“Fussy” Toddler’s

“Fussy” Toddler’s

Welcome to the fun world of feeding a toddler! Sometimes “Toddler” and “Food” don’t go together as easy as we would like.

We all want our toddlers to eat healthy foods, so we know we are giving them the best possible start to life. A healthy range of vegetables, fruits, proteins, calcium, minerals and vitamins. It sounds so simple and sometimes it is, but I often hear how hard it can be and the term “Fussy Toddler” is used so much these days. I also use it. In fact I have a “Fussy Toddler”.

But what does this mean? They are not eating the foods you want them to right? Really the label is quite unfair, they are little humans, learning about what tastes good and what doesn’t, at that particular time. Some babies love everything! Some babies do not. They are free to pick and choose, just as we are with what we eat. But the question is what can we do to help them love all the good things?

Firstly I am no expert and this blog is just my opinion and observation. Most parents worry their toddler isn’t eating the right foods. We often cook away amazing dishes in hopes our little ones will gobble it up, only for them to turn their noses up at it or clamp their mouths shut.

It can be a very frustrating and distressing phases – if we let it be. I have been through this and right now I am still going through it to some degree!

So what can we do?

First understanding the basic facts. Your toddlers will eat if they are hungry. They will not starve themselves. They have a built in survival mechanism. Behaviour phases and food phases are closely linked. Also they are the best regulators of their appetite.

If you feel stressed about your toddler not eating the food you prepared, if you are hovering over them telling them to eat, if you feel anxious when it comes to meal times and you are anticipating a struggle – guess what? They feel it too. I also found the older they get the more clued on they get.

So first step is to take it down a notch. Don’t stress, don’t worry and get yourself into a calm and relaxed frame of mind. Food time can be fun!

Offer lots of variety. If you are past the puree phase you will be into finger foods and general foods. Toddlers can eat what you eat, with some exceptions to choking hazards foods (Raw vegetables, sausages, whole grapes etc.)

One thing I love to do is a mini grazing platter! I offer a range of foods (usually 5) and with at least 2 things I know they will eat. The idea is exposure. Sometimes they will try it, snub it, feel it or throw it! All of these things are normal. Then one-day the food they avoid may be the food they try! Try different sandwich fillings, cut up different fruit, oven bake your vegetables for different flavour, make omelettes or mini quiches, make healthy muffins and slices, dice cheese with some dried fruit, try different cooked pasta shapes, rice cakes, scrambled egg or yoghurt with fruit! Also I love to use shape cutters! Its a great way to serve food with some fun and learning!

Another idea I love is making fresh juices. I add in some fruit and lots of vegetables like celery, carrot, cucumber, zucchini, beetroot etc. When it’s mixed in with apples and oranges it all tastes yummy. Get your minis to help you to! Having them involved with food prep is fun and learning for them. I also add in some vitamins, powdered collagen and greens to give the juice an extra boost.

Toddlers also do what they see. Are you sitting down and eating with them? I find that when I sit down at the table and eat a small amount ( if its not your meal time) then they are more likely to sit longer and try more! Try not to talk about eating or food, instead talk about daily things. This takes the pressure of them to eat.

Also, are they grazing the whole day? I have a grazer. But we can’t expect them to sit and eat a full meal if the were snacking half hour ago! I had just implemented no snacking after 4pm so it gives them the best chance to consume dinner.

So to recap; DE stress, Have fun, Platters, Juices, Variety without pressure to consume, Keep an eye on snacking times.

I hope this helps!


The fun world of solids!

The fun world of solids!

Firstly I find that there is alot of information available for this stage but like all the stages it can be conflicting and a confusing time for mums! Often when we feel confused, we tend to have some anxiety around the process. What to start with? Is he ready? What are the signs? Some mums tell me to wait, some mums tell me to start, my doctor says something different, start with purees or finger foods etc…

So I’m going to outline how we started, what I did and what our 6/7 month current solids/milk routine is now!

I had done a lot of research, read articles and books and I decided to start baby Xavi at 4 months of age. He was showing signs that I was looking for and he had doubled his birth weight. He was reaching for food and drinks in my hand and looking at me when I was eating or drinking. So I decided it was time to start him.

I chose to use organic produce to start with. I used pumpkin, butternut pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots and baby porridge. The first day I tried him at lunchtime and over the next few weeks we continued that. I used my finger first, then a soft tipped spoon. The amount was 1-2 teaspoons at first and then he started to take more. I fed him until he told me to stop. Signs to look for are avoiding the spoon, arching back, ignoring you, clamping their mouth shut or crying. He took to solids really well! We stopped often to give him cooled boiled water to help with constipation. Soon he had worked his way up to two feeds per day at a few teaspoons per sitting.

We unfortunately encountered constipation to which I tried all the remedies, I was unhappy after two weeks of it so I decided to stop solids and keep him on breast milk until it subsided. I did this for two weeks then I started him back. In hindsight I would not do this again, as he refused the spoon when we started so I had to go to finger foods! Xavi baby still has issues on and off with hard stools but we manage it the best we can with extra water and fruits (Prunes, Pears, Plums, Peaches etc) and probiotics.

Every baby is different, some are ready when you try them, some are not, some get constipated, some don’t, some love your cooking and some don’t. It’s all a learning curve and as long as you remember not to take it too seriously you will both have fun.

I started to add in meat and tried him on the usual allergy type foods (eggs, peanut butter, fish) before he was 6 months as the research I had done specified it may reduce their risk of allergy’s if tried before 6 months.

After the first few weeks of adding in different vegetables each day, I decided to mix it all up and get creative. I cook 90% of his food and we use organic food sachets also. I have lots of fun creating dishes for him and now what I cook myself to eat I l give him some as long as I haven’t added any salt or sugar.

We do fruit and cereal (with added iron) for breakfast, vegetables for lunch and meat/fish for dinner. He is currently on 4 hourly milk feeds

Here is a typical day:

  • 6.00am Wake and Milk feed
  • 7.00am Breakfast
  • 8.00am Nap Time
  • 10am Milk feed
  • 11.30am Lunch
  • 12.00pm Nap Time
  • 2.00pm Milk Feed
  • 3.30pm Nap Time
  • 4.30/5.00pm Dinner
  • 6pm Milk Feed
  • 6.30pm Bed

So I leave 1 hour at least between milk and solids. During the day its milk first, then solids. Before bed its solids then an expressed bottle after bath time.

This is working great for us and he is now on about 3 tablespoons of food per sitting plus 2 snacks during the day. I also give him finger foods at every sitting so he can play, eat, learn and explore textures. I steam up different fruit and vegetables, grate cheese, soft pasta etc

I hope this helps some mums out there starting out with solids!

Remember just have fun with it and enjoy the process.