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Why won’t baby eat?

7 common baby feeding problems

Baby feeding problems can range from effortless posseting to the smearing of lovingly puréed food. However, whether feeding issues are the result of an infant with an independent streak, food allergies, or a fussy baby, there's a way to deal with them.

Parents are bound to worry about whether their child is getting enough food if they refuse to eat sometimes.

However, the NHS reassures mums and dads not to worry too much about one meal, or a day's meals – what they eat over a week matters more.

1. Refusing food

Babies refuse food for many reasons: they may be full, tired, distracted, sick, or sometimes baby's feeding schedule just isn't your feeding timetable. Don't worry, a baby will always eat if he’s hungry. So, if your little one is swatting at the spoon, turning away, or clamping his mouth shut, he’s telling you clearly that he’s had enough for now.

Try to trust that your baby knows how much food he needs and never force-feed your child, which can turn feeding time into fighting time. That said, if a refusal to eat has you worried, you can always talk to your health visitor or GP.

2. Avoiding new foods

Just about every child goes through a period of rejecting new foods. Fortunately, most children grow out of this phase, though it can sometimes take weeks, even months.

Help your baby accept new foods more easily by making sure the new food looks similar to a familiar favourite, for example puréed carrots and puréed sweet potato, or mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes. Then, starting with very small portions, gently offer the new food to your child several times during a meal. If she refuses, don't over-react; just move on to something you know she likes.

3. Fussy eater

It's the lament of many parents - my baby is a fussy eater.

There are many reasons infants may be finicky about food. They may be teething, tired, not yet ready for solids, or just don't need as much food as you're feeding them. Familiar foods provide your baby comfort in stressful, busy times. Although fussy eating may linger awhile, it rarely lasts.

4. Gagging

Most babies are ready for solid foods between four and six months but a few may find solids hard to handle in the beginning. The result? Baby may seem to gag during feedings. The NHS recommends introducing solid foods ( weaning) from around six months of age.

If your baby is having a hard time swallowing solid foods, try putting less food on the spoon. If your baby is still gagging he may not be ready for solids yet. Your doctor can also check for other reasons for persistent gagging.

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