Thursday, January 20, 2011

Picky Eater Bootcamp Day 1

** Update: Finally, around 6:30 p.m. we had a bit of a breakthrough! She had a couple little meltdowns in the later afternoon, saying "snack snack" and got upset when I kept offering her the squash, beef, and potatoes, which she had refused, refused, and refused all day long. We sat down to supper at about 6 and she still refused! I let her down while I finished my supper, and then she asked for food again. So, back up into the high chair, while I explained to her again how she must eat what is offered to her. I slightly caved and put a little sour cream on it for her. (Hey...I put sour cream on nearly everything, too ;-)). After picking and prodding at it for awhile, she finally took a bite. Then, more picking and prodding. Then, another bite. And another. And another...until she ate the whole plate full! She got so into it, that she even wanted a bit more squash off of my plate. It wasn't quite enough to fill her up, so I decided to test the limits a little more..not too much..but just a little. So, I made up some oatmeal, which she had previously spit out and refused last week. I added a little brown sugar, cream, and cinnamon, just like I always had, but this time...she gobbled it all up and didn't spit it out once! I considered this a success as she flat out refused to eat the oatmeal last week. After she ate her whole bowl of oatmeal, she was still hungry, so I decided to test a little more. I offered her a little peach crisp (new food for her) for dessert. She ate that all up, too, until she said she was full. I'm certain she normally wouldn't have touched it because of it's texture, but I think she might be getting over this bad habit. I am encouraged and excited for tomorrow. I think I might offer the oatmeal and some scrambled eggs and fruit (she has so far refused to eat scrambled eggs) for breakfast and stick with that for the day. **

Today is Day 1 of Picky Eater Boot Camp at our house. I think I mentioned before that our 16 month old daughter has become an incredibly picky eater. She pretty much refuses to eat anything except bananas, oranges, toast, macaroni, yogurt, and grilled cheese. Even if I tried adding things like ground beef in her macaroni, she would just flat out refuse. I know that if she's hungry enough, she will take 3 or 4 small bites and then ask for something else like milk or a banana, so it's not like she can't eat what she's served if she's hungry enough. For awhile, she was throwing the food overboard if she didn't like it, but I think we've finally gotten that to stop. I had been trying to give her what we were having and then not allow any snacks in between meals, but that didn't seem to be working. Plus, meal times were turning into huge battles, and honestly, I was just tired of that and frustrated since it didn't seem to be working. It got everyone worked up and it was exhausting.

I came across this article about addressing picky eating, so I decided that I'd give it a try, starting today. I like this idea better than what I had been trying because it doesn't really turn meal time into a whole long, drawn out to-do. If she refuses, I just smile, tell her to tell me again when she's hungry and she can try again, and then put it in the fridge and let her go play. No big deal. Meal times are more pleasant this way, and I think this will probably work. She is a smart girl. Even though I know the next week or so will probably be hugely challenging, I think (at least hope!) that she will finally figure out she is to eat what she's served. This is for her own benefit. When I look at the big picture, I realize that I want her to be healthy, and for that to happen, she needs to learn to eat healthy foods. My job as her mother isn't to cater to her every whim; she doesn't know what is best for her nutrition.

Breakfast: I gave her one banana and half a glass of milk. (In hindsight, I wonder if maybe I should have started off with something she has been refusing, but I felt sorry for her and kind of gave in a little!) I know she was still hungry (she tells me when she's hungry), so instead of her usual toast, I gave her some mashed potatoes, baked squash, and minced beef. She refused, of course. So, I smiled, put it in the fridge, and told her to tell me when she's hungry again and then she can try it again. She went off to play.

Lunch: She was served the potatoes, squash, and beef again. She flat out refused at first. I let her down, played a bit, and then about half and hour later she asked for food again. I went and got the same food again. This time she took a few bites. Then she refused again. So, down she went to play and then have a little nap.

That's where we are at so far. I know she's strong-willed, so I'm not sure how long she'll hold out until she gives in (I'm hoping she gives in today, yet), but she's also smart, so it might not take as long as I think. Here's to hoping and praying this will fix the picky eating problem!

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