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I’ve said before that I dread having a child who’s a fussy eater.  Yes, that’s ridiculous. I know that a picky child isn’t horrible but it feels like a big deal to me.  It’s been on my mind for a while so I thought that I’d write about it here.

We’ve done baby-led weaning since Elisabeth was 7-8 months.  We’d started with purees and she hated them.  Wrinkled her nose, looked away, tried to GET away.  It was discouraging.  Then I learned of BLW and her behavior shifted. Other than honey, there was no food that was off-limits although some (soups, salads) weren’t easy for a baby to handle.  Elisabeth was a true adventurer on BLW.  I was so proud of her! Then, we left for Germany for seven weeks. [cue ominous music.]

IMG_2260In Germany our cooking was limited to variations on the pasta theme. And while we found foods that Elisabeth liked, she didn’t have the range of options that she had at home…aside from fruit.  She discovered fresh apricots along with the usual favorites: grapes, blueberries, peaches, pears. Fruit has always been a winner for her.  But now we’re back home and she has been picking at food, other than multi-grain bread, wheat crackers and Monuts bagels.  Even the yogurt in the morning has been received lukewarmly. It’s not the Bauer yogurt that she was used to but Brown Cow & La Liberte.  Still full fat and fruity but Elisabeth is not that interested. Carrots are barely touched.  Ditto for cucumbers.

I hate that I worry about this.  I am so cognizant of issues that women have with food that I don’t want to become one of those moms saying “come on, just another bite.” or “just TRY it!”  UGH. I grew up with a “clean your plate” attitude around the dinner table and while I hate wasting food, I won’t be doing the same thing with my daughter.  Action is always the answer to my anxiety so here’s what I’m doing to change a bit of my anxiety around the food issue:

  • Research! I learned that just like an adult, a child’s stomach is the size of their closed fist.  That’s pretty small.  So while it seems like Elisabeth isn’t eating much of what she does choose to eat, it may be just enough for her.
  • Remembering that Elisabeth is teething.  There’s a lateral incisor coming in next to her central incisor.  Teething can really throw her (us) for a loop.  Unexpected tears of pain seem to happen on a regular basis.  Lots of liquids help but foods, not as much.
  • Keep offering things.  It’s easy to get discouraged after she turns down the first three things but I’ve noticed that if I keep going, she’ll eventually take something to nibble.
  • Snacks are out and available OFTEN.  Elisabeth does forget to eat so if there are options out there pretty regularly, eating seems to go more smoothly.IMG_2866
  • Not worry about the lack of veggies right now.  She does well with fruit and once I get her into eat mac and cheese, I can swirl in pureed veggies into the “cheese”.  Ditto for scrambled eggs.  We’re also going to try this “juice” recipe from Sarah over at Babies Heart Real Food.
  • Stepping back.  I’ve blogged about this before but I’m reminded that when I am with Elisabeth all the time, small things sometimes masquerade as big.  I am someone who desperately needs her me-time! And when I get it, then return to her even two hours later, I feel less worried about things like eating.
  • Calling the pediatrician and scheduling a weight and height check.  My sisters both suggested this and I finally called today.  We’ll go in Monday.

As always, I’ll keep you posted on my progress.  But in the interim, parents, any other tips for me?  Leave me a comment below.