This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media® and Lifeway Kefir, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade # http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH
This is Abe the first time he tried solid foods, when he was six months old. Yeah. And he STILL won’t eat sweet potato.
Sweet potato aside, I wouldn’t exactly call Abe picky. He eats a pretty big variety of stuff, including a lot of things not associated with picky toddlers, like broccoli and spinach and 85% cocoa dark chocolate.
But he does tend to be sort of uninterested in food in general a lot of the time. This is a new experience for me. My older kids were ripping spoons out of my hand very early on and indiscriminately shoveling any and all food into their mouths at all hours of the day. I didn’t really worry if they wanted to eat 50 saltines in a sitting, because I knew an hour later they’d down an entire avocado.
Abe is different. This is what meal time with Abe is like:
Huh. Wonder why the dogs always want to stick so close to the high chair while Abe eats….
Ah! I understand now. You can probably disregard the rest of this post; my number one toddler feeding tip is: GET A DOG! I’m horrified when we go to restaurants and I see what a mess Abe makes. But, yes: one bite, two bite, feed the rest of my food to the dogs and try to climb out of the high chair. Says Abe.
Abe’s fickleness and indifference about food means I fret about every bite he takes. This might be the only time I can get him to eat more than three bites of food all day; it has to be THE BEST FOOD! There will be no saltines! There will be only nutritionally dense superfoods! If Huffington Post doesn’t have an article about how it’s a superfood that cures cancer and heart disease and furthers the cause of world peace, Abe is not allowed to eat it.
Anyway, I prefer to feed him stuff that can multitask: calories! he likes it! more than one positive nutritional attribute! I like eggs, for example, because one time I read somewhere that eggs have every nutrient people need except vitamin C, and if I read something somewhere I believe it forever. And Abe will almost always eat at least four bites of egg in a sitting. So I try to scramble up an egg for him pretty much every day (bonus: this is easy and quick).
Basically, the Abe feeding strategy that I’ve developed is to try to make every bite count….which, come to think of it, would probably be a good strategy to adopt for the older kids (and, uhh, myself), too.
On a friend’s recommendation, we gave Abe probiotic drops when he was a tiny baby to help all of us get through his fussy, new to the world of digestion, newborn stage. I was a little skeptical at first, thinking maybe it was all hippy wizard nonsense. But, honestly, I am totally willing to try magic if it will make my baby sleep better. And it really did seem to help a lot….enough that Dave and I panicked at the prospect of going a night without those drops.
Eventually he outgrew his newborn digestive woes and fussiness, and the probiotic drops were not cheap, so we stopped giving them to him. But we were convinced the probiotics were a good thing for him, so we finally got around to buying a bigger baby suitable supplement. And it’s still sitting in our refrigerator, virtually untouched. Because it doesn’t meet my multi-tasking requirement for things I put in Abe’s mouth.
Sorry, probiotic supplements: if you’re too lazy to also be food, then I’m too lazy to give you to my baby!
Kefir, on the other hand, ticks all my toddler food requirement boxes: Abe loves it and is, on any given occasion, very likely to ingest a significant amount of it before tossing the cup on the floor. It’s a multi-tasker! Protein, calcium, AND more probiotics than yogurt. And Huffington Post totally has an article on its superfood qualities. Ding, ding, and ding.
Kefir is a yogurt like drink….smoothie consistency. Lifeway Kefir is readily available at pretty much every grocery store near us, comes in a bunch of flavors and varieties, and is made with milk from grassfed cows. So far we’ve just tried a couple different flavors of the lowfat smoothies, but I’m itching to get some of the ProBugs that come in little travel ready pouches, and the kids are intrigued by the frozen kefir.
Milo and Gus are obsessed with kefir, too; I’m pushing it for easy breakfasts these days in place of non-superfoody cereal.
To sum up, here’s my three step process for feeding the toddler who thinks food is not worth his time:
1. Get a dog
2. Focus on nutritionally dense foods
3. Try not to worry too much. As long as the kid is growing and is healthy and happy, the food part is probably all fine. If she feeds the banana to the dog today, she’ll probably eat one tomorrow instead. Offer a good variety of healthy foods; hide the chocolate stash for as long as you can (except the 85% cocoa stuff–TOTALLY superfood), and trust that it will be okay.