My son was the king of picky eaters. Fortunately he realized he was no longer interested in keeping his followers hungry and resigned with shame.
It was the morning of my sons first birthday when he took his resolution to not eat.
Then started the endless feeding sessions, stories and running sessions in the patio with the food,water games in the grass..everything to end up in a battle.
Tried these with your baby? Still doesn't eat a thing? I can help, i have been there.
A difficult time to let out the stress, the frustration. The emotional and physical exhaustion of not having a third hand, self cursing times… Gosh disaster days.
After all this how does the movie conclude? 'Throwing up frustrations on your already irritated husband and calling off our lives.'
After innumerable horrible mistakes, i do have a plan now.. which works prefect with my son. But trust me, after everything i went through, i never thought i would any day come out of it with flying colors. But today my son wants anything that i eat or taste. He taps his high chair when he gets hungry, sits, relax and eat! I cant believe it. There is always a good time waiting for us. Be brave you moms.. pull up you sock and gather the pieces of your shattered life. We are the controllers of ourselves, we will get past this.
Here is what i tried. Now, I stopped breastfeeding on the day my son turned 1 year and 7 months. The root cause being the taste of milk. He was so addicted that he lived on breast milk for around 6 months after his first birthday. Stopping it completely might have made him realize he needed other sources of energy to keep up with the play.
Lesson number 1 from my notebook.
Kids will eat only if they want to which i realized so so late. We can waste our energy trying on our best efforts.. but if they don't want to eat, they wont. Be it rain or shine.. it doesn't matter.
1. Fix a place and time where you want them to sit while they eat. I think that makes them understand its a special place and a special time to sit and eat. Keep up the routine.According to me, the worst idea is carrying them all over the place and showing those silent birds outside and slipping in a bite. Once they get heavier you will suffer.. and also imagine the mess on the carpets after the spitting and spilling! So i suggest never even give a taste of that idea to yourself.
2. Eat with them, atleast act you are having the same food from the same plate.
I call it the 'super delicious ahaaa' effect. Though we know some baby food are just not great, pretend as if thats the best delicacy in the world. Kids will definitely think of it and try it out. Even now when i say 'aaah' after a coffee sip, my son runs to me to sip a little.
3. Make them touch and smell the food with their hands or spoons allowing them to experience different textures. This exploring technique made a huge difference in my son. He touches, feels and then only puts it in his mouth. Now if they are really playing with food, you know when to slip in a mouthful.. they wouldn't even know they just swallowed..right?
4. Appreciate them when they take a bite. My token of appreciation is to clap hands for every good thing he does. After every bite i used to clap and jump to show how much i appreciated him for trying a bite.
5. Make them taste everything we eat. My baby takes a pinch of spicy tortilla chips to hot tea to even sushi. It takes time for them to understand food is great, but after they do its fun to watch them explore it.
6. Make them think they are feeding themselves. Let them handle a portion of food. I always keep an opened yogurt jar for him. He will dip the spoon in it and try to lick it. Just when they are about to lick, we slip in our spoon of rice. Basically it means tricking them. They can so easily get carried away and we can finish our job in between.
7. Try not to show your frustration. There were times when i used to spend 2 hours on feeding. I used to go mad, shout at him, get angry and throw plates and things went flying across the room. But later i realized that was only helping him to hate food and learning to throw plates. So i turn on my favorite serial or a hindi movie and concentrate on that. Else if you keep thinking of your time being wasted chances are high that you will bubble up and burst.
8. Find out their favorite flavor or texture and sneak in some veggies. Its a difficult task as what do we expect from a picky eater? To like a flavor or texture? God, if they eat a spoonful that would be enough to smile once that day! But, eventually i found out that my boy was loving mac and cheese. The freedom to pick pieces individually, the shape,may be the color..So i slipped in thinly sliced beans, grated carrots and grated boiled eggs along with it. He dint even know he was chewing some veggies and nutrients with it. He also liked cold stuff.. so i used to chill up milk and cookies! Try out different textures like crunchy, mashed up , smooth, sticky, chewy, hard or mixed textures.
9. Distracting them during dinner time. Every mom would have tried that. Stories, TV, plates, running water... anything to please them. I used to give him anything that he pointed at. But giving them whatever they want kind of makes them cranky later. So avoid mobile phones, tv remote, lipstick and cooker whistle.(I had tough time hiding those from him, still do)
10. Make eating time Fun time . Suppose if its snack time and he is offered marshmallows or round cheerios. I poke both sides of a straw with it and make it attractive. Introduce colorful or transparent spoons and plates. If they are not drinking enough, try sippy cups or straws or even small glasses.
11. Stop when you get the sign. Its of no use pushing for the last bite. Pressuring kids to eat works only to make them hate food. He will start thinking of it as a punishment. Baby will show good signs when they are done. Respect their signs.
Still not working? Well, don't bubble up. Your kid might just not be hungry. As long as they are active and playing around, they are good.