A common concern for most parents and guardians is getting their babies to eat more, especially when they reach the stage of having solid foods. While some babies are slow to solids, it doesn’t mean they don’t like food. For some others, it might be the spoons used during feeding that is putting them off. Finger foods can be very helpful here as the babies might prefer feeding themselves and the pressure to eat more might put them off as well.
Below, we share a few tips that can help infants eat more.
1. Try to find out why the baby is not eating as much
It might be that the baby is teething, tired, ill or too distracted to eat when you want. Parents should avoid making each feeding time difficult and also ensure the eating expectations for the baby are not too high. However, if there are concerns of being underweight or a sudden change is noticed, reaching out to the doctor is advised.
It is quite common for babies to avoid new or unfamiliar food at first. It could take a while for them to get used to newly introduced food, patience can help in this case while familiar foods are offered for the time being. A playful feeding time can be very helpful for babies. Infant feeding periods when the family is eating can also be encouraging, as well as using “sibling suggestion”, where older siblings eat the same food or get involved in the feeding process.
2. The first bite is important
The first bite into newly introduced foods is important. The best times to introduce new foods are reportedly in the morning or immediately after a nap. Distractions should be reduced and the baby helped to enjoy that first bite. As the baby gets used to eating, a variety of foods should be introduced (confirm that they are not allergenic) as paediatricians say offering infants a single meal may make them become picky eaters.
3. Avoid reflux and manage intolerances
As babies get used to digestion, spitting up food can be common. As they grow older, the number of incidences tends to reduce. The spitting up can affect the response to food. Parents and guardians should burp babies regularly and avoid over-feeding them. The babies should be feed slowly and allowed to sit upright for at least 30 minutes after eating. If the baby throws up violently or often, a doctor should be contacted.
Any allergy or intolerance should be noted and proactive measures taken. Symptoms like acute diarrhea, profuse sweating, trouble breathing and stomach pain are examples. Any potential allergic food should be avoided and doctor permission obtained first.
In conclusion, feeding and introduction of new foods should be done in a playful and interesting way. As they grow older, naming foods and songs about foods can also be helpful. For example, toddlers are likely to eat fruits that they have seen in books or they’ve played with. New foods can be placed among the pictures of their favorites enticingly so the curiosity to try them can work wonders.