I think J has hit his little growth plateau for now. J recently decided that he did not want to eat. At first I had a bit of terror coming from past experience and I thought he might be painfully ill again. Once I ruled out illness, I remembered other moms I know talking about their children changing their eating habits around a year old. So I took much of my gusto, and courage, and turned to all of the sections in my baby-rearing books that talked about toddlers. Can you believe it? Jameson is a toddler now. No more Baby-this and Baby-that. He has grown out of entire books of information and is now a new creature all his own.

Back to the research. I have been mainly referencing two books for feeding my lil one, Super Baby Food by Yaron and Child of Mine by Satter. Both books noted that  when most babies hit 1 their growth slows down. In the first year of life Jameson tripled his birth weight, gaining 16lbs! I guess the next year toddlers gain only between 3-7lbs. What a difference. In general chatting with my friends we all say the same thing, “But aren’t they so much more active?” The books don’t really give an answer to this, only stating that fats and protein needs remain the same. My guess it that it must take more energy to grow than to grab dad’s keys off the table and carry them to the bathroom and throw them into the toilet… which is exactly what J did this morning.

The Satter book encourages teaching your children to recognize the feelings of hunger and to be self regulators of food intake. This is developed by the parent trusting that their child will eat enough to sustain and maintain, and by the parent setting clear and definite eating times. The parent’s responsibility in feeding is to provide the when, where and what. The child’s responsibility is how much and whether or not they will eat. One point in her advice says to bring the toddler to the table and let them enjoy the same foods the family is eating, by offering all of the options and allowing the child to decide what they are going to eat or whether or not they will eat at all. My first thought when I read this was, “but what if he doesn’t eat his vegetables?!” Satter’s answer is first to make veggies taste good. Butter is not an enemy of a fat-needing toddler. Also using cheese and other yummy-ness to make veggies taste good is okay. Another key is offering them often and never taking no as an ultimate decision. She says that you may notice this pattern; look, but won’t taste. taste, but won’t swallow. swallow, but not another bite. And then eventually liking them. This is not nearly the entirety of the wisdom found in this book. I would suggest you read it before thinking, “there is no way that works for a toddler, or, there is no way that can be healthy.”

We have adopted this system for now. The first week Jameson wanted to see if I would really let him not eat things… he also wanted to see if he could make me offer him to try every food under the moon to please him. With this system a lot of pressure is off of me. I’m not a short order cook. I am his mother who makes wise decisions about what the family eats and I will provide him with sustenance predictably and routinely. Joining David and I for meals has increased J’s willingness to eat new things. The past week he has pretty much thrown eggs and broccoli on the floor (which is not allowed, but its his only way for saying he does not want it, we’re working on a new one;) and that’s okay. Yesterday, when we had broccoli yet again in the midst of eating lentils and rice he picked up broccoli pieces and examined them and put them in his mouth. Victory! I thought. Out they came down the front of his bib. But it’s a start… Same thing with eggs this morning. They were scrambled and chopped up sitting in his lil bowl with blue berries and bananas. After the blueberries were polished off, then the bananas, he proceeded to take a piece of the eggs into his mouth. Victory! I thought. Out it came. He then took the next piece, genuinely to eat it, out it came… so on and so forth with every bit of egg. I don’t really know what to think of this other then maybe he’s just discovering more about them. Maybe he’ll actually swallow soon, and be on his way to eating scrambled eggs with us… maybe he’s not. We will see and I will keep you updated.

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