Where did she learn that word from? Can I blame it on the Pig? Did I say it as a joke one time and now she’s copying me? Suddenly it’s being used all the time, not just for food but when she doesn’t want to do something. If I ask her to lie down to change her nappy “yuck”. If I tell her we are going to do bathtime “yuck”. But it’s with her picky eating that it becomes most difficult.Emma has been a picky eater since about 16 months old and gradually it’s been getting worse and worse.
how did the picky eating start?
I suppose the natural thing for me to do is to blame myself. I should have done babyled weaning. I should have offered her more of a variety. If only I hadn’t introduced the entire Organix range, as now she knows that the cupboard in the corner is where it’s really at. Jumbo carrot sticks and sweetcorn rings will always trump a cheese sandwich. Or is it just a phase that she’s going through to assert her own independence? I can see clearly she wants to do everything herself so maybe it’s just something we have to get through without worrying about it too much.
All I know is that one minute she was devouring every recipe in our trusty Annabel Karmel bible and now we’re down to cheesestrings, Pom Bears and crackers, so many crackers. It all came crashing down and even now she’s at nursery there hasn’t been a sudden change as I hoped there might be. Every day I pick her up and they tell me she loved her snacks, but only ‘tried’ the lunch. There has only been one exception to this rule, when she ate a Jamaican Rendang curry! Sometimes I just wish she was one of those children that dives face first into a plate of spaghetti bolognaise.
let go of the guilt – it will be okay
Of course it’s not long before the guilt kicks in. When it first happened, the frustration inside me grew as I worried that she just wasn’t getting enough nutrition. Was a couple of crackers and two cheesestrings really going to be enough for her? Isn’t it my responsibility to make sure she is eating the right stuff so she grows well. I piled on the pressure that I wasn’t cracking it until I realised that so much of this is out of my control. If she doesn’t want to it, she won’t eat.
Once I got to this moment, I was able to sigh a breath of relief that this will have to do for now. I look at her and she is growing beautifully, taller than some children at nursery and has never looked underweight. Plus I figure that if she’s feeling hungry, she will tell me. Just recently she has started to say “hun-haa”. After days of me not knowing what that means as it honestly sounded like Mandarin, it means hungry. Baby steps but definitely a step in the right direction.
so what are we doing that’s helping?
To help Emma with her picky eating, we have been doing a few things. To be honest, some days they work and other days not so well!
-Keep offering balanced meals – I try to let her decide what she wants to eat. Emma such an independent soul and usually if you leave it on the plate, she’ll have a go. But rarely if you express you “would like her to try it”.
-Consistency – I’m not always the best with this but trying to stick to the same mealtimes each day so she knows when to expect it.
-Positivity – If she says “don’t want it” or “no thank you” (the thank you usually takes some coaxing!), try not to get disappointed or frustrated. I’ve also been actively praising her for trying, even if it’s just a tiny bite.
-Remember what worked – when I find something she likes, I try and buy it often so we have a back-up option ready to go. For a while we couldn’t find anything but now know she’s quite keen on sausages and baguette.
-Discourage name-calling towards food – every time she says “yuck” , I ask her calmly to not say that word please. I’m not sure if it’s going in, but that word just makes my blood boil ever so slightly so I hope it will pass soon!
I was well aware when Emma was younger that picky eating is really common in toddlers and while I’ve been very frustrated by hearing my daughter being rude and saying “yuck”, I wondered (hoped) that I’m not alone in going through this. It WILL pass, even on the days when it feels like an impossible task to get a good meal into her. Sometimes I forget that she’s just a baby really and learning about new foods will take time. I’m sure we’ll get there in the end.
Have you got a picky eater? Do you have any tips for coping at mealtimes?
I’m a finalist in the Brilliance in Blogging Awards FRESH VOICE category.
I’d love your vote to help me win!
If you enjoy reading my blog, you can vote here – it only takes 5 minutes, thank you!