Making your toddler eat is like climbing Mt Everest!
Trust me!! Everyday is such a challenge!
Some days go great! You feel so happy! Mission successful!! My baby ate a full meal today. Yessss!!
BUT, some days are the complete OPPOSITE!
Reya would tell me “aur nahi khana”... or “acha nahi hai” and make a face and spit it out. That's when I know today is going to be hopeless in the food department.
The worst is breakfast.
Aren’t you hungry??
Your last meal was dinner!
If you ask me I'm famished in the mornings!! I need food!
Where as for Reya like I said you can’t say.
I would start mentally preparing Reya while brushing her teeth that she has to eat breakfast. I would also tell her what is there to eat. So maybe thinking about it would make her more hungry.
Like today, I told her she has to eat paratha. She gave me that look! And smiled!
I crossed my fingers and hoped she would eat.
So I brought her paratha and sat her down. She looked at and said, “I’m going to the kitchen to get one more paratha for my tiger(her toy).
I told her it’s ok. You both can share. Reya agreed and started to eat. (I still had my fingers crossed). I even pretended to feed her tiger.
It worked for a few minutes. But who was I kidding.
Then she saw her dadu eat. And wanted to eat from him. The fuss began.
I told myself I'm giving you the exact same thing.
You can make this easy and just eat you know!
Finally she refused. Then she ate and it went on and on. She ate little bits and pieces from her dadu. Not to mention she drove him bonkers too!!
But then she wasn’t full. Obviously
So then I use my back up plan!
Every kid's most relished fruit!
Reya is ready to eat mango anytime of the day. If she still doesn’t eat then my last resort is milk.
Now don’t get me started on the rest of the meals.
Its never ending.
Here are few hit and trial and tested methods to make your baby eat!
Get a high chair! Once your baby can sit. Put them in a high chair to make them eat. Please don’t put them in a habit of eating on the bed. It’s going to be a big mess!!
Give them a small plate and a spoon. So they can keep fiddling with the food and you can keep feeding them side by side.
Make your baby look at baby books. Nice big colourful pictures will definitely distract them and make them eat.
Sing songs. Sing song like old macdonald had a farm. Make the animal noises or funny noises to distract them to eat.
Let them decide what to eat. All toddlers eventually take a glance at the plate and see what they are being fed. Let them pick what they want to eat. Serve some of that in their small plate and let them eat.
Let them make a mess! It‘s ok!!! Don't be a clean-o-manic! As long as they eat! It’s fine!
Show them a newspaper. Let them see pictures and guess who is who. They would relate the pictures of people in the paper to familiar faces. Like daddy, mommy, dadi, dadu, aunties and so on. It can get really funny. You should try it.
Make them sit in the balcony and eat. A place where they can see nature. Trees, birds, flowers, dogs, people walking by, anything!!!!!
Don’t make you kid screen friendly. They don’t need a phone or television to look at to eat! Their brain need to focus on their food to produce those enzymes that help aid in digestion.
Make sure they are not thirsty. Give them some water to drink a while before you are going to give them their meal.
Give them ice. Let them play with ice while eating. This is only applicable in summers of course. They get distracted easily. Make a slide on the high chair table. I say weeeeeeeeeeeee!!! And I quickly feed Reya the next bite.
Another great way to distract them is give a ball of atta (kneaded flour). But make sure you add oil or ghee on it so it won’t stick on their hands. I usually make all sorts of shapes, trees, birds, cat, whatever I can make. This is my latest trick of making Reya eat her food. Trust me it works every time.
From one mother to another mother. Feeding your baby can be a real task!
It requires a lot of patience. My patience level has increased so much after Reya. Believe me. I tell myself to be calm!! If not this meal I’ll make up in the next meal, or maybe in sometime.
All mothers go through this rut. Our mothers fed us too when we were babies.
You got this! :)