So, your baby was always a great eater, they were adventurous and would eat almost anything. Now they turn their nose up at the sight of a vegetable, throwing food off the table is a daily event and nothing you do seems to help. Is there an answer? In short, there is never a simple answer but, here are a few ideas to point you in the right direction.
Consistency is key here, so remember;
See, Feel, Expose: It can take 15 tries before a child is comfortable with a flavour, but most parents would consider 4 or 5 exposures enough. Keep trying, even when you think it’s not working. Offering your child a tiny amount of an unfamiliar food rather than a plate full, will also make your goal more achievable.
Give your child the skills they need: When introducing solids to your baby, don’t be afraid to stick with tradition. Purees can teach your baby to move their tongue from side to side and develop a more mature chew and swallowing ability. It will put them on the path to more advanced foods.
Little changes: Don’t try more than one new flavour or texture at a time. A meal may contain multiple flavours and textures which can be very challenging. But one new flavour amongst a preferred food, is not so scary.
Limit snacks and get into a routine: Snacks should be small, and meals should be the focus. Your child is less likely to try that new food if they are genuinely not hungry.
Be a model for your child: Studies have shown that children from as young as 2 are likely to copy what the adults around them are doing. Have you ever made a disgusted face when a flavour you don’t like arrives on your plate? You may not realise you’re doing this, but your child does.
Supportive seating: Make sure your child’s body is supported during mealtimes. Having their feet flat on a foot support or the floor is a good start.
Picky eating can be a typical part of child development. At around 2 years of age your child is likely to start testing the boundaries. This is also the time that your child’s rate of growth slows. Children are in tune with their body and how hungry they are. As parents we need to help them learn and respond to their hunger cues. Of course, it’s extremely important to follow your gut instinct and get your child the nutrition they need. If you believe there is a bigger issue, always consult your health professional.
Sounds Great! Speech Therapy is a mobile practice offering comprehensive assessment and intervention in feeding, speech and language. If you have concerns about your child’s development or are seeking an experienced therapist to fit in with your family schedule, visit www.soundsgreatspeech.com. Sounds Great Speech provides obligation free over the phone consultation and are approved for Health fund and Medicare rebates. Visit them on Facebook or Instagram.