Baby feeding issues can range from a sudden spray of spit-up to a smear of carrots in the hair to a refusal to eat. Whether they are humorous or downright scary, there's a way to handle them.
First, relax. Although feeding hurdles are frustrating, if your baby is growing and developing normally, there's usually no reason to worry.
7 Common Baby Feeding Problems
Babies refuse food for many reasons: They may be full, tired, distracted, or sick. Perhaps baby's feeding schedule just isn't your feeding schedule. Don't worry, a baby will always eat if he’s hungry, so if your little one is swatting at the spoon, turning away, or clamping his mouth shut, he’s telling you that he’s had enough for now.
Try to trust that your baby knows how much food he needs, and never force feed your child, which can turn feeding time into fighting time. That said, if a refusal to eat has you worried, always talk to your pediatrician.
Avoiding New Foods
Just about every child goes through a period of rejecting new foods. Fortunately, most children grow out of this phase, though it can sometimes take weeks, even months.
Help your baby accept new foods more easily by making sure the new food looks similar to a familiar favorite, for example pureed carrots and pureed sweet potato, or mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes. Then, starting with very small portions, gently offer the new food to your child three times during a meal. If she refuses, don't overreact; just move on to something you know she likes. Try offering the new food at another meal.
Fussy Baby, Picky Eater
It's the lament of many parents: My baby is a picky eater.
There are many reasons infants may be finicky about food. They may be teething, tired, not yet ready for solids, or just don't need as much food as you're feeding them. Familiar foods provide your baby comfort in stressful, busy times. Although picky eating may linger awhile, it rarely lasts.
Most babies are ready for solid foods between 4 and 6 months, but a few may find solids hard to handle in the beginning. The result? Baby may seem to gag during feedings.
If your baby is having a hard time swallowing solid foods, try putting less food on the spoon. If your baby is still gagging, he may not be ready for solids yet. Your child's health care provider can also check for other reasons for persistent gagging.
Making a Mess
Sometimes called "feeding the floor," there’s often a messy phase when baby seems to spend more time playing with or dropping food than eating it.
These classic signs of feeding independence often show up around baby's ninth month, when your little one is anxious to control feedings and interact with his food. Although there's frequently a mess involved in letting your baby wield the spoon, this step is important in helping your baby learn, grow, and become more self-reliant.