I am by no means an expert when it comes to parenting advice but recently I feel like we've experienced a bit of a breakthrough as far as fussy eating goes. I was really lucky with Emilia & Eduardo in the baby stage as they were very good eaters. But around the time Emilia turned 18 months she started to get very picky about food. Incidentally this was right about when Eduardo was born so as you can imagine, I probably wasn't very focused on her nutrition as I had been before so I found myself giving into her a lot. Of course this only made her fussy eating worse! As a child I was the complete opposite and I would eat almost anything my parents put onto my plate, so I didn't really understand how to approach this problem. I figured because Jonathan is a picky eater, maybe Emilia had inherited that from him!
By the time we moved to the UK I found myself with a toddler who would only eat Nutri-Grains, ham & cheese sandwiches, pasta and milk. It was a bit of a nightmare, but like I said with the stress of moving country and a newborn baby to look after - it took a backseat on my list of priorities and I figured it would sort itself out. Needless to say, it didn't. I asked our public health nurse for some advice and was told "no child has ever starved to death due to fussy eating...if she won't eat something don't give her other options but you have to be strict". Although I took that advice on board and in theory it made sense, mealtimes were becoming incredibly stressful and I found myself giving in to Emilia for the sake of getting something into her belly. To me, the idea of sending my child to bed with an empty stomach went against all of my mummy instincts!
Fast forward a year and Emilia's fussiness hadn't changed all that much, but even worse Eduardo (who by then was also a toddler) seemed to have picked up on some of these bad habits! He was getting clever and would spit out his veggies, push away fruit, demand "choclit" and was starting to figure out that bread baskets are a fussy toddler's best friend. I felt completely frustrated and knew something had to change...I figured if my parents could do it then so could I so I did LOTS of research! I read articles online, asked healthcare professionals, asked my mum, talked about it with other mummy friends and finally one day after months of perseverance I feel like I've cracked it. Being honest, my kids are not perfect and of course if given the option they would choose cake over broccoli but for the most part they are a million times better than before! I've compiled a list of tips that helped me the most and wanted to share them with you, as I know this is such a common problem that mums & dads face! So here they are...my top tips on how to deal with fussy eaters:
Hopefully this helps some of you...I wish I would have known how to tackle this sooner but I suppose as with most things in life you learn from your mistakes. Also a lot of this advice sounds obvious but put into practise it is soooo much harder than you would think. Often as parents I think we give in or settle for the easier option because it means a peaceful home or mealtime whereas actually in the long run, it could create more problems. I really hope this helps some of you! Let me know your tips for dealing with fussy/picky eaters!