Mama: Mia has always been a terrible eater. She used to spit her milk out, bat the bottle out of your hand and just plain refuse to open her mouth. She would always drink the bare minimum amount of formula and she would go on feeding strikes. It was so hard, she was a smallish baby (6lb 7oz) and having not been able to breastfeed I just wanted her to grow and thrive. I felt like I’d failed yet again and a lot of tears were shed out of sheer frustration. It meant, however, that it came as no surprise when she didn’t turn out to be the biggest fan of food either. I suspected I may have an issue with a fussy eater from the outset as I myself am referred to as a ‘fussitarian’ by my husband. This is one of the many and varied reasons I decided to try baby led weaning. I’m really pleased we used this method as it seems to have had a positive impact albeit we still have a typical toddler who eats well for a week and then very poorly. She also goes through phases where she loves something and then decides she hates it. I have chosen to carry on with formula feeding (she is nearly 18m and still being offered 16oz a day) and I wonder if it is this, combined with my own personal food issues and her early issues with milk intake that has made me pretty relaxed about her eating, or lack thereof. I have her weighed to ensure I don’t have anything growth-wise to worry about but I remember the worst thing about being a fussy child was the immense pressure to eat something that you really didn’t like or want for the sake of eating. It’s not healthy for a relationship with food to be a battle and I don’t believe it’s healthy for it to be a dictatorship either.
Mia: I have a little tummy and it fills up quickly. People are always trying to get me to eat more. Mama used to worry about it lots and lots but I hardly ever feel hungry and if I do I let her know. I point to my snack box or my highchair and she gives me some food. I know she wishes I’d eat some different types of food, like the green ones, but they don’t taste very nice to me. Some days I feel really hungry and other days I don’t, especially when I don’t feel very well or my teeth hurt. Luckily Mama doesn’t try to make me eat, she offers me the food and if I say no she says “that’s OK you don’t have to eat it”. That makes me feel better. I really love watermelon, it’s my favourite. I’ve tried other things like strawberries and peaches and bananas but watermelon is the best. Toast is always nice too. Sometimes I like to try new things, like the time Dada gave me some blueberries. Mama said I wouldn’t eat them because she’d given them to me loads of times before but I ate them all up and then asked for more. They were actually quite nice, but then the next day she offered me some more and I’d had enough of blueberries so I didn’t eat them. I just like to eat what’s yummy and sometimes that changes. I like that Mama doesn’t get angry with me about it though, that would make me sad. I don’t mean to make her worry but it’s really not nice to put things that taste nasty or feel funny in my mouth. Sometimes things feel funny at first but then if you keep trying them they get better, so I’m sure when I’m a big girl I will eat lots of different foods.
Mama would love to hear from you if you have had food struggles with your kiddo too.