When my son was a baby, he ate just about anything. No questions asked. But as he got older, I don’t know what happened. He didn’t want this, that was yuck, that would look better squashed on the floor or painted on the walls.
I kept hoping it was a faze, but nope. Fussy, fussy, fussy.
I’ve even had someone virtually accuse me of not feeding him when he was just over a year old. He lost his baby chubbiness around six months when he started crawling. He started walking at eight months and never stopped moving. He was quite skinny and didn’t put on much weight, but he never looked like he wasn’t fed at all.
I guess I can’t complain too much, though. I am a fussy eater too. There are certain foods I will not eat. Seafood would be the big one. Just the smell makes me feel sick. Just keep it away from me. Now I’m starting to understand what my poor mum went through. It’s payback now, I guess.
It has to be one of the most annoying things for your child who used to eat something, suddenly decides that it’s yucky and won’t go anywhere near it. Zaine used to eat Spaghetti Bolognaise. I remember once he kept having more and more, but next time wouldn’t touch it. It’s been almost three years and he still won’t eat it.
He’s slowly been getting better, and these are ways I’ve found to make food less of a hassle.
Ways of Dealing With a Fussy Eater
Try not to make a big deal about it
Easier than it sounds, I know. I found when I stopped trying to force him, he would eat something. It might not be what I wanted, but it was better than nothing. And if he didn’t eat, I found after awhile he would tell me he was hungry.
Find a middle ground. Zaine wouldn’t eat what we did. But I found a few foods he would eat and offered them instead. They might not have been the healthiest, but he was eating. So what if he had porridge for dinner, or Mac and Cheese every night for a week. He even went through a stage where he had croissants every day. Some days it was for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Learn to negotiate
I’ve found he will want a biscuit or something he’s not usually supposed to have, but I use that to make him eat something else first. I find it works most of the time. Sometimes he’ll just walk off and sulk and not eat anything. Or of course, chuck a tantrum, which thankfully doesn’t happen much anymore since he realised it doesn’t work.
Call it something else
It sounds weird, but my son wouldn’t eat chicken nuggets and I worked out if I called them ‘nuggets’, he wouldn’t eat them. But if I called them ‘chicken’, he would. It wouldn’t always work, but it was always worth a shot. He used to love bananas but for months he refused to eat them. Every time I asked, he would reply with, “I don’t like Bananas in Pyjamas!” I have no idea why his sudden dislike for the tv show caused him to hate bananas too, but I found when I asked him if he wanted a ‘nudie nana’ he would occasionally want it. Whatever works.
Have them help prepare it
Whenever I used to ask Zaine if he wanted to help me in the kitchen, he wasn’t interested. At the shop one day he picked out some Minions cupcakes and we made them together. Now he likes to help occasionally with other things. Sometimes it just takes one thing to spark their interest.
Grow a vegetable garden
Since we started growing a vegetable garden, I’ve found my son will start trying different vegetables. He used to pull some parsley off the plant and eat it. I was surprised he even bit into a tomato and capsicum. Only took a bite, on two separate occasions, but it’s definitely progress.
At 18 months old, my daughter is a much better eater, and for the most part will eat what we do, or at least try it before spitting it out. I’m hoping she will be a better eater than her brother.
With fussy eaters it’s always going to be a battle of wills. Sometimes it’s just not worth fighting over. I’d rather save my energy. Do what works. You can always try another day.
Do you have a fussy eater? Did you find something that worked?