7 Clever Ways To Get Your Fussy Baby To Eat
Whether they’re distracted, food seems unappetizing, or they’re just not hungry, fussy babies can make for frustrated parents. Since babies can’t verbalize what they want (or cook for themselves), all you can do is present healthy options creatively and at regular intervals. It’s up to baby to eat. Try these seven clever strategies—
1. Channel Your Inner Artist
Babies are naturally “neophobic,” meaning they’re fearful of anything new. When your baby rejects a new food, keep in mind it might not be the flavor. Your little one could just need more time and some inspiration. When introducing a new taste or texture, consider baby’s tray your palette. Use boiled macaroni and some olives to make a smiley face, or organize soft berries and boiled vegetables into a rainbow. Despite what our moms always told us, sometimes playing with your food is OK—especially when it helps them feel comfortable with new colors and food combinations.
2. It’s Not You, It’s Eww
You might gasp a little when yogurt ends up on the floor, but encouraging baby to play will strengthen his relationship with food, making him less hesitant to try new tastes and textures. Give him a few colors and textures to play with—a dollop of vegetable purée (like Beech-Nut just sweet corn & green beans), a few blueberries, and maybe something with a kick like tiny bits of nectarine or orange. Then, let him have some fun. Don’t worry… it’s nothing you can’t wipe up quickly.
3. Jam out to “The Wheels on the Bus”
Babies are often more open to trying new genres of music than flavors of food. To help make mealtime a bit more memorable, consider jamming out with your babe to his favorite song. No radio necessary. This is where the spoon becomes the mic, you become the lead singer and baby acts as backup vocalist — taste testing the mic every once in a while, of course.
4. Mix (and Spice) It Up
You don’t eat just one thing for lunch, so don’t make baby do it either. Small, baby-safe ice cube trays make for the perfect “separator plate” solution. Provide a variety of foods—some new and some tried-and-true—then, let her pick around and taste the new foods among the ones she trusts.
Not quite ready for brand new foods? Introduce new spices to already-trusted foods. Add a pinch of cinnamon to applesauce, or nutmeg to the just butternut squash purée from Beech-Nut.
5. Play in the Haystacks
A fun way to introduce new textures is to grate baby’s favorite flavors of firm fruits and veggies onto her tray. After spoon-fed purées, long, thin strips of carrots, apples and sweet potatoes may not seem like food. Show your baby how to pile the pieces into an edible mountain and eat each sliver one by one. It’s like Jenga for baby.
6. A Casual Lunch Date
Even babies can be social eaters, so whenever you can, invite a friend over for a dining-focused playdate. Prepare a variety of finger foods and purées, including frozen purée pops, which are great for teething tots. You can make your own blend of fruitsicle or just pour a jar of Beech-Nut Naturals into a freezer-proof mold a few hours before. Not only is it fun to have company, but babies whose lips were sealed a minute ago may open up when they see a friend chowing down on lunch.
7. Special Delivery
We all know the airplane trick — our grandparents used it on our parents, our parents used it on us. But baby can see through this and keeps his mouth sealed tight. Try the same method, but refocused.
This cute construction cutlery set will have any dump-truck loving baby combing through his mashed potatoes. Who wouldn’t want to eat dinner off a literal mini ‘fork’lift?
Another presentation method: reusable food bags, like these lunchskins. The same way your baby is entertained by endless games of peek-a-boo, he’ll be excited to see what’s inside the bag. Reserve these bags for new flavors and textures so it’s like opening up something new every time you use them.
However, you use your creativity, make sure it comes in tandem with patience. The most crucial part of getting your baby to eat is to try and try again.
Have any creative ideas that we didn’t mention? Share them in the comments below!