Just when I thought breastfeeding was one of the most challenging things I would do as a parent, I was wrong again. Ever since our little girl was around 18 months old, she has become one of those picky toddlers I never in a million years thought she would be. As an infant, I nursed and bottle fed her breast milk until she was around 15 months old. I started solid foods with her around 5 months and she was always so great at everything! I never had trouble with transitioning her from breast to bottle. She loved oatmeal cereal, veggies, fruits, combinations – you name it, she ate it. I used to love making baby food for her because she would try everything. She made it fun. I didn’t care if she made a mess because she seemed to enjoy it! I remember telling other parents how awesome of an eater she was and being so proud. I thought I was doing everything right.
And then it was as if a switch had been flipped. It’s hard to even pinpoint exactly when it happened because we just kept saying, “It’s a phase.” Or, “maybe she will eat better the next time.” That “phase” lasted a few days, then a few weeks and months, and now here we are, a year later. She is still that picky toddler and I have no idea why. Now, we’re left feeling like one of the worst sets of parents in the world. It’s so frustrating.
Are we really doing it all wrong?
She has never been a child that tells us when she is hungry. She doesn’t snack or eat junk food and only drinks milk and water. That’s okay, right? We try to make sure she eats a variety of foods, covers all of her food groups, but some days after an hour in the high chair for a meal, it just has to be enough. I feel like she has just two types of food most days – fruits and noodles. The only vegetables she eats consistently are pickles and olives. Does that count? She doesn’t fight with us when it comes time to eat. She sits in her high chair as content as can be and just doesn’t eat much. Instead, she will do just about anything else except eat.
After we finally settled with the fact that the “phase” we were in with our picky toddler wasn’t going to end anytime soon, it was time to just deal and accept it. We had to embrace it. We are always offering her different foods, but also trying not to overwhelm her with options. We try to compromise with her sometimes. We’ll say, “If you eat three greens beans, Mommy will give you some popcorn.” Some days she buys it. We have just learned to go with it and not to stress about it. I have full faith that she will eat if she is hungry. I also believe that if we make a big ordeal of her not eating, she will probably eat even less.
We had to accept that it’s not our fault and we aren’t doing anything wrong. We had to stop beating ourselves up about it. Kids are kids. Some kids are great eaters and some kids aren’t. Just because she eats like a bird now, doesn’t mean she won’t grow up to be a lover of all types of food later in life. She’s a kid. They are unpredictable little beings. She might start to enjoy food tomorrow, maybe not, but we will know that we did the best we could and she will still be a happy, healthy little girl either way!
Below is an awesome picture from NewBornBabyZone.com that has some helpful food ideas for our kiddos at each age group.