This time last year we were up and rolling on the whole Baby-led Weaning ride.
With a baby with a history of refusing to let anyone put anything in her mouth (seriously, no Calpol unless she was holding the spoon – and certainly no bottle) I dreaded the thought of weaning.
Baby-led weaning sounded like a far more fun – if messy – approach. One that wouldn’t see me suffer a nervous breakdown anyway.
I was very enthusiastic. I saw my baby eat cool stuff. Proper food. It was a bit weird and that was why I loved it. I wrote articles about it. I interviewed the Baby-led Weaning gurus on more than one occasion. I was a total convert.
And here I am, with a two year old child who has fads.
A few weeks ago at supper she pushed her plate away and said, “No Mummy! YOGHURT!” before tipping the contents of said plate on the floor. She tried the same tactic the following evening. I got cross. Never before had I been faced with a child of the fussy variety. I started breaking every rule in the Baby-led Weaning book.
“You will NOT leave this table until you’ve eaten at least THREE MORE SPOONFULS young lady!” I reprimanded. And then I gave in and let her have a yoghurt.
Once the flood-gates were open that was it. “No pudding until you’ve eaten your main course! Every. Last. Mouthful,” I frowned. “Eat your greens!” I scolded. “No you will NOT get down until you finish what’s on your plate,” I chided.
In short, I became a dinner lady from my own childhood. It’s amazing how ingrained these habits are. I stopped trusting that my daughter knew when she was full. I started turning mealtimes into a battle that I had to win.
After 18 months of happily trotting to the table, Frog started having tantrums about eating. Just the odd one, but as a foodie from the age of 6 months, this was odd.
So I made a radical decision a few weeks ago. Back to basics. Back to the Baby-led Weaning books.
I brought her mealtimes forward half an hour, so she wasn’t tired. I made sure I always ate with her, rather than sitting opposite staring at her. I offered fruit for pudding, but put it at her place setting next to her main course of food. I ignored what she ate.
And she ate.
She ate and she ate and she ate.
This is her two weeks ago, on a family trip to our local pub for her birthday. She ate pan fried scallops with Asian inspired slaw and ginger. That starter was far more interesting than the pasta and tomato sauce on the kids menu:
And last night? We had fishfingers, chips and peas, with lashings of ketchup. (We like to mix it up a bit.)
My toddler still has the odd tantrum around mealtimes. But now I’m confident enough to accept it’s because she’s tired and she’s not interested in the food.
There’s nothing she won’t eat, but there’s plenty she’ll refuse on certain days. Sometimes yoghurt is the in thing, sometimes it’s curry or paella or piri-piri chicken. Whatever. She knows what she likes and she knows how hungry she is. If she doesn’t want what she’s offered, then fine. But there’s nothing else on the menu. So that’s that.
And guess what? Food is fun again. It’s so fun, the toy kitchen bought for Christmas is back in use…
This post was written for this week’s Gallery at Sticky Fingers. Head over there to read the rest.