Updated: Jan 18
Yes, that time has arrived in our house where my child literally is surviving on air. Not because Im not feeding her, she just has decided from what she pops in her mouth to whats left on the plate seems like she hasn't eaten anything. And I say seems. No she not hiding it and consuming later, it just looks like she's not eating .
But she is , she's not living off her buddha belly reserves, she's not losing weight. She is just being very picky and eating what she needs and to us that seems like very little. If you haven't encountered this already in your house. There will be a day when your wee one who use to wolf down food, love everything you make and be bobbing along just fine. Meals getting eaten, will switch !! The food you put in front of them is pushed away , thrown away on floor etc and if put in mouth must taste like poison with how quickly it is discarded.
Take today , snack time at playgroup , she had ham , usually a staple, spat out. There was untouched grapes and raisins , cheese pop things licked and left . She drank all her drink and left just about everything else ! Including a mini biscuit . This is up until today unheard of, she happily sits and scoffs the lot. Nope. And it's a pattern I've seen emerging over the past couple of days, dinners being left, snacks turned nose up at, you name it. Fussy bum picky eater is starting and there is no way around this phase, just through it.
One mantra to remember as you plead and cajole your child to eat is that no child ever starves when food , good food is available to them ! So you need to do two things to survive this somewhat frustrating chapter. One, falling in to the traps, like giving in to demands of only eating what they like. If you give them what they will eat and only eat, then they are learning to manipulate situations to their advantage and food is not something that should ever be a bargaining chip. It can lead to weird relationships with it later in life. And they will not be getting a varied and balanced diet, which can have effects on growth , teeth development and obvious energy levels and learning abilities. There are cases of children who only eat fish fingers or plain pasta. No one wants that for their child.
Two, don't stop doing what you're doing. Meal times are meal times and snack times are snack times and you need to continue to not give the action of not eating any attention. Place the food at what ever time in front of them and if they eat , great , if they don't , next prescribed meal / snack time they might / will. Continue to offer healthy and yummy meals that you , yourself are eating with them. Some times it can be as simple as copying that you are not eating that , so why should I . So continue to have a communal food time, share everything you're eating . And if it's not good for them and you don't want to share etc , hide it and eat when they not around ( I'm talking the wee pick me ups mums need in the day ) But give the non food intake no attention.
Teaching your child through eating with them and them watching your relationship to food and especially what you say about it too. Is the guide they will forever refer too through their lives, so make sure your relationship is healthy and your outlook positive. Make no comments on your body. Say things like this will make you smart and strong verses fat , naughty, etc. You'll be surprised how much your wee ones at an early age pick up on with our outlook to food and what we consume.
Fussy eating is a stage and needs to be remember that it will pass. Your child is just flexing their independent muscle. ( mine has just learnt the word no and its meaning and boy is she using it !) They are making choices and using what they can to have a semblance of control. They will get hungry and forget this and move on to refusing to get dressed or only wearing a dressing up costume for weeks on end instead ! Don't stress about, nor worry that they are no getting enough. Its ebb and flows.
Ive noticed my wee one has a cold and in turn your taste buds go for a bit and you're not really hungry. She may not have eaten her snack , but she wolfed lunch .... Now we will see about dinner ?