Vivian says her nine month old baby often stops eating after getting frustrated with food. He doesn’t like chewing the food, keeps spitting it out, and she is worried. How do we encourage him to eat more or better? How can we prevent a picky eater?
It’s a great question, Vivian. Thank you. By nine months, I’m looking for kids to start taking much more food and start having less milk. For babies that are still taking the breast very frequently, or they’re having a lot of milk in a bottle, I would start to decrease that in favor of more food.
We want them moving towards that skill, that oral motor skill of eating more solid. I would start to offer the breastless frequently or the bottle less frequently. We want babies to have a lot of hunger to eat that solid food.
Preventing picky eaters
That might look like this: giving milk before nap, but not giving it directly after an app so that they have an appetite for lunch, for example, or for dinner, and then offering them milk after that. When babies are very young, younger than 4 months of age, milk is primary and there’s no solid food. Once we start solids between 4-6 months of age, solids start to increase, but milk is still more. And then around six to nine months, it starts to switch. After 9 months, babies are then getting more solid food and less milk, whether that’s breast milk or bottle milk, or formula.
If babies are not yet developing those skills, or are not really as interested in solids, I would start to offer more solids in favor of more milk. This will encourage milestone development of those oral motor skills.
By nine months, kids should be having a lot more solids versus mushy food. I’d be moving away from mushed-up vegetables or fruits or cereals in favor of actual pieces of food. Just like you eat as an adult, save for honey, which we wouldn’t be giving until 12 months of age.