Help! My baby doesn’t like vegetables
Annabel Karmel looks at what to do if your baby doesn’t like vegetables
With thanks to Annabel Karmel
Those first days and weeks of feeding are such an exciting time, but initial challenges such as rejecting food you’ve lovingly created are completely normal. It can feel like your baby doesn’t like vegetables or other foods. At this stage your baby will start to enjoy a new-found sense of independence and with it challenge boundaries. Unfortunately, food is one of the first areas they realise they can control and very quickly work out that they like this feeling of being in charge!
It is highly likely that your baby will pull funny faces and refuse certain types of food on their first attempt. But what is really important to note is that more often than not, these expressions tend to be those of surprise as your baby simply gets used to new tastes, rather than rejecting these completely.
When to introduce new flavours
There is often a window of opportunity between six and twelve months where babies eat well so it’s important to introduce as much variety as possible through different recipes. So often I see parents only offer a new food to their baby around two to three times and take any more refusals as a sign of distaste. But as I just mentioned, what looks like distaste is often surprise. Babies are more likely to try new foods than older children, so it’s important to keep trying before the more stubborn refusals of childhood set in!
Now obviously all of those nutrient dense veggies such as broccoli and spinach are a world apart from what they are familiar with when they first start out, so it’s likely to take a little perseverance to get them accepting these flavours.
What to do if your baby doesn’t like a food
If your baby is showing signs of disliking a particular food, that’s ok. Leave it there and repeat the introduction of that particular food the following day or the day after. Just don’t strike it off your baby’s ‘like’ list straight away as your baby hasn’t had the opportunity to properly get to grips with it yet.
After all, this is a new experience and chances are your baby will forget and may respond differently next time they taste the same food. “Try, try and try again” is my motto when it comes to this particular weaning issue. Did you know that it can take up to 15 attempts for your baby to accept certain foods or tastes, so give them plenty of chances to try again.
Here are my top pieces of advice when dealing with a fussy tot:
- At the beginning, offer small amounts of a new food, and increase the quantity gradually. If their plate or bowl is overloaded, they will feel overwhelmed.
- Offer your baby plenty of soft finger foods and let them play with their food! If you’re spoon-feeding, let your baby hold the spoon if they want to and let them guide it into their mouth. Or give them one spoon to experiment with and use another to feed them.
- Ensure your baby sees you enjoying a variety of foods too – and having them join you at the table for mealtimes will help with that.
- Introduce more than one new food per meal to increase exposure to, and acceptance of, a variety of foods.
- Alternate foods from one day to the next, so that they don’t get used to eating particular foods.
- Explore different ways to cook one food. For example, you can steam, roast or fry broccoli, and the texture, taste, colour and size of each is different.
- And most importantly, don’t force your baby to try a new food. If they reject it, simply try again at a later time, or another day.
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Disclaimer: The views and advice given in this article are those of the guest writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Weaning Week or any other organisations represented on this platform