Each mother’s experience of feeding her children is different but it is always good to have some advice from someone who has been through a similar experience. Thank you to Lizzie for this article. “Devoted wife and momma of two beautiful girls, with a mostly wonderful husband and two bats**t crazy dogs.”, Lizzie runs her own blog at http://www.lisforbridget.blogspot.co.uk/ with her “product & place reviews, recipes, opinions and my musings on parenting, being a grown up, and life in general”
“Without sounding smug, I was one of those very lucky mums that managed to breastfeed successfully without any issues. My babies took to it naturally, as did I, and both of my girls were breastfed until they were nine months.
Whether you opt for breast or bottle or a bit of both, this first stage is the easiest food-wise because your baby will accept it when hungry, you know how much they have had, and can roughly calculate if that’s right.
But then comes weaning!
It was quite a trying time for me with both my girls, I found myself getting frustrated when they didn’t like something. The organic purees I had lovingly prepared being wasted, the hours spent peeling and cooking and mashing and spooning into individual ice cube trays and freezing – all to be thrown away because the baby refused it.
But some of the best advice I was given, was to keep trying all of those foods that your baby refuses. It took about six attempts for my eldest to accept carrot for example, and at least eight for the youngest to even consider potato. It’s worth remembering that weaning is a journey not just of moving from an all-milk diet, but a journey of taste, texture, and foreign things such as spoons and weird expressions on mum’s face. Look in the mirror next time you feed your baby, it’s hilarious!
This patience will pay off, and then you move to the faddy stage. My two year old is refusing to eat peas at the moment. One of her first words was “pea”; she was so in love with them just a few months ago. My eldest is seven and claims to hate mushrooms. Yet she’ll eat them chopped up finely in a Bolognese, or in my creamed mushroom sauce I serve with pan-fried pork fillet – because she doesn’t realise she’s eating mushroom.
These fads can be irritating to say the least. I’m very old fashioned in the way that I HATE to see food wasted. Left overs are always turned into a different meal, or portioned up and frozen for nights when it’s just one of us eating or we get back from somewhere and need something quick and handy. So seeing good food being pushed around on a child’s plate infuriates me.
I have had to develop a set of tactics to deal with these different fads and behaviours. They’re not entirely fool proof, but they have certainly ensured that 99% of the time my children eat a decent meal packed with vitamins and goodness.
- The secret vegetables – chopped up finely or even added as a puree, you can easily sneak in extra veggies to soups, stews, casseroles, Bolognese… the list goes on! The little ones need never know that they’re there, but you know you’re filling them up with goodness.
- Fun meals – at times, I have been particularly creative and laid out meals on plates to look like scenes such as a farmyard, or clown faces, or the seaside. It takes a bit of work, but my eldest was so impressed she completely forgot what was on the plate and wolfed it down. It doesn’t need to be tricky either, bear in mind that I am NOT artistically talented!
- Good old fashioned rewards – in return for eating their dinner, the girls sometimes get given the option to “earn” a scoop of ice cream with their fruit salad, or perhaps an extra half an hour playing out in the garden before bath time, or an extra bedtime story.
The crux of it is, feeding children is never just plain sailing, but by sticking to your guns in a way that is age appropriate and works for your family you can smooth out some of the bumps in the road. I’m proud to say that I can take my girls out for dinner and not worry about how they will behave or whether they will eat. We’ve instilled this “proper eating” ethic into them from weaning and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.
Hopefully I’m raising children who will reap the benefits of eating proper, balanced meals and understanding the importance of nutrition.
Hopefully they will continue this into adulthood and even pass it on to their own children!
Hopefully my experiences will help you too.”
Many thanks Lizzie!