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Introducing new foods

Sometimes trying to ensure your baby or toddler eats a healthy range of foods can feel like a challenge, below are some helpful tips to try and help you and your family:

  • Try to make mealtimes fun.  If possible sit down with your child so she doesn't associate meal times with being strapped into a high chair and left. Playing music during mealtimes can create a calm atmosphere and so make things less stressful (for mums as well as children).

  • Don't forget, all toddlers and young children can be very difficult about eating what you want them to eat, when you want them to eat it - don't give up!

  • Experiencing food problems is a normal and common stage of development in pre-school children. One-third of under-5s practise food refusal or selective eating.

  • This is partly because children are experimenting with, or being asked to try new textures and tastes, and partly because they are testing their parents' reactions and seeing what effect their behaviour has. A child may refuse food to get your attention, so try to give attention and praise when your child is eating, to encourage them to repeat that behaviour.

Keep trying

  • The best way to offer children a new food is in very tiny amounts, possibly offering it numerous times. Many parents give up on a new food after offering it once or twice, but it often takes 8-10 times for a child to accept a new taste.

  • Fresh, seasonal, fruit and vegetables tend to be much sweeter and less tough. You should find it much easier introducing food you have grown, or bought from a small local producer than industrially farmed food which has travelled halfway around the world/or country before it has got to you. Compare the taste of a large supermarket tomato and a cherry tomato from your garden, and experience it yourself.