As your baby turns 9-10 months old, he/she asserts independence and control through a variety of means. One of them is food aversion or becoming a picky eater usually characterized by spitting their food, not opening their mouth as you feed them or even hitting the spoon as you try to feed them.
However, it is important to note that as your baby gets older, their appetite will naturally slow as he becomes less reliant on breast milk or formula for their nutrition.
Other reasons your baby’s appetite changes could be
a. An ill or teething baby
b. A baby who is busy exploring.
Ways you can help your baby eat better.
1. Eat together
I found that baby wants to eat my food while I eat. She crawls close to me and reaches for my plate. So when it comes to meal time, I eat when she eats. I serve my meal together with hers and sit her next to me and I have found that she eats more food that way. Sometimes I sit on her playing mat with her and put our food on a mat between the two of us. If the food is solid, for instance chopped fruit, I allow her to use her hands and feed herself. Dirt is good when you are helping your baby warm up to feeding time, so expect a lot of smears and spills. The end, I must admit justifies the means.
2. Make the food better looking and tastier
A splash of Colour attracts babies. Babies, just like us, appreciate delicious meals. I add grated carrots, mashed peas, spinach and coriander to her mashed potatoes and pumpkin. This makes the food really colorful and the coriander adds flavor. The color makes baby curious and interested while the flavor makes her want more spoonful after the first “curious bite”.
Fish and chicken soup are also a good way to add flavor and value to baby’s food. They are tasty and chicken soup smells really good so baby will love it.
Blending fruit with natural yoghurt adds flavor as well as nutritional value. Your picky eater will feed better if the food looks different every day. So get creative.
3. Give your baby control
Try giving your baby a plate of colorful finger foods. Sweet potato cubes, baked apple dices, split tangerine pieces are perfect for the baby. Afterwards, leave the plate with them and simply walk away and let them explore the food.
4. Package the food more attractively
Give baby their own colorful bowl. Change it up a couple of times to keep the baby on her/his toes. Babies are smart and they may find their own feeding bowls. For such occasions, you can use your own plate or even co-feed with baby. Some babies are picky eaters because they are already familiar with their feeding bowl. Changing the bowl or feeding them from yours will help them get a few spoons in.
5. Bite your tongue
Avoid yelling out things like “Eat” to your child even at an early age.
It is important to also realize that feeding time should not turn into battle time. Your baby will never starve themselves and you cannot force them to eat, for instance by spilling food into their mouth forcefully. Make feeding time fun and interesting and you will notice your baby warming up.
Sources: How to cope with feeding a fussy toddler – Baby Centre