Those who know me or are familiar with my book know that I often refer to the 7 mistakes of feeding. These are 7 mistakes that I commonly see and discourage. I have already explored the importance of Meal Planning and Freezing, and this week is all about Offering Choices.
Starting your baby on solids is such an exciting but potentially overwhelming phase of parenting. Most parents I speak to go from being in a really comfortable place with their baby; offering four or five milk feeds a day around predictable sleeping routines to being confronted with a whole new set of challenges around introducing solids.
This increased workload can be overwhelming and it’s important to ease yourself into it. Take everyday as it comes and remember it’s not a race. The aim is to set your baby up with a positive relationship with good food for life.
7 Mistakes of Feeding – #3 Offering Choices
Offering your child meal choices after they have refused to eat what you initially served is teaching them bad habits and setting you up for years of frustration and wasted meals. I can’t tell you how often I hear Mum’s chatting about having to cook x, y and z for their different children. Children are canny and they quickly learn to play you, holding out for their favourite food.
Don’t do it to yourself. Don’t become a short order cook. Cook one meal and serve it to your child. If they eat it, great; if not, try really hard not to nag and plead and bribe. And definitely don’t offer choices. You must be strong and let them know the meal is the meal and there will be nothing else. One of the biggest mistakes a parent can make is to keep bringing out different meal options until one of them is eaten. This sets you up for creating a ‘fussy eater’ who thinks they can just demand what they want.
As a parent, your role is to provide; your child’s role is to decide if they will eat it.
Remember, kids wont starve themselves. If they are hungry, they will eat, and if they are trying to ‘play you’ by not eating and hoping for a jam sandwich, then you need to be strong and pack away meal time and move onto the next activity.
If you are concerned about sending them to be hungry, don’t be. Avoiding a fussy eater is largely about a parents’ behavior and how they manage this time of life. A child that goes to bed with no dinner because they refused to eat it will likely eat a good big breakfast and be less inclined to muck around tomorrow night.
Be brave, be strong and good luck.