Food Fixes 3-4
My 1-year-old likes baby food. But when she is presented with solids such as pasta or cut-up fruit, she chews them up and spits them out. It seems as if none of it gets into her stomach. Should I be worried?
Chewing-and-spewing is not an unusual habit. But it is frustrating -- not to mention messy. Why does your baby do it? She may be adjusting to the unfamiliar cuisine; research shows that it can take 10 to 15 introductions to a new food before a baby will eat it. Or this may be her way of showing her autonomy.
Still rejecting a new food after 15 tries? She simply may not like what you're feeding her. "If your baby is doing it every time, he's telling you, 'I don't like it. Give me something else,'" says Dr. Bhatia.
Continue to offer a variety of nutritious foods, and capitalize on what your baby likes. In other words, if she prefers foods with a softer consistency, let her have that bowl of oatmeal with a banana. But keep serving up more solid fare, and give your baby a chance to adapt.
My three children have very distinct food preferences and aversions. My 6-year-old loves a variety of foods, including vegetables and salads. His 4-year-old sister likes chicken and milk, but doesn't have any use for most other sources of protein. My 2-year-old's preferences are constantly changing. Getting something on the table that everyone will eat is a real challenge.
The last thing any busy mom wants -- or needs -- is to feel like a short-order cook in her own kitchen. If you plan ahead, you may be able to come up with a meal that covers everyone's preferences.
For instance, all three kids in this particular family would be satisfied with a dinner of grilled chicken or chicken teriyaki with sides of broccoli and rice. (Okay, the toddler may not be interested, but you can't plan around his fickle palate.)
But, says Joy Bauer, New York City nutritionist and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Total Nutrition (Alpha Books, 2002), if you can't make everyone happy with a single meal, there's nothing wrong with offering alternatives, as long as they don't require a lot of effort in the kitchen. If your child doesn't like the family meal, she can choose a hassle-free alternative like soup, cereal, yogurt, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.