Is your toddler a fussy eater? Try out these 5 useful tips from experts and other mums

Is your toddler a fussy eater? Try out these 5 useful tips from experts and other mums

If you think your baby is fussy, this guide will help you through the weaning process. Brought to you by HPB. 

Mummies, we’ve all heard some horror stories about weaning and fussy babies. At around 6 months, when your baby starts weaning and you introduce solids to your baby, the task may seem pretty daunting.

Once you’re past that stage, sometime around their first birthday, you hope to transition them to cow’s milk and a well-balanced diet.

While this isn’t always the smooth-sailing case for every mum, we’ve got good news for you!

There is a way to introduce weaning and transitioning a totally painless journey! Are you ready?

Here are some tips you will want to take note of in preparation for your baby’s weaning and transitioning process to avoid a fussy eater:

1. Start slow and steady to win the race

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Don’t stop breastfeeding or feeding your child formula milk abruptly. Rather than switching straight from milk to solids, transition your child slowly by incorporating their milk into solids like oatmeal or rice cereal.

Babies still need milk in their diets so it is a great time to introduce them to fresh milk or UHT milk.

Dr Ong Eng Keow, a paediatrician at the International Child and Adolescent Clinic in Mount Alvernia Hospital says that “milk becomes a supplement after a child passes his first birthday”(1).

The Health Promotion Board's guidelines recommend children between six months and two years of age to consume about 500-750ml of milk daily. So continue to feed your little one with milk during the weaning process.

2. Don’t give up too quickly! Try ad try again.

A study (Goh, D and Jacob, A, 2012) conducted by the National University Hospital (NUH) found that nearly 1 in 2 Singaporean parents say their child is a picky eater.

But it doesn’t mean there is cause to raise a red flag if you think your child is picky.

If they reject certain foods like vegetables the first couple of times you introduce it to them, it doesn’t mean they are picky. It just means they are not used to the flavour yet.

Dr William MacLean, who is a clinical professor at the Department of Pediatrics, Ohio State University, explains that a child needs to try a new food 10-15 times before they can truly decide whether they like it or not.

So don’t give up! Just keep trying, trying, trying… (If Dory didn’t give up swimming, you mustn't stop trying either!)

3. It might not be the food, it might be its texture

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If you have already started the weaning process with pureed food and your little one is starting to show signs of pickiness, it isn’t really so much the food but its texture!

Natalia Stasenko, a pediatric dietitian says that the puree stage doesn’t actually last very long and parents should slowly be moving to more textured food (2).

Watch your baby for signs of readiness for more advanced textures like chewing movements—your baby is starting to move food around in his mouth more and he can tolerate thick purees with no problem.

Try changing up the textures of your baby’s food to see if it helps with their “pickiness”.

4. Timing matters, trust us!

Do you remember that one time you were rushing home after work? It was a long day, it was raining, your shoes were damp and you just couldn’t wait to get home to take a shower, have a hot meal and go to bed?

But a pesky salesman came up to you on your way home, interrupting you to try and sell you something new?

What horrible timing! You might have given the product a second glance if it wasn’t such awful timing!

Your baby works the same way when it comes to weaning. You don’t want to be introducing a new food when they are sleepy or grumpy.

Try doing it after they’ve had a nice, long nap or 30min before their usual milk feeding time. You’ll have a higher chance of success in getting your little one to try something new then!

5. Baby-led weaning is worth a shot

Every baby is different and their weaning process will be unique too. If trying to wean your baby using pureed food isn’t working out too well, why not try the baby-led weaning method?

Baby-led weaning is a method that encourages allowing your child to eat by himself right off the bat when you begin weaning. Babies learn to eat what they are given with this method.

They will develop a natural appreciation towards the food they are given and also learn to enjoy the food more. This is because they are allowed to handle, taste and eat the food by themselves.

With the baby-led weaning method, the chances of them turning out to be ‘picky eaters’ is highly unlikely.

Mums, put your weaning worries aside and start a painless weaning process with these tips.

References: Straitstimes, Feedingbytes

Also read: Breastfeeding mums who eat spicy food have less picky babies