When your baby isn’t interested in food day after day, the dreaded thought comes up: is my kid a picky eater? (But you probably already knew that.)
Here is a thought: the same baby who refuses to eat green beans, is also the baby that voluntarily eats dirt and lint off of the floor. It’s safe to say they’re still trying to figure out this whole eating thing.
Research shows that “picky eaters” at the early eating stage is a myth. In reality, babies are just beginning to understand textures and foods. They may spit out the food, eat it, or even work it thoroughly into your hair. The myth of the picky eater is almost as prevalent as the one about the baby who sleeps through the night from birth. (If you actually have said baby, congratulations, you gave birth to a unicorn.)
That being said, it’s still not an easy thing to handle when the tiny human in front of you is refusing to eat something that is good for them. The question is: what do I do about this?
Don’t worry – we got you. Here are a few ways you can push through these feelings:
TRY THE SAME FLAVOR AT LEAST 15 TIMES
Yes, that sounds like a lot, but we assure you it’s worth it. Each try can result in a small taste and experience with texture, which helps builds your baby’s taste buds.
REMINDING YOURSELF: THEY MAY JUST NOT BE HUNGRY
The reality is, babies are taking in so many new things around them that as much as we want them to be on a regular eating schedule, they may not be so into that idea.
MIX IN WHAT THEY SEEM TO LIKE THE BEST
Mix in what they seem to like the best with options they consistently spit out (beets? carrots? who knows?!). This will help build their flavor profiles and they will become more accustomed to the taste.
TASTE BUD TRAINING IS THE NAME OF THE GAME
When first introducing solids, taste bud training is the name of the game. If any food gets in your baby’s mouth (even if it comes rocketing back out and onto the ceiling), you can chalk that up as a win.
TAKE DEEP BREATHS
And remind yourself that this is new to your baby. New things take time and that’s okay.
The reality is, children are not born knowing what they love to eat. Some days they are excited to eat a green bean and quinoa meal, and other days they’re just happy to gnaw on your favorite sweater. At 12 months, they’re still getting most of their nutrition from breastmilk or formula, so you don’t have to worry they’re going hungry.
Now… we know what you’re thinking: But what if my baby isn’t new to solids and I’m still met with (tiny, angry) resistance? We’d love to tell you there’s a magic secret to solve this. But, in reality, tiny humans are notoriously fickle. One second they’re happily gumming their green beans, the next they are using them to decorate your walls. Appetite fluctuation is totally normal. Try again. And again. And again. (Remember, 15 times!) Think of them as “rookie eaters,” not “picky eaters.”