Rafferty's Garden Baby mess tips

A Parents Survival Guide To Feeding A Fussy Baby

Posted in 12+ Months, 12+ Months Development, Fussy Eating, Independent Feeding, Mum and Baby, Parent Know-How

If tea time in your house resembles a war zone you're not alone. Around half of Australian children aged between two and four years are fussy eaters.We look at the big picture around food and your toddler, and share some tried and true tips on how to survive feeding with a fussy baby!

Knowing the 'why' of fussiness can make a world of difference in how we respond to fussy eating. Growth is the primary driver of appetite in our babies and young children. Babies will triple their weight in their first year, and all that growing is the reason they're always hungry and ready to eat. But growth slows substantially in your little one's second year and so appetite also changes.

An emerging sense of self around this time also leads to a toddler that wants to 'take control'. And in the life of a small child there aren't many ways they can do this. Food makes for the perfect tool in this respect. And so when these two very normal developmental stages collide the result is a formidable toddler at the dinner table!

Parent provides, child decides!

A tactic advocated by US Family Therapist, Ellyn Satter, is that the division of responsibility around food involves you as a parent taking responsibility for providing a meal - BUT gives your little one the responsibility for eating it. Trusting in your child to know when they're hungry is vital to the success of this strategy.

Because growth happens in spurts, appetite will wax and wane, one day hungry as a bear, the next eating like a bird. If your little one doesn't want to eat their meal avoid a fuss and simply take it away - remember it's their choice to eat or not.

Fussy Baby Eating

Avoid bribes or attempts to placate with favoured foods!

No child in a home with a full pantry will ever starve, especially as the next meal or snack is never far away.

To help with managing fussy meal-time antics consider:

  • Allowing choice from foods placed in the centre of the table
  • Limiting drinks before meals so tummies have room for food
  • Persisting with new foods; young children may need them dished up over 10 times before they'll try them.
  • Serve evening meals earlier as tired children struggle to eat well even when they're hungry.
  • Keeping meals simple. The less effort you put in the less your disappointment when its not eaten.

Fussy Baby Eating

For more information and tips on feeding your fussy baby, try How to Grow a Healthy Eater to encourage healthy eating habits.

About the Author

About the Author: Rafferty’s Garden is a brand brought to life by our love of good food and by our belief in ensuring Australian babies get an amazing start to their food journey. .

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