Alternative titles for this blog posts series were:
- How I got my kids to become confident eaters (they’re not there yet)
- How I got my kids to eat broccoli (but it also applies to other foods too, so I dropped that title, even though I am going to address broccoli later on)
- How I got my kids to try new foods (but then again, every day seemed like food was new to them, so that didn’t really sound right – make sure to read the part about Stories later on)
- How I got my kids to enjoy any food (I can’t really tell if they enjoy it or not; I think they just feel hungry and have learned that hunger is cured through eating).
In the end, I went with “eat any food”, which they seem to be doing rather consistently these days and doesn’t involve too much guessing on my part: they are obviously eating it. Eventually.
But notice one thing: I said eat, not eat a lot. I’m not always talking about massive amounts here. I believe “try” is a safer term, because sometimes they do end up eating only one bite of a certain food.
And this is one of the key things that we need to learn from day 1 of feeding kids.
PIN IT FOR LATER
They don’t always eat a lot. They are not adults. They have different growth rates and needs.
What I like to do instead of thinking about how much they eat is count everything as an exposure. No matter if they lick, smell, touch, play, throw or eat the food. They have seen it. Job done. I’m going to address the job issue in the next post, so make sure to click continue at the bottom of the page.
Let me tell you, though, I haven’t always thought like this.
My kids (now 4 and 2, respectively) have both gone through phases of food preferences or food refusal periods throughout their eating solids journey.
At some point, they were refusing to eat eggs altogether. I documented that journey over on my Instagram account, where I resorted to cooking eggs in a variety of ways just to cover all my bases.
Then they went through this phase of eating lots of bread and yogurt and bananas all the time. So much, it drove me nuts and it showed in my behaviour at mealtimes. If they didn’t eat what was on their plates, I used to take it personally and worry they won’t ever eat anything.
Do not show emotions! But more on that later on. Keep reading, it’s a good one, I promise.
Now, my kids are mostly in a territory where veggies and meat still don’t get lots of love and I wonder when they will ever do.
But one thing I have learned these past few years is that, like in any parenting area, patience is almost always rewarded. Even if it means serving broccoli for the 100th time, while the previous 99 attempts always ended up in refusal.
While I did document some aspects of my struggles, I felt like I wasn’t telling the whole story. In fact, the story wasn’t really about the food in front of us, but about the relationship with it.
So I looked at what I was doing and what my kids were doing. I took those relationships to my secret lab and dissected every piece of information that I noticed.
In this series, I am going to tell you how I shifted their attitude from “talk to the hand” to “Mommy, I want to try it too”.
At the end of the day, we want our kids to enjoy their food with us, making memories at the table, and not worrying whether or not we’ll have empty plates at the end of the day.
That would be a great feeling, don’t you agree?
The goal with this series is to make you think about things.
To help you decide whether you want things to be different when it comes to feeding your kids or stay the same. For a while, the latter seemed to fit our family of 4 very well.
Who am I?
My name is Ioana and I run Weaningful and Cooking School For Moms. I tried really hard to find a picture that doesn’t involve breastfeeding, both of my kids on top of me or us pulling funny faces. I noticed I don’t exist in many photos by myself either. So this night photo will have to do for now.
I have an inexplicable passion for food, feeding little tummies (and mine and my husband’s) and photography (when I have the time!).
Back in 2017, no one was writing about weaning (or so I thought!) or how to eat and cook with and for your kids. I started this blog to inform others. Now, it’s turned into a full-fledged passion that also happens to help other moms too. Whether it’s a simple recipe, a word of advice or just my experiences in the kitchen, it’s a part of me that I wouldn’t give up for the world.
I’m glad to see more than 30k people got to this little online corner in August 2020 and were at least slightly interested in what I had to say.
I am not going to talk about how I turned my picky eaters around.
I don’t believe in picky eating despite what others might say. My kids have preferences, just like me. It’s my job to let them have those preferences, while I provide the food that might change their eating habits later on.
But let’s start from the beginning, shall we?