When I started feeding my eldest son, I went the traditional path of purees. Freezing in bulk and trying to introduce a variety of vegetables in the hope of him enjoying or at the very least accepting the taste. To say it didn’t go well is an understatement. Honestly it was stressful every single meal. Leander disliked everything except for bread, he never took to lumpy textures and was more inclined to accept packet food that was sweet and nutrition free than my home made creations. I was not the greatest eater as a child either and as a reflective adult I thought my mothers cooking may of been to blame (the over boiling of vegetables should be a crime, her lasagne on the other hand is still my favourite dish) I never considered it was just me. So the time, effort and research I put into feeding was extreme. By the time my youngest (16 months apart) was ready for solids my oldest was on chicken nuggets (home made and frozen), toast, oranges, bananas and Weet-Bix. I tried everything, we went to the hospital for weekly feeding clinic sessions, we did a week at Karitane, I even started setting up the dinner table with platters so he could fill his own plate.
The advice is the same and not without merit. Offer the foods consistently, don’t force or punish for not eating and work towards keeping it on the plate and then the ‘you don’t have to eat it but just try it’ conversation. Has it ever worked? Nope, not for us. He keeps it on his plate and he tests it all but he simply isn’t interested in it. As a mother and being my first born, the stress, guilt and self doubt was huge. I was so scared I was doing everything wrong and I was so anxious around meals that every meal became a major stress of over planning or just giving up and doing what I knew would be eaten. My oldest is now five, he has never gone below 75% percentile on any weight or even height chart and is a healthy boy. Healthy boy to the point of rarely catching anything at all. My youngest on the other hand was a great eater from the start, I went the BLW route (hence the Food Catcher creation), he ate a range of veggies, meats and loved pasta and rice. He also was always on the 75% percentile or above with everything but even now if someone has a cold 4 meters away and glances in his directions he will catch it. He has had every childhood virus and I have had more emergency visits with him than my oldest who has never been sick to the point of a midnight run to the hospital. It was the realisation that my oldest boys immunity was so high that made me start to relax about his pickiness.
It has taken sometime to accept that I just have a picky eater, but I do and in his own time his range has increased, he will go hungry rather than eat something he doesn’t like so I don’t let that happen. He knows what he wants and I trust it because ultimately he is healthy, happy and delicious to me.