And so is Mummy!
I haven’t really done a post on this yet, just kind of dropped it into conversation here and there. Over the past two weeks or so, something has happened to Baby Bean and she has finally started to eat adult food. Ok not so much fruit and vegetables and all the healthy stuff but honestly I really don’t care that much. We have progressed from “mush” and at the moment that is plenty good enough for me.
I think the turning point was when we introduced her to a fork, she has been fascinated by it and wants to use it all the time to eat. As she picks food up she says “stab it” and then sticks it in her mouth. So far she has tried pasta (didn’t like it!), pizza (loves it), fish fingers (so-so), chicken nuggets (ok), turkey dinosaurs (jury’s out), potato waffles, smiley faces, chips (loves them all!), omelette (different face, different days!) and scotch pancakes (loves them). To say that I’m happy is a massive understatement but I’ve managed to hide it from her and treat it like nothing major has happened.
Today we saw the Speech Therapist who has been a fantastic tower of strength for me and given me lots of support and advice. I’m really pleased to say that she was amazed at the turnaround in Baby Bean and was also surprised by how much her speech had come along too. Finally my baby has turned into a little girl, so I think from now on she will be known on my Blog as Little Bean to mark her move to the next exciting stage of her life.
I used to remember reading posts like this one, thinking “I wish that was my daughter – will she ever eat properly?”. Well, here we are, she’s a long way off eating “properly” but she is much further forward than I ever anticipated and I’m so excited. Now she doesn’t seem as bothered about trying new things, she is starting to understand me when I say to her that she has to at least “try” before she says no. If she says no, I respect her wishes and take the food away, I don’t try to force anymore down her because she has done as I have asked. Some of the foods she has “tried” have become firm favourites and others have dropped off the menu FOR NOW – have no fear Mummy will be trying them again in a few months time.
My advice to other parents who have a fussy eater:-
- you really ARE NOT alone. At the time you are at the table, yes it feels that way but there are thousands of us out there who have had or still have fussy eaters.
- Try to stay as calm as possible whilst they are eating, even if they refuse everything you put in front of them – they WILL NOT starve themselves.
- DO NOT FORCE FEED!
- Do not offer one food after another when they refuse it. Stick to your guns and tell them that this is all there is. Do this and you will regret it in years to come when you are cooking 4 different meals for 4 different mouths!
- Work out what sort of child you have with regards to praise – if I got over-excited with Little Bean when she was eating something new she would soon suss out that it was what I wanted her to do and stop. So I pretended it was no big deal and that I couldn’t care less whether she ate or not and this seems to have worked really well with her as she is a very bright little girl.
- Wherever possible eat with your child or at least get your children to eat with others as Little Bean has come on leaps and bounds since she has found that eating is a “social” activity.
- Enlist the help of professionals, the Speech Therapist has given me lots of great advice and support. It may sound strange to see a Speech Therapist to help with eating issues but speech and swallowing are all linked.
- We have also seen Paediatricians and Dieticians who have given us the confidence that there is nothing physically wrong with our daughter, she’s just awkward. The Dietician was able to give us advice on different foods to try as we discovered that her issue was surrounding the feel of food in her hands not her mouth – probably another reason that the fork has helped!
- If your child is like mine with “touch”, try messy play as this can help lots too.
- DON’T GIVE UP! And don’t beat yourself up about it – I used to feel like I had failed her and that it was my fault that she wasn’t eating because I hadn’t tried hard enough or hadn’t gone about it “the right way” but actually, she’s a human being and is already making her own decisions!