Feeding A Fussy Toddler. From when Alfie was born, his temperament was always pretty full on. Demanding, stubborn… some have referred to it as ‘high needs’, but you could just say strong willed, motivated, determined (just to sweeten it a little, you know!). That applied to the daily baby routine, the sleeping (or lack of), the feeding (not very well), and even the playing and the bathing… Super duper challenging as a first-time mum.
Being born early and spending nearly 3 months in NICU, Alfie did have a pretty rough start to life. Even in there, he was the baby that was always awake, tossing and turning in the incubator, never lying still. He also had a tongue tie which didn’t help us with the attempted breast feeds.
The move to solids was tricky… he wasn’t a fan of anything except for the supermarket purchased packets of puree. Even when I concocted the same ingredients, in the same quantities, nope… having none of it!
He literally survived off rice crackers for months on end! I tried to spread them with vegemite, with avocado, with cream cheese… and then rejoice if any of it so much as touched his lips! So, when it comes to eating, his habits have never been good.
He would NEVER eat a sandwich. Only toast. No milk on weetbix, but plain and crunchy was ok. A soft baked cereal bar was a no go, but a crunchy one was fine. Crackers were a big hit. Anything with a soft texture just got spat back out. And on it went… for months and months (and months!).
The saviour of daycare
He started daycare just after he turned 1, and I sent him off with his crackers and muesli bars (staple diet!). Slowly but surely, day by day, he began to try foods that others around him were eating… chicken curry, beef noodles, even a taco!
I cooked foods at home, pasta, curry, the usual toddler friendly suspects… but he wouldn’t have a bar of it! So, we decided one day to see if he would eat my homecooked food at daycare. After refusing the spag bol at home the night before, he ate it, served up at daycare!
That’s when I truly let go and decided to no longer be a slave to the worry and doubt that his eating habits cast over me every day. Seriously little boy… you are one CHEEKY MONKEY! The best thing I ever did was just to let go, not consume myself with worry. Not google every living recipe under the sun, and not keep attempting these dishes in the hope of something ending up in his mouth.
He was 2 in October, and has just had his corrected (due date) birthday in January. Still very demanding, full on, and determined, but growing into a very fun, happy and cheeky little boy (surviving on crackers, cheese, and weetbix)!
So recently when I served spaghetti carbonara for dinner. I was expecting one of a few options…
- Refuse it completely with a ‘nooooooo’ whinge, and a quick shove off his highchair
- Attempt maybe a mouthful but once seen a mushroom, then back to square 1, or
- Maybe a mouthful or two and then decide want something ‘different’…
So, you can imagine my surprise when he put his fork down, and picked out a pea. Yep, here we go, let’s pick out all the peas and chuck them on the floor… but no! He actually put it IN HIS MOUTH. And chewed it. And swallowed it. HE ATE A PEA! And another one, and another one… Wow! I was pretty much speechless and didn’t really want to comment for fear of ruining the moment!
It’s just some of my little story from me to you. I hope it gives you some faith, or strikes a chord. These little people certainly are wonderful, but they certainly are challenging too! Just accept, and know that it really is a phase… as we have had many of before, and we will have many more to come…