I was sat in the doctors waiting room this morning, watching the news ticker on the bottom of the TV and something caught my eye.
‘Fussy eating toddler … ‘not the fault of parents’
I must admit I was a little shocked by that statement – I’ve never blamed myself for having fussy eaters. In fact I did all I could in the beginning of their weaning days to encourage anything but fussy eating once they reached toddlerhood. I just thought fussy eating was a natural path in life most kids took. Eat everything handed to them as babies, hit a fussy stage as a toddler, start eating all the things again as they get older … never did I think for one minute it was my fault.
Both of mine had different weaning experiences. L is 13 so back when she was a baby the guidelines were a lot different to what they are these days. I weaned her around 15 weeks (yes I know, but like I said we were advised back then to begin weaning that early). Obviously due to her age weaning back then meant spoon feeding her purees. I didn’t want to feed her from jars so I made all of her food myself. I would spend hours one day every few weeks whizzing up meals for her, getting more adventurous as she got older and was wanting more than just the basic one flavours. I would freeze them all and get out each day what I wanted to feed her. I remember cod in orange sauce used to be one of her favourites. I never shied away from strong flavours or flavours that might not have tasted the best .. I remember doing some puree courgette once, her face didn’t look too impressed but she ate it non the less.
All was going swimmingly until she reached the 18 month-2yr stage. She become fussy and refused certain foods. She would stick to wanting the same day in and day out. Her favourite was a little snacky plate – lots of little bits and pieces, ham, cucumber, fruit etc. Everyone I spoke to said she was at ‘that age’ and it was normal for children to go through stages and I was told it was just ‘another phase’
I did pass but it took a while, i’m taking a few years tbh. She now however is no problem at all and even if she’s not too bothered by something she will still eat it if I serve it up to her, but on the whole she’s got a great varied like for food.
C was weaned the more modern way – he was 6 months and we did baby led weaning. I would just serve him up whatever we would have that night and we ate as a family. He would have haddock, cod, chicken curry, stew, chilli, vegetables … you name it he ate it all, I never had a problem getting him to eat and try new foods.
Again once he hit the 18month-2yr age the fussiness began. He would start being picky about what he was eating on his plate, pushing it away and refusing to try anything new. Like L he had his favourites and stuck to them. I would still put things on his plate that I knew he used to like but no longer ate in the hope he would one day ‘try’ them again.
He’s now 4 and we are slowly getting back to him being willing to try new foods he’s unsure of and his choices are widening as to what he will eat. He still have his favourites and go to meals I know he will always eat but who doesn’t have a favourite?
I used to get worked up at the fact they weren’t eating certain foods but I’ve come to the realisation that they will eat what they want to eat and one day they will start accepting those vegetables again! It won’t last forever. You don’t really see adults being fussy with their food do you? Lucky both of them despite not liking vegetable still loved their fruit so I wasn’t worried. C will eat fruit until the cows come home.
But like I said not at any stage did I think to myself “What have I done wrong, I’m to blame for their fussiness” I couldn’t have done any better in the beginning in my opinion, I cooked and offered them a lot of varied meals including meat, fish and vegetables so how could I be at fault?
What surprises me is it’s only now the media are saying parents are not to blame. Have we been judged until now as the ones to blame? Did you or do you have fussy eaters? Do you blame yourself? It also proved to me not matter how you wean your baby, it still makes no difference what so ever, if they’re going to be fussy they’ll be fussy!
This is the news article if you haven’t seen it: