I wish I had a way to skip the picky eater phase completely. Or perhaps just add some magical dust you could sprinkle in the food and your toddler would just eat it, happily.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Honestly, the only true solution to my toddler’s picky eater stage was time. But I would like to share a few ways I made the phase easier on myself. I should add, too- all kids are different and everyone’s experiences will vary. At first, my toddler decided to eat everything but spit it out after chewing it up. For a good 6 months everything that went in her mouth got chewed up and spit back out. She would stick her tongue out over and over until all the chewed food was out. Anyway, here are a few ways I got through it:
1. Puree what you can.
Since my child loved to spit, using foods that are quicker to swallow was a great choice. Applesauce, pureed fruits and veggie (homemade or store bought), yogurt, etc. She really grew to love yogurt and rice pudding! Some children have a difficult time processing different textures, so beginning with purees can help with that.
2. Don’t be concerned if they prefer the same food!
If your picky eater takes a liking to a certain food, always have it ready. For me, blueberries almost always win. And they’re healthy so that was a big bonus! Also, for some meals she would only swallow Puffs, and although that is not an ideal meal in my eyes, she was practicing putting food in her belly and that made me happy. Now, she could care less if a bottle of Puffs are sitting in front of her! It will pass, so whatever they are willing to eat, just go with it.
3. Have options handy.
Options. There were days I would try 10 foods for breakfast until I found something she would keep down. Juggling motherhood is hard enough- then add a picky eater, let alone make 10 things for each meal!.
To make this easier, I kept cut fruit ready so she could have several options at a sitting. I kept crackers and peanut butter handy, bread and butter, etc. I did this for lunch and dinner and she never picked the same thing.
4. Make a shake!
Remember, you can always throw fruits and veggies in a blender with some yogurt and milk! There and tons of recipes on places like Google and Pinterest and even baby apps. If your kid drinks from a straw, a shake may be the way to go!!
5. Keep on nursing!
If you haven’t already weaned, nursing your toddler still has many benefits for their immune system and health. If you continue to nurse through the picky eating stage you can rest assure your toddler is getting nutrients from your milk even if not from his/her plate!
6. Discuss Your Toddler’s Nutritional Intake with Your Doctor
Make sure to get your toddler’s blood checked during the bad eating phases. You may need to supplement with dissolvable vitamins or drops. My toddler became low on iron so I used the drops for her until she became a better eater! I also gave her PediaSure for a little bit because she was stuck at the same weight for months!
7. You eat first!
Ok, this is mostly for my pregnant moms. I had to go through the picky eater phase during my first trimester of my new pregnancy. After watching my daughter chew up her food and spit it out I always lost my appetite. Feeling nauseous and seeing that over and over is hard on a pregnant mom’s will to eat!. Not a good mix. If I could manage, I learned to eat a little before feeding her.
8. Relax, don’t stress!
The phase will pass. It may come back one day- but at least she will communicate better by then. I know it is frustrating but your toddler doesn’t understand how to tell you things yet and food is still pretty new.
Just like your contractions, just like cranky bedtime cries and temper tantrums, it will pass!
Now, my daughter is 18 months old. Just 2 months ago, I was still dealing with all this. Now her nickname is Porky Pig! She will eat nonstop, and try almost anything! There is light at the end of the tunnel!
Good luck and happy feeding!
What are some ways you dealt with your picky eater? What frustrated you the most, and what foods were invaluable and need to be kept close by for your toddler?
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