Seeking your baby’s cooperation to eat isn’t as hard as you think. If you have a baby who doesn’t seem to eat almost every food you serve is a signal that either your baby isn’t ready yet, doesn’t like your approach, dislikes food texture or how you prepared their food.
I have been a child nutrition expert for over ten years and have taught women in my Facebook group: Moms Are Caring® on how they can woo their babies to eat without struggling.
Actually, I have received some sad news from very few moms who stressed they weren’t successful in trying to make their babies eat and I have been able to solve their problems the best way I could. When they came for consultation, I asked them some questions regarding what they served their babies and how they approached them. This enabled me to provide the right solutions for them.
I’m a mom of two growing kids. The eldest child–a boy became very selective with food right from infancy. As a new mom then, it was stressful. My son rejected almost all the food each time I tried to feed him. It wasn’t funny at all as you know what’s like after spending the best of your time to prepare a special meal for your baby. That was exactly my challenge. I decided to figure out if there was something I was not doing right so I could adjust.
It took time to find what he wanted and I must confess my research was quite exhausting and annoying at the same time. At a point, I became frustrated and started to force-feed him but it was worse than I could imagine. Force-feeding a baby will leave you more frustrated and unfulfilled even if you successfully empty a bowl of food in your baby.
Are you tired of struggling over and over again trying to make your baby eat? Have you thought to yourself “maybe, there is something I’m not doing right” Can I surprise you? I have three of the best strategies you will learn to help ease the burden you have been facing from time to time.
Here we go:
1. Check Your Approach: Imagine you meeting someone for the first time and unfortunately the way you approach them isn’t impressive. What do you think will be on the person’s mind? The same thing happens when you intend to feed your baby. Instead of wearing a frown on your face or yelling at your baby to eat, try to calm down and control yourself. It’s not easy to maintain calmness while your baby keeps rejecting food all the time. But it sure does make a huge difference when you consistently maintain calmness. I can’t guarantee you how long it will take to get a positive result but patience is the key.
When it’s time to feed your baby, give your baby a pretty smile. Make yourself welcoming or act as if you are eating the food with great pleasure. This will build up baby’s interest to eat as soon as possible. If baby still defiles this approach, keep trying again. It may get tough in the beginning but with time baby will adjust sooner than you expect.
2. Know That Babies Are Different: Babies varies in terms of feeding. To some moms, it gets pretty easy to have their baby’s attention to eat, whilst some others find it difficult to. Like I said earlier in this post, try to be calm no matter what. Worrying too much may lead you to do what you didn’t intend to do and that will worsen everything. Also, don’t let other moms’ experiences on how their babies eat food with ease bother you or make you feel guilty. Instead ask them how were they able to do it and how long did it take them. This will give you hope. So, you are not going to quit trying. You keep trying instead.
3. Make Baby’s Food Appealing: In order to get your baby to love eating, make food appealing by adding colour and variety. You don’t want baby to reject food if appeared dull at their sight. So, let’s say if you are preparing rice add some vegetables like carrot, peas… go for brightly coloured plate to dish their meals with and your baby will be enticed to eat.
4. Don’t Start Too Soon: World Health Organisation recommend that babies are to be exclusively breastfed for six months before starting solids. Although, some moms claimed that their babies stopped breastfeeding below six months or earlier and they had no choice than to offer formula or other complementary food. Should you fall in this category sooner than you expect, don’t start too soon yet. Find out if your baby is on a nursing strike or is having any underlying issues regarding not accepting breastfeeding anymore.
On the other hand, if you have done everything possible like consulting a pediatrician or have tried pumping breast milk to bottle feed but baby still don’t accept it, you can switch to formula. Don’t offer food your baby will find difficult to swallow until they are around eight to nine months old.
5. Allow Self-Feeding: Have you considered watching out for baby’s keen interest to feed themselves? If yes, have you thought of allowing them or are you worried that they will mess up the whole place? Please do let them feed themselves. Whether they will get their cloth or the table messed up, let them choose the way they prefer to eat. It shows that they value independence and will appreciate if you grant them access to self-feeding. Most importantly, make sure you cut food into smaller sizes or mash them for easy digestion.
6. Eat together: Do you feel because the food you served your little one is only meant for babies and adults like you are not permitted to eat a portion of it? Never mind, it’s part of your sacrifice just to make your baby cooperate and eat. Sometimes, when all you do is to get your baby to eat without you following suit makes it look boring to them. I don’t know why they choose to act this way but I assume they have a reason for their action. It’s funny but come to think of it babies are intelligent.
Babies can perceive things and decide to accept or decline at the slightest offer. Moreover, they know their need more than you do which is the reason why they want you to eat with them. The key point is that, You don’t necessarily have to feed your baby separately. According to care.com, including your baby in family mealtimes makes them more excited about eating.
7. Try Not To Worry: This is one of the worst mistakes many moms make. It’s normal to worry over your baby not accepting food but if you keep worrying too much it does no good to you. When you worry your baby sense it hence, making them to decline from eating. I understand how stressful it is when baby is not showing interest.
Your ultimate goal as a mom is to nurture a healthy baby. But try not to worry again. Relax and stay calm so you don’t confuse your baby. Always smile and play with your baby amidst feeding. Even if baby takes only two to three spoonful and they are satisfied suspend feeding immediately. Remember, force-feeding is not an option. It’s punishment.
8. Keep Trying Again: Getting your baby’s final cooperation to eat may not be all that easy. No matter how you have been trying to no avail keep trying. Nothing good works like magic. It may take few days to weeks or even months but I assure you your baby will adjust soon.
So, don’t give up easily. It could be that baby is not ready for solid at this time or they are yet to figure out their preferred food texture. However way it goes, let your strong belief be that very soon the struggles will be over. While still trying, don’t forget to offer supplement that will provide all the nutrients your baby requires. Before then, visit a paediatrician for recommendations.