12 Ways to Combat Mealtime Fussiness

Mason’s a great eater but occasionally — like this morning at breakfast — getting him to take a bite of food is a slow, painful process that requires careful negotiation. Now that he’s mobile we find there are times when he’d rather play with his toys or explore the apartment than sit in his highchair, even if he’s hungry (in Mason’s perfect world we’d follow him around with a spoon and proffer bites of food as he crawls from toy to toy). To entice him to eat, I rely on a series of silly little diversions. I utilized 1-7 this morning and finally had some luck with a combo of 4 and 6. If your babe can get fussy at mealtime, perhaps one of these little tricks will work for you. Or maybe you already have your own list of go-to tricks. How do you coax your babe to eat?

1. The airplane. Motor noises as Mason’s spoon comes in for a landing in his mouth, an oldie but a goodie.

2. Songs. Itsy Bitsy Spider — complete with hand gestures mimicking rain, the spider, and the sun — followed by the alphabet song and counting 1 to 10 in Spanish. Over and over and over…

3. Foolish faces. I open my mouth super wide and make a loud “Ahhh” noise. Mason laughs, copies mommy, and that spoonful of veggies slides right in.

4. Monkey See, Monkey Do. Mommy eats a bite from Mason’s plate then Mason eats a bite. Repeat until Bug finally eats on his own.

5. Puppets. They’re entertaining, they’re distracting, and they can hold the spoon for him.

6. Books, the kind with wipeable pages. He becomes engrossed in the pictures (and smearing food on the pages) and  absentmindedly eats bite after bite.

7. Sophie. That Parisian giraffe can work miracles.

8. New digs. Taking Mason out of his highchair and strapping him into his rocking chair is sometimes all it takes to renew his interest in dinner.

9. Yogurt mixed with fresh fruit puree — it’s the one thing Mason will almost always eat, even when he’s at his crankiest.

10. A broken calculator. It no longer calculates numbers but it still lights up and the buttons make satisfying clicks. Our gadget guy loves it.

11. The sippy cup. Boy does Mason love to play with it. Maybe one day he’ll even drink from it.

12. The cellphone, Bug’s fave toy and Chris’ last resort. The buttons beep, the screen lights up, Mason gets giddy and will eat whatever we want him to. The caveat: Sticky little fingers destroy Blackberries.

4 thoughts on “12 Ways to Combat Mealtime Fussiness

  1. My son had sippy cup issues too, always playing never drinking until he saw daddy drink out of it. I also sing to him when he is fussy at mealtimes, sometimes I tickle his feet. We gave him a phone that no longer works and he likes it more than the toy phones that light up.

  2. My kiddo likes to feed himself better than me giving him spoonfuls so I cut up things like cucumbers, bread and cheese and let him take charge… then sneak in spoonfuls of other stuff if I need to.

  3. Gina — Sounds like your kiddo is a champ! Mason will feed himself the first several bites of finger food but then he wants us to do all the work:)

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