TEMPERAMENT & FUSSY EATING: IS YOUR CHILD A ‘SUPERTASTER’?



mumsnet

DO YOU HAVE A PICKY EATER?  DO YOU SOMETIMES BLAME  YOURSELF FOR YOUR CHILD’S FUSSY EATING?

Please don’t.

I know it can sometimes seem like everyone else’s children eat everything and yours just won’t.

But it’s really not true – limited food choice is extremely common in young children

AND

It could also be that your child just has a very different innate temperament to other children. In particular, if they are naturally more cautious and/or sensitive, this can make eating very challenging for them. Different textures and unfamiliar foods can be quite overwhelming, and the fear of these new foods can quickly become habitual and result in very rigid eating.

Some children have even been found to be ‘supertasters’ in that they have extra sensitive taste receptors and so they experience food in a very intense way.

So if this is the case, one of the most helpful things you can do is to lower your standards. As long as your child is physically well and not losing significant weight, try your hardest to trust that they will broaden their food repertoire in their own time.

And the key to supporting them with this is the way you respond:

>>> Never force or coerce them to eat something, I promise you, it just doesn’t work for the long-term.

>>> Respect their individual differences and likes and dislikes. It’s okay not to like everything, and some children (and adults) are just not that bothered about food or variety.

>>> Cultivate empathy rather than frustration. I KNOW this is hard, but it can help if you view them as being genuinely scared rather than testing. New foods to them are akin to us being offered a plate of stir-fried live tarantulas.  Seriously!

>>> Cautious children also have a greater need to be prepared and feel in control. So, things like having a weekly menu up so they know what to expect for dinner each night, and allowing them to serve themselves, can help a lot.

So tell me about your children – how much do you think temperament plays a part in their eating habits?

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

I'm a mama of 3 and a parenting coach specialising in picky eating and mealtime stress.

I'm passionate about inspiring parents to enjoy mealtimes & help their children develop a healthy long-term relationship with food.

See here for the services I offer or email me for more info.  You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram.

FUSSY EATER MYTH #5: YOU KNOW EXACTLY HOW MUCH YOUR CHILD NEEDS TO EAT

It's true that we have an incredible understanding now of what is required nutritionally-speaking for optimum health. But there is concern amongst many health professionals that parents are frequently vastly over-estimating the amount of food children can and/or need...
Read More

WANT LESS STRESSFUL MEALTIMES? WANT TO STOP WORRYING ABOUT YOUR FUSSY EATER?

(This article was originally posted on the Mother Tribe blog on 22.04.17) A doctorate in child development and years of working with children and families did not prepare me for the sheer frustration and stress of feeding my own family. Three different children with...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #4: CHILDREN REFUSE TO TRY NEW FOODS BECAUSE THEY ARE STUBBORN OR ‘TESTING’ BOUNDARIES

Without doubt children have very different personalities and some are much more on the feisty end of the scale than others, but this is NOT directly related to refusing to try or eat a particular food.  Passive, laid back children can be just as fussy when it comes to...
Read More

FLEXIBILITY IS ONE OF YOUR BEST MEALTIME FRIENDS

I remember reading something a while ago along the lines of, whenever you think you know or understand something always leave a space next to it in your brain for new information.  I’ve probably totally trashed a beautiful quote there and unfortunately, I have...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #3: YOU NEED TO MAKE FOOD MORE EXCITING & TRY SPECIAL RECIPES

You've seen these websites and resources, right? The ones that are aimed at helping you with your fussy eater that focus predominantly on recipes...recipes that even the fussiest of fussy eaters are allegedly 'guaranteed' to eat. Except even after you spend ages...
Read More

TEMPERAMENT & FUSSY EATING: IS YOUR CHILD A ‘SUPERTASTER’?

DO YOU HAVE A PICKY EATER?  DO YOU SOMETIMES BLAME  YOURSELF FOR YOUR CHILD'S FUSSY EATING? Please don't. I know it can sometimes seem like everyone else's children eat everything and yours just won’t. But it's really not true - limited food choice is extremely common...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #2: FUSSINESS STARTS AT AROUND 12-MONTHS-OLD AS BABY BECOMES MORE WILFUL

Well, it is certainly true that it is frequently around about this age that parents start to regret having told everyone that their child loves food and is such a ‘good’ eater. Very often it can seem like overnight they go from eating everything in sight to refusing...
Read More

WHAT’S MAKING YOUR CHILD ‘FUSSY’ WITH FOOD?

The trouble with many articles offering expert opinions about fussy eating and mealtime stress is that they tend to offer a couple of generic, one-sized fits all ‘solutions’ and fail to take into account that there are many different types of ‘fussy eater’ and quite a...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #1: YOUR CHILD MUST EAT A RAINBOW COLOURED PLATE AT EVERY MEAL

If you present your child with a beautifully colourful, perfectly balanced plate of food at every meal and they willingly gobble it all down - wow, consider yourself extremely blessed! But if not, try not to sweat it. This is very common for all children, not just the...
Read More

WEANING YOUR BABY: 4 ESSENTIAL TRUTHS FOR LONG TERM FUSS-FREE EATING

(This article was originally posted on at http://mammainpearls.com/weaning-your-baby/ on 03.04.17) Very often when it’s time to take the exciting leap to the weaning stage, our focus is so much on the present that we forget to think about the longer-term eating...
Read More

HERE’S HOW MANY EASTER EGGS I LET MY KIDS EAT..

When you SPECIFICALLY request a trusted relative NOT to buy chocolate for your kids for Easter (but a small inedible present instead)...and they do it anyway. And not even a small one; a very large, indulgent-looking one each. THIS I find mega frustrating. And...
Read More

INSISTING ON ‘TASTING’ IS NOT THE ANSWER TO PICKY EATING

Imagine that you popped over to my house for a cuppa and I put a plate of snacks in front of you. And then instead of saying, "Here, help yourself!" I said, "Look at this yummy food I've got for you, try it! Have some! Just one little bite, go on, I'll give you a...
Read More

WHEN THEY DON’T EAT WHAT YOU KNOW THEY LIKE…

"But you LOVE chicken and rice! Here, have some chicken and rice!" "Don't like chicken and rice." "Yes you DO, you ate a whole bowlful the other day!" Do you ever find yourself having this sort of crazy-making conversation with your toddler or child? You kind of know...
Read More

MY JOURNEY TO FUSS-FREE EATING

I think even as a very young child I knew deep down that being ‘forced’ to eat and rigid mealtime rules just weren't right. I remember sitting at the dining table feeling so confused; I wasn't particular hungry, I'd eaten all the ‘nice’ bits on my plate, and just the...
Read More

HOW TO HANDLE “I HATE YOU MUMMY!”

Hearing these words for the first time from your sweet, innocent ‘baby’ is pretty gutting really.
I had asked my 7-year-old to start tidying away the Lego as it was bedtime soon, and he replied, “No Mummy, I’m still building this.” I could hear he was fairly cross and passionate, and so thinking I was being quite reasonable, I said,

Read More

DO YOU HAVE A FUSSY EATER? ARE YOU FED UP WITH MEALTIMES?

 

 

Click here to apply

 to join my
6 week, one-to-one, Fuss-Free Eating for Life coaching programme

 

 

APPLY NOW

FUSSY EATER MYTH #2: FUSSINESS STARTS AT AROUND 12-MONTHS-OLD AS BABY BECOMES MORE WILFUL



mumsnet

Well, it is certainly true that it is frequently around about this age that parents start to regret having told everyone that their child loves food and is such a ‘good’ eater.

Very often it can seem like overnight they go from eating everything in sight to refusing everything on offer and apparently existing on air.

But the reason they start to become more selective is very rarely just because they have become more stubborn or wilful.

Because what is not common knowledge is that up to around the age of 12 months the rate of a baby’s growth is extraordinary.  In fact, they tend to triple their weight, which (apart from in the womb), happens at no other stage of development.

Children eat because they are growing and not in order to grow – only in very severe cases of malnutrition does eating affect growth – and body size and shape is principally determined by genes.  And so up until around one year, for their size, babies eat A LOT –  proportionally speaking, an awful lot more than you or I do.

And so when this extraordinarily rapid growth slows down – which is entirely developmentally normal – they no longer NEED to eat nearly as much.   They are just NOT as hungry and so they naturally will start being more selective about what they choose to eat.

But if we don’t know this and are not prepared, it can come as a shock and look like they are just being ‘fussy’.  It seems counter-intuitive that an older, bigger child actually needs to eat less, particularly when they even seem to moving around more and burning more energy.  So we quite naturally panic and stress, and our child’s food refusal can trigger all sorts of things in us about our own childhood as well as about our ‘job’ as a parent.

And so this is very often the age that the coercion, pleading, bribing that we thought we’d never become involved in starts to creep into out mealtime repertoire.  We are very sure that we know much more than our one-year old about what she NEEDS to eat, and feel increasingly frustrated that she is defying us and being ‘difficult.  But unfortunately, instead of improving things it actually makes longer term ‘fussy’ eating a lot more likely and entrenched, as well as obviously making mealtimes much more stressful than they need be.

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

I'm a mama of 3 and a parenting coach specialising in picky eating and mealtime stress.

I'm passionate about inspiring parents to enjoy mealtimes & help their children develop a healthy long-term relationship with food.

See here for the services I offer or email me for more info.  You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram.

FUSSY EATER MYTH #5: YOU KNOW EXACTLY HOW MUCH YOUR CHILD NEEDS TO EAT

It's true that we have an incredible understanding now of what is required nutritionally-speaking for optimum health. But there is concern amongst many health professionals that parents are frequently vastly over-estimating the amount of food children can and/or need...
Read More

WANT LESS STRESSFUL MEALTIMES? WANT TO STOP WORRYING ABOUT YOUR FUSSY EATER?

(This article was originally posted on the Mother Tribe blog on 22.04.17) A doctorate in child development and years of working with children and families did not prepare me for the sheer frustration and stress of feeding my own family. Three different children with...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #4: CHILDREN REFUSE TO TRY NEW FOODS BECAUSE THEY ARE STUBBORN OR ‘TESTING’ BOUNDARIES

Without doubt children have very different personalities and some are much more on the feisty end of the scale than others, but this is NOT directly related to refusing to try or eat a particular food.  Passive, laid back children can be just as fussy when it comes to...
Read More

FLEXIBILITY IS ONE OF YOUR BEST MEALTIME FRIENDS

I remember reading something a while ago along the lines of, whenever you think you know or understand something always leave a space next to it in your brain for new information.  I’ve probably totally trashed a beautiful quote there and unfortunately, I have...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #3: YOU NEED TO MAKE FOOD MORE EXCITING & TRY SPECIAL RECIPES

You've seen these websites and resources, right? The ones that are aimed at helping you with your fussy eater that focus predominantly on recipes...recipes that even the fussiest of fussy eaters are allegedly 'guaranteed' to eat. Except even after you spend ages...
Read More

TEMPERAMENT & FUSSY EATING: IS YOUR CHILD A ‘SUPERTASTER’?

DO YOU HAVE A PICKY EATER?  DO YOU SOMETIMES BLAME  YOURSELF FOR YOUR CHILD'S FUSSY EATING? Please don't. I know it can sometimes seem like everyone else's children eat everything and yours just won’t. But it's really not true - limited food choice is extremely common...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #2: FUSSINESS STARTS AT AROUND 12-MONTHS-OLD AS BABY BECOMES MORE WILFUL

Well, it is certainly true that it is frequently around about this age that parents start to regret having told everyone that their child loves food and is such a ‘good’ eater. Very often it can seem like overnight they go from eating everything in sight to refusing...
Read More

WHAT’S MAKING YOUR CHILD ‘FUSSY’ WITH FOOD?

The trouble with many articles offering expert opinions about fussy eating and mealtime stress is that they tend to offer a couple of generic, one-sized fits all ‘solutions’ and fail to take into account that there are many different types of ‘fussy eater’ and quite a...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #1: YOUR CHILD MUST EAT A RAINBOW COLOURED PLATE AT EVERY MEAL

If you present your child with a beautifully colourful, perfectly balanced plate of food at every meal and they willingly gobble it all down - wow, consider yourself extremely blessed! But if not, try not to sweat it. This is very common for all children, not just the...
Read More

WEANING YOUR BABY: 4 ESSENTIAL TRUTHS FOR LONG TERM FUSS-FREE EATING

(This article was originally posted on at http://mammainpearls.com/weaning-your-baby/ on 03.04.17) Very often when it’s time to take the exciting leap to the weaning stage, our focus is so much on the present that we forget to think about the longer-term eating...
Read More

HERE’S HOW MANY EASTER EGGS I LET MY KIDS EAT..

When you SPECIFICALLY request a trusted relative NOT to buy chocolate for your kids for Easter (but a small inedible present instead)...and they do it anyway. And not even a small one; a very large, indulgent-looking one each. THIS I find mega frustrating. And...
Read More

INSISTING ON ‘TASTING’ IS NOT THE ANSWER TO PICKY EATING

Imagine that you popped over to my house for a cuppa and I put a plate of snacks in front of you. And then instead of saying, "Here, help yourself!" I said, "Look at this yummy food I've got for you, try it! Have some! Just one little bite, go on, I'll give you a...
Read More

WHEN THEY DON’T EAT WHAT YOU KNOW THEY LIKE…

"But you LOVE chicken and rice! Here, have some chicken and rice!" "Don't like chicken and rice." "Yes you DO, you ate a whole bowlful the other day!" Do you ever find yourself having this sort of crazy-making conversation with your toddler or child? You kind of know...
Read More

MY JOURNEY TO FUSS-FREE EATING

I think even as a very young child I knew deep down that being ‘forced’ to eat and rigid mealtime rules just weren't right. I remember sitting at the dining table feeling so confused; I wasn't particular hungry, I'd eaten all the ‘nice’ bits on my plate, and just the...
Read More

HOW TO HANDLE “I HATE YOU MUMMY!”

Hearing these words for the first time from your sweet, innocent ‘baby’ is pretty gutting really.
I had asked my 7-year-old to start tidying away the Lego as it was bedtime soon, and he replied, “No Mummy, I’m still building this.” I could hear he was fairly cross and passionate, and so thinking I was being quite reasonable, I said,

Read More

DO YOU HAVE A FUSSY EATER? ARE YOU FED UP WITH MEALTIMES?

 

 

Click here to apply

 to join my
6 week, one-to-one, Fuss-Free Eating for Life coaching programme

 

 

APPLY NOW

WHAT’S MAKING YOUR CHILD ‘FUSSY’ WITH FOOD?

The trouble with many articles offering expert opinions about fussy eating and mealtime stress is that they tend to offer a couple of generic, one-sized fits all ‘solutions’ and fail to take into account that there are many different types of ‘fussy eater’ and quite a number of possible underlying causes or issues going on.

In no particular order, here are just a few that are common to encounter:

>>> ‘Supertasters’ – these children have extra sensitive taste receptors and so they experience food in a very intense way.

>>> Emotional issues – stored up, unexpressed feelings from difficult experiences in the past that have become projected onto particular food or smells

>>> Cautious or highly sensitive temperament – these children may take even longer than the suggested typical number of exposures to new food before they even contemplate tasting it

>>> Extreme food aversions and fear of food that are due to underlying medical/neurological issues

>>> Resistance – to being over-controlled or coerced into following a strict routine or regime that does not suit their internal rhythm and needs.

>>> Indifference to food, tastes, and eating – these children appear to be pretty unbothered about all types of food.

So just from this short list you can see that it’s really not about ‘solving’ one specific problem, nor are these issues necessarily easily addressed simply by things like ‘increasing connection’ or ‘introducing a strict schedule’. In fact, I have spoken to lots of Mamas who feel quite despairing after trying to implement this kind of advice and find it doesn’t seem to make much difference.

Which is why it’s very important to me to really dive deep into all aspects of the child and their environment and experiences when I first start to work with a family.

And when suggesting changes, I find practical implications very important to bear in mind too. For example, one popular suggestion for easing mealtime stress is to spend at least 10 minutes of one-to-one time with your child before each meal.

Yes, sounds good theoretically, I know that strengthening connection in this way is often amazingly beneficial. But in reality?? This is seriously supposed to be possible??

What if you are by yourself, trying to also MAKE dinner, and happen to also have more than one child? If you can do this, I take my hat off to you, you truly are a supermum. But please be reassured I will NEVER suggest things like this to you – I’m here to HELP you, not ADD to your to-do-list and stress levels!!

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

I'm a mama of 3 and a parenting coach specialising in picky eating and mealtime stress.

I'm passionate about inspiring parents to enjoy mealtimes & help their children develop a healthy long-term relationship with food.

See here for the services I offer or email me for more info.  You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram.

FUSSY EATER MYTH #5: YOU KNOW EXACTLY HOW MUCH YOUR CHILD NEEDS TO EAT

It's true that we have an incredible understanding now of what is required nutritionally-speaking for optimum health. But there is concern amongst many health professionals that parents are frequently vastly over-estimating the amount of food children can and/or need...
Read More

WANT LESS STRESSFUL MEALTIMES? WANT TO STOP WORRYING ABOUT YOUR FUSSY EATER?

(This article was originally posted on the Mother Tribe blog on 22.04.17) A doctorate in child development and years of working with children and families did not prepare me for the sheer frustration and stress of feeding my own family. Three different children with...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #4: CHILDREN REFUSE TO TRY NEW FOODS BECAUSE THEY ARE STUBBORN OR ‘TESTING’ BOUNDARIES

Without doubt children have very different personalities and some are much more on the feisty end of the scale than others, but this is NOT directly related to refusing to try or eat a particular food.  Passive, laid back children can be just as fussy when it comes to...
Read More

FLEXIBILITY IS ONE OF YOUR BEST MEALTIME FRIENDS

I remember reading something a while ago along the lines of, whenever you think you know or understand something always leave a space next to it in your brain for new information.  I’ve probably totally trashed a beautiful quote there and unfortunately, I have...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #3: YOU NEED TO MAKE FOOD MORE EXCITING & TRY SPECIAL RECIPES

You've seen these websites and resources, right? The ones that are aimed at helping you with your fussy eater that focus predominantly on recipes...recipes that even the fussiest of fussy eaters are allegedly 'guaranteed' to eat. Except even after you spend ages...
Read More

TEMPERAMENT & FUSSY EATING: IS YOUR CHILD A ‘SUPERTASTER’?

DO YOU HAVE A PICKY EATER?  DO YOU SOMETIMES BLAME  YOURSELF FOR YOUR CHILD'S FUSSY EATING? Please don't. I know it can sometimes seem like everyone else's children eat everything and yours just won’t. But it's really not true - limited food choice is extremely common...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #2: FUSSINESS STARTS AT AROUND 12-MONTHS-OLD AS BABY BECOMES MORE WILFUL

Well, it is certainly true that it is frequently around about this age that parents start to regret having told everyone that their child loves food and is such a ‘good’ eater. Very often it can seem like overnight they go from eating everything in sight to refusing...
Read More

WHAT’S MAKING YOUR CHILD ‘FUSSY’ WITH FOOD?

The trouble with many articles offering expert opinions about fussy eating and mealtime stress is that they tend to offer a couple of generic, one-sized fits all ‘solutions’ and fail to take into account that there are many different types of ‘fussy eater’ and quite a...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #1: YOUR CHILD MUST EAT A RAINBOW COLOURED PLATE AT EVERY MEAL

If you present your child with a beautifully colourful, perfectly balanced plate of food at every meal and they willingly gobble it all down - wow, consider yourself extremely blessed! But if not, try not to sweat it. This is very common for all children, not just the...
Read More

WEANING YOUR BABY: 4 ESSENTIAL TRUTHS FOR LONG TERM FUSS-FREE EATING

(This article was originally posted on at http://mammainpearls.com/weaning-your-baby/ on 03.04.17) Very often when it’s time to take the exciting leap to the weaning stage, our focus is so much on the present that we forget to think about the longer-term eating...
Read More

HERE’S HOW MANY EASTER EGGS I LET MY KIDS EAT..

When you SPECIFICALLY request a trusted relative NOT to buy chocolate for your kids for Easter (but a small inedible present instead)...and they do it anyway. And not even a small one; a very large, indulgent-looking one each. THIS I find mega frustrating. And...
Read More

INSISTING ON ‘TASTING’ IS NOT THE ANSWER TO PICKY EATING

Imagine that you popped over to my house for a cuppa and I put a plate of snacks in front of you. And then instead of saying, "Here, help yourself!" I said, "Look at this yummy food I've got for you, try it! Have some! Just one little bite, go on, I'll give you a...
Read More

WHEN THEY DON’T EAT WHAT YOU KNOW THEY LIKE…

"But you LOVE chicken and rice! Here, have some chicken and rice!" "Don't like chicken and rice." "Yes you DO, you ate a whole bowlful the other day!" Do you ever find yourself having this sort of crazy-making conversation with your toddler or child? You kind of know...
Read More

MY JOURNEY TO FUSS-FREE EATING

I think even as a very young child I knew deep down that being ‘forced’ to eat and rigid mealtime rules just weren't right. I remember sitting at the dining table feeling so confused; I wasn't particular hungry, I'd eaten all the ‘nice’ bits on my plate, and just the...
Read More

HOW TO HANDLE “I HATE YOU MUMMY!”

Hearing these words for the first time from your sweet, innocent ‘baby’ is pretty gutting really.
I had asked my 7-year-old to start tidying away the Lego as it was bedtime soon, and he replied, “No Mummy, I’m still building this.” I could hear he was fairly cross and passionate, and so thinking I was being quite reasonable, I said,

Read More

DO YOU HAVE A FUSSY EATER? ARE YOU FED UP WITH MEALTIMES?

 

 

Click here to apply

 to join my
6 week, one-to-one, Fuss-Free Eating for Life coaching programme

 

 

APPLY NOW

FUSSY EATER MYTH #1: YOUR CHILD MUST EAT A RAINBOW COLOURED PLATE AT EVERY MEAL



mumsnet

If you present your child with a beautifully colourful, perfectly balanced plate of food at every meal and they willingly gobble it all down – wow, consider yourself extremely blessed!

But if not, try not to sweat it. This is very common for all children, not just the nearly 40% who are identified as ‘fussy’ at some point.

Of course, in a perfect world this fantasy recommended by many nutritionists would undoubtedly be ideal. But in reality, many children just do not have the appetite, stomach space, inclination or attention span to do this.

Instead, if they are left to their own devices they will eat what their body needs over a period of DAYS or WEEKS.

Being constantly bombarded with ‘health’ messages and warnings and ideals from the media makes TRUSTING this mega hard. We worry, we compare, we get stressed and frustrated – and so begins the cycle of bribing, coercing, pleading and distracting our child to ‘get’ them to eat.

And unfortunately, not only does this not tend to work very well, it also starts a pattern of control and emotion becoming associated with eating. It takes children further and further away from their innate ability to listen to their body, express their unique likes and dislikes and enjoy the process of nourishing their bodies as is their birthright.

And crucially, it also puts them at increased risk of disorderly eating and related mental health issues in the future.

I promise you that the short term gain of ‘getting’ them to clear their plate or eat a particular random vegetable or food group is soo not worth the longer term consequences of doing this.

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

I'm a mama of 3 and a parenting coach specialising in picky eating and mealtime stress.

I'm passionate about inspiring parents to enjoy mealtimes & help their children develop a healthy long-term relationship with food.

See here for the services I offer or email me for more info.  You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram.

FUSSY EATER MYTH #5: YOU KNOW EXACTLY HOW MUCH YOUR CHILD NEEDS TO EAT

It's true that we have an incredible understanding now of what is required nutritionally-speaking for optimum health. But there is concern amongst many health professionals that parents are frequently vastly over-estimating the amount of food children can and/or need...
Read More

WANT LESS STRESSFUL MEALTIMES? WANT TO STOP WORRYING ABOUT YOUR FUSSY EATER?

(This article was originally posted on the Mother Tribe blog on 22.04.17) A doctorate in child development and years of working with children and families did not prepare me for the sheer frustration and stress of feeding my own family. Three different children with...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #4: CHILDREN REFUSE TO TRY NEW FOODS BECAUSE THEY ARE STUBBORN OR ‘TESTING’ BOUNDARIES

Without doubt children have very different personalities and some are much more on the feisty end of the scale than others, but this is NOT directly related to refusing to try or eat a particular food.  Passive, laid back children can be just as fussy when it comes to...
Read More

FLEXIBILITY IS ONE OF YOUR BEST MEALTIME FRIENDS

I remember reading something a while ago along the lines of, whenever you think you know or understand something always leave a space next to it in your brain for new information.  I’ve probably totally trashed a beautiful quote there and unfortunately, I have...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #3: YOU NEED TO MAKE FOOD MORE EXCITING & TRY SPECIAL RECIPES

You've seen these websites and resources, right? The ones that are aimed at helping you with your fussy eater that focus predominantly on recipes...recipes that even the fussiest of fussy eaters are allegedly 'guaranteed' to eat. Except even after you spend ages...
Read More

TEMPERAMENT & FUSSY EATING: IS YOUR CHILD A ‘SUPERTASTER’?

DO YOU HAVE A PICKY EATER?  DO YOU SOMETIMES BLAME  YOURSELF FOR YOUR CHILD'S FUSSY EATING? Please don't. I know it can sometimes seem like everyone else's children eat everything and yours just won’t. But it's really not true - limited food choice is extremely common...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #2: FUSSINESS STARTS AT AROUND 12-MONTHS-OLD AS BABY BECOMES MORE WILFUL

Well, it is certainly true that it is frequently around about this age that parents start to regret having told everyone that their child loves food and is such a ‘good’ eater. Very often it can seem like overnight they go from eating everything in sight to refusing...
Read More

WHAT’S MAKING YOUR CHILD ‘FUSSY’ WITH FOOD?

The trouble with many articles offering expert opinions about fussy eating and mealtime stress is that they tend to offer a couple of generic, one-sized fits all ‘solutions’ and fail to take into account that there are many different types of ‘fussy eater’ and quite a...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #1: YOUR CHILD MUST EAT A RAINBOW COLOURED PLATE AT EVERY MEAL

If you present your child with a beautifully colourful, perfectly balanced plate of food at every meal and they willingly gobble it all down - wow, consider yourself extremely blessed! But if not, try not to sweat it. This is very common for all children, not just the...
Read More

WEANING YOUR BABY: 4 ESSENTIAL TRUTHS FOR LONG TERM FUSS-FREE EATING

(This article was originally posted on at http://mammainpearls.com/weaning-your-baby/ on 03.04.17) Very often when it’s time to take the exciting leap to the weaning stage, our focus is so much on the present that we forget to think about the longer-term eating...
Read More

HERE’S HOW MANY EASTER EGGS I LET MY KIDS EAT..

When you SPECIFICALLY request a trusted relative NOT to buy chocolate for your kids for Easter (but a small inedible present instead)...and they do it anyway. And not even a small one; a very large, indulgent-looking one each. THIS I find mega frustrating. And...
Read More

INSISTING ON ‘TASTING’ IS NOT THE ANSWER TO PICKY EATING

Imagine that you popped over to my house for a cuppa and I put a plate of snacks in front of you. And then instead of saying, "Here, help yourself!" I said, "Look at this yummy food I've got for you, try it! Have some! Just one little bite, go on, I'll give you a...
Read More

WHEN THEY DON’T EAT WHAT YOU KNOW THEY LIKE…

"But you LOVE chicken and rice! Here, have some chicken and rice!" "Don't like chicken and rice." "Yes you DO, you ate a whole bowlful the other day!" Do you ever find yourself having this sort of crazy-making conversation with your toddler or child? You kind of know...
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MY JOURNEY TO FUSS-FREE EATING

I think even as a very young child I knew deep down that being ‘forced’ to eat and rigid mealtime rules just weren't right. I remember sitting at the dining table feeling so confused; I wasn't particular hungry, I'd eaten all the ‘nice’ bits on my plate, and just the...
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WEANING YOUR BABY: 4 ESSENTIAL TRUTHS FOR LONG TERM FUSS-FREE EATING



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(This article was originally posted on at http://mammainpearls.com/weaning-your-baby/ on 03.04.17)

Very often when it’s time to take the exciting leap to the weaning stage, our focus is so much on the present that we forget to think about the longer-term eating outcomes we’d like our children to develop.

But with the number of people diagnosed with both eating disorders and obesity still steadily on the rise, these considerations are more important than ever.

I strongly believe that we need to be thinking about these aspects right from the start; teaching our children how to listen to their internal hunger and satiation cues and fully respecting their autonomy over their bodies.

So, here are four very important things to know and consider before you take steps to wean your baby:

 

1. Your baby will tell you when he’s ready for solids (not the other way around)

This is particularly hard when it’s your first baby and you are excited to get started. You have well-meaning advice hitting you from every direction, and plus ‘all’ your baby’s peers are allegedly gobbling down pizza and tofu stir-fry by the plateful. But just as every baby hits every other developmental milestone at very varying ages, starting solids is no different. Whatever you may have read (particularly from baby food manufacturers and the media), there is no nutritional benefit to ‘real’ food over milk, and no generic ‘critical’ age when a baby must start eating.

So how do you know if they are ready for solids?

They will reach out and grab food off your plate, they will cry when you eat something and don’t share it with them, they will gum said food intently, they will cry when you take it away, they will open their mouth in anticipation if they see a spoon passing nearby. Trust me, you will know.

If he’s not showing these signs, attempting to wean too early for your baby will start you on the slippery slope of coercing him to eat when he doesn’t need to, and lead to power struggles and an early negative association with mealtimes.

 

2. There is no proven relationship between eating solids and sleeping longer

How many one year olds have you heard about who still wake several times in the night? And two-year olds? And three-year olds? And even 4-year-old too? Yes, I definitely know lots of all ages!

Is this because they’ve not been fed properly and are waking up hungry? Very, very rarely. Conversely, it is also the case that some exclusively breast-fed babies do sleep through the night from a very young age. Yup, sorry to break this to you, but children are all unique and lots of things impact sleeping.

It is entirely normal for many children under the age of 5 to wake up (briefly or otherwise) several times in the night- it’s thought possibly to be a survival instinct to check they are still being cared for. Although I get that solid food = more sleep makes intuitive sense on some level, there is absolutely no science behind it.

And unfortunately, all this sleep myth does is way too easily lead to justifying premature ‘force’ feeding of a baby who is not quite ready to eat or who is not hungry or needing to eat much (see number 3).

 

3. Coercing your baby to eat is not necessary or helpful

Of course I don’t/wouldn’t force my baby to eat I hear you say, that sounds cruel and mean and I love my baby!

I know you do, but it’s amazing how easy it is to do things in the ‘name’ of love. Very often we think we know best and forget that our baby arrives in the world with the instinct to know exactly what they need to eat to fulfil the precise requirements of their body. So, if they are refusing to eat something, this means they do not want or need it. End of story.

Except it’s not, because very often our own fears and (usually groundless) expectations get in the way and block us from trusting this. For example, our preconceived ideas about what baby ‘should’ be eating at this age, worries about where he is on the growth chart, worries that he will become malnourished if he doesn’t eat a particular nutrient or food group, to name a few.

And I’m not suggesting there are many parents who are so anxious that they literally hold their child down and push food down their throats (although it most definitely has been known). But anything that becomes a regular way of ‘getting’ our children to eat such that they are distracted from listening to their body counts as using coercion in my book.

Sadly, as a culture we have moved so far away from our ability to listen to our inner wisdom that we rarely consider that our ‘tricks’ to entice our offspring to eat are anything but ‘normal’. Watching the TV, here comes the aeroplane-type games, silly songs, ‘hiding’ food, shouting, bribing, bargaining and pleading are all frequently part of a standard dinner time parental repertoire.

That’s not to say that EVER doing any of these things is terrible and will ruin your child for life. But, if you find you are resorting to these things on a regular basis as the only way to get your child to eat, then I do urge you to consider what you are teaching your child in the long-term.

 

4. They do not need to eat from every food group at every mealtime

Or even every day. Seriously, let’s stop over-complicating things.

The dubious and continually-changing research results that claim to tell us exactly how much of each particular food group or nutrient we ‘should’ be feeding our kids each day make me mad. They result in a series of requirements that are confusing, overwhelming, guilt-inducing and frankly just plain unnecessary.

Yes, of course, fish fingers and chips every day is not balanced or healthy, we all know that. And it is definitely desirable to offer from different food groups and offer as much variety and whole foods as we can. But just offer and just as much as we can. Our children will do the rest.

Studies analysing baby led weaned children found that over the course of a few weeks, they independently chose the foods containing the perfect balance of nutrients they needed. Again, it very often comes down to us getting out of our baby’s way and learning to trust them, they are so much clever than we often give them credit for!

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