family

My son’s picky eating habits are MY fault!

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I admit it-my one year old son was becoming a picky eater.  The worst part, I believe it was all my fault.

I tried feeding him a banana.  He squished it between his fingers and threw it on the floor. We attempted avocado pieces, he squished these and spread them everywhere.  I tried peas.  He shucked the center from the pea skin in his mouth and spit them out.  (That one was actually pretty impressive.)  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches recently ended up smeared on his face and head with many of the cut up pieces stuck to his leg or the highchair.  Oranges?  Well, to be honest, he seemed to really like them.  But, they were sooooo sticky.  I realized then that he wasn’t the one with the issue.  The worst part, this was an issue that made me start to dread meal time.

Here are a few things I did to make eating a happier experience for both of us.

 1.  Ignore the negative

Our son loves to slam his body back against the highchair when he is frustrated or even bored during a meal.  If that isn’t getting our attention, he will progress to screeching.  I hate to confess this, but we spent several meals yelling “no” to him.  Did I mention that he’s one?  Yeah, that yelling wasn’t working.  We now ignore the negative behavior and it seems to have decreased significantly.

2.  Be fully engaged during the meal or snack

I am a great multi-tasker.  This is not the time to multitask.  He needs my full attention during a meal.  He is much more apt to eat what I offer if I’m engaged and interacting with him.  If I take a bite of something prior to feeding it to him, he can’t wait to try out what I’m eating.  Especially if I exaggerate taking the bite and chewing whatever it is I want him to try.  Oh, and lots of mmmm and yummmmm doesn’t hurt.

3.  Praise and reinforcing positive behavior

When he tries something new, I will clap and tell him what a great job he’s doing and how proud I am of him.  I originally worried this would distract him and stop him from eating more, but he seems to love the praise and continues devouring the food.

4.  Patience, Patience, Patience

Sometimes, my son wants to take his time with his food.  When it comes to food, he’s a lot like his mom-he savors it.  However, I often want to rush the process with him.  When we first started feeding him, I did a lot of sneaky moves to get him to eat.  A quick distraction with one item while I snuck a spoon into his mouth.  When he was six months old, this worked great.  I realize now, those moves don’t work anymore and there is no need to rush.  There’s no tricking him into eating.  He’s on to me.  It’s also not necessary.  If I am patient, and take my time with the process, he will eventually eat.  He may not eat all of a dish, but he will always try it.

What have you done to make meal time more enjoyable?

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4 thoughts on “My son’s picky eating habits are MY fault!

  1. Our daughter isn’t really a picky eater. There are some things she doesn’t like – like many vegetables – but for the most part we would give here what we were eating and overall didn’t have too many problems. Around 18 months we learned she likes to dip things and that helped immensely. If she wasn’t eating something (like pork chops) I could put a dollop of ranch on her plate and she would dip them and eat them. When she was younger – right around 1 – I would keep something in the freezer that I could warm up quick if she absolutely wouldn’t eat what we were having (or if it was something she shouldn’t have yet). One of her favorites was quinoa mac and cheese, so I added an extra egg to the recipe so they’d hold their shape and baked them in muffin tins and put them in the freezer. A lot of times if she seems like she doesn’t want to finish her plate we just leave her with it for awhile and not rush her and she’ll finish it off.

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    1. We struggle with that one around dinner time. Breakfast and lunch are easy to enjoy together, but I like to eat dinner with my husband. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get home till close to our son’s bedtime so family meals are rare (which is why they are so special for us on the weekends). So, I will usually just have some fruit while feeding him his dinner.

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