Question on dealing with choosy 9-month-old

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Question on dealing with choosy 9-month-old

Postby cbbbee » 01 Sep 2015, 14:04

Hi there,

I have been doing BLW with my 9-month-old son, and he is now at a stage where he eats a fair amount of what he enjoys and has very recently drastically reduced his milk intake. However, he has become very choosy about what he will and will not try. He'll happily eat anything bread-based, all kinds of fruit, carrots and sweetcorn, cheese and yoghurt. But he pretty much refuses to touch anything that seems to fall outside these categories - so pieces of chicken, spaghetti, fish, sausages etc etc.

My question is; should I be offering him only what I am preparing for tea (most of which he won't touch), or should I offer him a choice of things, including some foods I expect he'll actually eat.

The complicating factor is that if he's not happy eating what he's given, he inevitably starts screaming and won't sit while everyone else eats theirs. He's never really played with his food - either he wants to eat it, or he wants to be doing something else.

To date I have been happy to give him something he'll enjoy (usually something different from what we're eating), for the sake of peaceful mealtimes. But I worry that I'm encouraging his choosiness by always offering him the same narrow selection of foods he eats happily.

I'd be grateful for any advice on this!
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Re: Question on dealing with choosy 9-month-old

Postby Kitcameron » 01 Sep 2015, 14:33

My DD2 (CM) is really picky and I tend to try and do either a lunch meal or a main meal that I know she'll enjoy and eat plenty of, sometimes both but not necessarily. I try not to make completely different meals for her or DD1 (SM) but sometimes if DH and I are having potatoes or pasta I might make her rice if she hasn't had a good lunch so I know she's had at least one decent meal in a day. We also try and eat based on what the kids like at least half the time so if we've had a meal that they didn't eat much of on one day then we'd have something we know they enjoy the following day as a bit of a catch up.

So a few days in our house might look like this:

Day 1
Lunch - soup - CM eats loads cos she loves soup.
Dinner - chicken and veg casserole and potatoes - CM chews on the chicken and might eat some potato with a bit of gravy if it's mashed but it's a bit hit and miss.
Bedtime - breastfeed, I guess I just assume if she's not had enough dinner she'll top up on milk but I don't think she actually changes how much she drinks that much lol.

Day 2
Lunch - toasted cheese sammiches - sometimes CM eats and sometimes she doesn't
Dinner - risotto - CM eats loads as she loves rice
Bedtime - breastfeed

Day 3
Lunch - omelette - CM refuses it all
Dinner - curry and rice - CM also refuses because she's too tired or grumpy or some other reason so I give her a banana or yoghurt to fill her up a bit. If she still refuses it I assume she's not feeling very well and doesn't want to eat solids today. She seems to cope ok through the night regardless.

As I say, this is a bit of a made up scenario of what might happen in our house as I didn't think I explained it very well to start with, and it probably doesn't look like a very balanced diet but I do add veggies I to our meals lol and we often have snacks of fruit or cereal.either morning, afternoon or both. Also, we do do breakfast but CM rarely eats very much. Usually she can be persuaded to eat yoghurt if nothing else and I usually try giving her fruit and cereal before the yoghurt but that's very hit and miss depending what mood she's in.

I should probably add CM is 15 months and SM is almost 3. SM was also quite fussy when she was younger but now eats much more variety so I'm not so worried about CM a I would be if she were my first.

I guess what I'm trying to say, in my very long winded and completely unnecessary kind of way, is to keep giving him a variety of things even if you don't think he'll eat them, but also give him meals you know he does like so he doesn't get too hungry and frustrated. People and kids sometimes need to try things several times in order to develop a liking for them, and also babies are supposed to know what they need for different stages ie are they growing physically? having some brain developmental phase? etc etc etc, a bit like adult cravings, so it's likely that what he wants will change soon anyway. It's very common for babies to focus on certain things at a time and reject all else for a while.

Good luck, let us know how he gets on. And sorry this is so long.
Mummy to Slinky Malinky (Sept. 12) and Chunker Munker (June 14.)
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Re: Question on dealing with choosy 9-month-old

Postby Feefielou » 01 Sep 2015, 14:56

Hi cbbbee and welcome

I agree with the main principle from what KC wrote, i.e. you can aim to strike a balance between offering things you know he'll eat, and ensuring variety/giving whatever you're having.

Meeting somewhere in the middle is a way to compromise so you're satisfied that he's actually had something to eat but also not totally reinforcing the selectiveness. Our main way of doing this is basically to mix the 'accepted' things into a dish that Moonbeam is not fond of-- so for example she adores sweetcorn but is fussy about other veg, so I'll include sweetcorn as one of several vegetables in a stir fry. That way if she really, really, really refuses to eat the other vegetables then she's going to have to pick through the bowl to find the corn, and she just might end up consuming a bit of the other stuff in the process-- and sometimes she might even discover that in fact she likes the other things. Also to second what KC said, tastes can change rapidly. Not so very long ago Moonbeam detested strawberries and raspberries with such a passion that she would hurl them across the room, but in recent weeks she has been devouring them. So even when you are pretty certain that your LO will reject something, it's worth offering a little bit of it anyway (you can always eat it afterwards if it's not been chewed/sucked! Or give it to the cat/dog/compost heap, depending on your circumstances). Just having it on his plate in front of him will be a step towards showing him that it's not as offensive as he imagines and one day he might surprise you and eat it.

By the way I've recently started reading a book called It's not about the Broccoli, by Dina Rose, which suggests that a good really basic rule for avoiding that accidental reinforcement of pickiness is to not serve the same thing any two days in a row (other than basics like milk). I think that's probably a good rule of thumb to try and stick to.

Good luck!
Brit living in France/Switzerland, Mum to Moonbeam born December 2013, Lentil born August 2015.
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Re: Question on dealing with choosy 9-month-old

Postby cbbbee » 01 Sep 2015, 20:33

Thanks for both of those suggestions! I'll try both and hope that it the right balance of happy baby/happy mum.
Nice to know that other people are also having some of the same issues. Very envious that your daughter loves rice BTW - that's another "what-on-earth-is-this-why-would-I-put-it-in-my-mouth" food for my son :-)
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Joined: 31 Aug 2015, 20:30

Re: Question on dealing with choosy 9-month-old

Postby Kitcameron » 04 Sep 2015, 14:05

It can be eaten off a spoon. That's the main criteria food has to satisfy for my blw second child lol. She has recently started eating with her fingers but for months would only really eat things off a spoon, and if I want her to eat any quantity of anything it needs to come off a pre loaded spoon lol.
Mummy to Slinky Malinky (Sept. 12) and Chunker Munker (June 14.)
Posts: 3437
Joined: 17 Apr 2013, 20:06

Re: Question on dealing with choosy 9-month-old

Postby StJuniper » 06 Sep 2015, 11:48

One of the things to keep in mind too is that some choosiness is good and natural. Babies are drawn to what their bodies need, so if that means a carb phase, a protein phase, that's not them being fussy, it's them being in touch with their own needs. My oldest basically are straight carbs from 11-13 months. My youngest recently went through a fats phase where if I gave him a quesedilla, he'd eat the cheese off, devour the sour cream, and ignore the tortilla entirely. Keep offering a variety and try not to worry :)
Mama to two boys, the Scout Kid P, 02/26/12 and the Feral Kid R 12/15/13, and one little Tumbleweed girl, 05/27/16.
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