time flies when you're being a mum

22 Apr, 2014

I’ve mentioned it before many times (here, here and here to name a few) that Reuben is a fussy eater. He’s just got worse too as he now won’t eat the little Annabel Karmel pasta shells I used to be able to hide veg and meat sauces in. It has been a LONG time since he was willing to eat the quinoa dishes I used to make him or snack on avocado. How I miss the days when people used the take the piss out of me for feeding him such healthy dishes!

How to cope with a fussy eater - Keep calm, it's just a phase! http://www.mumsdays.com/fussy-eater-how-to-cope/

Now he will eat toast or a sandwich (but mainly picks out the filling unless it’s something like cream cheese), scrambled eggs, porridge (“podge” as he calls it) or fruit. He’ll also eat nearly all junk food (as long as it doesn’t have any nutritional content, so fish fingers are out) and LOVES cake/chocolate/biscuits/dried fruit/cereal/sugary-ness.

And, yes, it does make me cry from time to time! But then I read something that reminds me that it is just a stage and if I’m consistent, he should come out the other side agreeing to eat more than just a turkey twizler. I must stay strong!

So I’ve done a bit of research and put together a list of ways for ME to cope with my fussy eater…

How to cope with a fussy eater in 6 steps

1. Relax!

a) He’s growing. He’s healthy. And apparently his little stubborn body is making sure he gets everything he needs.

b) He can definitely tell when I’m anxious. I need to stop pacing around him being obviously anxious as, according to Super Nanny, this causes stubbornness and anger in your little one. I can concur.

c) Super Nanny also says getting angry can have a lingering impact on your child for many meal times to come so concentrate on keeping calm (or learn how to calm down if you do get angry) and don’t take it personally!

How to cope with a fussy eater - Keep calm and Mother on!

From Colorado Humming Bird

2) Plan

a) Everywhere you look about fussy eating you are told that you need to eat with your children. Breakfast and lunch doesn’t seem to be a problem for us but dinner is. If I’m going to do eat with Reuben, I need to plan ahead so that I have healthy meals that are varied and delicious for me too. (As opposed to what normally happens at about 4:30 – I panic and make him a fruit and toast selection. Again.)

b) Make time to do it together – Reuben loves to make juice and will drink it regardless of what is put in – spinach, cucumber, kiwi. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll start to eat a salad if he helped to put the chopped up ingredients in a bowl and stirred if for a while???

c) play with food – I’ve mentioned before some research by Ella’s Kitchen that kids who play with vegetables (but not fruit) are more likely to eat it at meal times. I’m thinking an edible sensory box?

3) Don’t spend more than 10 minutes prepping – kind of goes a little against point 2 but I like this idea (again from Super Nanny) as I’ll be less frustrated if something doesn’t get eaten but also the healthiest things tend to take less time to prep anyway!

4) Accept it for now – a lot of advice out there is for people with toddlers who can be reasoned with…for example, Parenting says to give them one thing they will eat every meal time and say to have 1 bite of everything else. Great idea as this over time will get them to develop a taste for the other things. However, despite my best efforts, Reuben isn’t at the reasoning stage. I encourage, Reuben even says the word “try” but nothing passes his lips. I shall persevere but I’m not yet sure when I can say to him ‘just 1 bite’ and he’ll do it.

5) Encourage but don’t push – as mentioned in the point above, encouraging is good. However, I have been known to try and put food in his mouth in the hope he might taste it and realise how yummy it is. This is totally the worse thing I could ever do and results in a tantrum, which is upsetting for both of us. Live it, learn it and stop trying to do it again!

6) And if it does turn into a disaster, don’t feel guilty Baby Centre says this happens from time to time but you should learn from the experience and approach the next meal time with positivity.

I feel calmer already! Do you have any tips for coping with a fussy eater that might help me cope?!

 

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7 comments.

09 Jan, 2014

We were talking yesterday on the Mum’s Days page about a Mother’s Intuition and how we should trust it…well today my Mother’s Intuition is having a fight with my Lazy Bone and it’s all over fussy eaters. In particular MY fussy eater. I talked last week about how Reuben was displaying fussy eating habits and while it’s a million times better now we’re at home, I thought, for the purposes of research and this blog, I would do some digging to find out why he won’t try new things or in lots of case, not even eat the food he used eat and love…

I got a book out of the library called Teach Yourself Feeding Your Toddler written by Judy More of Child Nutrition. Books about weaning and food are generally a recipe for disaster (haha). They normally lead to misery for me. I read them and then start to worry! This book has been no different but I’m trying to keep a lid on it because actually I’m learning some good stuff! Fussy eaters, or them not wanting to eat, can be caused by everything from being bored or over hungry to not feeling well or even anaemia! (more…)

2 comments.

02 Jan, 2014

It’s kind of obvious but new year is a great opportunity to look back at the year just gone and think about the future. The lovely thing about having a blog is that you can look back and see exactly what you were thinking about this time last year and also what you had hoped for the coming year.

My thoughts were all around my four month old baby – when will he sleep through the night, I’m ready to start thinking more about work but can I really start to leave him more? And what about breastfeeding? I was ready to move on and start fading it out but what would my family think and society at large? It’s one thing to not be able to breastfeed but another all together to choose not to! We overcame our/my hurdles and, of course, and the process wasn’t that bad.

I was reminded countless times that one thing that plagues you now will soon be long forgotten and replaced with something new. And, the plague now? Fussy eating.

Reuben really took to weaning and would eat anything I put in front of him from carrots to quinoa, apricots to avocado. He loved eating. Now, however, he will hardly eat a thing, so his diet is incredibly samey – rice cakes, fruit (he will eat most fruit), bread, porridge, those little pasta shells when he’s in the mood (which does mean I can hide veg in the sauce) and sometimes scrambled eggs. This is the sum total of what he will eat and it has hit an all time low on holiday – he’s been living on banana, a bit of bread, rice cakes (although we’ve just ran out) and raisins.

At home it breaks my heart. I might not be able to run a hoover around my house but I can cook. I love it and it brings me a lot of joy to make delicious and healthy things for my family. So, if I’m being honest, I feel like a failure that I can’t tempt him to eat and I’ve been in tears countless times over a plate of food that has been thrown across the floor.

Of course this is just another one of those hurdles to face, it may last longer than the sleeping through the night problem but I have to remind myself that despite how I feel, he’s not going to be a 25 year old eating rice cakes.

We’re already seeing his independent streak (if you give him a piece of bread, he won’t have it but if he picks it himself, he will), so there will be techniques we can use to get him back into eating (which I’ve started to look into now…How to help fussy eaters eat!). I just need to discover what they are and already lots of the Mum’s Days Facebook likers have pointed me towards things to try and research.

So, yes, my little fella causes me anxiety but if one thing is for sure, he always will! I’m reading Graham Norton’s Agony Aunt book on holiday. I didn’t know he’d wrote an agony aunt column either but that’s what you get if you don’t read the Telegraph. Anyway, if I learnt one thing from his advice to parents, that is to let their children live their own lives – guide and educate but don’t force issues. I know Reuben is still very little but I think that advice still stacks up – he’s happy, healthy for the most part and too busy to sit and eat the beautiful (ish) meals I make for him. And what’s the main reason I want him to eat? So I don’t feel like a failure!

It’s not about me, it’s about him being happy and healthy, which he is. So I will continue to be consistent and work harder at putting more variety in front of him but I won’t force the issue. He’ll get there in his own time. In the meantime, we’ll be eating lots of these…

fussy eating

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