Breast or bottle. Baby led weaning. Foods to avoid. Allergies. Fussy eaters. Throwing food. Refusal to get into the highchair. And, the list goes on. Who would have thought feeding babies and toddlers could get so complicated? I'm not sure there's a way to avoid these sometimes challenging issues, but I've put pen to paper to share how we got our eight children through the mealtime process.
When I started to write this I wasn’t quite sure how to approach it. I'm not an expert in nutrition, I haven't studied child psychology, and I'm not a doctor. I'm just a mum sharing her journey of taking eight unique little personalities through the baby to toddler mealtime process.
So, I'm just going to walk through the step by step process of how we got from A to B, sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly, and being honest about the results. You might find it useful, or you might find it doesn't run in line with how you like to do things. But, that's the beauty of raising children and eating habits. It's not a one size fits all. There's a myriad of approaches to diet and to parenting. This blog is just a reflection on ours.
In my home I have a cross section of ages to feed. My youngest just turned five and our mealtime journey started 21 years ago with our first child. From what I have discovered, there is no magic formula in the mealtime process. There is no quick fix for fussy eaters or unco-operative behaviour at mealtime. It’s a process that takes a long time. And, to top it off, every child is different. Some of mine were great eaters and/or generally more compliant, while others were fussier eaters and/or headstrong.
Baby led weaning was not really talked about when I started out and I didn't hear about it until a couple of years ago. I do wonder how different things might have been with my mealtimes if I had tried it. I certainly like the idea of offering children a wider variety of food than what I did, and offering them vegetables that weren't pureed, like cooked carrot sticks and broccoli. But, one thing I'm glad I did, was to encourage my children as they got older, to eat things they didn't like.
So, in this little blog mini-series, I'm going to go from bub to toddler, from milk feeds to self feeding. I'm going to provide a summary of things that I did when my children were starting solids and learning to self-feed, as well as how I managed times when they were fussy or refused to eat. I hope you enjoy!