You’re not sure exactly why, but your little one’s meal time is not going as smoothly as you would like it to be. Whether your baby is rejecting certain food, or refusing to feed at a certain time in a day, it’s common for babies to refuse food from time to time.
The first few weeks of starting solid foods is often a series of hit and miss for most parents and babies, so try not to worry too much. That said, if your baby is refusing to eat all types of food altogether over a prolonged period of time, it’s time to get professional advice from your paediatrician as soon as possible.
In general situations, there are a few common reasons why your baby could be rejecting solid foods. See if any of these sounds familiar to you and observe if your baby’s appetite improve after you make the changes:
1. Your baby is not hungry, or too hungry
While these are two completely opposite situations, they tend to bring you the same outcome — a fussy baby who is refusing to eat solids. Babies who just get started with solids need breast milk to complement their diet, but how much milk you feed your baby and when you feed them can all affect their appetite for solid foods.
For instance, if you offer your baby solids right after breastfeeding or bottle-feeding them, they might still be full from the milk. So after you feed your baby milk, try to give them some time to develop an appetite for solids, 30 to 60 minutes is generally a good gap.
On the other hand, try to make sure your baby is not too hungry when you offer them solid foods, as the hunger might cause them to be too impatient and fussy to try new foods.
2. Your baby is too tired to eat
The right timing matters too when it comes to introducing solids to your baby. If you offer your baby solids when they are feeling tired, they are likely to be disinterested or become fussy. So it’s a good idea to feed them solids after their nap or when they are feeling alert and happy.
Also, try to keep your baby’s mealtime within 20 minutes, as long mealtimes might make your baby feel bored and impatient.
3. Your baby doesn’t like the texture or the taste of the food
Just like adults, babies have their own preference for food texture. Some babies prefer soft finger foods, while some prefer purees, so try to offer your baby a variety of food with different textures and observe your baby’s liking for them.
In terms of taste, babies generally prefer sweet foods, so it may take longer for them to get used to foods with bitter or sour taste, such as certain vegetables and fruits. However, it’s important for your baby to have a well-balanced diet with a variety of food, so try not to just offer them what they like. Try offering your little one a variety of foods, and keep an open mind to offer them a new food several times before they accept it.
4. Your baby is distracted
Baby Shark during mealtime, anyone? If you can relate, you’re not the only parent who is doing this. Nowadays, it’s common for parents to use smart devices as a way to keep their baby sitting still during mealtime. However, when there are too many distractions, whether from screens, musics, toys, or people, your baby may become too distracted to focus on their food. Not to mention it might cause your baby to become dependent on certain items to enjoy their food, for example, your baby might become reluctant to eat unless you play his favourite nursery rhyme.
While it requires a bit of time and patience, try to create a healthy eating environment that is free of distraction for your baby. This helps them to stay focused on exploring new taste and texture of their food and learn to enjoy them.
5. Your baby is feeling unwell
Last but not least, your baby might be refusing to feed because they are not feeling well. Some common reasons might be due to teething, or constipation and a gassy stomach from having certain foods. Remember to bring your baby to the doctor immediately if your baby’s condition doesn’t improve with home remedies.
Meanwhile, for teething babies, instead of completely leaving out solids in their diet, you can try switching to more soothing foods such as yogurt, bananas and sweet fruit puree.
Other than illness, other reasons such as a baby seat that is too tight, or a soiled diaper may cause your baby to feel uncomfortable and lose the patience for solid foods. Hence, it also helps for you to make sure that they are in a comfortable state during their mealtime.
More Tips For Your Baby’s Easy Transition into Solids
Feeling ready to feed your baby solids again? Here’s a few more tips for you before you go:
- Create a meal routine: Feeding your baby at a fixed time everyday helps them get prepared for it and get used to it easier.
- Be patient with your baby: Take things slow and don’t rush or force your baby when they refuse to eat. A stress-free mealtime helps them to enjoy their food better.
- Try again later: When your baby refuses to eat solids, give him milk and try giving him solids again for their next meal.
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