5 Tips for Dealing with a Picky Eater

5 Tips for Dealing with a Picky EaterWhen your baby starts solids, she will discover a whole new world of flavor. For some, this experience is exhilarating and your baby may wonder why you’ve withheld such delicacies for so long. Other babies are more satisfied with the fantastic familiar flavor of your breast milk and may be less inclined to try new foods. If you have a picky baby on your hands, try these 5 tips for dealing with a picky eater.

If you find that your baby is a picky eater, don’t despair. A picky eater in infancy does not mean your child will remain that way her entire childhood. Babies reject food for a variety of reasons including the unfamiliar flavor, texture and temperature. They may also eat more during growth spurts and less in-between. Or when your little one is teething or fighting off a cold, she’s less inclined to gobble up what you’re serving. Figuring out your baby’s likes and dislikes will take some experimentation with all of these variables.

Tip #1: Flavor

Offering your baby a range of foods – from sweet, to savory, and everything in between – is important to understanding her pallet. When you’re just starting out, wait a 2-4 days between serving new foods. This will not only ensure your baby does not have an allergy to certain foods, but it will also help you really determine if she likes the food. She may not know herself until trying it a few times. If your baby doesn’t like a food, don’t banish it from her diet forever. Try again in a few weeks. As she discovers new flavors, her pallet will evolve and she may come around to once-rejected foods. Don’t shy away from adding spices to your baby’s cuisine. She’s used to the evolving flavor of your breast milk and may enjoy that in her baby food as well.

Tip #2: Blend

Serving straight green beans or kale may be off-putting to your baby. If you discover that is the case, start by blending it with breast milk and baby cereal to balance the flavor. Or you can mix more pungent veggies with a favorite fruit. Slowly cut back on the additives until the veggies it he only thing left. This is a form of pallet training that may help your baby learn to like certain foods.

Tip #3: Texture

Even when you puree your baby’s food, the texture will vary somewhat. Perhaps it’s the creamy avocado that your baby prefers over grainer apples. Eventually your baby will need to learn to appreciate the natural textures of food, but if it is hindering its likeability, try serving everything at her desired texture. Then slowly ease up on the processing to allow her to get a sense of the food’s true texture.

Tip #4: Temperature

Also experiment with different temperatures. Your baby is used to warm breast milk so she may actually prefer lukewarm or warm food. Other babies may like chilled foods, especially while teething. Before you decide your baby truly doesn’t enjoy a certain food, offer it at several different temperatures to gage her reaction.

Tip #5: Routine

By having set meal times and snack times, you can help ensure your baby is ready to eat when it’s time to eat. Allowing your baby to snack constantly may mean she’s not hungry for meals when they are being served. While you never want your baby to be ravenously hungry, you do want her to be hungry enough to want to try new foods. Also, if your baby understands that not eating a meal will lead to more desirable snacky foods later, she may hold out for a better option.

Remember, set a good example for your baby and don’t give in or give up every time meals or snacks are rejected. Learning to eat is a process of experimentation for both you and your baby. Be patient and enjoy the ride!