My baby refuses to eat

Choking hazard

Babies starting to eat on their own must be able to master picking up food with their hands and putting it in their mouths. As they grows up and their motor skills improve, they’ll be able to eat small cubes of food. The best way to prevent your baby from choking is to give them chunks they will be able to comfortably manage having in their mouth. "Around six months old, the pieces should be bigger than a baby’s clenched fist,” Griffin says. She proceeds to mention that “food should also be cooked until soft, as it would be before being pureed." Tender or simmered meat, chicken, cooked vegetables and ripe fruits are all recommended choices.

So how do you do it?

First, start by avoiding foods that are too hard, as well as small, round foods. Then, let your baby eat at his or her own pace. Babies are more likely to choke when their parents set the pace instead of letting them eat at their own speed. Parents should be a calming presence as they carefully watch their baby eat.

Once your baby takes to this method, it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for feeding him or her altogether. Babies can still eat foods with a spoon like soup, yogurt, cooked lentils, cereals and shepherd’s pie. The goal isn’t to abandon purees, but to offer your child options he or she didn’t know were available, to better determine what he or she likes.


Cereal can become more interesting by adding grated apples and cinnamon or mixing them with fruits. If your baby still wants nothing to do with cereal, you can wait a bit and try a few weeks later. Griffin says that although cereal is practical, economical and rich in iron, it isn’t some kind of miracle food. "If babies loves cereal, it can make a good breakfast. However, if they refuse, cereals can easily be replaced by other nutritious foods rich in iron," Griffin mentions.

Finally, avoid putting cereal in a bottle. Besides getting in the way of the liquid-solid approach, it isn’t necessary for normal and healthy babies. Griffin says that parents must be attentive to their babies, offer a variety of foods, never force them, be calm and wait for them to eat at their own paces.

Sandra Griffin is a nutritionist who’s been working in hospitals since 2006. She advises pregnant women and young families on her website Maman mange bien.

Image de Anne Costisella

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