Wednesday 16 March 2016

Handling your picky-eater baby

Time to introduce your about six months old baby to solids and you gradually introduce baby foods to your baby, but he/she will have none of it. Try as much as you can, your baby will not eat unless force-fed. Calm down! Many mothers have been there. And we at TIM have done our research and hereby present tested ways of handling your child who just wouldn't eat.

(1)    No matter what, do not force-feed. Force-feeding not only makes a baby averse to feeding times but can also choke your baby. News recently went round about a mum whose baby choked on the food she was being force-fed. We do not want such fates to befall our little ones so we need to quit force-feeding. Sing, play, dance if need be, to see if it would make your baby eat but do not force-feed.

(2)     Find out if your baby's attitude to food is because of your environment. At about the age of 6 months when it is recommended solid foods be introduced, babies also get easily distracted by things happening around. Find out if your baby wouldn't eat because he/she is distracted and then resort to feeding him/her in quiet places at quiet times.

(3)     Does your baby eat a little and then refuse? Then let it dictate its portion size. You may only need to feed it more frequently. 

(4)    Your child wouldn't eat any of the food options you offer and neither 2 nor 3 above apply? Then try variety. Besides the packaged and branded cereals and other baby foods like Nutrend, Cerelac and Frisocream, are fruits and Cereals you can whip up at home and find out which one your baby prefers. Fruits like banana, avocado and pawpaw can be pureed and fed a baby. You can also try pap, mashed potatoes, yam and rice. Our good, old 'swallow' with soup can also be tried. Simply find out your baby's 'swallow' of choice and try varieties of soups. Health experts recommend you do not add salt to baby's food especially those aged one year and below. So it is better to make soups meant specifically for your baby and store in the freezer in one-portion sizes (that if you have a freezer and electricity at your disposal) There just has to be one food that would strike a chord with your baby. (We would be dedicating an entire section to baby meal ideas so watch out for it).

(5)     Be creative; try different varieties of same food. Maybe today you give just mashed potatoes, next time you add milk or any vegetables of your choice. You could also add fishes like the one popularly known as 'titus' in Nigeria.

(6)     When you do find out your baby's preference, enrich it the much you can as suggested in (5) above. You can also improve the aesthetic value of the food. For example, preparing a meal of mashed carrots and potatoes gives the food a delightful colour, as compared to just potatoes alone.

(7)    It is necessary you do not wean picky-eater babies off breast milk early, especially if they are yet to get to age two. They need the breast milk to help sustain the little extra food they eat.

Note: introduce foods one at a time to check which one would agree with your baby's system. And whenever you introduce a new food, wait for like 48 hours before introducing another new one. This ensures one notices the effect any particular food has on your baby.

See Baby meal ideas for suggestions on what foods you can offer your child. 


  1. What if the child does not want anything except iba? Is that ok? How do I ensure the baby gets a balanced diet?

    1. Eba is not so bad, at least the child has signified interest in something. While you keep on breastfeeding, assuming the child is still breastfed, ensure the soup accompanying the eba is well enriched with vegetables and fish. With each small ball of eba, get the baby to take much more vegetables and mashed fish. By that he is getting what I'd call adequate nutrition. At intervals you can also see if re-introducing other meals will work. Then try fruits. Children love fruits like banana, pawpaw and avocado.