Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Nora has always been an awesome eater.
She did great with breastfeeding. During the pureed food stage, she ate every single kind of puree that we offered her (including sour/bitter cranberries, when mixed with a bit of applesauce!). We thought it was hilarious, because she just took to everything, opening her mouth like a little bird for bite after bite after bite.
Unfortunately, finger foods have proved to be more of a challenge.
I've been a somewhat picky eater all of my life. I'm way better now--I'd maybe call myself "choosy" but not necessarily PICKY. However, I would say I was severely picky as a child. My mom always said that she had been a picky kid, too, and that I was her "mother's revenge" for giving my grandma such a hard time when she was younger. My mom always swore that I would someday pay my dues as well. I thought I had escaped that sentence with Nora, but now, I'm not so sure.
|Cake was deemed "a-ok" with her on her birthday|
I'm nervous that Nora is developing picky tendencies. But since we're first time parents, it's hard to know what to classify as "normal" toddler eating behavior, and what to classify as "picky." It's my understanding that toddlers are...finicky?...about what they eat. One day, they might love sweet potatoes. The next, they may refuse to even taste them. For those of you with older toddlers/kids--have you found this to be true?
I've also read that babies may have to try new foods anywhere from five to 15 times before they "accept" the new taste. We've taken this (and the advice of our pediatrician) to heart, and we continue to offer her things, even if she's rejected them in the past. Sometimes, we'll get lucky and she'll suddenly start to like something! Other times, she simply rejects it over and over again.
Michael and I have been debating with each other whether pickiness is a nature or a nurture problem. Michael likes pretty much everything, and always has, whereas I (as I already mentioned) am pickier. He believes that it's a matter of nurture--if you're raised to try everything and anything, and essentially forced to eat what you're served (or go without anything), you won't be a picky eater. Based on my own experience, and the stories my mom has told me (about how I would literally gag over the taste of certain vegetables, even as a small baby), I believe there is something to be said for a nature argument.
In all likelihood, aren't we probably both right? I'm thinking it's probably a combination of both.
At her 1-year well-baby visit, our pediatrician basically told us to offer Nora whatever we wanted her to eat, and if she didn't eat it, to put an end to mealtime. She believes that if you set a pattern where you offer something else after your kid refuses to eat something, you'll just be teaching them that they can always get what they want to eat. And I totally back her up on that--I see how that would be true, and have seen such patterns develop with friends' kids. Still, it's difficult to be tough with your 13-month-old daughter who is just starting to try all of these foods, you know? If she doesn't like something, we're really supposed to just cut her off?
Nora's not starving. She eats well during a lot of her meals. But the past week or so, she just seems to be really testing us at dinner. Anything new we give her to try, she takes MAYBE a couple of bites of it, and then launches the rest off of her tray and cries.
Feeding a toddler is tough.
So... for those of you who have "good eaters"--were they ALWAYS good eaters, gobbling up anything and everything you put in front of them? Or did you have to "develop" the good eating habits over time? Anybody with picky eaters that you managed to (at least somewhat) reform?
The other problem is that I feel like we're feeding Nora a lot of the same things all of the time. Partly because she rejects a lot of new things, but partly because it's hard to come up with ideas. Whenever we do make a good dinner for ourselves (which is not as often as I'd like right now!), we try to feed her what we're having, but a lot of nights, we're feeding her separately from what we end up eating. And for lunches to send to daycare, it's tough to think of easy things to pack. Our pediatrician said that the more you limit their food choices, the more you are encouraging them to be picky, so we want to make sure to break this habit as much as possible.
For the record (and since I'm anticipating that some of you might ask), I'll share a list of foods that Nora does eat. And y'all can tell me if I'm crazy for thinking she might be picky.
Nora eats: cereal w/milk (shredded wheat, corn chex, wheat chex, bran flakes, etc.), pancakes, waffles, scrambled eggs, bananas, pears, peaches, pineapple, mandarin oranges, applesauce (and any other fruit puree), plain yogurt, peanut butter sandwich, grilled cheese, cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, american), sweet potatoes, white potato, pizza, pasta w/sauce, ravioli, macaroni and cheese, deli turkey, puffs, hummus sandwiches, apricots, steamed carrots, avocado
Unless I'm forgetting something, these are pretty much all of the foods that make up her diet. While I know it's not TERRIBLE, it is really not all that extensive. Right? I think we're good on carbs/grains, and fruit. Where we're struggling most, I think, is with protein and vegetables. The girl can only eat so many eggs, cheese, and sweet potatoes. We've tried other veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, green beans) and sources of protein (veggie burgers, beans) and she is just not into them--at least not yet.
Any advice? Suggestions for new foods to try to add to the rotation? I've mostly been able to stay patient, knowing this is all part of her development, but I have to admit to getting a little frustrated sometimes. Dinnertime in particular has become a bit of a battle, usually resulting in her crying because the food on her tray is not what she wants. I would love to get back to peaceful eating!