I got sent this scenario from a mum I know.
"Skye 8 months has started to really refuse to be fed but it's hit and miss (in terms of how much she actually gets into her tummy). I find if I let her be in charge fully she will only eat 1/3-1/2 of what she would usually eat (which isn't much already!). There are better days but mostly watching her play with food and chat and how long should I let her eat?"
OK, here's some tips on what to do with Skye. Independent eaters are incredibly common and I see a lot of these. The danger in feeding her by spoon when she's telling you that she doesn't want this, by clamping her mouth shut and growling at you, is that it will make her angrier. I hear about growling children at mealtimes a lot! When we do something that goes against our baby's or children's desire and they get angry at us it's the opposite of good relationship building. I wrote a blog about attunement ages ago and I'd like to raise it again. I think attunement is possibly one of the most important things in building a healthy relationship with your baby and child. I'd do finger foods totally for mains but every food has to be high calorie, protein and low GI carb so that every mouthful is helping her with energy intake and therefore sleep. Try and steer clear of too much fruit and veg, they fill up and don't give enough calories. It will be very messy at first and more food will end up on the floor than in her mouth! Within 2 weeks Skye should have developed all those necessary skills to be an effective self-feeder.
Ideas of foods that tick all these boxes:
- Pasta spirals coated in melted butter and parmesan (this is what the Italians feed their kids)
- Sweet potato and cheese croquettes - https://www.lafujimama.com/sweet-potato-jarlsberg-cheese-croquettes/
- Frittata made with cheese and cream - http://www.blwideas.com/mini-frittatas-recipe/
- Zucchini, cheese and potato slices - recipe coming soon
- Falafels with tzatziki
- Italian meatballs (nonna style - recipe coming soon) with grated parmesan
- Pizza slices
- Jaffles (toasted sandwiches) filled with swiss cheese, turkey, avocado and cranberry sauce or ham, cheese and tomato
- Chicken strips or homemade nuggets - https://foodbabieslove.com.au/chicken-nuggets/
- Ricotta hotcakes - recipe from bill Grainger coming soon
- Chicken schnitzel pan fried in olive oil cut into strips - http://www.delicious.com.au/recipes/chicken-schnitzel-coleslaw/204a9813-d136-4b98-8ff0-fd3e61468149
- Chicken parmagianna - https://www.goodfood.com.au/recipes/chicken-parmigiana-20131008-2v5n0
- Banana muffins, banana: http://onehandedcooks.com.au/recipe/banana-apple-cinnamon-muffins/#IplpB6lo3E95PyPh.97
- Nut and cacao balls: https://blessedboymom.wordpress.com/tag/cake-pops/
- Peanut butter and other nut butters and avocado on wholemeal toast soldiers (spread thickly) or cruskits
- Hummus and other dips with brown rice crackers
Adding foods that have a high fat content will double the calories that carbs have. So she may not be taking the same volume but it's calorie dense. eg butter, cheese, cream, mascarpone, ricotta, nut butter, avocado, oily fish, coconut cream.
Also always eat with her and turn the TV off. Mealtimes can take around 30 minutes. After that, as soon as she starts playing with/throwing food then mealtime is finished.
Allowing them to self-feed is so important for many reasons
- Promotes fine motor skills
- Hand-eye co-ordination
- Attunement and relationship building
- Speech development
- Maintaining a healthy diet and healthy food choices
- Also, do you want to be feeding your now child as an adult? Thought you'd say that!