Archive for the ‘Food Boycott’ Category

Or as I like to call it: Help, My Toddler Won’t Eat! (All the time.)

Last week was our one-month check up with the nutritionist. The good news: Max gained almost one and a half pounds and now weighs in at a hefty 24 pounds, 8 ounces, a mere jump from the 15th percentile to the 27th.

But it’s not over yet.

He has come around to eating again, but meat is not on his menu. Nor eggs, nor cheese. So it’s a new wave of creative ways to sneak more protein into his diet: lima beans, edamame, milk, French toast, rice and beans etc. And of course, Pediasure supplements. Ugh.

I am not going to let it get me down. I worked hard for that one pound, six ounces. I have endured tears, and food thrown at me, and mopping up yogurt off my hardwood floors. I have endured constantly thinking about feeding my child; shopped until I couldn’t look at another nutrition label hoping for more calories and fat.

I have learned much over the past month when it comes to toddlers and picky eating. At least I know I’ve not resorted to this:

Below, however are a few things that have worked, and may help other moms out there.

  1.  Keep calm, and carry on. This is the hardest and most truthful rule. It’s incredibly stressful worrying about your little one, but even more so when his ability to gain weight, or lose it, hinges on what you’re feeding him. If he doesn’t eat a meal, take him out of his seat and move on to the next thing. If he disses that banana bread you made just for him today (and he will), just save it to try again tomorrow. If he screams and cries through meal time, remember there is always another meal time. It’ll be okay.
  2. Don’t let the doctors freak you out. Yes, it is an issue to simply overlook if your child is overweight or underweight. But don’t flip out. (See rule number one.) Even when the doctors give you that look: Oh, isn’t she delusional, getting excited over a little more than a pound? Even when the nutritionist comments about how she’s surprised your toddler is eating peanut butter and almond butter before the age of two—when at your last visit, she recommended you increase his nut butter intake. You know what is best for your child, so don’t be overwhelmed by all the suggestions they offer you. Just try one at a time.
  3. Switch up the eating pattern. For us, this meant swapping from the high chair to the table, in a booster seat. We added putting food in bowls and on plates, and when appropriate, spoons or forks. In other words, encouraging independent eating. Adding an additional snack also was helpful.
  4. Don’t stick to standard meal times. Max naps over lunchtime, and trying an “early” lunch did not fly, he wasn’t ever hungry for a meal. Our schedule looks like this:
    7:00 – 7:30 a.m. Wake Up
    8:00 a.m. Breakfast
    10:30 a.m. Snack
    11:00- to 12:00-ish Nap Start
    3:00 p.m. Lunch
    5:00 p.m. Snack
    7:00 p.m. Dinner
    8:00 p.m. Snack
    9:00 p.m. Bed
  5. Keep mealtime etiquette. Try to eat with your child, something about mimicking your eating works. Also, it offers more opportunity for them to reach for what’s on your plate. You can’t always eat with them, but you can have a cup of coffee, or hang out, or read them a story. Most importantly, just be nonchalant about the whole thing. Don’t offer praise or correct them for eating or not eating. Some days if they are eating, it’s better not to make eye contact. 🙂

So we move on to the next thing. And hope tomorrow, Max will eat that awesome chai peanut butter bread I slaved over this morning.


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Or, as I like to call it: Help! My Toddler Won’t Eat!

Last week, we found out at our 18-month wellness visit that Max, our little superhero, is in the 21st percentile for weight. To be exact, he weighed 23 pounds, 11 ounces, just a little bit more than his 9-month weigh in. So, we made a date with the nutritionist the following Monday.

Now Max was nursing a cold, courtesy of Mommy, plus he is teething, plus he had five shots at the doctor’s office, which meant that weekend, he wasn’t interested in eating a damn thing. We show up to discuss Max’s weight on Monday, and learn that he’s lost half a pound. Way to kick start that conversation, eh?

Now, we’ve already been through the masses of blood tests, back when he dropped weight at a year. So we move on to summarizing Max’s eating habits and getting a recommended list of foods to add to his diet, which includes

  1. One tablespoon of almond, peanut, or cashew butter on toast, bagels, waffles etc.
  2. One ounce of heavy cream per eight ounces of whole milk.
  3. Lots of dips: ranch, dressings, cheese sauce, with dippers like proteins, mini bagels and soft pretzels.
  4. Cream cheese, drinkable yogurt and puddings.
  5. Butter or olive oil on all veggies, breads etc.
  6. Pediasure for the days where he won’t eat a meal.

We also are to add a snack at night, and to try and increase his meat eating. For the next few days, this brings about a whole new shopping/food prepping reality that I’m still adjusting to. I’m checking yogurt shakes (RE: Danimals, Gogurt) to sneak a snack in him before naptime, but they’re all made with lowfat milk; same with prepackaged pudding, totally sans the added calories of whole milk. I’m giving him Tagalongs as snacks, the peanut-butter-filled Girl Scout cookies, because they’re an awesome 70 calories a pop. I’m smearing butter on everything, and making full crockpots of stew meat and pulled pork so he has some consistent meat choices.

And yet. He won’t eat.

At the most, he’ll snack on dry cereal and raisins and occasionally eat a slice of toast or a few tablespoons of peas. He’ll drink milk and some Pediasure. And for the past two days, running a low fever, I can’t even get him into the high chair.

We have tried a litany of excuses and suggestions for this new behavior, which began 12 days ago after his visit to the pediatrician. He’s teething. He’s running a fever. He’s trying to exude control. He’s not feeling well. He’s getting over the shots.

We also have tried adjusting mealtime behavior: from high chair to booster seat, at the table; not praising nor scolding him for eating/not eating; giving him smaller portions of food; remaining nonchalant during meal time.

Some days, I am so angry I cannot see straight. I literally have to walk away from the table, because it makes every neuron in my brain explode when he doesn’t eat. French toast? No. Pulled pork? No. Buttered corn? No. Grapes? No. Just no no no no no to everything that he once ate with vigor. Thank god we haven’t taught him how to say the word yet.

In discussing this with other moms that are dealing with similar issues, we find it’s the exhaustion of not finding a solution to the issue. It’s exhausting exuding so much effort and energy into preparing food that our toddlers turn their nose up at, or worse, squish it in their little baby fists. It’s wondering what to do now, when the problem isn’t just that they won’t eat, but that they need to gain weight, not contribute to losing more of it.

At the end of our conversations, we tell one another the same thing. “Keep calm, and carry on.” So for now, I shall.

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