Fussy Pants - Tips for dealing with a fussy eater

The fact that a seemingly harmless piece of sweet potato can cause such 'offence' to your little one has plagued parents for years – please don't worry, the wonderful world of babies will always be full of its fair share of fussy eaters!  It is quite normal for your baby to go through a fussy period – don’t feel that it is a reflection of your parenting skills.

The key is to be patient and remind yourself that they are too young to understand what they are doing.  Here are a few tips to help you deal with Mr or Mrs Fussy Pants!

A full tank!  Like us, babies won't want to eat if they are full so it is a handy thing to learn the signs of when your baby has had enough to eat such as turning their head away, refusing to open their mouth, crying and pushing the bowl or spoon away. 

When baby is starting solids and learning to eat most of their nourishment will still be coming from breast milk or formula.  You can start to offer a little water with meals, but after is best so your baby doesn't get too full.  Don’t offer soft drinks, cordials or fruit juice as these provide sugar and not much nutritional value.

Peace and quiet: Creating a calm environment at meal time isn't always possible (it is called 'witching time' for a reason!) but the more relaxed the environment, the more at ease your fussy eater is likely to be, thereby hopefully more likely to make less of a fuss over meals. Don’t let meal times drag on for too long, babies usually won’t want to eat for more than 20 minutes in one go.

Small is good: Little portions with a variety of tastes, textures and colours give fussy eaters choice, hopefully they can find something which meets their standards!

Don't force it: As hard as it can be to remind yourself of this as your baby refuses everything you place in front of them, meal times should be enjoyable.  It is important to not force your baby to eat.  Your baby has an inbuilt appetite for food and knows when they have had enough. By forcing them to finish what is on their plate, you teach them to ignore their own fullness signals which may lead to overeating when they are older.  So whether they are full or just being fussy, take a deep breath and try again tomorrow!

Smile!: babies read their parents faces. If you have a frown or grumpy face as you are offering food to your baby, they will think there is something wrong.  Remember - there’s no need to stress about your baby's eating habits. Babies will actually pick up your anxiety. If on the odd occasion they don’t seem to eat much, it’s not a big deal. If they’re gaining weight and seem well, then they’re probably getting enough food.