Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Uh oh... picky eater on the horizon?

We've been pretty lucky so far in that D's been very open to most foods that he tries. He eats a combination of toddler snacks, "real people food" (our leftovers, etc), and some pureed food, and could usually be counted on to eat most of what's presented to him.

However in the past few weeks he's started to show signs of... picky eating. Foods that used to be absolute favorites before (sweet potatoes), are now getting turned away. He's started doing this thing where if we give him a bite of something he deems "unworthy" he'll open his mouth wide and let it fall out. And more and more, I'm finding myself scrambling to offer him 4, 5, 6 options to find something he'll actually eat for snack or meal time. This is most disheartening when I know he's really hungry, and I've got something that I thought he'd absolutely love (like last night's pasta, usually a winner) and he then rejects it.

I've seen lots of advice about how to deal with picky eating-- offer a limited variety of foods, try to make sure there's always something you know they like, don't fall into always giving the few favorite foods, etc. But as usual, knowing these tips and implementing them are two quite different things. Not to mention that I have nothing against the idea of teaching him to eat what's offered to him, it's the grumpy, hungry toddler I have to deal with afterwards that makes me cringe.

All part and parcel of this parenting gig, I suppose. I'm trying to plan better to have a variety of foods stocked at home at all times (I'm pretty bad at planning that sort of thing out, so will take some effort) so I have a decent arsenal from which to choose and offer. And I'm trying not to get frustrated by the whole process, as I don't want to associate that sort of negativity with eating (for either of us). Part of me thinks it'll maybe feel a bit easier when he's a little older and I have a better sense of him at least understanding me and the rules I'm laying down. However I think that same part of me's possibly underestimating the Power of Toddler Will Power...


  1. just my 2 cents.....I like the "take it or leave it" approach. Kids are smart, they won't starve themselves. I also believe they test us randomly. I think it sounds like Donovan is having some fun testing his mommy. But, I imagine it's tough to resist his demands with his cute little dimples.

  2. I'm sure you get tired of advice, so take it or leave it. But here's one thing you might try. When Katelyn was little she was very picky. When we would present her with food and she would reject it, sometimes she would change her mind if we took it and ate it ourselves. Scenario: Here Katelyn, try this broccoli. Arms flail, head turns away, mouth refuses to open. Ok well if you don't want it, I guess I'll eat it all myself. Proceed to sit in front of her thoroughly enjoying the broccoli for a few minutes. "Remember" that she is there, turn to her and ask if she is sure that she doesn't want any. Sometimes that would get her to change her mind. It's sort of playing on that 2-yr-old everything-is-mine mentality.

  3. Paula-- I think I'll be more firm with the take-it-or-leave-it approach. It sucks when he's then still hungry afterwards and in a bad mood b/c of it, but that's life, right?

    Laura-- I often end up eating what he doesn't eat, and usually right in front of him. It seems once he refuses something, that's it (for that meal anyway) But I don't make as big of a "game" of it as you describe... will try that. =)

  4. I like the above advise. I think not having too many choices could be a good thing because if they are that hungry, they will have to eat. I know easy coming from someone who doesnt have to deal with the my cranky pants himself... (Also, you might try feeding him a few mins earlier when you know he is in need of more food.)

  5. Tell him Jedis eat what their mommies tell them to.

    If that doesn't work, well, then there's no hope.

    I would suggest taking off his pants, so you can then say, "I cannot teach him. The boy has no pants." (Er... I guess you'd have to say, "I cannot feed him, the boy has no pants.")

    Being pantsless might make him hungry.

    OR -- you can give the food he refuses to Sierra. Since Sierra's cool, when he sees her eating it, he'll want some just out of peer pressure.

    I think that's a winning plan.

    You might have to start feeding D a lot of tuna, though.

  6. I have found that sometimes there is another reason Eliza might not want something to eat- gas, need to go- in the #2 sense. She will then refuse food she normally likes. I usually do offer her something she likes-but offer the other food again later. I think it is best to offer variety and expect they will soemtimes not be in the mood for something. I don't believe in whipping up a whole seperate meal but I don't like to let her go hungry either. If she eats a sub par dinner I later offoer her a healthy snack. Imagine what it is like feeding a toddler who keeps getting up from the table!! :)



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