How to Help Your Baby Try New Foods
During their first few months of life, breast milk offers babies all the nutrients they need. However, at some point, it will be time to help your baby try new foods. That’s when the following tips will come in handy.
Rejecting unknown foods
Sooner or later, it’ll be time to expand your little one’s menu and you’ll have to help your baby try new foods.
Some children love trying new flavors, while others don’t want to and prefer eating what they know they like. In these cases, it’s important to be patient. After all, on average, babies need to try something 15 times before they end up liking it.
In addition, it’s not just babies and young kids that suffer from neophobia (fear of the unknown). Adults can also suffer from it, and it can even include new foods. Little kids usually naturally overcome it when they reach about 5 years old.
Learning by imitation
Parents are role models for their children. Family habits make a big difference. If adults are always willing to try new foods and new things in general, children will be too.
The best way to help your baby try new foods is by eating them first. Imitating is tied to the confidence and security that older members of the family create. In fact, this also includes older siblings.
Tricks to help your baby try new foods
Mealtime should always be a positive and joyful experience without punishment. From a very young age, you should teach that eating healthy foods is also fun.
If babies are forced to eat certain foods, it’ll just make them hate them. At the same time, parents should be aware that they like certain flavors more than others.
You don’t need to get rid of their favorite foods – you can combine them with new foods or foods they don’t like so much. However, make sure they’re foods that are nutritious.
Vary the presentation
Colors are also a great strategy to help babies try new foods. Don’t forget that food “enters” through the eyes. If it isn’t pretty or appealing, babies will probably be more reluctant to eat it.
Sometimes, not liking a new flavor has nothing to do with the taste. Not wanting to eat a new food could be because of how it looks or feels.
Fruits like bananas can be very pretty. You can chop them into small pieces, or even leave them in their natural form. However, they can be very difficult for babies to chew because they only have a few teeth.
If babies don’t like fruits because they’re purees, they won’t look very pretty, but they’ll be easier for babies to eat.
Let your baby experiment
Rejecting new foods might not have anything to do with the fruits or vegetables you’re giving your baby.
Some silverware can be very intimidating. A good way to help babies try new foods is to let them bring it to their mouths with their own hands.
Things to avoid
Some parents resort to trying things that, instead of helping, make it difficult for babies to like new foods. It’s usually because they don’t know any better. However, it could also be because of feeling frustrated from failures.
One of the most common mistakes is to try to distract their baby. For example, they try using the TV or YouTube videos. However, it’s important for meals to only be for eating. Use that time to be with family and enjoy eating together.
Finally, without a doubt, the worst mistake is forcing your baby to eat. There are parents who practically put the spoon in their baby’s mouth without giving him or her enough time to swallow.
For your baby, eating will end up be painful and traumatic. Additionally, it’s not good to have a system of punishments and rewards. These can lead to trauma, as well as other unhealthy situations.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Aurora Lázaro Almarza, Benjamín Martín Martínez. Hospital Clínico de Zaragoza. Alimentación del lactante sano. https://www.aeped.es/sites/default/files/documentos/alimentacion_lactante.pdf
- Aepap.org. Alimentación de 6 a 24 meses. https://www.aepap.org/sites/default/files/alimentacion_6-24m.pdf