What If Your Child Refuses To Eat Food
Its very common for babies to avoid solid food. They may not like the texture or havent developed the skills to push the food into their throat. It is very important not to force the baby to eat. Make sure you feed her plenty of milk.
Encourage your baby to touch and play with the food. It will get them used to the texture and shape of the food. Allow them to interact with the food. The more they do, the more comfortable they get with the food and the closer they are to eating it. Give them time to get acclimatized to the feel of a spoon. Babies will fling food everywhere, it doesnt mean they dislike the food, It just means they are messy.
When the baby is at least tolerating the food on their hands show them how to take it into their mouth and taste it. Repeat several times. Once they eat from their hands, offer a spoon. Give them time, as eating, chewing, and swallowing are skills they need to learn. It does not come naturally to babies.
The physical coordination required to get the food into the mouth is a challenge for babies. The natural reaction is to push the food out with his tongue. So give your baby time to adjust.
Feeding Your Baby: From 12 Months
From 12 months, your child will be eating 3 meals a day containing a variety of different foods, including:
- a minimum of 4 servings a day of starchy food, such as potatoes, bread and rice
- a minimum of 4 servings a day of fruit and vegetables
- a minimum of 350ml milk or 2 servings of dairy products
- a minimum of 1 serving a day of protein from animal sources or 2 from vegetable sources
Your child may also need 2 healthy snacks in between meals.
Go for things like:
- sticks of cheese
- toast, pitta or chapatti fingers
- unsalted and unsweetened rice or corn cakes
The World Health Organization recommends that all babies are breastfed for up to 2 years or longer.
You can keep breastfeeding for as long as it suits you both, but your child will need less breast milk to make room for more foods.
Once your child is 12 months old, infant formula is not needed and toddler milks, growing-up milks and goodnight milks are also unnecessary.
Your baby can now drink whole cows’ milk. Choose full-fat dairy products, as children under 2 years old need the vitamins and extra energy found in them.
From 2 years old, if they’re a good eater and growing well, they can have semi-skimmed milk.
From 5 years old, 1% fat and skimmed milk is OK.
You can give your child unsweetened calcium-fortified milk alternatives, such as soya, oat or almond drinks, from the age of 1 as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
In Brief: Feeding Your Baby Solid Foods
Before 6 months, breastmilk alone meets all your babys energy and nutrition needs.
Start to introduce soft foods at 6 months when your baby needs more energy and nutrients than your milk alone can provide.
At 6 months, start giving your baby just two to three spoonfuls of soft food, such as porridge, mashed fruits or vegetables, twice a day.
Start feeding both breastfed and non-breastfed babies solid foods at 6 months. Waiting too long can put your baby at risk.
Up to 6 months old
From the first hour of life, through to 6 months old, your baby can receive all of the nutrition she needs to grow and develop from your milk. She doesnt need anything else no water, tea, juice, porridge or any other foods or fluids during this period.
Myth: Babies need solid food sooner than 6 months old
When you breastfeed your baby frequently, starting foods earlier than 6 months is not necessary and can even be harmful.
Introducing foods or fluids other than breastmilk to your baby before she is 6 months old can increase her risk of illnesses, such as diarrhoea, which can make her thin and weak, and even be life-threatening. Your baby may also breastfeed less often, so your supply of milk, her most vital food, may decrease.
A mothers milk is the safest and healthiest food for the first 6 months of life for all children everywhere. It is a constant, safe source of essential nutrition, wherever you and your baby live in the world.
Myth: Boys need more than breastmilk
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Do Babies Drink Less Breast Milk After Starting Solids
For the first few months of trying solids, most babies do not drink less breast milk.
At first, the solids are mostly for fun and to introduce infants to different flavors and textures rather than to provide a lot of nutrition and calories. Babies will continue to rely on breast milk or formula for continued nutrition for a while until they are eating a variety of solid foods in one sitting.
Continue to allow your infant to self-regulate their hunger and drink/eat what they need to nourish themselves. Follow their cues!
Which Foods Should I Avoid
Kids are at higher risk of developing food allergies if any close family members have allergies, food allergies, or allergy-related conditions, like eczema or asthma. Talk to your doctor about any family history of food allergies.
In some kids, their risk for an allergy to peanuts may be related to when they start eating peanut products. Talk to your doctor about how and when to introduce these foods to your child.
Possible signs of food allergy or allergic reactions include:
For more severe allergic reactions, like hives or breathing difficulty, get medical attention right away. If your child has any type of reaction to a food, don’t offer that food again until you talk with your doctor.
Also, do not give honey until after a baby’s first birthday. It can contain spores that are harmless to adults, but can cause botulism in babies. And don’t give regular cow’s milk until your baby is older than 12 months. It doesn’t have the nutrition that infants need.
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Tips For Successful Weaning
Certain practices can ease the weaning process. Here are a few tips:
Certain practices can help make weaning more successful, such as including your baby at family meals, offering savory foods before sweet ones and allowing your baby to make a mess.
Although weaning should be fun and engaging, there are a few risks to be aware of.
How Often And At What Times Should I Feed Baby Solids
There’s no “perfect” time of day to feed your baby it’s whenever works for you. If you’re breastfeeding, you might offer solids when your milk supply is at its lowest . On the other hand, babies who wake up bright-eyed and eager might be happy to sample solids for breakfast.
You’ll quickly learn when your baby is interested in eating and when she isn’t, which she’ll show you by opening her mouth wide and willingly taking bites versus fussily turning her head away. Follow the cues and don’t force feedings you can always try again later.
Start with one meal a day, then move up to two for the next month or so. As your baby gets older and approaches toddlerhood, you can work up to three solid meals a day with a snack or two in between.
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Sample Baby Feeding Schedule For 4
This schedule assumes that your 4- to 6-month-old is taking three naps and you’re introducing solid foods by spoon-feeding purées.
If your family is following a baby-led weaning approach, solids would not be offered until after the 6-month mark, when your child is likely more capable of self-feeding.
- 7:00 a.m.: Wake and nurse or bottle
- 7:45 a.m.: Breakfast
- 8:45 a.m. 10:45 a.m.: Nap
- 10:45 a.m.: Wake and nurse or bottle
- 12:00 p.m.: Nurse or bottle
- 12:30 p.m. 2:30 p.m.: Nap
- 2:30 p.m.: Nurse or bottle
- 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Nap
- 5:00 p.m.: Nurse or bottle
- 5:45 PM: Dinner
- 6:45 PM: Nurse or bottle
- 7:00 PM: Bed
Foods To Avoid During The First Year
Risk for allergic reactionnuts and nut products, egg whites, and shellfish.
Choking Riskcelery, grapes, candy, carrots , corn, raisins, cherry tomatoes, nuts, olives, popcorn, peanut butter, sausage, hotdogs, and gum.
Additional foods to avoidHoney , cows milk , rare meat, cheese , unpasteurized juice, bean sprouts, and alfalfa sprouts.
Table 1. Calendar for feeding your baby for the first year of life.*
|Pureed, single fruits such as bananas, peaches, pears, or apples.||Cooked, canned, or soft fresh fruits, mashed or chopped.||Sliced soft fruit for finger feeding.|
|Meat, dairy, and other protein foods||Pureed single meats such as chicken, pork, or beef. Pureed tofu, and beans.||Same foods, pureed or mashed beans. Cottage cheese, soft pasteurized cheese, and yogurt may also be introduced.||Same foods, bite-sized pieces for finger feeding.|
|Egg and fish||Egg, and boneless fish.|
|*SPECIAL NOTE: Some foods may cause choking. Because of this, avoid raw carrots, nuts, seeds, raisins, grapes, popcorn and pieces of hot dogs during babys first year.|
Table 2. Infant serving sizes based on age.*
Combo foods : 1/8-1/4 cup.
Protein foods: 1/8-1/4 cup.
|*It is important to not feel bound to these serving size guidelines, as they are only estimates. Infants may naturally consume more or less than these amounts.|
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Tips For Managing Mealtime
Create a routine. A baby needs focus to eat, so start a routine where you wash their hands, soothe them, and then sit them down to eat. And maintain the calmness by turning off the TV and any loud music. “This will help your baby become conscious of eating and learn to recognize when he’s full,” says Marilyn Tanner, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
Understand that starting solids takes time. It will take time for your baby to feel comfortable with the new sensations that go along with eatingthe feel of a spoon in their mouth and the tastes and textures of different foods. “I reassure parents that you might get grimaces and horrible faces,” says Laura Jana, M.D., co-author of Food Fights. “My daughter used to shriek when I put a spoonful of food in her mouth. But she wanted more.”
Prepare for messes. Your baby will likely fling food everywhere, especially if you’re practicing baby-led weaning. This is common and doesn’t necessarily indicate a dislike. “Getting food into his mouth takes coordination and practice for the baby,” Tanner says.
How Do I Know When Baby Has Had Enough
If your baby is eating and then starts to turn her head away or just refuses to open her mouth, shes done! Babies may also start to fuss if theyve had enough. Learning this new skill takes time and babies can become tired fairly quickly into the process, so dont expect them to always eat very much or to last very long at the table. This stage is about exploration!
Baby with preloaded spoon of yogurt
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What Are Signs My Baby Is Ready For Solid Food
To decide if your baby is ready for the big step into the world of solid foods, look for the following clues and then consult your doctor:
- Your baby can hold her head up well when propped to sit. Even strained baby foods should not be offered until then. Chunkier foods should wait until a baby can sit well alone, usually not until 7 months.
- The tongue thrust reflex has disappeared. Try this test: Place a tiny bit of baby-appropriate food thinned with breast milk or formula in your baby’s mouth from the tip of a baby spoon or your finger. If the food comes right back out again with that tiny tongue, and continues to after several tries, the thrust is still present and baby isn’t ready for spoon-feeding.
- Your baby reaches for and otherwise shows an interest in table foods. If she’s grabbing the fork out of your hand or watching intently and excitedly with every bite you take, that may be a sign that she’s hungry for more grown-up fare.
- Your baby is able to make back-and-forth and up-and-down movements with the tongue. How can you tell? Just watch carefully.
- Your little one is able to open wide. That way, food can be taken from a spoon.
How To Let Baby Self Feed Purees
I love offering purees on a preloaded spoon. To do this, the parent, puts some of the food on the spoon and hands it to baby. Then baby can bring the food to their mouth all by themselves. This gives you some of the same advantages of baby led weaning, but can be more comfortable for many parents.
Remember, you can mix what you offer, going back and forth between purees and blw finger foods, so you can offer the same food two different ways to let baby explore. The main goal is to avoid forcing baby to take more bites than they want to, which can sometimes happen with purees.
Baby eating peanut butter toast stick
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Start At The Right Time
It is best to wait until six months before introducing solid foods for your baby. In some cases, introducing it at an early age can be harmful. Starting solid foods at an early age for babies can cause choking because their gag reflex and digestive tract isnt well developed. Before introducing solid foods you need to know that a babys solid foods must be rich in iron to reduce the risk of iron deficiency anemia.
Tips For Getting Started
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For How Long Should I Keep Breastfeeding Or Bottle Feeding
Breastfeeding or formula feeding should continue until your baby is 12 months old. After that, water and cow’s milk should be your baby’s main drinks. Some babies can have an intollerance or allergy to cow’s milk, so they may need an alternative, such as soy. Follow your doctor’s or allergy specialist’s advice and read food labels carefully.
Breastfeeding can continue for as long as you and your baby are happy to keep going, but infant formula is not needed after 12 months.
Read more about balancing solids with milk feeds.
What Guidelines Should I Follow When Feeding My Baby
A few simple guidelines you should follow when you are feeding your baby in the first year can include:
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