Fussy Eaters

If we are honest we all have those things that we said we would never do as a parent. I had a few myself and I have broken them all! One of the biggest things for me was fussy eating. I vowed that I wouldn’t have fussy eaters, that I wouldn’t bend to the will of a toddler regarding food! It’s ok, you can laugh. I find it funny too.

I was adamant with my plan first time around. Pinky was nearly 6 months old when we started weaning. Earlier that recommended I know but she was sitting up at 4 months and milk really wasn’t satisfying her anymore so I made an executive mothering decision and started weaning. Simply because she is my baby and I know best… Mostly.

We started simple with some baby porridge and Weetabix. The heath visitors hated this, they wanted her to be weaned using the Baby Led method. For those of you reading who are unfamiliar with this method the theory is that you give your baby soft finger sized food, such as a stick of steamed carrot (not boiled, that sucks all the goodness out… Heaven forbid!), and you let them gum it to death. Eventually they learn to swallow the little bits rather than spit them out. Also babies have a really strong gag reflex so they are unlikely to choke on small bits as long as they have managed it themselves and you haven’t dictated the chunk size.

This process scares the life out of me! I appreciate that to date (*touches wood and everything else superstitious) the girls have both managed this well and haven’t come to any harm however I was much happier giving them puree to start with and working up to the solid food. They soon learn to eat all foods, solid and puree and it all worked out fine. Perky was weaned using both puree and solids from day one because she had an insatiable appetite (check her baby pictures… that girls rolls had rolls!)

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Rolls on rolls!

But back the fussiness. Both Pinky and Perky have been given a huge variety of foods from the first day I started weaning them. I haven’t worried about potential allergies because I figured the probability was pretty low and if they do have allergies I am not going to know unless they are exposed to something anyway. So I cracked on. I thought I was doing a good job. Nothing seemed to phase either child and they both eat most things. Perky is even a fan of relatively spicy food, nothing too hot but certainly full of flavour. There are some things that they genuinely dislike such as raw tomatoes, cooked peppers. I think that is fairly reasonable and to this day don’t worry about it.

Then the age of two arrived for Pinky and suddenly she wouldn’t eat anything I made her. Things she had previously eaten were refused. If it wasn’t beige and devoid of flavour she wouldn’t touch it. I started to worry, panic even, that my poor baby girl was going to starve. It’s ok… You can laugh again. I started to cook her special meals, came up with fun names for food so she would eat something of some sustenance other than plain pasta and cheese. I tried hiding vegetables, which never worked not once. I tried savoury muffins but she hated them. This went on for a long time, easily a year to eighteen months. I started weaning Perky during this process and found myself cooking three separate dinners. One for Perky at the same time as something beige for Pinky, then dinner for myself and Hubby. The girls would eat at about 5pm and we would eat once they were in bed. It was ridiculous.   Once Perky was about 16-18 months old both the girls were able to wait a little longer for their dinner so I merged theirs and ours together. I really didn’t want to have to cook two different meals and I knew that it is actually recommended to all eat the same and normalise food anyway. I would love to have done this sooner and I know people that do but I really didn’t want to eat at 5pm and equally I didn’t want two grumpy, miserable children under my feet whilst I tried to cook a dinner for 6pm that at least one of them was probably going to refuse to eat anyway.

Eating together has revolutionised our meal times and my attitude to their eating. Pinky is coming out of her fussy phase now she is nearly four. I know she isn’t really fussy as she eats everything at nursery, why do they do it to us? She eats most things with us now and she loves the social side of it, she likes telling her Daddy all about her day. The thing that has changed the most is my attitude towards it all. If she doesn’t eat it then fine. I am not making anything else just for her. If she only eats a plate of rice, then fine. She isn’t going to go hungry and she doesn’t look like she is lacking in vitamins, as she will likely have got them through other meals that day. Some days this is really hard to do, I want to feed her and make sure she isn’t hungry but then I realise she simply doesn’t always need a huge toddler sized meal. I have hungrier days and then days where I eat less. She eats when she is bored sometimes like I do, that is a far worse habit than saying no to food when you simply aren’t hungry.

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I thought I was winning with Perky; she eats even more things than her sister did at her age. She is approaching two and again we have the fussy signs starting. She is starting to turn away non-beige food. She likes full flavoured foods less and less. She is having some hungry days and some days where she barely eats anything. It is about to start all over again but this time I know it is nothing I have done wrong. I have never made her an alternative meal until I find something she will eat. I have never tried to make her eat more than what she wants. I have exposed her to ridiculously huge variety of foods and flavours. But still the phase is starting. All I can hope is she will get over it quicker than her sister did as we have some really good eating habits firmly in place this time.   But if it lasts a few years then fine, I don’t feel guilty and I don’t worry she is hungry like I did with her sister. I have learnt from past mistakes and I think as a mother sometimes that is all we can do. I have definitely not caused the fussy eating this time and yet I have fussy eaters. Like I vowed I wouldn’t… So naïve!

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This post originally appeared on Meet Other Mums where I am a regular blogger.
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26 Comments

  1. January 23, 2017 / 10:47 am

    Yep, I relate to this! I have three fussy eaters and one who will eat anything! My kids can sniff out an onion or a mushroom, diced up to minuscule proportions, from a mile off!! I have one who will only eat carbs, one who will only eat protein, and one who just wants to drink milk! Aggh! #bigpinklink

    • Winnettes
      January 30, 2017 / 7:28 pm

      Haha! Well they obviously make it nice and easy for you!

  2. January 23, 2017 / 11:38 am

    Can completely see where you’re coming from with this. I never thought I would have a fussy eater or succumb to his whims but he has gone through varying degrees of fussiness and on the really bad days I completely caved in and let him exist on yogurt because it was all he would take. I just remind myself that most things are simply phases and have a habit of changing out of the blue. Which they have, at the moment he eats pretty well. I’m still yet to convince him to eat fruit and veg in raw form but I hide it in meals and snacks and it goes down so I’m happy 🙂 #bigpinklink

    • Winnettes
      January 25, 2017 / 8:55 pm

      It’s all about balance, a balance between your sanity and their vague intake. It does pass and I think the whole process is far more painful for us mums than the children X

  3. January 23, 2017 / 11:55 am

    Oh I can absolutely relate to this Hun!!! All 3 of mine are, or have been, fussy eaters. The 8 year old is much better now, the middle one (7) is a pain in the butt still and the little one can be bribed, sorry, encouraged to try things. It’s just exhausting isn’t it? I came to the conclusion that as long as they ate one piece of fruit or veg a day I hadn’t completely failed, and we have (in the main) managed that. They won’t eat nuggets forever…will they?! 😉 (That pizza looks amazing by the way. Yum!)
    Thanks for linking!
    #BigPinkLink
    xx

    • Winnettes
      January 25, 2017 / 8:56 pm

      Well they may eat nuggets forever but I guess the best we can hope for is they don’t eat them 7 days a week? Oh and you definitely mean bribed… It’s how I survive on a daily basis! 😉

  4. January 26, 2017 / 3:00 pm

    Totally relate to this we had a fussy eater from hell and then started to eat together and thinks changed dramatically. There is still a lot of things she won’t eat but with a little lip service I can get a lot of things past her lips these days. Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely xoxo

    • Winnettes
      January 30, 2017 / 7:30 pm

      I know what you mean about the lip service! The only trouble I now have is when one decides they are done their sister decides the same! Even if they have only had one bite…. Kids hey?!

  5. January 26, 2017 / 5:59 pm

    I had a fussy eater! He is almost 21 now and loves his food now. We always sat down together for dinners but it made no difference he just couldn’t be bothered to eat, he wanted to be playing not eating. It was a really tough time for me I tried everything. Great blog post! Well done for all your hard work with mealtimes.

    • Winnettes
      January 30, 2017 / 7:31 pm

      Thanks lovely, it’s good to know it really doesn’t last. I think it is such a mum thing to worry about food so much. If they weren’t mine I wouldn’t even notice.

  6. January 26, 2017 / 10:12 pm

    My son suddenly became really fussy around age 2 as well. He’s 7 now and is actually a really good eater. My two year old has been fussy since a year and trying to get and fruit or vegetable past her lips is a battle. I don’t make her anything different, we all have the same meal and she just eats what she wants from her plate. Every now and then she will pick a vegetable up and try it (before promptly crying and spitting it out) so I’m hopeful she’ll start eating them eventually
    #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Winnettes
      January 30, 2017 / 7:32 pm

      I’m sure she will. It must be a developmental thing as it seems most children start this at the same age… I should probably research it!

  7. January 27, 2017 / 4:27 pm

    This sounds exactly the same path my son is following! We also did a mixture of purees and solids and I always found it amazing how he would eat anything! Then he turned two and suddenly only chicken nuggets, sausages and fish fingers are acceptable. He’s slowly starting to branch out – we can have spaghetti bolognese, lasagne, and chilli with him now, and yesterday he even asked to try some of my curry which he did like, so perhaps we’re coming out of the fussy stage now (oh, I really hope so!) I have to say I’m fairly laid back about food for him though – if he wants to eat he’ll eat, if he wants to skip a meal I’m not fussed. He’ll always make it up in the end! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Winnettes
      January 30, 2017 / 7:34 pm

      They really do make it up in the end. I have learnt missed meals aren’t the end of the world butI found it so hard initially. I’m glad my girls aren’t the only difficult ones 😉 From a lot of the other comments it seems to kick in for everyone at 2 years!

  8. January 27, 2017 / 11:29 pm

    It’s the one thing I didn’t want (fussy eater – oh or a thick child). Thankfully N is pretty good. He did and still does go through phases. The current one is not liking chunky meat, so gammon steaks or pork chops have to be cut as thin as possible. He also won’t eat tomatoes or cooked pepper. Strange children! #sharingthebloglove

    • Winnettes
      January 30, 2017 / 7:36 pm

      Thats not bad as far as it goes though! Mine don’t like tomatoes full stop and bless them I have made them try them a lot!

  9. January 28, 2017 / 9:08 pm

    My 2 year old seems to switch between eating anything in sight to being really fussy. Some days she wants to eat nothing but vegetables and ‘daddies’ chicken; other times she demands sweets and chocolate cake! She also likes to demand things full of dairy which she can’t eat as she is dairy intolerant. Kids eh! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Winnettes
      January 30, 2017 / 7:36 pm

      Hehe! Oh dear! There really is no predicting them is there!

  10. January 29, 2017 / 11:20 am

    I have a fussy eater. He’s four. He’s getting better slowly but I have tried everything! It can really get you down can’t it. I suppose the way I look at it, he knows what he likes and he likes what he knows. At least he does eat, just a select few things. I’m hoping school will help. But that’s a whole other story! #fortheloveofblog

    • Winnettes
      January 30, 2017 / 7:38 pm

      It really can get you down some days! Fingers crossed for school, I think there is a lot to be said about peer group influence, I hope he isn’t surrounded by fellow fussy eaters 😉

  11. January 29, 2017 / 3:26 pm

    My girls aren’t particularly fussy at present. One wants to eat everything and the other is a snacker. Next month eldest turns two so I’ll wait and see what happens. Thanks for sharing on #sharingthebloglove

    • Winnettes
      January 30, 2017 / 7:38 pm

      Fingers crossed this phase doesn’t arrive!

  12. January 29, 2017 / 9:14 pm

    I am do glad you wrote this! Alice is a great eater, she went through a phase at 2 years old when she just wanted the same 5 meals rotated, but they were all healthy meals. She came out of it fairly quickly and now eats everything. Holly is totally different, I weaned them exactly the same, in fact I would say was more brave at a young age. But now at 2 years old she won’t eat. She is hardly hungry and when she is hungry what she will eat is very limited. I try not to worry and pray its a phase! The best bit of advice I was given is never to look at what they eat in a day, but over a whole week. Because we all have days where we will eat better than others. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove x

    • Winnettes
      January 30, 2017 / 7:40 pm

      That is such great advice! I agree that I have hungrier days than others. I’m sure it’s all a phase as with anything else Xx

  13. January 30, 2017 / 3:51 pm

    I think to some extent they all go through this as they start to realise they may have a choice and I think I read they learn that it could be a threat and that it’s natural instictive avoidance. My littlest who will be two on wednesday recently stopped eating crusts, but I refuse to take them off so she either picks them off herself or she eats them without even realising it. I am pretty sure she wont end up an 18 year old not eating crusts so I’m ok with it for now! x #sharingthebloglove

    • Winnettes
      January 30, 2017 / 7:41 pm

      I think you are right and a consistent and firm stance definitely helps. If they care capable of refusing they are capable of picking around the offending item well enough.

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