Is Your Baby a Picky Eater?

If your baby loves carrot puree one day but pushes it away the next, or if you find yourself begging your little one to eat, you're not alone. Between 20% to 50% of kids are described by their parents as picky eaters.

Why do babies turn into picky eaters? What are the signs? And what can you do about it?

Picky Eaters: Understanding the Signs

The symptoms of a picky eater can seem pretty obvious: Your baby may push away the spoon or turn their head from it. They might close their mouth as you try feeding them, spit out food, or become cranky or tired at mealtime.

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Yet these signals don't necessarily mean your baby is picky. They can also be signs your little one is simply full, distracted, or not feeling well.

A baby can seem picky for dozens of reasons -- or no reason at all. They may have an immature digestive system, which will cure itself with time. They might be teething, have an infection, food allergy, or just may not be ready for solid foods yet.

As long as growth and weight gain are normal and the baby is achieving their milestones, there's usually no reason to worry about a fussy baby who prefers a limited diet. But if you find yourself worried about infant feeding problems, talk to your pediatrician before trying the following tips.

Tips to Help Tame a Picky Eater

Never force feed. If your little one turns their head from the spoon, they are telling you clearly they have had enough -- even if it seems they have had very little. Trust that your child will eat what they need. If you force baby to eat despite these signs, your little one may start associating eating with tension and discomfort -- and become even more fussy.

Try different textures. Even babies have food preferences. Some enjoy wet foods, while others may prefer finger foods. Some may want to graze through a half dozen mini-meals, while others may favor liquids over solids for a time. Make sure that you do not feed your child "junk" in order to get them to eat. Offer healthy options and they'll develop a taste for them.

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