OK- So I wanted to post today about something that a few people have said to me recently after either seeing Ivy and I out and about eating, or watching our Instagram stories. It’s this concept of seeing someone else doing something and thinking that they have it better than you, the ‘grass is always greener’ concept I guess. So here’s what people have been saying…
“You’re so lucky, Ivy eats so well! I wish ‘X’ would eat like that.”
Well does she eat well? I don’t know…
What does eating well mean?
If it means she eats 3 full meals without any leftovers- then she most definitely DOES NOT eat well.
If it means she enjoys everything I give her- then she most definitely DOES NOT eat well.
If it means she knows what to do with food and eats it nicely- then she most definitely DOES NOT eat well.
Yes, she puts food in her mouth and yes she seems to show enjoyment when she tries foods, but that is not always the case and she most certainly DOES NOT eat everything I give her. After every meal, I pick up a percentage of it from the highchair/floor/table that has gone uneaten. The percentage of left overs varies from day to day and meal to meal…Do I worry? No. Do I care? No. Do I think she is getting enough food? Yes!
The best bit of advice I have ever been given (and I can’t even remember where I originally heard it!) is this….
“Food is fun until they are one!”
As long as your little one is still getting milk (breast or formula) then they are still getting everything they need. The extra nutrients they take in from solid food is exactly that…extra! It doesn’t matter if most of the delicious homemade vitamin packed meal you made ends up on the floor instead of in their mouth. Of course, if you have slaved over a delicious meal and it doesn’t get eaten, then that can be frustrating BUT it doesn’t mean that your child doesn’t eat well. It just simply means that they weren’t hungry that day, perhaps didn’t like the taste of an ingredient- or even that they liked the sound it made as it splattered against the floor!
There are some meals that Ivy literally inhales, there are others that she barely touches. However, I treat every meal exactly the same and celebrate each one equally. Try to focus on the good things like the new tastes they explored, the textures they felt…the one ingredient they loved etc.
Whether or not your little one ate the food, doesn’t really matter- what you want to try and encourage is a positive mental attitude towards the food. In order to do that, you have to stay positive yourself. Just the other day I gave Ivy some houmous and crudites, she loved the houmous and would happily suck it off of the veg sticks, but she wouldn’t eat the veg itself. I stayed positive and focused on her love of houmous… I saw the meal as successful as we had found another new food that Ivy enjoys. I know that she eats veg in other meals so she just didn’t fancy carrot and celery that day. It would have been very easy for me to have a different attitude and try and force her to eat the veg. Most likely this would have ended with Ivy becoming upset and distressed, and me feeling like the meal was a failure and never wanting to give her those foods again.
Remember also, every day is different. You, as an adult get to choose the food you eat depending on your mood that day. You, as an adult, sometimes eat more than usual or less than usual. Your child feels the same. If you offer courgette one day and it gets thrown on the floor, don’t assume your child hates courgette and strike it off the list of foods your child will eat. Keep offering the courgette as you may find that another day will be completely different and you child will enjoy it.
So, I don’t think that Ivy eats well, or better than others…it’s more that, as a family we have a positive outlook on her eating. If she eats something, great. If it ends up all over the floor, great. If she puts it in her mouth and then spits it out, great. At this moment in time, it really doesn’t matter.
Stay positive AND remember…
FOOD IS FUN!