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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Confessions of A Mother of a Picky Eater

I thought that my daughter was picky, until I had my son. That child would not drink formula. The only baby foods I ever got him to eat were bananas, pears and apple sauce. Weaning was a nightmare. Once I did get him weaned I worried about him because he won't eat anything. Really, he lives on fruits, crackers, cheese, chocolate milk and yogurt. He doesn't eat bread, vegetables or meats. (Now he will once in awhile eat a chicken nugget.) Occasionally he'll eat eggs, but never more than once a week. People think I'm kidding when I say that. I wish I were. I've tried all kinds of things. Many work for my daughter, few work for my son. Initially I brought this up with my pediatrician, who told me not to worry. He's healthy and as long as you keep offering him things, eventually he'll start eating them. "Studies have shown that you have to offer a child a food 8-10 times before they show interest." Yeah, well studies weren't looking at my child. Once he went for two days without eating anything but a few glasses of chocolate milk. All day long he demanded fruit snacks. No, you can't have fruit snacks, how about a banana? He refused that and everything else I offered. After two days of me not giving him fruit snacks (ok that's not entirely true, I did cave and give him one pack of fruit snacks) he decided that he wanted Ramen noodles. He ate two entire packages by his little 18 month old self. Not the most nutritious meal, but I was just so grateful that he finally decided to eat something. A few months ago I took him into the pediatrician (a new guy since we have moved) for a well-child check. Since I stopped breast-feeding he's dropped from the 95th percentile to the 16th percentile. Whah! Little boy that I love, please eat something! He hasn't lost any weight, but he hasn't really gained much either. (He's not considered failure to thrive or anything, it's just that this rate he'll end up being 6 to 8" shorter than my husband.)
 My pediatrician suggested that I start putting Carnation Instant Breakfast in his chocolate milk. I did this and he lost all interest in all other foods. Why should he bother with eating when his chocolate milk gives him everything that he needs? (Really, a person can live off of Carnation Instant Breakfast and not need anything else.) After a few days of this I decided that he was only getting supplemented chocolate milk twice a day. Every evening at dinner I give him a few tablespoons of what we are eating in a bowl. He doesn't want to look at it. He just screams "Take it, take it" and ends up eating fruit and cheese for dinner.
 Another way that I have managed to sneak some nutrition to him is muffins. In the past few months he has shown an interest in them, so I pack them full of everything I can: pumpkin, shredded carrots, apples, oatmeal, powdered milk, and orange juice. He loves them. Between these two things he's gained three pounds in as many months. Whoot!
 Today when my daughter requested a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, he wanted one too and he ate it! Or about 1/4th of a sandwich with apple slices and milk (not the chocolate variety either). But for him this is huge progress. I try to serve healthy well-balanced meals and just hope that someday my kids will be interested in eating them.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad my kids aren't really picky eaters. Good for you for sticking with it, and continuing to offer him healthy food- it looks like it's starting to pay off!