we needn’t worry.
- Make meal time educative. Teach them where food comes from.
- Eating together is a good practice. Make sure at least one of you eats with the child.
Toddler recipes for fussy eaters:
- Baked sweet potato wheels
- Dry fruit powdered balls
- Melon balls
- Shaped cheese slice
- Popcorn gobi mildly spiced
- Mildly spiced ragi or soya chakli
- Carrot kheer
- Multigrain balls
- Rice cakes topped with ghee and sugar
- Rice crepes with veggie purees
- French fries shallow fried
- Bite sized jam buns
- Mini quesadilla with veggies
- Dhal rice balls
- Curd rice cakes
- Soups of all veggies
I did read through a couple of books to learn about child nutrition.
The gentle eating book by Sarah Ockwell Smith
Eat, delete Junior by Pooja Makhija
These give us a better understanding of our child’s food habits and nutritional needs.