After Ava’s 6 month check up, I stopped by the grocery store on the way home. I tossed some baby oatmeal and a few baby food pouches in my cart and decided I would have her try some at dinner. After a bad reaction to oatmeal one night and then her spitting out and turning away from baby food a few others; I realized that getting her to eat solids wasn’t going to be as easy as just giving her a spoonful of food.
I then tried some baby lead weaning; I started to offer her a few different steamed vegetables and fruits. She still was uninterested. Most of what I gave her ended up squished up on her high chair tray or on the floor.
After a while, her pediatrician started to pressure me about getting her to eat food which only made me worry more (Even though there was never any concern about her weight or development). I started to introduce solids when Ava was 6 months old and she only really became interested in them after she was 10 months old.
If I could go back in time, I would remind myself that not all babies are the same.
One of the biggest reasons I would stress out about Ava not eating was because her older brother ate anything and everything when he was her age. I could just toss some fruit, veggies, bread, noodles, you name it on his high chair tray, and he would go to town. Ava is much more cautious about food and even now will often play more than she will eat. She doesn’t have any issues with her weight; so I have decided to stop stressing and just let her do things on her own time.
Ava is eating (and playing with) some couscous and carrots
Here are a few things that I did to help encourage my picky baby to eat solids.
1. Develop a mealtime routine.
I’ve always been told that babies do well with routines and I always hear about how important it is to have a bedtime routine. Well, I think that mealtime routines work well too. Before mealtime, I will wash Ava’s hands, put on her bib, sit her in her high chair and then put her food on her high chair. Doing the same thing every meal time helps to let her know that it’s time to eat.
2. Eat meals together.
I think that Ava started to become interested in foods because she saw everyone else eating. Now, whenever she sees us eating anything at all, she crawls over to sample it herself. At dinner time I try to make a side or two that Ava can eat too, like sweet potato fries or green beans. Sitting down to have a meal together is nice, and it encourages her to eat what and when we are eating.
3. Wait to nurse or bottlefeed until after trying solid foods.
When it comes to meal times, I always try to give her food and then nurse her after just to be sure she isn’t hungry. That way she won’t be full and will hopefully be more interested in eating instead of playing with her food.
4. Keep trying different foods.
I make it a point to try different foods with Ava often. I haven’t followed any rules about introducing veggies before fruits or only trying one food at a time. I mostly give her a bit of what I am eating. I’ve noticed there are something’s that she likes to do more playing with like avocados and quinoa. And she will chow down on sweet potatoes and green beans. I just try to follow her lead and see what her reactions are too different foods.
5. Remember that your baby will become interested in solids eventually.
I’ve learned not to get too hung up on the time frames that people say babies should do things. As long as my daughter is growing and is healthy, I know that she will eat solids when she is ready. It very unlikely that a baby will only want milk when they are a toddler or even an older child. Until then I will continue to let her explore foods at her own pace. It also means I get to enjoy a few extra nursing sessions too.