Here’s what we’ve been eating over the last week or so:
- Chickpea & lentil stew with bulghur wheat and stir fried cabbage
- Tomato & broad beans with bulghur wheat
- Turkish red lentil and aubergine stew with sugar snap peas and naan bread
- Bubble & squeak with veggie sausages
- Broccoli & potato soup with homemade bread
- Homemade spinach & mushroom pasties with homemade chips and peas
- Tomato & courgette pasta
- Tomato, borlotti bean & barley soup
- Sour cherry & chocolate chip oatmeal cookies
Jake didn’t eat most of this. Where previously he’d devoured the bubble and squeak, he didn’t even want to taste it. Of the above, he ate some bread, the spinach pasties (that's one thing he rarely refuses - spinach), a few chips, the pasta and of course, the cookies. He did have a few spoons of the broccoli soup, and he did try the aubergine lentil stew while I was cooking it, but then spat it out as it was too hot.
Lately, since he’s been ill, his appetite has been really low. And he’s been driving us a bit crazy by saying he wants to eat whenever we want to do something like change his nappy or put him down for a nap. He’ll point to the kitchen, then point to something in the kitchen, from cereal to bread. More often then not, he will then refuse to eat whatever we’ve poured out or prepared for him, or just take one bite then refuse any more. We veer between not wanting to indulge this because it seems like an avoidance game, and wanting him to eat something.
I then veer from being so desperate for him to eat something that I will let him eat peanut butter right out of the jar with a spoon and offering him ice cream far too often – the sort of thing I never thought I’d do as a parent - to drawing up a super healthy nutritious menu full of lovingly prepared meals that he mostly ends up refusing. This is where I realize it’s futile to either feel superior about my parenting choices or to judge others on theirs, particularly where feeding their child is concerned.
When I started on the baby-led weaning journey, I felt thoroughly smug about introducing Jake to real food as a baby as opposed to spoon feeding him purees. Now I know plenty of thriving, healthy, robust toddlers who were puree fed and who have healthy appetites and no issues with food whatsoever. They will happily eat all manner of vegetables, fruit and whatever else their parents cook for them. Even when you try to do everything “right”, you can’t guarantee that things are going to go the way you want them to. All I feel I can do now is continue to offer him all the healthy options but make sure he doesn’t starve if he constantly refuses them. What else can I do? The one thing I won’t do is force him to eat.