(bright upbeat music) – Is your once bottomless pit now, “All done!” after a single bite? Has baby gone from, “Open wide!” to clamped shut? Pushing away the spoon that tries to feed him? Dropping or tossing more food off his highchair tray than into his mouth? Chances are he’s acting his age.
Though some babies approaching the end of the first year are still insatiable for solids, others, many others, have become far less enthusiastic eaters. Not only do they eat less, they could care less about eating.
One reason for your baby’s solid slowdown: she’s just not that into eating anymore, and she’s definitely not that into being held captive in her highchair. Once a new, exciting, and engaging activity, mealtime is now so ho-hum.
She’d rather be conquering cruising, climbing, or even contemplating her first steps than eating, especially eating sitting down. Other explanations why baby’s appetite is lagging. Maybe he’s teething.
Maybe he’s drinking too many fluids, either via breast, bottle, or cup, and those fluids are filling him up. A very compelling reason to pass on the juice until after the first birthday. Maybe he’s bored with the menu you’ve been offering up.
He’s ready to move up from mush. He’s over the same old, same old. Those reliable stand-by’s you could always count on him devouring until now. He wants what you’re having. A convincing case for baby-led weaning if you haven’t tried it.
Bring on a variety of tastes and textures, and he may go from epically fussy to epicurious, especially if you sit down together for some of the same foods when it’s feeding time at the zoo. Baby monkey see, baby monkey do, hopefully.
Or maybe your baby is frustrated with all of the mealtime rules, like don’t play with your food. Touching, squeezing, smearing. None of these are neat or appreciated behaviors at a four-star restaurant, but all of them are normal, age-appropriate, and an important part of the eating experience from a baby’s perspective.
At this point really any food can qualify as a finger food, from scrambled eggs to yogurt. A perfect dip for fingers. One rule that you can and should enforce at mealtime: no throwing food. Of course she’ll break it, she’s a baby, but if you’re consistent about ending meals before they devolve into an all-out food fight, she’ll ultimately get the message.
Food is for eating, not tossing. Is your little one’s independence streak emerging? A glimpse of toddler behavior ahead? He may be zipping his lips because you’re controlling the spoon. Again, finger foods may be an easy fix.
His fingers, after all, are in his control. But offering him a spoon of his own to wield may also be a win-win. He wins a spoon. You win the chance to spoon food into his mouth while he’s distracted. Tried self-feeding and baby’s just not biting? Some babies would rather sit back and let someone else do the heavy lifting of feeding, and that’s fine.
She’s got enough on her plate right now developmentally. Offer her finger foods, but let her set her own feeding pace. And here’s a mealtime rule you should definitely make and try your hardest not to break.
No pushing, prodding. No pleading, no coaxing, no coercing. When your baby signals he’s done, meal over. To avoid future dinner table battles and unhealthy feelings about eating, his appetite should rule the highchair now.
It’s time to shut down the choo-choo train service and let your little one decide when it’s time to open the tunnel wide and when it’s time to seal it shut. Here’s to happy mealtimes.