Have you spent days, weeks and months agonising over your child’s eating habits (or lack of, more to the point!). I have, if you go back through my blog you will see endless posts on how my daughter has never really taken to eating much. She was great at breastfeeding, although she never really followed the growth charts. She started off in the 50th percentile and then month by month would drop further and further until finally she was in the 0.4th!!! Can you imagine how bad I felt? Each time I attended baby clinic I would speak to the Health Visitors asking where I was going wrong and they would say that she was a happy, healthy baby, she looked totally in proportion. I was not an ‘overweight’ Mum myself and had always been pretty slim so she obviously had my genes.
When the time came to start weaning Little Bean I was excited that finally she could get off ‘boring’ milk and begin to experience new tastes and flavours. Unfortunately, Little Bean didn’t share my enthusiasm. I read all the weaning books I could, I followed the guidelines, I spoke to Health Visitors and I watched all my friends as their children happily accepted new foods but Little Bean was not playing the game. She was 10 months old before she finally began to accept ‘food’ and for a while I thought we had it cracked. She still would not accept the homemade purees I had lovingly prepared for her but she did like jars so at least that was something.
As I tried to move her onto the next stage we took a huge step backwards and she began to refuse food all over again and so this is how we have gone on for the last 3 years. For 4-5 months we will have good eating phases and for the rest of the year I feel like I am banging my head against a brick wall. She has never eaten a vegetable in her life, she will not touch pasta, rice or meat. Occasionally she will eat a banana if the wind is in the right direction but mainly her diet is rubbish and not very varied.
In recent weeks I have been reading a fabulous book titled “My Child Won’t Eat”!” by Carlos Gonzalez who is a paediatrician and father of three. He studied medicine in Barcelona and has produced a book which reassures parents that our children know how much they need to eat and explains how our only involvement as parents should be in providing healthy food choices.
The book is really easy to read and is broken down into bite-size sections so if you need an answer to a question, you can jump straight to it. The section which I wish I could have had access to all those years ago is “What are weight charts and what purpose do they serve?”. I used to look at growth charts and think that because she was at ‘the bottom’ meant that she was not doing well, but this was not the case. When she was in the 25th percentile that meant that of 100 healthy girls who had been weighed, Little Bean weighed the same. Notice I used the word ‘healthy’! The thing to look out for is any sudden changes in weight not whether your child sits high or low on the chart.
My Child Won’t Eat isn’t just about children who won’t eat ‘solids’, it gives great advice on breastfeeding problems and bottle feeding, and provides feeding guides to help you along the way. Since reading this book my attitudes towards Little Bean’s eating habits has changed dramatically. Little Bean may not eat what I expect her to eat but she is a very happy, ‘normal’ looking girl who is rarely sick. If she is hungry she will tell me so and then we decide on food together. Mealtimes are becoming less of a ‘panic station’ for me and she has even started to help me with preparing food. Last week she even asked if she could dip her finger in my lasagne so in time I know she will get there, I just need to let her do it at her own pace.
My Child Won’t Eat is available from Pinter & Martin and is currently number 2 in their bestsellers chart. If you register on their website you will receive loyalty points every time you shop.
Categories: health & nutrition
Size: 135 x 216mm
Page Count: 192pp
Publication Date: 14 February 2012
My Child Won’t Eat! is available from all good bookshops, internet retailers and direct from the publishers at www.pinterandmartin.com
DISCLAIMER: I was sent a copy of My Child Won’t Eat for the purpose of this post. All words and opinions are my own and may not be copied without my permission.