Expect that one day he/she could just wake up and suddenly be a fussy eater!
I was one of those people who relished in the fact that my baby ate everything. I wouldn’t call it boasting, but I was certainly delighed about it. He was a great little grubber and he didn’t waste a single bit. It could only get better, right?
Wrong. People said to me to expect that one day he could just wake up and suddenly be a fussy eater. I politely responded to people that I would be fairly certain that wouldn’t happen for my son. He was like a Dyson, literally hoovering up every morsel of food he could get his hands on. He wasn’t a sleeper, but I felt like food was one of the things that we had gotten right.
It soon became clear to me that I couldn’t have been more wrong. Turns out you can do all the right things and babies can still become very fussy when it comes to food and eating. One day they can be great and the next it’s as though a switch goes off in their brains and they have an aversion to all things meal-related.
My son is 15 months now and we have gotten our heads around the fussiness. He is changing every day now. Some days he is fussier than others. One thing I have grown to learn is that you can never say never when it comes to children. They rule the roost and sometimes you just have to go with the flow and take it day by day.
Here are some of my top tips for dealing with a fussy eater.
- Do what you have to do. Yes it is incredibly annoying when your child suddenly rejects the high chair. Especially when it’s the second one you have purchased. We have started to give our son 80% of his meals while he’s cruising around the kitchen. He is much happier, doesn’t waste any food and is happy to move around and come back for another spoonful every couple of minutes. It’s not ideal, but nobody said it would be easy, did they? He eats his dinner and that’s good enough for me. The alternative is him crying in the high chair and throwing everything on to the floor. More clean up, less food eaten and a stressed out parent and baby. You have to do what works.
- Remember that every day is a new day. My son totally rejected carrots last week. Yesterday he couldn’t get enough of them. Just go with it. Offer a plentiful array of different foods and try to relax.
- Routine might go out the window. I am someone who hates to stray from the “plan”. I have recently realised that sometimes our son wants food at the strangest of times. We have embraced it and it has made a big difference. He might reject his lunch but then chomps down on a banana, crackers and cheese an hour later. They will let you know.
- Put a little extra on your own plate. Did your baby reject their own meal but then hover around you when you are trying to quickly shovel your own food in to your mouth? It is inevitable. I now add some extra meat, veg, rice etc to my plate and you would be surprised at how much he ends up eating. It all adds up.
- Have a supply of foods that you know they love. Sure they cannot live on just grated cheese and blueberries (our son’s favourites) but on those particularly fussy days at least I know he will eat half a punnet of blueberries and a pile of grated cheese. It’s better than nothing.
- Accept defeat sometimes. Our son was terrible at drinking water. I tried every single beaker, cup, bottle and flask. It was adding an enormous amount of stress to my day. Eventually I discovered that he loved a small drop of sugar-free cordial. I have now accepted defeat and I add a small amount of the cordial to his beaker of water and he is drinking plenty of fluids these days.
- Try to find different ways of including fruit and vegetables in to their diet. I discovered that our son loves muffins so now I make carrot and apple muffins with fruit puree to sweeten them. He will happily eat these on the go. The same can be said for making banana pancakes (1 banana, 1 egg, handful of porridge oats). He might reject porridge from a bowl and a banana in it’s whole form, but he will devour these pancakes which are full of goodness.
- Remember that we can often make the issue worse by showing signs of stress and annoyance. Sometimes the saying “least said soonest mended” is very true. I find that if I leave him to it sometimes he will come back and nibble away on the food at his own pace.
- Embrace the mess. Resign yourself to it. It is surprisingly freeing. Oh the mess, can anything really prepare you for it?
- Remember they will not starve. Everyone says it but I’ve come to realise it is true. All of the little bits add up and before you know it they will be eating you out of house and home and you won’t be able to keep up with them. Feast or a famine, eh!
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