This is a part II, you can read the first post on bringing in the help of a professional here.
Here are our goals:
-Willy and I need to be on the same page. I need to be a better role model (I’m as picky as they come. I ate cheese pizza and fries everyday Monday-Friday during my four years of high school. I live by the anthem that I eat to live, not live to eat. I was that kid who didn’t like her food touching. I was also that kid that sucked her salad dressing off her salad but left the lettuce. What? You didn’t know that kid? Welp, now ya do). Willy needs to not let his excessive worry over Hooper’s overall health allow him to revert to impulsive strategies that we’ve used in the past that got us to where we are now.
-We want to feel confident about our game plan. We need to believe it will work for us to stay true to it. It can’t just be rules to follow, the rules need to make sense and fit into our lifestyle.
-We’d love to shorten the time that meals are taking. Because still chewing a bite of food thirty minutes after it entered the mouth is as painful as watching a man with no fingers tie a shoe.
-We’d be stoked if he could add some more variety to his diet, but really we’d be grinning ear to ear if he just ate what we gave him now with some degree of ease.
Kary asked us to brainstorm our thoughts on the following statements (see items in bold). Here are our responses:
– Unless there is an undiagnosed medical issue, children will eat the amount that their body’s need and they will not starve.
Both Willy and I agree this is probably true but neither of us can commit to this 100%. When Willy and I talked further, we both agreed that our issues stem from Hooper’s weight dropping consistently over his first year of life. We both adopted this notion that he was not healthy and that we needed to be more proactive in feeding him. In reality, while his pediatrician did monitor is weight more than the usual baby, he never declared him unhealthy and never suggested I supplement my breastfeeding with formula. We need help trusting that he will remain healthy even if he chooses skips a meal here or there.
–Missing a meal will not hurt a child and in fact kids often have fluctuations in the amount they eat- sometimes they will eat a ton for one meal or even for several meals in a row, then they will eat very little for the next meal or meals. When a meal or two are skipped, a child will be more hungry at the next meal.
I’ve read that you should not look at what a toddler eats over the course of a day, but instead over the course of a week. Nevertheless, it’s hard for me to trust fully.
-If your son has been gaining weight along a consistent growth curve, this is good proof that he is not starving and he is in fact getting “enough” to eat.
As of his last appointment, at 2 yrs old, Hooper was in the 50th percentile for weight, which is perfect. We don’t credit this to the fact he is not starving… instead we pat ourselves on the back for getting him to this point… one painful spoonful at a time. I know, we’re twisted. We need to have our thought process reversed, right?
– Kids have preferences for certain foods and they will hold out until they get those foods if they know from experience that this is a likely option.
Willy and I both agree. We’ve gone wrong here one too many times, resorting to giving chicken nuggets when he refuses whatever meal we’ve tirelessly tried to get him to eat. We’d love to work toward undoing the damage and having a healthy alternative plan in place for when he does refuse meals — even if it means accepting that he’ll simply eat more the next morning for breakfast.
– Some kids eat slowly and/or graze on small meals through the day rather than eating a few large meals. Lots of adults eat this way too!
We both laughed at this one because he’s such a slow eater. He’ll scarf down certain meals (chicken nuggets, pizza), but the healthier stuff takes forever. I’d love to give him smaller more frequent meals, but the problem lies with his slowness at each meal in conjunction with his nap schedule. I’m not sure where I could fit in smaller meals. Some days it feels like I’m spending his entire waking hours trying to get the one meal in him. It’s so draining.
– Kids do what their parents do and they want to be just like their parents. Modeling the behavior you want to see is so important.
Willy and I both agree. And I know I need to work on eating healthier so I can be a better example. It’s a work in progress for me too.
What are your responses to the bold statements above?