T.B. asks from Pleasanton, CA on May 27, 2008
One Year Old Only Wants to Eat Baby Food
My one year old has been trying finger foods now for 4 months. He loves certain things including: ANY fruit, peas, corn, cheese, bread, crackers, cheerios. However, when it comes to a full on meal he refuses and will only eat baby food. For example I try to make him what we eat (shredded chicken, salmon burgers, ground beef disguised in his bread, tortilla w/ beans, homemade whole wheat chicken nuggets, pasta, ect) and gags at the site. At first (@ 10 months) he would try anything now he looks at it like I am crazy for having him "try" these foreign foods. Many nights I think ok he needs to learn to eat what is in front of him or go hungry. Then, my heart takes over and I feel guilty that he is so young to be learning such a lesson. So I give in and give him a jar of his Earth Best dinner baby foods (turkey and sweet pot his favorite). I feel good about it as I know he is getting what he needs for that meal. I will accompany it with peas and some whole wheat bread for some finger food experience, which he loves. As for lunch foods again I try to give him cut up sweet pot, green beans, squash, ect and refuses. But will eat the jar food anyday. Snacks we are fine as that is easy (cheese, yogurt, fruit, crackers,). Has anyone been through this and have advice. THANKS!
T.B. answers from Sacramento on May 27, 2008
You just need to keep offering the table food before you offer the baby food at every feeding. It takes something like 15 exposures to a new food before most kids will even try it. Starting at 9 months with my kids, I started putting everything we were having for dinner (as long as it was age appropriate) on my kids plates. By a year, both of my kids were generally eating the same thing for dinner as we were. If I noticed that they didn't eat what I served, I would always follow up with something I knew they would eat, such as fruit or vegetables. We also let our kids dip whatever they want, so a lot of stuff is eaten with ketchup or even ranch dressing. Both my kids are really good eaters, but we also don't make them eat anything, we ask my four year old (who has recently gotten more picky) to taste everything, but if he doesn't like it, we do allow him to spit it out. My two year old eats everything but meat. We make sure we give her other protein sources, cottage cheese, yogurt, black beans or white beans, etc. I do think your right that he is too young to understand that he needs to eat what is served, and never send a child that young to bed hungry. Also, have you tried feeding him the solid foods. Maybe he just isn't interested in self-feeding. My son was like that at dinner. I think by the end of the day he was just too exhausted to feed himself. I started to help him and he started eating much better dinners. Also, if he is still in a high chair, you may want to try a booster at the table. Some kids just want to feel included in the dinner conversation etc. When he can sit with you and see you eating that same food, he may be more inclined to eat it too. Also, you said he eats his snacks fine, so try offering him a foreign food at snack. He may suprise you and try it. What ever you do try not to make food a power struggle. I have a friend with a five year old that is still having nightly battles over food and it started when she was 1. They now have to "wash/rinse" all her food, because she won't eat anything that has sauce and no two foods can be touching on her plate. It's all a control issue, but they are in so deep, she doesn't know how to get out. The other thing we do is always listen to them when they say they are done. Kids are better at listening to those internal controls that tell them they are full than adults. And remember, some days your kids will pig out and other days they will graze. Don't worry about the day to day, but look at the big picture, say over the course of the week are they getting a balanced diet. Good luck and stay positive.
R.A. answers from San Francisco on May 27, 2008
I just wanted to add to the previous comments. Your son is doing good in that he does eat some finger fooods. However, kids really take cues from mom and dad. If you really want him to be eating certain foods, you have to offer those to him and not give him baby food when he whines. With my two kids, now 7 and 9, I would give them dinner and expect them to eat it. Now that being said, I never expected them to like everything I gave them, but I did expect them to try it. You can't let a crying child take control of you. At his age he should certainly be able to eat with the rest of the family. It may take a day or two, but he will quickly adjust and that will make dinner time easier for you.
J.M. answers from San Francisco on May 27, 2008
Ditto to Karen's response. My kids are 5 and 3. There are probably only two or three dinner meals we all eat. I make sure to offer fruits, vegetables and a protein at every meal for them. The protein is usually peanut butter or turkey dogs.
K.B. answers from San Francisco on May 27, 2008
Give him the stuff he loves (baby food) but sneak in just a speck of VERY finely chopped table food with it. Start simple - just one type of food mixed in at a time on any given day. Change what you mix in every few days or so. Work up to making the ratio mostly table food with just enough of the baby food to give it that familliar taste.
K.G. answers from San Francisco on May 27, 2008
Oh my gosh! Your son is doing great! Why are you in such a hurry? My son wasn't eating nearly this well with solids at one year. I mean, not even close! Your son is too young to be manipulating you in any way. He should still be receiving plenty of milk/breastmilk/formula (I'm not going to preach to you about what to choose!). You are right to think he is too young to learn this lesson, and I would be beyond shocked if he were learning anything at this stage by going hungry. I would have jumped for joy if my son at this much solid food at one year. Your son just isn't ready for a full meal as you define it, so please don't push or you can end up with a child who has an unhealthy relationship with food. The book "Child of Mine" by Ellyn Satter (not sure I spelled her name right) is a must read. Our pediatrician recommended it and said that all pediatrician's should read the book, too. Every nutritionist who has spoken to parents at my son's preschool over the last three years has also recommended this book. It's so easy for us to help our children to develop an unhealthy relationship with food despite nothing but good intentions.
M.P. answers from San Francisco on May 28, 2008
I would say don't stress out about it right now. My son is 16 months and still eats baby food green beans. He loves them, I don't see why he should eat it. What's the difference between that and applesauce? If he is really picky about that meat side, then feed him some regular food to go with it. We know he is particular about those green beans, but we feed him solids of everything else. Try to balance it out, but don't freak out :-) It could be the texture that bothers him. Also, meats are a challenge, my son still doesn't eat a lot meats. Have tried small bites of a PB sandwich as protein for lunch? Just a tought :-) Keep trying and don't stress :-)