Picky Eater…

Rowan has gotten to the age now, where she refuses to let you feed her. She wants to do everything herself. That goes for everything too, not just eating. At least she can walk now, so when she squirms out of our arms, we can put her down and she can follow slowly behind. Eating on the other hand has become sort of frustrating. She doesn’t want to be spoon feed, but she is so picky about what she will eat. I am constantly afraid she is not getting enough vegetables. The only thing I can do is continue to put an array of choices on her tray and hope some of it makes it in.

Did your little ones become picky? Do you have any tips on how to get them to start eating what you give them? I would love to hear any eating tips you have for this age. If your little one is still 10-11 months are you still feeding purees?

On Rowan’s tray there are peas, carrots, shredded cheese, and some little bbq (vegan) rib bits.

  1. Jessica •

    My daughter is just about a month younger than Rowan. She is still purely on purees. She just doesn’t swallow very well at all with solid foods. We’ve tried cheerios, those puff thingys that dissolve and Baby Mum-Mums, but she chokes and vomits on it all. She may not be following the “normal” schedule on eating (or anything else really – she still isn’t crawling), but since this is our second child we’ve been a lot more understanding about the “every child is different” school of thought.

    Kids — and babies — change their food preferences so often that I wouldn’t worry at all about her pickiness right now. My six year old son ate only Mac and Cheese during the fifth year of his life and he’s doing just fine. πŸ™‚

  2. My son is about two weeks younger than your daughter and he went through that picky phase really early (back in May). Now we have found a good set up….we start with some cherrios and then give small bits from what we are eating and since i was also worried that he wasn’t getting enough food, now I offer some of the Plum Organics in the food pouches. He sucks it out and loves to do that…and it has a good mix of fruits and veggies. I wouldn’t be too worried though, because I’m sure most of the nutrients are still coming out of breastfeeding/formula. She will get better at feeding herself and you will start to find more and more that you can feed her!

  3. UGH Yes! I have had the hardest time with my daughter (now 16 months) and it started right around 10 and 11 months.

    I wrote this blog about being so frustrated:


    It’s still a daily struggle but the biggest takeaway I got from other moms is to keep it simple, which it looks like you’re doing.

    Cut-up sweet potato and butternut squash always seem to work with my baby and, oddly, green beans straight out the can. She also likes edamame.

    I also tried several recipes from Jessica Seinfeld’s cookbook, which sneaks in fruit and veggie purees to thinks like muffins, which Tessa loves and are portable. Oh and those purees packets that they can squeeze into their own mouths! Tessa loves those because she can feed them to herself.

    I know it’s so hard but you’re doing a great job, Jen. She is so precious and happy.

  4. Oh Rowan, you are too cute for words.

  5. Gillian •

    My little girl will be a year on Friday (gasp!). I have been trying to transition her from purees to table food for the past couple of months and it has been frustrating to say the least! She would eat bread, crackers, pasta, cheese etc on her own for every meal if I let her (basically she loves her carbs and cheese….just like her Mama), but she will only eat veggies and fruit in pureed form (or quite mashed.)

    Like you I give her a variety of food on her tray and hope she’ll eat some of it and then I top up every meal with something spoon fed. I think you’re totally doing the right thing…they’ll get there on their own time. One thing I consistently read on the topic is that babies will always eat when they’re hungry so as long as you give them healthy options you’re all good!

    Rowan is gorgeous! Love your blog!!!

  6. Just keep trying! I find that Hendrix will go through phases when he is more picky than others. If he turns his nose up at something I dont take it as a sign that he doesn’t like it but more that he just doesn’t want it then. 9 times outta 10 if i offer that same food at another time he will eat it.
    Try lots of dips! Its messy but they like it.

    My son is a vegetarian (well, sort of he eats fish) and we feed him things that most parents would never dream feed their kids. Just keep at it and dont get frustrated!
    I find that if I have the same thing as him he is more likely to eat it AND i usually try to keep his options limited. If he has three different things on his plate it seems to mess with him for some reason. Ive heard other moms complain about this. A lot of times ill serve him broccoli first THEN his BBQ tofu cause i know he likes the tofu better and once its out there he wont eat the broc but demand more tofu.

    Good luck!

  7. This may sound weird, but we used to give our girls courses of food when they were younger. We’d give them a vegetable, then a fruit, then a meat (or in your case – whatever protein you’re eating) and then another vegetable. When the were first feeding themselves, it was like they got too overwhelmed with all the food in front of them. The courses really worked for us.

  8. Oh, I remember those days, and now that my daughter is 18 months old, it’s still the same! I am always worrying about if she gets enough veggies throughout the day…don’t want her to get stopped up, if you know what I mean πŸ˜‰
    The best thing I’ve found are those pouches of baby food puree in yummy combos like pea, pear and spinach or sweet potato, apple and banana. Theres a full serving of fruits and veggies in each one and they’re big enough to feed them to her either half at lunch and the rest for dinner or just save it for the next day. Easy to transport and get this, now she can do it herself! Theres a little nozzle on the top she just sucks it out of. She’s getting her veggies while still feeling independent!
    My local grocery store doesn’t carry them but I’ve found them at Target and they’re organic! Try them!

  9. I’m stymied with the same problem. Every time I think Rowan can’t get any cuter, she does!!

  10. I like things like the Sassy Teething Feeder. You can load them up with any veggies or fruits and let them go to town on it by themselves. Without worrying about choking on big chunks too!

  11. They are always changing their food preferences. Think about it, even us as adults are sometimes not in the mood for certain foods. Some of it is just being stubborn and wanting to do what they want as all kids and people are like, and some of it is just maybe she’s not feeling it or maybe not hungry. At this age she is still probably getting enough nutrients from her formula and vitamins.

    The best thing you can do at this age is continue to offer her healthy things at every meal. It gets easier when they get older because you can use the old “if you don’t eat this you don’t get dessert thing” (which doesn’t always work either.) I tend to feel like we worry about SO many things as parents and they always turn out fine. The fact that you’re trying and feeding her healthy options is more than enough that you can do. If that’s not good enough you can try fruit and veggie smoothies or hiding the food. I don’t buy into that so much. I think by hiding the food in a brownie or something suggests that it’s something bad. I try to teach my kids that veggies and other healthy foods are yummy not something we should hide. But hey, whatever works.

    Oh and I try to remember that their stomach is only like the size of their fist right, so maybe she’ll eat and drink a little and already be full. Anthony doesnt eat a lot but then he’ll go through a growth spurt and eat like a man!

  12. And aw, is that a little skinned knee, Love you Rowan! xo

  13. My little guy started to get especially picky around 14 months of age – exactly when he started walking. When I talked to my doctor about it he said it was totally normal and would probably last for quite awhile. The doc said that once walking that’s all they want to do! They’d rather be out and about exploring than eating. At 2 1/2 I’m still battling my little guy to eat. Some nights he adores mac n cheese, other nights he spits it out. It’s totally baffling.

    For lunch I used to give him a bento box type meal (ice cube trays work great!) that had a variety of snacks. A section of cheese cubes, shredded carrots, yogurt, grapes, slices of turkey, pretzels, etc. I only did this for lunch because it got difficult to arrange at dinner when cooking and serving for the hubby and I is more time consuming. I also wanted my little guy to try and eat the “normal” dinner food hubby and I were eating.

    And I still give him purees! When he’s being especially picky I usually cave and give him have one of the Happy Baby organic veggie mix pouches that I keep on hand and let him eat it right out of the container (http://shop.happybabyfood.com/our-products/happybaby-pouches-1.html). They work great because the little guy thinks they are a treat more than a meal and they are loaded with lots of vitamins and goodness.

  14. I’ve read in a few places that babies get really fussy around the 9-10mth stage & if they’re still on puree’s it can be really hard to get them to move into tougher food. I adopted a more relaxed way of feeding my girl Isobel (she’s 9mths) when she was 7mths. I went for more baby led weaning & started out with toast & other things. Once I got over the choking aspect (gagging is their way of not choking!) we never looked back. I always offer veges first & then offer the sweeter fruit & yogurt & other things after. I don’t ever force her, it won’t work & I think that does more damage than good as they’ll start to associate veges or healthy food with “angry mum shoving food into me” & probably resist it more. I’d just keep on doing what you’re doing, offer them several times a day & make it FUN!

  15. Oh & Rowan defintely looks healthy too me so I wouldn’t worry about her food intake!

  16. Yeah, tough one..(BUT darling Rowan as always!!!!)
    Levi (14 months now,) is still going through that. We still try to slip some pureed food in for the nutrition when we can. Even if he seems like he is refusing it, we bring it back up now and then as he will sometimes be “in the mood.”

    Dave is a genius at giving one scoop of something yummy (yogurt being a fave,) then slipping in something more healthy but not as tasteyÒ€¦
    Levi started loving to feed himself mini pbj’sÒ€¦beans, and some berries. Other wise, I just hang on because in a few more months it gets easier. I promise!
    This is one part of the 1yr. old stage that has always been tough though.
    You’re doing great!!!

  17. Sorry, almost forgot! Smoothies in a sippy cup! Blend them until very smooth, and that way you can slip in all sorts of healthy stuff! Levi loves em! πŸ™‚

  18. I cook my baby’s veggies in tomato pasta sauce and she loves them that way! I think she gets bored of just plain veggies, so some sauce or seasoning helps. πŸ™‚

  19. we ran into that same issue with natalie at around 11 months. she kept it up for a while, refusing any “obvious” vegetables. we snuck them in through tomato sauces (add peas, carrots, beans, and puree with tomato sauce over pasta), quiche, veggie & egg scrambles, cauliflower puree in mac&cheese, and a few other dishes. our pediatrician told us that as long as we offered a wide variety of choices, and as long as either fruits OR vegetables are making their way in, your kid will end up with enough nutrients through this phase. she assured us that babies will eat what they need when food isn’t pushed on them, so not to make a big deal over it. it seemed to work for us, now natalie is much better about getting those veggies in. good luck, i know it can be so frustrating!

  20. my daughter (26 months now) is still a picky eater. It’s funny how much babies/toddlers like routines and what they are used to. They don’t like stepping out of the box much. I am going to tell you what my mom told me. Keep trying. offer it over and over and make her meals colorful and fun nothing stressful. It has what has been working so far. When I finally relaxed and realized that she will eat when she’s hungry and not freaking out that she wasn’t eating (I had a few meltdowns because she looked like she lost so much weight) everything picked up.

    granted I had to get crafty with her favorite meals, she eats a lot more and is slowly trying new things, but still very very picky.

  21. Martine •

    My daughter is 11 months and we’ve been going through the same thing. As a couple of previous commenters have said the pouches with the fruit and veggie mixes are really handy and my daughter loves that she can feed herself with them. The HappyBaby ones I really like because there is also a grain mixed in with the fruits and veggies. I thought she was done with oatmeal for awhile because she was always refusing it, but I gave it a rest for a couple weeks and she was happy to have it again when I reintroduced it. I think variety is key, that and cheerios, they never seem to fail at least not yet. Rowan is adorable and my daughter was wearing that cute little dress/romper the other day, great taste!

  22. I am around 12-16 month olds every single day! when my little students were the same age as beautiful Rowan we had parents worried about their food intake as well! babies are just becoming way too picky nowadays its a fact among their generation πŸ˜› be patient VERY patient and just keep on offering her different options, thats all there is to it! it can get frustrating, but eventually you will find food she loves πŸ™‚

  23. A a family friend of mine mentioned that she freezes bananas and then tricks her kids into thinking they’re ice cream (they’re not allowed to see her ‘scoop out’ the ice cream). Probably not useful now (too cold for an infant?) but I will definitely be ‘tricking’ my future kids with this πŸ™‚

  24. Molly E. Scott •

    They say you have to let kids taste food twenty times before the decide if they like it. So just keep doing what you are doing and you will be fine. I am nanny of four which I have raised all them since they were babies. They have all had pick moments ,but they are great eaters now and healthy. we all have moments of second guessing and really that just means you love her so much are welling to do anything for her. She is the luckiest little girl and her eating habits well go back to normal. Good luck πŸ™‚

  25. My 11 month old who will be 12 months in a few days is hesitant to eat anything green which is inconvenient because we are vegan so she needs to eat her green veggies. We also did baby let weaning so she has only ever fed herself so when we are eating messy foods for dinner and want to help her she is all confused and mad so we just accept the mess and know the yogurt or lentil soup will mostly end up on the tray and her face because she isn’t used to using the spoon yet. I try to feed her pick-up-able foods like croquettes, nuggets, and “____ bites” Most of those things are easy to make chock full of veggies and she will totally eat them in stuff without thinking about it. I blame asparagus she is not a fan and hasn’t happily eaten green veggies since we first gave it to her. She used to love broccoli.

  26. My little guy is going on 10 months, he eats pretty much anything I give him BUT if I try to help him at all he drops his hands and all of a sudden he’s completely helpless. I worry that he’s too much the opposite of Rowan πŸ˜€

  27. What a cutie patootie! Rowan’s chubby little cheeks must mean you are doing a great job!!! You got a lot of good advice here, some of which I might have to store away for myself. I’m also doing Baby Led Weaning. What helps for us is cutting everything up in a French fry shape (veggies and fruits), offering one piece of food at a time, and having me eat/drink first and then casually offering some for her. Whenever she gets really stubborn though, I just end the meal. No need for both us to go crazy!

  28. Keep in mind that she doesn’t need to eat a balanced diet in the course of one meal. Think of what she eats over the whole day or even over the whole week. As long as you’re offering her a variety of healthy things to choose from (and it sounds like you are), then she’ll probably naturally balance it, just maybe over the course of a few days, rather than at each sitting.

  29. Hey Jen,
    We have a similar issue over here! Amelia is 11 months (and counting!) and for a few months now has decided that she does not like purees (or being spoon-fed, I’m not sure which.) I was so excited about making baby food, too!

    So now, we are in the difficult process of trying to provide her with a variety of healthy, mushy-but-graspable solid foods at every meal. And she can be really picky about what we give her – or only eats really really small amounts. Our pediatrician assured me that as long as she is gaining weight and still on a mainly breastmilk diet that she is getting what she needs nutritionally.

    Basically, I just wanted to say – hang in there! It took Amelia a bunch of different tries of the same foods before she really got into some of them. And our pediatrician told us, and so have many other people, that when she needs more solid food in her diet, she will eat it!

    Our favorite finger foods so far: nectarines (we give her a whole slice and she holds the skin while scraping off the fruit – this terrified me at first, but she is really very good at eating them this way), watermelon cubes, coarsely shredded cheese, blueberry halves, avocado slices, banana slices, cooked and very slightly mushed black beans, brown rice, cut up pieces of pasta, steamed broccoli florets broken up into really small pieces. We have been really successful with a combination of cooked spinach, cheese, and pasta – she likes the flavor of the cheese, and will eat lots of spinach with it!

    You know what else? Lately, she’s been letting me feed her small bites of what I am eating with a fork or spoon if I am holding her. It’s frustrating, because I’d like her to sit in the high chair, but at the same time it gives me a chance to get her to try something new. I think she likes that I am sharing with her, as opposed to “feeding” her. πŸ™‚

  30. when i used to baby sit kids rowans age i find they like really mushy stuff like avocado and apple sauce and then mush things like peas, cheerios and others into them. it sounds really gross but they seem to eat it more because they like how it feels on there hands and month.

  31. Rowan is so precious, Jen! My second little one is almost 14 months and we go in stages. He’s a little animal most days, eating anything and everything. And then there are the days where it goes in and right back out. It’s totally normal. She’s developing her tastes and preferences right now, but they change almost daily. If I am having trouble getting some broccoli down or I just want to control the intake, I find that singing a song distracts him enough to get the bites in quickly. Good luck!

  32. Rowan has grown up so much, she really looks like a little girl now. And a very pretty one!

  33. Michelle •

    Our little girl (now 2-and-a-half) became fussy around that age, too. I would slave over pots and pots of different soft-boiled veggies hoping she’d eat one of them. I worried a lot about her not getting enough veggies/nutrients. Then I read somewhere that it helps if you think in terms of a balanced week of food as opposed to a balanced day. This helped me feel better because it was true that some days our baby just wasn’t into carrots or sweet potatoes or avacados…but other days she’d eat all three. Also, on days I couldn’t keep my worrying at bay, I’d grate loads of carrots and zucchini into a whole-wheat muffin batter and sweeten them with apple sauce. That way she was eating her veggies happily and I felt a whole lot better (and sneaky!).

  34. Melissa •

    JD LOVES food but when it comes to veggies he doesn’t always cooperate. We let him self-feed pretty much everything other than yogurt. He tends to be a stuffer so if he isn’t eating the veggies, I put a food he likes with it and he scoops everything up at once. For lunch he wasn’t eating his carrots so I made a grilled cheese and put little pieces in eighths carrots and he ate it all. I’ve also cooked peas in with pasta or mac and cheese so whatever sauce i’m using helps flavor the veggies more. It is true that you need to present a food up to 14 times for some kids before they try it. Pureed food isn’t a bad thing but you want to move away from it so she can get used to all the different textures and so her mouth can develop appropriate muscles for chewing that purees don’t require her to develop. So offering solids and purees is a good idea and slowly decrease the purees as you feel she is ready. I’d try muffins, cookie, pancakes, etc with pureed veggies if you want to get extra veggies in!

  35. She’s so cute!!
    Kingston was and still is a picky eater. I used to worry a ton, still worry but not as much. Some kids are just picky, even though I force him to eat certain things (by force I mean bribe or plead).
    Our paediatrician told me to look at nutrition with kids by the week rather then by the day like we do with adults. And if they don’t like veggies give more fruit as along as they get one they are sure to be good.
    And I hide veggies everywhere, sometimes still puree and hide in foods (Jessica Seinfeld style). Also I started when he was Rowans age so now he thinks things like mac and cheese are supposed to have green peas and corn and have a slight cauliflower flavour to them. πŸ˜‰
    I’m sure she’s getting lots of everything the little stinker! πŸ™‚

  36. The best thing we found with feeding our twins (now 14 1/2 months), was to feed them dinner off our own plates. We feed them whatever we’re eating, using the same spoon or fork we are eating off of, and the girls will eat almost anything.

    For lunch, I use their small baby forks and stab pieces of fruits and veggies (beets, peaches, mango, and chickpeas have been recent favorites). Then I hand the fork to the girls and they put it in their mouths. This way they have control. They got much more adventurous when we started doing this.

    Good luck with little Rowan!

  37. i’m adding more and more texture to g and q’s food all the time. i actually never went too super-smooth even at the beginning b/c i had read that can lead to pickiness (we only did really smooth purees for about a month). so far it’s served me well, but for the last week q has decided he’s not so sure about texture. i’ll give him a bite of something and he’ll stick his tongue out and scrape off the bigger bits of whatever he’s eating. it’s cute and annoying all at the same time (i have to work REALLY hard not to laugh). we haven’t started weaning yet, so right now i offer one option at dinner and if they don’t like it, i take it away instead of forcing it and them (and me!) getting frustrated. i know once we’re totally off formula, i won’t have that option, though so i’ll have to start having some easy back-ups on hand. that said, one thing i’ve LOVED about doing the super baby food diet with them is that it’s designed to give them something like 75% of their daily requirements just through breakfast (super porridge) and lunch (yogurt-based meal). it’s a huge relief to know that if they don’t eat a good dinner, it’s no big deal. seth and i can just focus on having a meal together and the lads can pick at their foods as they choose.

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