According to Dr. Sakeena Samar, Pediatric Nutritionist at Santosh Hospital, Bangalore – “Babies are fussy eaters when it comes to introducing something new but they do accept food readily in the infant and the early infant stages. You have to keep introducing the food several times for the baby to accept it. If you keep on exposing the child to that food repeatedly, then after a point the child may start accepting it”.
Here are some of the ways you can make eating exciting for your child:
- Colourful foods attract children: Carrots, beetroots, green peas, etcetera not only look good but are also good for health. Try to make the food visually appealing.
- Try to eat along with your child: Children have the tendency to imitate their elders and your baby might learn how to eat by watching and copying your food habits.
- Identify your baby’s taste: The mother should try to identify what he/she likes and what he/she dislikes and prepare at least one dish that they prefer.
- Never force feed: According to Dr.Samar, do not force- feed a child. Force-feeding has to be avoided. The feeding time should not be a punishment for the child. You should never bribe the child to eat.
- Understand your baby’s requirement and do not over feed your child. As advised by Dr. Samar, “Sometimes a baby is really small and tiny at birth. It may be because the parents are constitutionally small. Obviously, their appetite level would be different from that of a healthy baby. The parents should not over-feed the child to make their baby gain weight. They should stop feeding if the baby appears to be full.”
- Gradually introduce new food items; it may take a while for your baby to acquire the taste. So it is advised to introduce new food in small quantity.
- Add texture to make a meal interesting. When your baby is teething you can introduce him to crunchy fruits.
- You can use colourful plates, glass and spoons to feed the baby. Colours attract toddlers and keep them interested.
If your baby is being fussy stop feeding him right away. Try feeding him/her again after an hour or so or try giving him something else. Do not be aggressive and adamant with your child, this only makes matters worse. Diverting attention by switching on the television will only be a temporary solution as the child will eat while being distracted and not develop an interest in eating. Making meal times exciting and being patient are the keys to deal with a fussy eater.