When my son was born, he was huge! 9lb 1.5oz of chunky loveliness.
He ate everything, he was on hungry baby milk from about 3 months old, and he started weaning at 20 weeks due to consistent hunger.
At around 1 year, he started to not want to eat certain things, he would only eat mush, from a jar. He would’t attempt the food I was making for him, there was absolutely no chance of family dinners. I asked the health visitor for advice which she gave….try eating at the table as a family. Well, we had tried this many times, and it always ended in tears, his of anger and mine through frustration. The mush meals continued despite me offering something different every meal time. We eventually had a break through when he began to eat cheese on toast. Previously he had refused all cheese items except dairy lea. I was ridiculously pleased about cheese on toast! He then took it upon himself to refuse to eat ONLY cheese on blooming toast for over 3 months. He would have his usual breakfast, and then only cheese on toast.
Following cheese on toast, he moved onto pasta, and yes, you guessed it, only pasta with the odd piece of cheese on toast thrown in every now and then. A few months later and pasta was firmly off the menu, chips and anything beige and easy to eat with hands and served with ketchup were definitely on it. Every meal time punctuated with demands for “dip dip” at varying volumes.
He refuses all meat and fish, so adding protein is very difficult. My latest trick is to fashion quorn pieces into baked bean type shapes and hide them in his beloved beans. so far, so tiresome. This is where we currently are, me making furtive trips down the freezer aisle when doing my weekly shop, hiding frozen potato zoo animals under all the fruit and veg everyone else in our house consumes.
To say I find his fussy eating trying is underplaying how it makes me feel. I feel as if everyday I am failing to give my beautiful, happy boy the fuel he needs. I feel constantly as though I am being judged, usually most harshly by myself. I am being constantly told that he won’t starve himself, he won’t allow himself to become ill, you really shouldn’t give him what he wants. The worst advice I have been given was from my own father, “just give him his dinner for breakfast, that’ll make him eat it”. I don’t think so, he didn’t want roast beef and Yorkshire puddings at the table when it was hot, what is going to induce a 2.5 year old to want to eat it cold? Everyone seems to have a great solution to his fussy eating, unfortunately nothing works, and believe me when I say I have tried most things.
Our food battles continue. I have never had any issue with getting him to eat anything sweet, and I often think that yoghurt and fruit are what save him from being completely unhealthy. I have a new take on the food now, I can’t force him to eat what he doesn’t want to, the more I try and coax him into eating different things, the more he refuses, he gets angry, I get angry. I know that he is beginning to associate dinner time with drama, and I want this to stop. I now do not make a fuss, I just give him his dinner and let him have a pick at what he fancies. It is working to an extent, he tries much more than he ever has, and sometimes even eats something different.
My dream with my sons fussy eating would be for us to go out for lunch, and for me to not have to ask if they can make him a cheese toasty. I can dream…
Written by Katie B, loving mother to Evan and Seren.