Picky Eaters

Month 8, Week 4

Some babies devour everything that’s put in front of them and holler for more. Others have firm ideas about what they will and won’t eat.

How can you reform a picky eater?

  • Don’t force it. If she pushes the spoon away, she’s done. If you try to make her eat when she’s not hungry, she may think of mealtime as unpleasant.
  • Give her a variety of healthy tastes and textures to try.
  • Focus on feeding. Don't let your little gourmet get distracted by the TV or a high-chair tray full of toys. Minimize the toys. If she wants to play, let her play with safety spoons and bowls while you keep the focus on the food.
  • Let her try to feed herself. Sure, she’s going to make a mess. But that’s how she learns. Let her explore and have fun.
  • Keep offering. Just because your baby rejects a food once (or twice, or five times) doesn’t mean you should give up. It can take time for her to adjust to the new food.
  • Try to eat meals as a family, so baby is encouraged to model your habits.

Your Baby's Development This Week

At nearly nine months old, your baby is getting increasingly nimble with those little fingers. She can manipulate objects with greater and greater skill, and probably takes joy in banging things together.

Some things your baby might like doing now include:

  • Playing with toys that have moving parts such as gears, wheels, and doors.
  • Poking her finger through holes in toys or books (there are some fun board books for babies that encourage this).
  • Rolling a ball back and forth with you. (Bonus if the ball makes noise and lights up.)
  • Learning to clap her hands and wave. Let her practice by clapping yours, too!
  • Playing with stacking and sorting toys or other objects.

You might wonder about:

  • When to call your pediatrician. Most things parents worry about are perfectly normal. But if you’re concerned, it’s a good idea to call.
  • Discipline. Babies this age can do things they shouldn’t and are beginning to understand “no." But they’re too young for time outs. Redirect baby to something more appropriate. Never spank a baby.
  • Self-soothing. If you haven't started already, try letting your baby learn to fall asleep by herself. Putting her to bed drowsy but awake, rather than rocking her to sleep, helps this transition.

Month 8, Week 4 Tips

  • Be prepared for food allergies, especially if they run in your family. Besides milk, the top allergenic foods include eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, soy, and wheat.
  • Common signs of allergic reactions to a new food include hives (red, raised blotches to skin), flushed skin or rash, vomiting or diarrhea, swelling (especially of face, lips or tongue), and wheezing.
  • If your baby has a swollen face, trouble breathing, or severe vomiting or diarrhea after eating, call 911 immediately.
  • As long as your baby can balance well while sitting up on her own, you can move her from the baby tub to the "big tub" for bath time.
  • Never leave your baby alone in the tub or with only an older child to watch her.
  • Bath time is a golden opportunity to bond. So keep your voice and touch gentle, and cuddle afterward. It's not just about getting baby clean.
  • Unless she’s walking (unlikely at this age), your baby still doesn’t need shoes. They can impair mobility and flexibility. Socks are fine for now.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on November 20, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Hand and Finger Skills."

WebMD: "Baby Developmental Stages: Expert Q&A."

AboutKidsHealth: "Disciplining Your Child."

WebMD: "Is Your Baby a Picky Eater?"

WebMD: "Baby Food Allergies: Identifying and Preventing Them."

AboutKidsHealth: "Bath Time for Babies."

AboutKidsHealth: "Holding and Dressing Your Baby."

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