This is a bit contested these days, however more parents are leading towards skipping cereals altogether. My doctor said that we could skip cereal if we like, but the add iron that they provide is a benefit. Oliver didn't seem too thrilled with the rice cereal that we gave him, and he had bad spit up every time we gave him cereal by itself. If your baby rejects the cereal you may want to just skip right to fruits and vegetables. You can read a few articles on the "cereal debate"here and here.
2. Try mixing cereals with fruits or vegetables
Although babies do absorb iron from breastmilk and most formulas, as they become more mobile their need for iron increases. Most baby cereals are iron-fortified and can help supplement the need for more iron before meats are introduced into the diet. If you want to use cereals but your baby doesn't like them plain, try adding them to fruit and vegetable purees. I add Beech-Nut Oatmeal cereal to all of Oliver's food and he hasn't had a problem.
3. If Baby doesn't like a food the first time, try again another day
One of the biggest ways to create a picky eater is by letting them reject food before they have tried it multiple times. Oliver hasn't had this problem yet, but my mom told me that I did as a child. If your baby doesn't like carrots the first time, don't cross them off their food list. Simply try again a few days later.
This was one that I really struggled with. I wanted Oliver to eat in his high chair and only in his high chair. However, somedays he was hungry but was not up to holding himself up in his chair. It made meal time so difficult. He would throw himself all around in the chair and make a huge mess. I learned that I would rather him have a full belly then stick with my parenting guns. Somedays I let him sit on my lap and feed him or have him sit in his Bumbo seat.
5. If Baby shows an aversion to the spoon, let them play with and chew on it
Oliver loves playing with his spoon. Not only will this help him when he learns to use a spoon himself, but it makes a weird object traveling into his mouth for the first time less scary. About 2 weeks before I started solids, I let Oliver start playing with his spoon occasionally. He would chew on it and hold on to it for dear life! When I started spoon feeding him, he had no problems.
6. Try a transition feeder to enhance coordination
If your baby is showing interest in feeding themselves, but A. can't hold a spoon properly or B. you don't want to give them handheld foods yet, you can try a transition feeder. We have the Maxx Elite King Nutritional Feeder and Oliver loves it *we received this product free of charge for our honest opinions* .
Oliver wasn't so keen on his highchair in the beginning. We fixed this by making it a fun place for him. Before or after meals I put his piano or toys on the tray and let him play. Now he doesn't mind sitting in there for extended periods of time.
8. Let baby finger paint with their food
This is my favorite activity for Oliver and is great for a baby that is hesitant about solid foods. I dump a little bit of food on his tray and let him play with it. He gets it all over his hands and then sucks on his fingers, thus trying new foods at his own speed. This would be a great tool if you have a picky eater.
9. Invest in large bibs!
Cute little drool bibs will not cut it if you want your baby's clothes to stay even remotely clean! I like the Plastic bibs with the food catcher or large cloth ones with a plastic back. Get the largest ones you can find!!
10. Make your own baby food
This one is just my bias opinion! I wrote about our baby food processor earlier and am a huge advocate of homemade baby food. Forget all of the health and safety reasons behind it, it is WAY cheaper!!
1 squash can make 15 feedings worth of food. I make extras and store them in these awesome food storage containers. They are so convenient for storing individual servings of food and defrosting them.
*we received this product free for our honest review*
What are you favorite tricks for a peaceful meal?