I have struggled to feed my baby since the day I weaned him. The journey was till date a roller coaster ride in which many days were bumpy and to maintain balance some days were fine. I always tried to figure out ways, how to feed a picky eater (as I felt mine was). Whenever, I saw my friend’s kid eating on his own peacefully, I used to admire and think within, why is it not so with my brat. While, on the other hand, if I used to see another kid who used to throw tantrums every time he was asked to eat, I used to thank God saying at least mine is not so. So, you see I was in mid-way where my kid used to taste food but refused to eat further, sending me in dilemma as, “how to make him eat”.
After lot of discussions with mothers and research over net, I now seem to have figured out what we parents need to do and behave while feeding a kid.
Don’t force him to eat:
We mothers always have a tendency to worry that my child has not eaten well. He was supposed to complete this bowl of porridge but it’s still half bowl left in it. This worry sends jitters to her and she is always in kitchen trying to figure out and cooking dish thinking, might be he will like this. Not even an hour has passed and she is again after the kid trying to lure him to eat. As usual, he just denies tasting a bite or tastes it and denies. This cycle keeps on going making both kid and mom tired of this eating drama. Mom is tired thinking how to make his child full and the kid is tired of seeing his mom after him with a plate of food. I too had done this drama with my Brat and have seen his dislike towards food.
Finally one day, I gave up and let him play without annoying him with my food saga. To my surprise he came running to me and started eating from my plate. It was dinner time and I was happy to see him eating contently. This day he ate the portion size I always wanted him to eat. That day I learnt and promised myself that “I will never force him to eat”
Let him eat his way:
My hubby dislikes eating in a messy way. While feeding brat, there were continuous lectures as don’t spill food, don’t wipe your dirty hands on your T shirt, don’t put your hands in gravy etc. The end result, “Brat refused to eat after three or four bite” and then it’s mom who needs to figure out how to make him eat.
I then one day gave him food he wanted on his plate and let him play with it. After half an hour of spilling and playing with food it was half eaten. Irrespective it was half wasted and half eaten, I was happy with the fact that he ate it all by himself. Today, he prefers eating on his own from our plate without spilling food on the floor.
Don’t fuss over if he don’t eat healthy:
I always wanted my kid to eat healthy with all nutrients and vitamins into it. Who doesn’t wants so but? My brat loves to eat rice with dollop of ghee and sugar into it. He just relishes the taste of it. But I wanted him to eat rice, daal and sabji (cooked vegetable) for which he was absolutely uninterested. I then reasoned deep within myself as how will I feel, if I am forced to eat what I don’t like. I stopped bugging him to eat it my way, rather I let him choose his likes and tastes and to my surprise he now eats all veggies when he likes. Yes, this definitely took time but today I can say my kid happily eats everything. So, I concluded that ” It’s better to eat wrong food with right approach, while eating right food with wrong approach“.
Respect his taste and cook healthy:
My challenge now was to cook things which are healthy and tasty enough to stimulate taste buds of my brat so he is tempted to eat it. I started giving him paneer (rather than milk), boiled corn pellets salad, stuffed triangle parathas, eggs etc I tried to figure out things he disliked and would sneak it in his food in such a way that he didnt realised it and ate it happily.
Make meal time fun:
I used to be after my brat to eat his food before we (me and my hubby) sat to have ours. Firstly, making him eat was a task, on which I was always unsuccessful. He used to be tempted to eat, only when we were eating together and used to splash his hands over our plate. I then changed my way of feeding him and started laying three plates. I noticed a change, brat started eating on his own and specially more like his dad. He just loved copying his dad in all his ways.
I then realized that feeding is not a task and you don’t need to allocate time to make him eat. We don’t do it for ourselves neither our parents did for us. Meal times should be a family time when all of us sit, eat, talk and enjoy. This habit needs to be imbibed in the child right from the beginning.
I have seen a change myself and can you. Just change your perspective and let the kid within you bloom again with your little one.
Seeing your child playing, sleeping, laughing satisfies us but “The biggest satisfaction” is when we see him eating happily and enjoying his food.
Do let me know what you feel about it?