Picky eating: one mum’s perspective (a guest post by Mandy Mazliah)

I love having guest posts on my blog as I believe there’s something really valuable about looking at eating issues from different view points. So many parents talk about how alone they feel with their child’s picky eating – I wanted to share a parent’s perspective because it’s really important to know that, if you are the parent of a fussy eater, you are not on your own. Thanks so much Mandy, for sharing your experiences:

Last night my five-year-old son R was engrossed in a game before bed. He’d set up a salad bar and fruit stall using toy food and was busy selling away to his very keen customer, his three-year-old sister, who is always delighted when her big brother wants to play with her.

This both surprised and fascinated me because R is what is often described as a picky eater. Less so perhaps than when he was two, but there is a long list of foods that he will not even consider eating.

Mandy's little girl tucking into an apple...

Mandy’s little girl tucking into an apple…

He doesn’t eat any fruit. No, not even a strawberry. No, not even when he sees his friends eating it every day at school. He won’t even touch the stuff. (Seriously. We were at a fete a few weeks ago where the children were making fruit hedgehogs and he refused to even go near the table).

He’s not hugely keen on vegetables either. Or pasta. Or cheese. Or hummus. The latter three are all things he used to eat happily. Continue reading

3 ways an open cup can help prevent picky eating

babycup2

Everything you need to know about picky eating and open cups

(… and I’m doing a give-away too! )

People I have worked with will know that I am always banging on about the merits of the open cup. I often meet parents of toddlers with eating problems who still drink from a bottle with a teat. This is really common – it’s extremely easy to get stuck with a habit that is comforting to your child, especially if it’s part of your bedtime routine. Making transitions like this ( for example, ditching dummies / pacifiers) takes time and energy that are in short supply for most parents. Continue reading

A tale of a dozen oysters

When I was 14, my parents sent me to France to live with a family over the Summer, in the hope that I would learn some French and come back mature, well-rounded and independent (and I think they wanted a break from my teenage mega-strops). I did come back speaking French, so it half worked.

image by Jeremy Keith - source: creative commons

image by Jeremy Keith – source: creative commons

The family I was inflicted upon were called the Chevaliers and they took me with them to their chalet by the sea in St. Jean de Monts on the West coast of France. We always ate outside which was a huge novelty for me, but even more of a culture shock was what we ate. Day 1: lunch began with a plate of a dozen oysters with a wedge of lemon. Continue reading

The feeding paradox

At the heart of my work with the parents of picky eaters is a secret. An idea that is extremely simple and yet can be very hard to accept. I call it ‘The Feeding Paradox‘. Here it is.

‘The harder you try, the worse things will get’

or, to put a positive spin on it,

‘The less you try, the more progress you will make’

bigstock-girl-eating-corn-on-the-cob-766316

This is counter-intuitive because our natural instinct as parents is to look at a problem we are experiencing, summon the strength to tackle it and then try as hard as we can to make things better. When it comes to feeding, I teach people to try not to try.  Continue reading

Multivitamins for picky eaters?

Choosing whether or not to give children vitamin supplements is not quite the simple decision that it might seem.  Many parents of picky eaters give multi-vitamins as it allays their anxiety about their child’s limited diet. But what do the experts say? Well, lots of different things, as it turns out.

vitamin supplementsI am not a dietitian – my expertise is in the psychological, emotional and behavioural aspects of picky eating so I am not out to tell parents what vitamins their children need. I thought it would be useful though, to sum up some of the thinking about mutivitamins and to suggest a few things to consider before choosing to supplement your fussy eater’s diet.

Continue reading

Should you worry about your fussy eater’s weight?

bigstock-Toddler-Girl-Bubbles-451591My last post was about the importance of acknowledging that you have a problem with your child’s eating and making the decision that you want things to change. So what next?

I normally steer well clear of self-help books, but some time ago, I read Getting Things Done by David Allen. Aside from the joys of owning my very own labeller, one of the key things I got from this book is the notion of the ‘next action’. It’s a brilliantly simple concept whereby you define the next action for any given task. Then you do it. It’s that simple. This enables you to begin seemingly overwhelming challenges because even the most daunting of projects has a ‘next action’ that in itself may not be daunting at all.

If you have decided that you want to improve mealtimes in your house, here’s your next action: Get your child’s weight and growth checked by a health professional. Here in the UK, this will mean a trip to see your health visitor. In the US, a visit to your pediatrician.  Continue reading