Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Feeding Woes

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“I think we both know that most of this will end up on the floor.”

Bill and I are pretty adventurous eaters. Baby websites and books tell you that your baby’s tastes are developing in the womb and we’d joke about having the world’s only duck confit loving baby. But, nope. My child eats like ten things. Actually, I’m pretty sure the baby would love duck confit, but he usually pre-decides whether or not he’s going to like something and refuses to even TRY most foods.

We usually do okay for lunch, but last night Henry would not put one thing from his plate in his mouth. If he were trying bites and then deciding that he didn’t like the taste, I think I’d be okay with that, but he wasn’t even trying. We ended up feeding him a jar of baby food (BABY FOOD) and a yogurt. Last week? He ate Chicken Tikka Masala.

He’ll eat most meals that are centered around everyone’s two favorite ingredients. Care to guess what they are? Bread and cheese, of course. Fruit and veggie-wise, he eats bananas, blueberries, avocado, clementines and roasted squash. He likes veggie nuggets and tamales, Amy’s Spinach Pizza Rolls and pierogies (but never potatoes on their own), hummus and pita…and that’s about it. If there’s something on his plate he doesn’t recognize, he’ll usually ignore it. Sometimes he’ll pick it up to feel the texture. Sometimes it will even get halfway to his mouth, but mostly it will just sit on the plate. Or go straight to the floor. We have some leftover jars of baby food dinners and I regularly buy the fruit/veggie squeeze packets because I know it’s a good way to sneak veggies into him.

I know this is in the “This Too Shall Pass” category, but I’m really at a loss for what to do. I’m only nursing once per day and he doesn’t love to drink milk from a cup. He has an 8 oz bottle of cow’s milk before bed. Should I try to boost my milk supply back up so he gets some extra calories? Make what I know he’ll eat and stop trying to introduce new foods? Stop obsessing? HELP!

 

15 Comments »

Comments on this post

  1. Kristabella says:

    No advice, but just want to say that 10 things is A LOT! And that is a lot of nutritious things!

    Skyler is 7, know what she eats? Peanut butter on bread, peanut butter on crackers, grilled cheese and cheese pizza. That is it. At least Henry is getting vital nutrients!

    Maddie is the same way and I know my sister gives in with the milk because at least it is something.

    Hugs! It will pass!
    Kristabella´s last blog post ..Whole Insanity

    1. Home Sweet Sarah says:

      Oh do I hear you. DO I HEAR YOU. Chris and I were just talking about this — how can two people who will try anything have a kid who’ll only eat peanut butter, bananas, eggs, and cheese? HOW?

      My general method is trying to get a fruit and a protein into her for two meals out of the day. If I can sneak peas or squash in at some point, then go me. If not, eh. A lot of times she just eats a pile of pretzels and raisins. I spend a lot of time feeling like a bad mother because she doesn’t eat enough vegetables and she eats a lot of cheese and pasta, but it’s either that or she screams and yells, so….

      I make myself feel better by saying that once they learn, well, a) ENGLISH, and b) reasoning, it should be easier to get them to at least try new things. (God I hope that’s true, but I’m sure the veteran parents on the Internet will tell me just how WRONG I am.)

      Anyway, hang in there, sister!
      Home Sweet Sarah´s last blog post ..This is not your 10 Steps To Succeed At Your New Year’s Resolutions! post

      1. Rebecca (Bearca) says:

        Rhi, I have 2 kids: one who eats everything, and one who eats nothing. They’ve both been offered a variety of healthy foods since they were infants, and my son happily eats octopus and sushi, and my daughter somehow grows and thrives on air and goldfish crackers. Bottom line: this is not your fault!

        Now, one thing I have found works pretty well with my daughter is putting mostly familiar foods on her plate, but letting her try new foods from MY plate. For example, she would never have voluntarily eaten salmon from her plate, but she sidled up to my plate and asked for bites of what I had… and ended up eating a LOT of salmon and loved it! I’m generally opposed to making more than one thing for dinner (who needs that, huh?) but sometimes this can be a really successful way to get them to try stuff. Oh, another thing that works well with her is giving her different dips. She loves dipping food, and you could try different healthy dips/sauces to see if he’ll give that a try!

        It really sounds like you’ve done everything right. And you are right, this too shall pass! I promise.

        1. A. says:

          I have a 2.5 year old who has been like this since 1.5. And your boy eats more than my boy. And it’s just started to get worse. And I thought soon we’d be able to reason with him too, but that isn’t working either. I’ve read anything and everything I can on the topic, and for the most part, everybody says this is perfectly normal. They just need less to eat after they turn 1.5-2; being picky is actually a defense mechanism from the Dark Ages (seriously, when children (or baby animals) out on their own would ONLY eat what they know for fear of danger); and also it can be a battle of wills. I’ve learned to NOT show my frustration, and to NOT bribe or threaten. All can backfire. It’s SO FRUSTRATING, but I try, try to keep my cool when all he wants is graham crackers or oatmeal.

          Anyway, like others have said, it’s not your fault, and I don’t think you need to go backwards and supplement with more breastmilk. Everything I read says you’re doing exactly the right thing – exposing him to a variety of foods and letting him decide what he wants to eat (and even if he’s hungry at all).

          I know it’s a stage, but for us it’s lasted a long time and I’m DONE. So, thanks for posting this; i don’t feel so alone now!

          1. Liz says:

            No advice here, but it seems to me like you’re doing fantastic compared to other people I know with kids Henry’s age.

            My pediatrician said to give D yo baby yogurt for added calories. So maybe a daily yogurt like that will help if you’re concerned he’s not getting enough calories.
            Liz´s last blog post ..Time for Dinner

            1. sizzle says:

              From what I can tell with friends and their kids and watching my sister struggle to get Finn to eat more variety of food, this is totally normal and it sounds like you’re doing your best with him. He’s not the most fickle eater I’ve heard of actually. Currently my 6 year old nephew eats: chicken, cheese pizza, medium cheddar cheese with nut crackers, quinoa with cheese, pancakes, french fries, and ice cream. Maybe sometimes broccoli. No wonder that kid is constantly constipated. ;-)
              sizzle´s last blog post ..Our Wedding Photos Are Here!

              1. Tina says:

                I would say to just keep offering him a mix of foods he knows, and foods he’s unfamiliar with… pretty much every child goes through picky phases (sometimes day to day! I’ve seen the twins scarf something at one meal, and throw it on the floor in disgust at the next!), and it’s perfectly normal!

                At the end of the day, if Henry is hungry? He’ll eat. Fortunately, babies and toddlers don’t understand how to manipulate food, and how much they eat… they just eat when they’re hungry! So, he won’t starve to death, I promise :)

                You’re doing a great job, mama!

                1. Julie says:

                  He looks great, a perfectly healthy dude. Kids are programmed to be picky because their bodies can’t handle bad bacteria from food. Trust me, I have teens who will eat all of duck foie gras you can find even though they would only eat Eggo waffles for their first 2 years.
                  You’re doing great!

                  1. Megan @ Mama Bub says:

                    I have no advice, only commiseration. Some nights, Hannah won’t even touch a single thing on her plate. Last week I was practically begging her to eat something. I just keep telling myself that she won’t let herself starve, and she loves fruit, even if she won’t touch a vegetable. Sadly, this is all new as she used to eat every single thing placed in front of her.

                    My mom likes to tell the story of a friend’s daughter who ate nothing but graham crackers and applesauce for YEARS, and is now a nutritionist and a triathlete.
                    Megan @ Mama Bub´s last blog post ..Resolutions

                    1. Tess says:

                      Here is a fantastic resource from the American Association of Pediatricians:
                      http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/nutrition/Pages/default.aspx
                      also:
                      http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/nutrition/pages/Feeding-and-Nutrition-Your-One-Year-Old.aspx

                      Things to note:
                      -after a first birthday, growth rate slows down, so what may feel like a sudden drop in appetite can definitely be for good reason. Chances are, when Henry is hungry, he will eat (not saying you shouldn’t keep trying to feed him, but just saying to cut yourself some slack if he doesn’t eat a lot at every meal).
                      -picky behaviors can be really really normal, some days he will only want one or two foods…and then will hate those the next day. Some meals he may chow down, some he will refuse to eat. Just keep offering him healthy foods (including foods with healthy fat, as this is super important during this year of life)!
                      -it takes multiple (MULTIPLE!) times for a toddler to really be able to effectively judge a like/dislike for a favor – so if he doesn’t like it the first few times, keep trying!

                      My peds attending would always give this advice: don’t turn mealtime into a war. As a parent you have control over the following things – where/how Henry eats (in high chair, tv on/off, booster at the table, radio on/off, etc), when Henry eats (ideally – offer healthy meals and maybe a healthy snack, but snacking can definitely get in the way of eating meals), what foods Henry can choose from. What you can not control: what Henry actually puts in his mouth. Just remember, in your home, he will never starve. It’s okay to set a tray of food in front of him, have him eat nothing, and you just pull it aside and save it for a later time when he seems hungrier.

                      Not trying to be preachy…you just have a complaint I’ve heard a lot in medicine. You can always talk to your Family Doc/Pediatrician if you would like more info. Make sure you are cutting yourself some slack, too – as I am CERTAIN you are doing a fantastic job. Good luck!

                      1. Blythe says:

                        First,may I say that Henry has the cutest little bare feet in that picture.

                        I find that, even now that my son is older, just continuing to offer foods over and over again works pretty well. There are a few things (green beans comes to mind) that he has never liked and probably won’t like for a long time. Other things (avocados, for example) that he loved and then refused and then ate and now refuses. It makes me nuts but I am trying to think of it as my personal exercise in patience. I am not very good at it but I am trying.

                        I liked Child of Mine by Ellyn Satter if you are interested in books about feeding. Not preach-y, just helpful.

                        1. Erin says:

                          You’ve got great advice/commiseration in these comments!
                          I’d just add that I really found Ellyn Satter useful http://www.amazon.com/How-Get-Your-Kid-Eat/dp/0915950839) as a reminder to be relaxed about meals/food to an extent and focus on providing good options.
                          I’ve also found that sometimes when I put less on L’s plate she actually ends up eating more- asking for seconds etc…

                          Also, Henry is super adorable in his sweet new high chair!
                          Erin´s last blog post ..New Uses for Old Things

                          1. Angella says:

                            I have picky kids, but we just keep offering new things.

                            He sounds like he has a pretty great range of food, though. Better than mine ever did. :)
                            Angella´s last blog post ..The Road Home

                            1. Friday Bullets. « Rhi in Pink says:

                              [...] you so much for your feedback on my last post. It’s good to know I’m not alone. Hopefully this will pass quickly and my guy will be [...]

                              1. Matti says:

                                I have two kids, who are not, in general, overly picky, but have both had their phases. When they get like this, I start hiding veggies in the things they do like. I make my own pizza crust, and add in pureed beans, baby spinach, grated carrot, and/or zucchini. You might even be able to sneak some food purees into the hummus. Jessica Seinfeld had that over-hyped cook book a few years back, but it does have some good ideas, and shows you how to start hiding stuff in foods your kid will eat. You can always start small (hiding 1/2 or 1/4 the amount to gradually change the taste of something).
                                Also, I have found that if I GIVE them less, they will sometimes eat more. The first thing I thought when I saw the picture of Henry (adorable by the way!), and before I read the post, was that there was too much food on his tray for a child his size, it looks more like the amount of food my almost three year old might eat at one meal. Sometimes if I act like they aren’t going to get something, they will act VERY interested in it. Or if I just put three things on their tray, they might actually eat those, instead of a big pile of food they get tired of (and yes, put on the floor, or in their hair, or where ever), they focus on a few things.
                                Just some ideas to try, but all in all, I’d say you’re doing a great job in that he DOES eat healthy things, and just keep offering the things he doesn’t eat, in different forms. As he gets older, if you’re both eating them in front of him, and he keeps seeing them show up as food, some of them will enter his list of acceptable items :)

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