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Health & Baby

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Is Your Baby a Picky Eater?

Tips to Help Tame a Picky Eater continued...

Transform the tempo. Some babies want to eat fast, others slow. Could you be frustrating your little one with the wrong feeding tempo? There's only one way to find out: Try slowing down the next feeding, or picking up the pace.

Minimize distractions. Make food the focus of mealtime. Turn off the TV, remove toys and books, and help your little one focus on one thing: Eating.

Keep meal length reasonable. It's tempting to let a picky eater take as long as she wants to eat. Although you shouldn't rush mealtime, don't let it go on much longer than 20-30 minutes.

Let baby touch his food. You probably wouldn't eat a food you've never seen before without first looking it over. Your baby is the same, so let your little one touch a new food before you offer it.

Follow your baby's timeline. Most babies begin eating solid foods between 4 and 6 months, but some may start a little earlier, others later. As with crawling, walking, potty-training, and just about every other infant milestone, there's no perfect time -- there's your baby's time.

Let your baby participate. By about 9 months, many babies are interested in trying to feed themselves. Although your picky eater is likely to make a mess waving around the mealtime spoon, letting him take control is important to a child's growth and development.

It's natural for babies to slow down their feedings. As they reach the end of their first year, babies’ growth tends to slow. So, too, can their calorie needs. Be patient; growth spurts are on the way.

Keep trying, gently. Some babies may need to try a food eight, 10, even 15 times before they enjoy it, so be patient and continue to revisit a rejected food over time, time as long as there are no allergy concerns.

Don't let on that you're frustrated or angry. React emotionally to a picky eater and even a 1-year-old will understand her power over you. Realize that you want your baby to eat for her own well-being, not to please you -- and that baby's rejection of a food is not a rejection of you.

Understand who's responsible for what. It's your job to feed your baby, but it's your baby's responsibility to decide what and how much to eat. Children will always eat when they're hungry. As long as a child is growing and gaining weight -- and you are feeding him healthy foods -- there's little need to worry about a baby who's a picky eater.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Amita Shroff, MD on September 29, 2014
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