Meal times gave me headaches! Stress heads! Louie was one fussy eater, weaning was not fun in our household!
It started off so well with Louie loving everything from broccoli to fish to brussels to just about anything really. I was so cocky ‘my boy will eat anything, he’s so easy’. What a plonker I was because that soon changed.
Louie’s eating was at its worst when I was 9 months pregnant with Evie and to be frank I got lazy with cooking. I was exhausted and had no energy to cook big meals and deal with the tantrums of putting something Louie didn’t want in front of him. Louie cottoned on to this and started to demand certain food and rejecting anything else. We were down to just fruit, olives and yoghurts!!
I felt terrible that I had let Louie’s eating habits get that bad, so when Evie was four weeks old and we had more of a routine, I decided enough was enough. Louie will be a fussy eater no more!
I ploughed the Internet looking for tips and tricks and found nothing greatly useful! If things were going to change I had to go it my own way.
I knew what the problem was with Louie, he snacked too much, drank too much and knew that he could take charge of what he ate, knowing that I would give in for an easy life.
With all this in mind I knew I had to take action and it was going to be a battle. This was 12 weeks ago… Today Louie is eating brilliantly, ok he doesn’t eat everything but he eats veggies, meat, pasta, potatoes and bread, all of which he refused to eat before.
So how did I do it? With bloody hard work, it was and still is a full-time job. To be honest there is no one thing that I did that magically change things but here are a few things I tried that helped us; maybe (just maybe not making any promises) they might work for you.
Straight off the back I cut his drink right down (seriously this boy was drinking so much we were getting through 16-18 nappies a day!!) and I set a structure on the meal and snack times. Breakfast, lunch and dinner plus 2 snacks a day at the exact same times. I also tried the following:
1. Don’t stress out! Trust me I feel the nerves when I put a meal in front of Louie that he’s never had before or I think he won’t eat. I do however know that Louie can see if I’m anxious about the meal and as soon as I make more of a fuss than normal he just rejects it. So now I just pop it down like it’s no big deal, most of the time he moans and pushes the plate away but me and the hubs just carry on eating and ignore him. Sometimes I joke with him and say ok Mummy eat it, then Louie screams at me that he wants his plate back. If he still won’t eat it and I’ve put it in front of him for a good amount of time (sometimes up to half an hour) then I take it away not making a fuss and carry on like it didn’t happen.
2. We all use the same cutlery and plates and sit down together where possible. Louie loves to feel grown up and eat the same as me and daddy, as soon as I give him anything that’s different like a plastic plate or different cutlery to us he kicks off. This sounds strange but the best thing that worked for us is I would put Louie’s food in front of Daddy and Daddy’s in front of Louie. Louie would scream not wanting his but as soon as Daddy offered his plate he is happy as Larry and scoffs away. Weird but true.
3. Let things get messy! Don’t worry if more is on the floor or on him than in his mouth. Clean eating will come with time, as long as he’s playing with it and some is going in his mouth then that’s what’s matters. Sometimes I feel massive emotion when a tiny bit of food that he wouldn’t normally touch goes in his mouth and doesn’t get spat back out!!! It may be tiny but it really counts! Over the weeks those tiny amounts have got bigger.
4. Mix things up; we have a different meal each night now. Louie loves peas, before I used to give him peas with every meal because I knew he would eat them. Which meant he would demand them if I didn’t put them on his plate and plus he would avoid eating anything new. Now I make sure I put a different veg on his plate each night... It’s not an easy journey and I completely understand when it’s tough and you are tired to give in to the easy life. As soon as I’ve given in then we’re right back to square one. I’ve accepted that things won’t change over night and that I have to work hard to get Louie’s eating in a good place, I know this won’t be forever, when he gets older it will be easier. To get to the place we are now It literally has taken us a good 8 weeks of tears and tantrums before we made headway with Louie’s eating habits. Even now I have to make sure I don’t slip back into old habits when I’m shattered.
Organisation is the key, plan your meals at the start of the week, prep the snacks before going to bed so they are ready to grab the next day. It’s extra work but saves time and tears in the long run.
Other tricks that I’ve heard have worked for other people but I haven’t yet tried are hiding veggies in various dishes, getting your toddler to help with the cooking (Louie is still a bit young for this) and growing your own veg and getting your toddler to help, adds to the excitement when you cook and eat them (huge respect for that).
I hope some or all of these tips work for you and your fussy eater.