Reducing picky eating
First and foremost, do not introduce food textures to your baby until they have the underlying skills needed to eat that texture. When kids lack the skills needed to eat a specific texture, they quickly learn that food is “unsafe”. Kids spit out unsafe foods and will most likely refuse that food in the future. Most kids even clear their tray of that food by dropping it on the floor. How frustrating!
Parents often confuse spitting out foods as picky eating, but it is actually an anti-choking protective mechanism. Once your baby gains the necessary skills to safely chew and swallow a texture of food, you can safely re-introduce that food into your baby’s diet. Almost all food refusal is based on food texture and not food flavor. That’s great news because you can change texture to accommodate your child’s needs. For example, your baby may not be able to handle lumpy mashed potatoes because they can’t separate the lumps from the smooth puree to safely chew and swallow each texture. You can combat this by serving a smooth mash instead. Similarly, your child may not have a mature chew pattern needed to break down raw broccoli, but you can soften the broccoli texture by steaming it and making it easier to chew. Check out my Baby Eating Chart to learn how, what, and when to introduce your baby to different food textures!