Practical Tips to Help Prevent Fussy Eating
Can I Stop Fussy Eating from Happening?
Because your baby is so open to trying new foods in their first year, there are some theories that you can help to prevent fussy eaters from developing by having a positive, relaxed and adventurous attitude to food from day one.
Improve Your Own Diet
Babies born to mothers who had a varied, healthy diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding are often more likely to enjoy those same healthy foods when they start eating themselves.
Introducing Finger Foods
The World Health Organization recommendations are to introduce your baby to solid foods at the age of six months. You may decide to do Baby Led Weaning (when a baby feeds himself using a variety of finger foods). Or you may want to do more traditional weaning where you offer your baby a mixture of puree (that you spoon feed) and finger foods (that he feeds himself).
To help make sure your baby will accept a wide variety of foods, try to move on quickly from feeding your baby smooth pureed foods to mashed foods. By around seven and a half months your baby should be eating mashed foods. Always offer as many different textures of food as you can. Don't worry, even if your baby doesn't have any teeth yet, he should still be able to easily eat mashed foods. Great healthy finger foods to try are banana, avocado, cooked carrots and sweet potatoes.
See our Guide To Introducing Solids for more information on weaning.
If your baby has control over the food she eats off her plate and how she eats it, this should help prevent any future fussiness. Don't worry if your child doesn't want to use a spoon or fork to feed herself - picking peas up between your thumb and finger and dipping your hands in your yogurt is all part of the fun of eating when you are a baby.
Never force-feed your baby; this will only make things worse. It is perfectly normal for babies to go through stages when it seems like they barely eat anything and seem to have no appetite. Before you know it they will be eating you out of house and home again. Relax in the knowledge that he or she will eat as much as their body needs.
Your baby is going to get messy, but this is all part of the fun. Messiness is a great way for your baby to learn about how foods taste, smell and feel. Once your baby is covered in their food, resist the urge to run in with a packet of wet wipes to clean them up straight away. In their first year of life, babies are eager to please you, so if you make a fuss about mess, they will be less likely to want to experiment and make a mess in future. It may make them less willing to try new things as they grow. So welcome the mess - just think of all the brilliant photo opportunities for his or her wedding day!