How to Get Your Fussy Eater to Start Eating | Tips untuk Anak Susah Makan

Is your baby a fussy eater? Do you feel stressed when it comes to feeding time? In this article, our founder shares 8 helpful tips from her own experience with her baby who was a fussy eater!

Adakah bayi anda susah makan atau sangat memilih makanan? Adakah masa makan amat susah dan memberi tekanan kepada anda? Pengasas kami berkongsi 8 tips daripada pengalamannya sendiri dengan anaknya yang dulu jenis cerewet makan!


- Versi Bahasa Malaysia di bawah -


I have 2 children and they are the EXACT OPPOSITE of each other when it comes to eating. Today’s story is about one of my sons who was such a picky eater and literally refused to eat almost anything from the day he started solids. Whatever you can think of, he had it.

He wouldn’t eat foods that were too cold.
He wouldn’t eat unfamiliar textures.
He wouldn’t eat his meals if they were too ‘green’.
He wouldn’t eat mushy foods.
He went on food strikes where he would only drink milk for 2 weeks or so. 

Where it had been such a joy cooking and preparing food for his older brother, I would wake up every day, dreading the time to feed my younger baby, because it always made me feel like a lousy mother.

Sounds familiar? If your baby is like that, I absolutely know what you are going through!

Finally, after this had been going on for many months, I shook myself up and told myself to stop sidestepping this topic. I HAD TO FACE IT. 

I devised a plan and outlined the things I would do with regards to my baby’s feeding. It wasn’t some magic approach. It was merely me being more DISCIPLINED and CONSISTENT in my approach. To my surprise, things started getting better! My baby actually started to look forward to meal times, and within a week, he was regularly finishing his lunch and dinner, with great enthusiasm! 

If you have a picky eater, do try this out! 


1. A little milk before mealtimes is alright

All the baby feeding articles will tell you not to feed baby any milk before mealtimes because if baby’s full, he/she is less likely to accept solids. 

In my baby’s case, he had already started to develop an aversion to eating, and he would get extremely cranky when I refused to breastfeed him at mealtimes. It got to the point where he would work himself into a fit and would demand for nothing but milk! After that, no matter who or what solids we tried to feed him, he would reject them all. 

At this point, I realised that I had to stop this vicious cycle. I decided to start afresh and reintroduce the concept of solids to him all over again. So once he woke up from his morning nap around 11am, I would feed him from one side of the breast, to keep him in a good mood. (Not both sides, just one side.) Then around 11.30am, I’d give him his solids. He gradually realised that nobody was going to take away his Mummy’s milk from him, and began welcoming mealtimes! 


2. Mummy needs to loosen up and relax

I soon realised that I was making mealtimes an ordeal for my baby. Firstly, I was very strict about him sitting in the baby chair for meals because I wanted to promote good habits and so I’d force him into his baby chair even though he would be wailing and struggling. Secondly, I was probably getting a little stressed out because of his aversion to eating. As they say, babies are very attuned to their mothers which was probably why as time went by, my baby started to dislike mealtimes more and more.

Finally, I decided: FORGET THE BABY CHAIR!!! I’ll just make feeding fun!

I started bringing over his food and giving it to him wherever he was! It actually turned out pretty effective; perhaps thanks to the distraction of his toys or the more relaxed way of feeding!  

These days, my baby is back to his baby chair because he willingly sits in during mealtimes. Occasionally, he demands to go down and I have learnt not to be uptight about it. 


3. Try returning to puree

    My older boy graduated from puree to porridge at the age of 9 months. I adopted the same approach with his younger brother and things started going downward from thereon. As it was, he wasn’t doing great with puree. He had days where he would eat everything and days where he wouldn’t touch it. The moment I started introducing non-pureed food a.k.a. porridge, the decline started and finally, he went on a food strike. 

    As I was lamenting my unfortunate situation to my sister one day, she observed, “I think he doesn’t like the texture of his food. Why don’t you give him puree?” 

    “WHAT?” I exclaimed. “He’s already 1 year old! How can he still be on puree?” 

    “Why not?” was the answer. 

    I went back to puree and just like magic, he started eating again!  


    4. Tweak the timing

    I’d been feeding baby his meals around the same time as the adults ate, which were 12pm and 6pm. After I made up my mind to really address his feeding problem, it occurred to me that…

    …perhaps the timing wasn’t ideal,
    …perhaps he was grouchy because he was overly hungry. And when you get a cranky baby, the baby is less likely to be adventurous and more likely to fall back into his comfort zone of milk.

    I decided to try moving his mealtimes to 11am and 5pm. 

    It worked out well and after continuous tweaking and adjusting of everyone’s routines in the house, my baby’s regular mealtimes these days are somewhere around 11.30am and 5.30pm. 


    5. Don’t overdo the veggies

      I can’t help it. I have anxious Mummy syndrome: that syndrome where I want my kids to love eating greens. Well, I soon found out that if I decided to overdose on my anxious Mummy syndrome and include extra green veggies into baby’s puree for the day, my plan would backfire and he’d refuse to finish his meals. 

      Moderation is key. There are, after all, many meals in a day, and snacking on the right sort of snacks can make up for lesser veggies in the main meals. ;) 


      6. When introducing new things, do it consistently

        My older son eats oats for breakfast every day and I tried to feed his younger brother oatmeal too, but he would have none of it. Every day, he would simply spit it out in disgust. Nevertheless, I tried to introduce it every 2 to 3 days without forcing him to actually eat it and finally after one month, he started to eat 2 to 3 tablespoons of oats for breakfast. 

        After about 3 months, my baby demands to eat oatmeal whenever he sees it! 


        7. It’s okay to serve the same thing again and again

        I have always been a strong advocate of a varied diet in order to ensure that my kids and the family consume different types of nutrients from different foods.

        However, when my second child proved to be a picky eater, I realised that I couldn’t argue with the logic that:

        If you don’t eat, you don’t even have a chance to get any nutrients.

        That’s when I started documenting my younger baby’s “successes”. If he liked today’s porridge, I would repeat it the next day, and the following day and sometimes even for a fourth day. Remember, no variety is better than no eating.


        8. Familiarity breeds comfort and confidence

          I’ve realised that generally, babies are not particularly adventurous and repetition actually gives them comfort. (My older son is the exception to this rule because he’s very keen to try new foods.) So, if you have a fussy eater, don’t bombard them with an assortment of foods throughout the week. Instead, focus on the successes and keep serving them the same thing until they’re more receptive to solids. Then, you can try to bring in a new food. 

          This was one of the mistakes I made in my initial months of feeding. I kept introducing new foods every single day because I thought that my baby didn’t like what I cooked today so I’d cook him something new the next day. I tried Asian, Western and fusion; from porridge to fruits, to omelettes, to rice. 

          On hindsight, I think that that was really what put him off solids. It was only when I started giving him the same puree every day that he became more receptive to solids, and eventually very enthusiastic at mealtimes. If you were to see him eating now, you’d never know that he is actually a really picky eater and the frustration I went through! 

          I hope you may be able to use some of these tips for your baby and good luck in your feeding journey! 


          Adakah anda tahu peribahasa rambut sama hitam, hati masing-masing? Begitulah demikian dengan anak sulung dan anak bongsu saya mengenai tabiat makan. Cerita hari ini adalah mengenai anak bongsu saya yang jenis cerewet makan dan memang tidak suka makan semenjak hari pertama bermula makan.

          Dia tidak suka makanan yang sejuk.
          Dia tidak suka tekstur makanan yang dia tidak pernah cuba.
          Dia tidak makanan yang terlalu ‘hijau’.
          Dia tidak suka makanan yang terlalu lenyek.
          Kadang kala, dia akan mogok dan hanya akan minum susu selama 2 minggu berturut-turut.

          Bila tiba masa untuk memasak, saya akan cemas kerana bimbang dia tidak mahu makan lagi hari ini. Sekiranya anak anda jenis susah makan, saya faham perasaan anda!

          Selepas beberapa bulan, suatu hari, saya berkata kepada diri sendiri bahawa saya tidak dapat mengelakkan masalah ini lagi. Saya perlu berhadapan dengan topik yang susah ini.

          Saya pun mula membuat rancangan untuk mengatasi masalah ini. Penyelesaiannya bukan ajaib sangat, tetapi melibatkan DISIPLIN dan KETEKALAN. Saya tidak ada apa-apa harapan yang tinggi, tetapi secara tidak disangka, cara saya berkesan! Dalam masa seminggu, si bongsu itu sudahpun mula makan dan kerap menghabiskan makannya dengan penuh semangat!

          Sekiranya anda mempunyai bayi yang susah nak makan, cubalah ini!


          1. Bagilah sedikit susu sebelum makan

          Semua artikel yang saya baca hasil carian Google mengatakan bahawa pantang sekali bagi bayi susu sebelum makan. Kenapa? Kalau bayi sudah kenyang, dia tidak akan makan!

          Untuk kes saya, anak saya hanya mahu minum susu ibu sahaja sebaik sahaja tibanya masa untuk makan tengah hari. Saya pula enggan bagi dia minum susu kerana mahu menyuap bubur dan keenggannan saya hanya memburukkan mood dia sahaja. Akhirnya, dia akan menangis dan tidak mahu makan apa-apa lagi.

          Saya sedar bahawa saya tak boleh teruskan sebegini, maka saya putuskan untuk bermula dari asas dan memperkenalkan makanan kepada anak saya seperti ini adalah kali pertama. Rutin baru saya ialah untuk bagi dia minum susu ibu (dari sebelah sahaja) setelah dia bangun daripada tidur paginya pada pukul 11 pagi. Selepas 30 minit (pada 11:30 pagi), saya akan bagi dia bubur nasi. Dia mula faham bahawa dia masih dapat minum susu ibu dan lama kelamaan, dia tidak lagi cemas pada waktu makan. Sebaliknya, dia gembira!


          2. Ibu-ibu perlu relaks

          Saya menyedari bahawa sayalah yang menyebabkan waktu makan masa derita untuk si kecil. Pertamanya, saya tegas nak bayi duduk di atas kerusi bayi (baby chair) jadi walaupun dia nangis dan bergelut, saya tetap memaksanya duduk ke dalam kerusi bayi itu. Keduanya, saya makin stres kerana bimbang dia menolak makanan lagi. Bayi amat sensitif kepada perasaan ibu mereka, oleh itu, tekanan yang dirasai saya sebenarnya sedang menjejas bayi saya.

          Akhirnya saya memutuskan untuk RELAKS!!!! Biarlah kalau bayi saya tidak mahu duduk dalam kerusi bayi. Kalau dia berada di ruang tamu, saya suap dia sahaja di ruang tamu. Kalau dia sedang bermain, saya akan suap sahaja sambil main.

          Cara ini berkesan mungkin kerana saya tidak memberi tekanan kepada bayi saya lagi.  


          3. Cuba kembali kepada puree

          Anak sulung saya tidak lagi makan puree selepas umur 9 bulan. Saya cuba menggunakan kaedah yang sama untuk anak bongsu tetapi malangnya, dia terus menolak makanan selepas saya tidak blend lagi makanannya.

          Suatu hari, sewaktu saya mengeluh hal ini kepada kakak saya, dia membalas, “Saya rasa dia tak suka tekstur makanan kasar. Cuba kamu blend lagi makanannya.”

          “APA? Dia sudah berumur setahun. Takkanlah masih nak makan puree!”

          “Mengapa tidak?” jawab kakak saya.

          Saya pun mengambil nasihatnya dan kembali kepada puree. Memang betul kata kakak saya, sebab bayi saya mula makan lagi!


          4. Tukar masa makan

          Biasanya, masa makan anak saya adalah lebih kurang pada jam 12 tengahari dan pukul 6 petang. Setelah saya betul-betul memutuskan untuk menyelesaikan masalah pemakanan si bongsu saya ini, saya terfikir bahawa…

          …mungkin masa makan pukul 12 dan pukul 6 itu kurang sesuai.

          …mungkin mood si anak saya itu kurang baik kerana terlalu lapar. Apabila mood bayi kurang baik, dia tidak akan berminat untuk mencuba apa-apa yang baru, malah hanya ingin kembali ke zon selesa, iaitu minum susu.

          Oleh itu, saya menukar masa makannya kepada pukul 11 pagi dan pukul 5 petang.

          Keputusannya bagus dan saya meneruskan usaha untuk mencari masa makan yang paling baik. Akhirnya, saya mendapati bahawa masa makan yang paling sesuai adalah di sekitar pukul 11:30 pagi dan 5:30 petang.


          5. Jangan keterlaluan bagi sayur hijau

          Saya ingin anak-anak saya makan sayur hijau, tetapi dalam kes si bongsu ini, saya mendapati bahawa sekiranya sayur hijau itu terlalu banyak, dia akan menolak makanannya untuk hari itu. Oleh itu, saya terpaksa mengamalkan kesederhanaan. Saya sentiasa perlu mengingatkan diri bahawa dalam satu hari, anak saya boleh makan banyak kali dan saya berkesempatan menambah sayur ke dalam sneknya juga.


          6. Sekiranya nak intro makanan baru, kena konsisten

          Anak sulung saya suka makan oat untuk sarapan pagi, tetapi adiknya pula tidak suka oats. Dia akan muntah keluar setiap kali saya cuba hidangkan oat. Walau bagaimanapun, saya tidak putus asa. Setiap 2-3 hari, saya akan cuba lagi tetapi saya tidak memaksanya makan. Sekiranya dia muntah keluar oat itu, saya akan berhenti dan hidangkan makanan lain.

          Selepas 1 bulan sudah berlalu, si bongsu itu mula menerima oat. Setiap kali, dia akan makan sekurang-kurangnya 2-3 sudu oat. Selepas 3 bulan berlalu pula, sekiranya tiada oat untuk sarapan, dia akan menangis!


          7. Tiada masalah untuk menghidangkan makanan yang sama setiap hari

          Saya selalu menasihati ibu bapa menghidangkan pelbagai jenis makanan kepada si kecil untuk memastikan bahawa si kecil berpeluang mendapatkan nutrien yang berlainan. Tetapi nasihat ini langsung tidak berkesan untuk si bongsu saya yang susah makan.

          Sekiranya tak makan, apa-apa nutrien pun tak akan dapat.

          Oleh itu, saya mula menyimpan diari makanan. Sekiranya makanan untuk hari itu berjaya dihabiskan, saya akan menghidangkan makanan yang sama pada keesokan harinya, lusa dan kadang-kadang untuk hari keempat berterusan. Ingat, makanan yang sama setiap hari adalah lebih baik daripada langsung tidak lalu makan.  


          8. Keselesaan dan keyakinan perlu dipupuk

          Setelah adanya anak bongsu saya, saya mula sedar bahawa secara umumnya, bayi lebih selesa dengan pengulangan dalam kehidupan mereka. (Anak sulung saya memang lain jenis kerana dia sangat berminat untuk mencuba makanan baru setiap hari.) Oleh itu, sekiranya anak anda adalah jenis susah makan, jangan asyik bagi dia cuba makanan baru setiap hari. Sebaliknya, fokus kepada kejayaan anda dan ulangkan makanan yang dia suka sehingga mereka lebih biasa dengan idea makanan pejal. Selepas itu, barulah anda boleh cuba intro makanan baru.

          Ini adalah antara kesilapan yang saya lakukan dalam bulan-bulan awal apabila si bongsu saya mula makan. Setiap hari saya akan intro makanan baru kerana dia asyik menolak makanan. Saya cuba pelbagai menu daripada masakan Asia kepada masakan ala Barat seperti bubur, buah-buahan, telur dadar ala Barat dan nasi!

          Bila saya kaji balik, saya rasa bahawa inilah kesilapan besar yang dilakukan oleh saya. Daripada pemerhatian saya, anak saya hanya mula menerima makanan apabila saya memberinya makanan puree yang sama setiap hari.

          Sekiranya anda dapat melihat cara dia makan sekarang, rasanya anda tidak akan mengesyaki bahawa dia ialah jenis susah makan pada suatu masa dahulu!


          Saya berharap bahawa tips saya berkongsi di sini berguna kepada ibu-ibu yang ada anak jenis susah makan. Semoga berjaya!