I think I’m mother to the fussiest eater in the world. My toddler (nearly 2 years old), seems to hate the majority of what I put in front of him, particularly if it includes veg, and it’s a struggle to even get him to try anything new.
The weaning process:
We started weaning him a little earlier than recommended, at around four and a half months as he seemed ready; I’m not sure if this might have impacted his fussiness?
I read a few weaning articles, and tried to follow recommendations, such as don’t start with fruits, start with veg “start as you mean to go on”. We started with a teaspoon of baby rice a day, and then progressed to porridge, pureed veggies like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, avocado, then homemade medley’s etc. We then tried him with apple puree and banana after a month or so, and let’s just say it was a struggle to get back to vegetables after this.
To get him to eat i offered him a spoonful of apple puree, then a spoonful of whatever medley I made for the day. Even now I have to hide veggies in a spoonful of rice/pasta etc. I also have to hide the fruit bowl at meal times otherwise I get cries for “Nana” or “Apple”.
He showed signs of independent eating quite early on, and refused to be spoon fed from around 7 months. You can imagine the frustration when all you want is to ensure your child is getting enough nutrients, and all baby wants to do is paint your walls and floor with pureed and mashed foods.
Since he was refusing to be spoon fed, we moved on to finger foods and to baby led weaning at around 8 months. This seemed to help, I guess he felt more in control, however, he still threw a lot of food on the floor. Food throwing continues today (not as often of course, but at least during one meal of the day), even with the food he actually likes. I have tried not to react etc, and tend not to most of the time, but it’s not always easy, and i do snap sometimes, it honestly just drives me mad.
I remember having him weighed at 11 months, and he dropped a small amount of weight for the first time, I was worried but put it down to him being more active. He dropped weight again at a year old, and this time I was breaking down from worry (as its was for a second consecutive month). In hindsight I think it was due to a combination of his fussy eating and being active. We got through this stage and he finally starting gaining weight again at 13 months.
Mealtimes are still stressful (except for breakfast), it seems that my son simply hates my cooking unless its plain carbs like rice, pasta, (although he does like this in a tomato based sauce), bread and potatoes.
I’m endlessly offering him healthy foods, and the majority of what we eat at home is organic wholefoods. He eats almost all fruit like there’s no tomorrow. This is great as at least its healthy, and full of many vital vitamins and minerals, but still full of sugar (even though its natural sugars).
Although I’m mainly a plant-based eater (my husband is not), I’m no nutritionist, so after long deliberation i decided to offer my son some animal based products such as, organic chicken once a week, usually mixed in Bulgur/Couscous or he won’t eat it, Organic eggs, and on rare occasion some wild Atlantic fish, and on even rarer occasion fish fingers, which he does enjoy because it’s easy to eat.
We exclude all dairy from our diet and do not buy any products that contain GMO’s. I would say at least 95% of the processed foods we eat home are also organic, including carton cupboard foods like chopped tomatoes, beans etc. toddler snacks i.e. Ella’s Kitchen, and Organix Goodies etc, and even oven chips. I know this may be OTT for some, and I sound like a food snob, but maybe I am.
How i’m combating fussy eating:
- I aim to have a mixture of carbs, proteins, vitamins and minerals in his meals every day, so that he is getting a selection of everything his body needs, (I aim to give him whatever we are eating unless it’s spicy) even if some of it ends up on the floor
- I try to make it interesting, using colourful bowls and food trays, cutlery etc
- I try not to fuss around him and leave him to it
- We try eating together as often as possible, and
- Shamefully I put on Boss Baby during some meal times (he shouts for this and refuses to eat unless I put it on – truly a Boss Baby!)
We are definitely doing better, and he has a selection of meals that he enjoys, but sometimes he even fusses over them. On occasion if he has missed dinner, he asks for food when its near his bedtime, i’m not sure if this is to avoid going to bed or if his genuinely hungry. When this occurs, i offer him food, and slightly delay his bedtime, but this isn’t often.
Anything outside of his few favourite meals is met with a tantrum. I try to remain patient (which is tricky for me), and think of what his eaten in the week, rather than getting myself worked up over a bad eating day, and i recommend this to anyone else who has a fussy eater.
His weight gain, growth etc all seem to be on track, and his thriving (although a little petite).
What I haven’t tried is having set meal times, we usually eat around the same times every day, but I think maybe it would help to keep to strict times?
I find it difficult because between my husband and I, my mum and mother-in-law (who care for little man while my husband and i are at work), we end up having slightly different meal times due to our own daily routines, particularly for lunch.
I’m not sure what else to try to get him interested in veg, and more nutritional foods; i tend to offer a side selection of whole vegtables at lunch/ dinner, but you’ve guessd it, they usually end up on the the floor.
All in all, we have good progress, but still have bad days. If you are going through this, just know you are not alone!
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