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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Feeding a Picky Eater

When I was pregnant I spent countless hours researching what I would feed my baby once it was time to introduce solids.  After loads of time spent online and talking to other moms I decided baby led weaning (BLW) would be the way to go for us (what's BLW you ask?  Read all about it Here!).  I saved all kinds of amazing recipes on Pinterest and I was totally ready!  And then the baby gods laughed in my face and gave me the worlds pickiest eater.

At first I wasn't worried since he was only 6 months old and I had lots of time to get him eating.  After all food before one is just for fun right?  But the months started slipping by and J was showing no more interest in food.  He was nursing like a champ but this was the reaction I got to most solids I put in front of him...

Around 9 months of age I started getting desperate and the daily battle was getting worst.  He would scream in his high chair and on more then one occasion I found myself crying in the kitchen in exasperation (I'm blaming that one on the mommy hormones and lack of sleep!).  Finally at 11 months old we had a check up and J was down to the 10th percentile for weight (he was born around the 85th but had been steadily dropping since about 5 months).  Not only did he barely eat solids but the kid never stops moving!  So once again I scoured the internet, talked to doctors and other moms and picked up some tips and tricks to help deal with a picky eater.

1. First of all try and relax.  Trust me I know this is easier said than done but if you are stressed about meal time, babe will be too!  Keep it light and fun.
2. Try taking food out of the kitchen.  This one was hard for me because I liked the structure of eating meals at the table. So I compromised... We still have lunch and dinner at the table but sometimes breakfast is served in the play area.  I put something not too messy such as a muffin on the table, and try and sneak bites into him as we play.  This works really well for us!  I also try and offer several snacks this way throughout the day.
3. Try mixing in something new or something they don't like in with something they do like.  For example, J loves Cheerios so if I'm trying to get him to eat fruit I'll place fruit pieces and Cheerios on his tray. He's pretty good at picking out the Cheerios but he does get a bit of fruit and over time he has grown accustomed  to a couple.  Some foods J does like are;  grilled cheese, toast and peanut butter, and omelets (with added cheese and veggies) so they are offered regularly along with other foods.
4.  Hide the good stuff!  J refuses to eat most fruits and veggies so I make all kinds of things in which I hide these.  Admittedly this isn't ideal but I'm hoping he'll grow to like these fruits and veggies and that I won't have to hide them forever.  You can find all kinds of great recipes on Pinterest but I'll link a few of our favourites to the "Yummy!" section of this blog (Stretchmarks Yummy! Recipes - make sure you check it out as we regularly add more recipes).
5. Since weight is a concern for us, we make everything as high fat as possible. 10% fat Greek yogurt anyone?  We also put unsalted butter on almost everything.  I have also heard that smoothies can be great to pack lots of fat and other nutrients but I have yet to convince J to drink them.   

6. Finally the last thing that really helped us was starting daycare.  One of our main problems was that J was still getting most of his calories from nursing.  At 11 months he was still nursing 9 times a day while most other babies his age where somewhere around 4-5 times.  Since I am about to go back to work we started doing a few trial days of daycare.  J has been 3 times in the last two weeks and I have noticed a huge difference in his eating habits.  I guess if I'm not around and nursing isn't an option he eats!  I know not everyone can just drop their kid off at daycare but maybe have someone else offer food?  Leave baby with daddy or grandparents for a few hours while you enjoy some wine and a bubble bath (or crash on the couch watching Netflix!).

We have a follow up appointment in about 3 weeks so I'm hoping our efforts have paid off and my little guy starts climbing back up the weight chart! 

Do you have a picky eater?  Share your recipes and tricks in the comments below!


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