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My daughter is 14 months old and I feel like she's the world fussiest eater!!

It's really getting to me now as I'm imagining a 2 year old still eating baby food :(

Basically she'll eat crisps, crackers, biscuits, cookies, raspberries, garlic bread, yogurts, weetabix, porridge and rusks and similar things but not in a vast amount and only if she wants. However most things other things she pushes out with her tongue. She's much better if she's feeding herself, but I feel like I'm hitting a brick wall and I don't know what to do.

Any suggestions would help as at the moment she still has a pouch of baby food before solid food for tea.

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I strongly suggest that you reverse the feeding order:
What motivation is there to struggle with something new (many babies are hesitant to try new tastes or textures), if she's already (semi-)full?

In general, following Ellyn Sattler's "Division of Responsibility" is a viable approach, meaning at your stage you offer the food you deem appropriate, she chooses whether she eats them.

Offer solids before the usual baby bottle (if a bottle is given at all). If she prefers feeding herself - good for you. Let her experience the foods taste, smell, texture, mouthfeel....

Remember that accepting new foods can take quite a while for some babies, so keep offering.

And one final word of advice re. timing: a hungry baby will be more willing to eat whatever is offered, a ravenous baby won't have the patience for eating "strange stuff" that comes on a spoon or to fiddle with tiny pieces that need picking up, chewing and swallowing.

Don't worry or fuss if some days she eats "too little", a healthy baby won't starve itself. Appetite fluctuates and so unless she's extremely small or lightweight (your pediatrician would have told you so), she will be fine.

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Stephie is right, reverse the feeding order. Hunger is powerful. Keep the pouch and other favored items out of sight and start with the more solid stuff first. To be honest I wouldn't worry about it too much, but if you want to play hardball, make it seem like there's nothing else. Make feeding time over, and come back to it in 10mins. (10min is an eternity for these little ones).

Mine is quite fussy too. I have gotten him to eat quite a variety of things though by making it a game. Here's a few ideas:

  1. Take a lemon, lime, pickle and that sort of face puckering tasting stuff. Put it to your own tong and make a face, do it again. Then offer it briefly, but at a distance (the idea is make it known as available to try, but not pushy). Taste it again yourself, repeat. My guy soon wants to play and starts to enjoy the thrill of pucker tastes and the fun of making faces.

  2. Do the same with biting, pretend bite some food (i.e, tiny meatball pieces) and at first no need to actually eat it; just touching it to your teeth. Baby will soon imitate and you will gain trust by not actually putting it in her mouth before she's ready. She will become comfortable with the new smell being close and will eat it before you know it. Put the food in her hand and will eventually take it

  3. Teach her to smell things, put things to your nose and make obvious smelling sounds. The fun of smelling is going to outweigh the actual smell. Ultimately broadens the taste palette, so less stuff will taste disgusting.

  4. Eat the same as your baby. Have your baby watch you eat, and offer your own food every few bites. Eat with a bit of eagerness, 2-3 quick bites and then "Mmmmm" sounds while chewing. Repeat and offer occasionally. (Take small bites so you don't fill up!)

  5. Keep trying different foods. You might be surprised what they like. My guy will eat unsweetened oatmeal, no problem. Raisins and bananas are the only fruit he'll eat, no apples, no oranges, no strawberries, no melons. After 6 months of trying grapes he's just starting to like them. He's 21months, it takes time.

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It sounds to me like a textural/sensory issue, but very normal. We've had good results with fruit. Babies seem to just love fruit. There is a wide variety of textures when it comes to fruit. Apples are more solid, bananas are soft. Oranges are juicy and stringy. Star fruit has a very unique texture. Just try all sorts of fruit. If you find a fruit that he doesn't like, it's probably the texture and not the flavor. In that case, make a fruit salad that combines the fruits he does like and some of the textures he does not like. Add some cinnamon and a little lime juice so that everything tastes basically the same. I've never seen a kid that doesn't like fruit salad that include watermelon.

Breads are also a good way to incrementally modify the texture. You can start with very soft white breads. Then move to chewier whole grains, and then end up with crunchy croutons. Just tell them it's "bread". Their teeth are sensitive so biting and crunching is a very strong sensation for them.

Babies start off loving fat (e.g. Mom's milk). Next they crave sugar/carbs (e.g. cookies, biscuits, fruit, bread). After that they start liking salty stuff. The trick is to provide a wide variety of textures for each of those cravings.

Almonds are also a good nut to start with. They crunchy and high in protein so it satisfies their protein need but tests their texture issues. Some parents are worried about allergies, so you have to decide for yourself.

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    Almonds for a 14 month old baby are a choking hazard, right? – Stephie Jan 19 '16 at 21:56
  • Your recipe for fruit salad with cinnamon and lime would have sent mine running for the hills. While you claim to have never seen a child that dislikes fruit salad with watermelon, I have at least one here... Just my personal experience. – Stephie Jan 19 '16 at 22:07
  • "Their teeth are sensitive..." Can you cite a source for this statement? – anongoodnurse Jan 20 '16 at 6:02

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