Around the age of 6 to 8 months, most babies are introduced to solid foods that will help meet their nutritional requirements. Starting with something as simple as a fruit puree and gradually building it up so that your child can have the same food as you do at the dining table is no easy task. You’ll have to deal with disgusted faces, frowns, spit ups and outright dislike but it’s important that you stay patient because these solid foods are essential for your baby to get all the nutrition her growing body needs.
If you’re lucky, your little one might take to the taste of these foods immediately and if you’re not, well, fret not! There is more than one way of getting your child to taste and even like new foods and textures. Here are a few:
1. Offer lots of different things
Sticking to the theme of ‘Variety is the spice of life’, you should offer several different foods to your little one to choose from. Her curiosity will be piqued and she’ll be tempted to taste, if not all, at least a few of the food choices. Around the age of 2, your child will plain right refuse certain foods so it is advised to introduce different foods and textures from the day you start weaning. By giving your little one different foods, she will also be able to get her fair share of all types of vitamins and minerals.
2. Don’t give up
Patience is key when it comes to weaning babies. If your baby refuses to eat something for the first time, try again. If your second attempt was unsuccessful too, you will have to try again and again. Your baby’s food preferences might change over the course of time, so it is quite possible that the rejected apple in the first week becomes her favourite food by the end of the month. So, to increase the chances of your baby liking a particular food, feed it often.
3. Start small
When there’s a new food in play, don’t make the entire meal out of it. Instead, give your baby small portions of it and assess how she reacts to it. If she likes it, it’s well and good. If she doesn’t, try giving the same food prepared in a different way or mixing it in with foods that you know she loves to eat.
But of course, there is also a possibility that some specific food items may give your baby allergic reactions, which is why starting small portions on an experimental basis can be beneficial. It is will give you an idea of which foods to include and exclude from your baby’s meals.
4. Don’t force your baby
If your baby clearly states her dislike towards the food you’re feeding, don’t force it upon her. You can try feeding her the same food a few days later but don't get frustrated and force feed the same. Studies show that force-feeding could result in feeding problems like picky eating in early childhood.
5. Eat different foods yourself
According to ncbi, your diet modifies the way your breast milk tastes. The study shows that the flavours from the mother’s diet transmits to the breast milk making the baby familiar with the tastes and thereby enhancing her willingness to enjoy and accept the foods with those flavours in later years. So, if you’re a breastfeeding mom, try and include all kinds of foods in your diet so that your baby is more inclined to like these foods when she tries them for the first time.
6. Allow your child to play with her food
Children explore new things by using all of their senses. Your baby might play around with food but that doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s not interested in it. It’s her way of testing the water, getting a sense of the food before eating it. So, if you see your kid making a mess, know that she’s getting familiar with the food. (Reference: DMU research)
7. When hunger strikes…
Most likely, your baby will not know how to inform you when she’s hungry. Even though crying may be generally her way of letting you know that she is uncomfortable but figuring out what’s bothering her may be tricky. Therefore, make a note of her mealtime schedules and introduce new foods and textures at times when you know she’s hungry. As a reference, it might take around 2 to 3 hours for your child to work up an appetite.
For proper growth and development of the baby, meeting the nutritional requirements is essential. After 6 months, Breast milk may not be sufficient or providing all the micronutrient requirements. Hence, your little one needs an additional bowl of nutrition such as Fortified Cereals to fill in the nutritional gap. The transition from breast milk to complementary feeding and then finally to solid foods happens over a course of few months.
Note- This blog has been reviewed by Tinystep Medical Advisory Board
All the information provided in the blog is for reference purposes only. Please do not consider this as a medical advice. Start Healthy Stay Healthy programme is for educational purposes only, in partnership with doctors. Always consult a doctor if you have any questions related to your own health or the health of your child.