If your mealtime is anything like ours, it is often easier to just put Olivia in the bath after eating! Sometimes we just tell ourselves that avocado is probably quite good for her hair:). Feeding is an adventure, a taste and sensory adventure for the baby and a “what will happen this time” adventure for us.
Did you know there is actually some science to this? Many doctors and researchers talk about two phases of feeding, or learning to eat. In short: first they LOVE all foods, everything, and then they HATE all foods, and we mean everything. As the experts tell us, these phases are completely natural! Let's take this as true, and talk about how to survive the second.
When they hate everything
Well, maybe not everything, but this certainly how it feels. But, I have been told that this is just their expressive and assertive way to say: "no thank you, mama, I would prefer something else to eat, thank you for considering my request".
What to do? Here are a few tips:
1) It can take up to 8-10 tries for a little one to fall in love with a new food. The more exposure they have to a food, the less apprehension they have about it. So don't give up!
2) Mix in foods they love – some people call these ‘bridge foods’, and one of the most common examples of this is ketchup. Most commercial ketchups are packed full of sugar and salt, and actually contain very little tomatoes (or even no tomatoes at all). So I suggest mixing it with another veggie they love, or add fresh mint, basil, parsley or even a small dash of cinnamon or turmeric.
3) Acknowledge they are trying – ‘good job, darling!’ But, don’t force them. It will take a few times, but they will get there on their time.
4) Eat in a familiar place – creating a familiar and friendly environment to eat in always helps. Ideally, have dinner at the table, as a family.
5) Talk them through it – talk to them as a member of the family. Ask them about their day and about how they like the food: Is it the right temperature? Would you like some fresh basil on it?
6) Be an example – they watch our every move, so why would it be any different with the food we eat and with the food we don't eat? Serve the same thing on your plate, show them how good it tastes and have a smile on your face as you eat it.
7) Breath in, breathe out – patience and perseverance will go a long way!
That being said, it is a tough phase to go through when the little ones constantly say no, push the plate away and/or spit out the food. And unfortunately, experts say this phase can last between 2 to 6 years of age.
So, for our sanity, doesn’t it make sense to take full advantage of the 'loving everything' phase? When we introduce the little to all the healthy ingredients before they are two, maybe then, hopefully, we get a few more ‘yummmms’ and a few less ‘nnnooooos’.
This philosophy is what is behind all of our products at Pumpkin Organics. Prepared with a wide variety of ingredients, combined to create exciting taste profiles, without containing any additives, salt or added sugar and being low in naturally occurring fruit sugar. All to develop healthy eaters - check us out here.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is merely to inform and inspire and not intended to provide any medical or nutritional advice whatsoever. In case you have any concerns or questions, Pumpkin Organics recommends seeking advice from your healthcare provider.