I’m handing Upfront Mama over to the brilliant Kerry Secker from Kerry Cares Parenting today. I love Kerry’s approach to dealing with the challenges that motherhood can throw our way. She always speaks such sense and I love the fact that she gives tips on how to parent gently. She couldn’t be more different to Gina Ford! Anyway, this is in reaction to my recent piece about how stressful the no-eating phase can be. Hope it helps if you’re in the midst of it:
The lovely Upfront Mama recently wrote an article about the many phases that our babies pass through and in turn, put their poor parents through! It was a great piece and it reminded me of one of my many favourite mantras:
“This too shall pass”.
Babyhood is passed in phases, and no soon as they have passed through one phase they are on the next frustrating phase! I always try to remind parents of this mantra when they are in a particularly frustrating, nail biting or hair pulling out phase.
When UFM told us how Poppy was in her no eating phase I knew exactly what phase this was! It is probably the most common of phases; nearly almost EVERY little ones go through at some stage. It is also the most worrying one. This phase is guaranteed to get even the most relaxed parents hovering over the high chair watching like a hawk to see if their baby is eating ANYTHING. The worry that their precious one is about to starve themselves can be overwhelming.
Please let me reassure that this phase is common, there is even a biological reason for it and it can be overcome (with a little patience!) Keep on reading and I will explain everything!
This phase usually coincides with when your baby learns to crawl or walk away from you, most commonly between 9 months and 15 months. Just when they become more active and you feel they should be eating more the little darlings start pushing away the plate/spoon/hand that feeds them. They even turn their nose up at firm old favourites!
The reason behind this new fear of food stems from our cavemen days. It was a safety mechanism to stop children/babies eating anything unsafe or poisonous once they were able to crawl or walk away from their parents. For some reason our babies today still think they are little cave people and it kicks in once they are on the move. Makes sense really when you know why doesn’t it?
HOW, just HOW do you get past this new found food fear I hear you ask? The most important thing is not to stress. Far easier said than done when your baby is nil by mouth. Babies will pick up on the stress around meal times and this will make them even more apprehensive about eating!
These little gems may also help:
Eat with your baby or let share from your plate: Seeing you eat will reassure your baby that the food is perfectly safe.
Let them explore their food before eating.
Keep on offering rejected foods. It takes at least 20 outings before the food is accepted. Many parents stop introducing food when they start to refuse before they get a chance to accept it. This can make for a picky eater later on.
Offer new foods along with foods they will accept.
Offer a variety of foods and let them have a mini baby buffet. If they pick their food they are more likely to accept it.
Make meal times light, casual and fun!
Try not to watch them like a hawk and hover, it puts too much pressure on them. I hate eating with people looking at me ( mainly because I still get it everywhere)
Rest assured that babies won’t starve themselves but if they start to lose weight or lack energy please, please touch base with your GP.
Good luck and this too shall pass.