This is a guest post by dietician Lisa Mastela, MPH, RD. She is the founder of Bumpin Blends, a company that makes and delivers dietitian-designed smoothie cubes to support the many symptoms of new motherhood.
A Mamas Uncut Facebook fan writes in asking for advice on the topic of getting her six-month-old baby boy to start eating solids. She has been trying for over a month to get her baby to try solid foods, but he absolutely hates it, and everyone at the table ends up in tears. Read this mom’s question, and Lisa Mastela’s advice, below.
“It’s honestly a nightmare for him and for me because we BOTH always end up in tears,” this mom says of trying to get her baby to eat solid foods.
A member of the Mamas Uncut Facebook community asks:
“My 6-month-old hates solids: Advice? I have a six 1/2-month-old baby boy, and he HATED SOLIDS! I tried starting when he was 5 1/2 (with the OK from his Dr.), and he instantly hated it. I thought nothing of it and decided to wait until he was six months.
I tried giving him everything he can safely have, and he hated it all. He instantly spits it out. He never swallows anything, and right when the food leaves the spoon, he immediately throws it out with his tongue. I’m at my wit’s end; I’m so worried as to why he doesn’t want to eat anything or why he won’t swallow.
I don’t know what to do anymore. It’s honestly a nightmare for him and for me because we BOTH always end up in tears. I’ve asked his doctor, and all he says is to keep trying, but honestly, I don’t want to try anymore, he just hates it! Has anyone else gone through this? Any ideas as to why he does this?”
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Advice from Expert Lisa Mastela
Hey mama, Lisa Mastela here, a registered dietitian and mom myself. First things first: take a big deep breath and do not worry! Rejecting solids is very common, especially at a young age like this! And, most importantly, it doesn’t mean that your baby is not getting important nutrients or that they will go to college on a liquid diet – don’t fret!
There are three things that can help: staying calm, making it fun, and being persistent. The most important thing you can do as a parent with a solid-refusing baby (or any picky eating for that matter) is to stay completely calm and relaxed about it. Babies can pick up on your stress, which will, in turn, stress them out and distract them from the task at hand: eating. Maybe take a back seat and try out baby-led weaning, by simply putting some small pieces of mushy food in front of them rather than spoon-feeding them. Remind yourself that food before one is just for fun and exploring – your baby is getting everything he needs from his milk, and food is meant to just be a fun experience for him right now.
On that note, make it fun! Sometimes cutting mushy fruit into fun shapes, or putting it on a silly plate, or encouraging them to really play with it, can lead to them putting it in their mouth (much like all their other toys!). So try mashing avocado with your hands with them, or putting raspberries on your fingertips, or getting a fun plate, cookie-cutter, or spoon. This will also keep the atmosphere fun and relaxed, reducing pressure on them to eat. Think about it, if you had someone pushing a spoon full of unfamiliar food into your face, you’d probably reject it too. Put them in the driver’s seat!
The last important thing to consider: persistence! Most babies and toddlers need to encounter a new food an average of 15 times before they will try it. 15! So, if your baby doesn’t touch it, that’s OKAY! Try again the next meal. And the next. And the next. One day they’ll smell it. Then maybe they’ll touch it. Then MAYBE they’ll eat it. There’s no rush to try new foods, so let them set the schedule.
About Lisa Mastela
Lisa Mastela, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian with a master’s in nutrition and public health. She did research at the University of Washington on special needs children, picky eating, diabetes, and nutrition in premature infancy, along with research on intermittent fasting at the University of Southern California. She then worked in personalized nutrition, utilizing DNA, cortisol, and the microbiome to personalize individuals’ wellness goals and nutrition.
After getting pregnant herself, she realized how difficult nutrition for expecting and new mothers is, so she founded Bumpin Blends, a company that makes and delivers dietitian-designed smoothie cubes to support the many symptoms of new motherhood. All a mom has to do is pour the Bumpin Blends cubes into her blender, add liquid, and blend, for a nutritious snack to help everything from fatigue and anxiety to leg cramps and swelling, and everything in between. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and busy toddler, Caroline.
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