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Fussy Eaters

Does this ring a bell in your home? And do you think that little fussy eater will ever improve?
The answer is yes – it is in your hands to change or set the rules concerning the eating habits of your baby.

These habits are set by you from the very beginning of the introduction of solids – around 5/6 months, depending whether you have a hungry baby who is looking for an addition to his diet, or one that is quite happy to have a milk diet for a bit longer!

What I'm saying here is that you are the boss of the eating habits of your child – not the child and if these habits are good ones and you follow the rules, you'll never have a fussy eater.

A fussy eater is one who is allowed to become a fussy eater by the mum who, when the baby spits out food that is offered, will go off and return to the high chair with option 2 and on it goes. The baby will never develop a taste for a wide variety of food – both in taste and texture and you have set in place the recipe for a fussy eater. Just a reminder here – from day one when your baby is put into his high chair, please harness him in firmly and if this procedure is carried out every time he is put into his high chair, he will never fall out and quickly he will get used to being harnessed in. Safety first!

Back to the subject of fussy eaters!

When the baby starts to spit out his food, distract him with a little song – or tell him what you are going to do after lunch – you might go for a walk – check the letter box, look for butterflies in the garden – anything that comes into your head – but you must deliver!

Offer the food again – praising him when that spoonful has gone. Maybe he too can have a spoon but of course there will be a mess – it doesn't matter unless the hight chair is place on your brand new carpet! Always have a square of lino to stand the high chair on ir better still all this feeding from a high chair could take place in the kitchen.

When offering solids for the first time, it's good to say 'yum – yum' m- accompanied by lip smacking and associated noises!! When he is able to easily manage finger food – let him start to feed himself. I would put finger food on the tray of a high chair from around 8/9 months – soft pieces at first and once they are being managed by the baby – introduce pieces that will require more chewing.

Lunch time is a good time to start – very small sandwiches with marmite, a scraping of peanut butter – no jam, as your darling child will get used to the sweetness and not want to eat anything else. Soft pear, small pieces of orange, kiwifruit, avacado, small pieces of cheese – go and buy a good baby and toddler recipe book. The more variety your baby is introduced to the less like he is to become a fussy eater.

Meals should take no longer that 20 – 30 mns.

Absolutely no longer.

Getting back to offering option after option when the baby will not eat what is offered.

Take that food away, offer a drink of water – all vbabies should be introduced to water. It's so good for them, and in this hot weather they can drink from a sippy cup – messy but it's the beginning of learning to take liquids other than from a bottle.

I knew a little girl who only ate chicken and carrots! How boring, but ofter mothers take the easy way out. Start from the beginning and offer lots of tastes and textures – don”t puree the food for too long – maybe a month from when they first start tasting solids - and then mash the potato masher. The baby may not like the consistency at first, but keep at it – lots of praise and lots of smiles. I do not encourage mothers to use baby food from a can. If that option becomes set in place, the baby will not eat fresh vegetables prepared by you – and then you have another problem.

There is nothingt in the world like fresh vegetable and aren't we lucky to live in New Zealand where there is an abundance of fresh vegetables. You can even grow you own – carrots, silver-beet – pumpkin and there is always seems to be an abundance of avocado.

When first introducing food as an add-on to your baby's diet, it should always be in very small quntities and always AFTER the breast feed or bottle. The milk is the most important part of a baby's diet until around 9 months and that is when your baby will be introduced to three meals a day and the solid food becomes the priority.

The end – you, as a mother, can enable a small child to become a fussy eater by pandering to his demands. Only you can change his habits – remove the food when he refuses to eat. Keep doing that but offer no 'in-betweens. Don't give in. He will eat eventually because he is hungry and give him lots of praise when he does!


Don't ever get cross with your small child over his eating habits – there is only one winner and it's not you. Remove the child from his high chair and start all over again at the next meal time.

My next blog deals with older children and bad eating habits!

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