Picky Eating Prevention Plan

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Picky Eating Prevention Plan

July 6, 2016

Five Simple Steps for Creating an Adventurous Eater Through Baby Self-Feeding

Written by: Nancy Ripton and Melanie Potock

With so much research available in terms of feeding our children, making the best first food choices can seem overwhelming. Purees for months? Baby-led weaning shunning all purees? How do you decide what’s best for your child?

Baby Self-Feeding is research-based approach to first feedings, and it delivers simple steps for parents to help their children develop a healthy relationship with food from day one. A combination of mindful purees and safe finger foods creates valuable eating strategies and self-regulatory skills that can create adventurous eaters for life, while preventing obesity and boosting health for the rest of your child’s life.

Not sure where to start? Here are top five tips for getting started with baby self-feeding from the new book Baby Self-Feeding Solid Food Solutions to Create Lifelong, Healthy Eating Habits.

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1. Exclusive Breastfeeding is Usually Best for the First Six Months

It’s rare that a baby needs any solid food prior to the age of six months. Feeding solids too early increases the risk of choking, and makes purees the only safe-food option. If you wait until your baby is six months old, she will be better equipped to handle solids and you won’t have to rely so heavily on purees.

2. Purees Have a Place

Purees shouldn’t be all your baby eats. Purees are great for the first few weeks, in order to teach valuable swallowing techniques. After that, use them only occasionally, and let whole foods take center stage.

3. The Type of Spoon Matters

There are different sizes and shapes of baby spoons for a reason. Learn which spoon to use at which stage of feeding, and your child will transition to self-feeding with ease.

4. Don’t Give Up

Every child is unique. It’s your job to make mealtime fun and enjoyable, and offer an array of healthy foods each time your child sits at the table. Don’t get upset if your baby turns up her nose at certain things. She may not like every food the first time, but if you only offer the foods she likes or force ones she doesn’t it can lead to picky eating. Relax, model how fun it is to eat a variety of foods, and your child will follow your lead.

5. Let There Be Mess

Children are tactile learners. Although it may not always be convenient, whenever possible let your child get messy. If you try to control the feeding situation too much, your child may develop bad habits and negative food associations. It can look like your baby is playing with her food, but that’s how children learn about new tastes and textures. A little mess now can prevent picky eating later.

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