The last few weeks I have been making my through a fantastic book recommended by a number of mum friends called ‘Raising Boys – Steve Biddulph’. I must say I have had my eyes opened to being a mum to a boy now and I am going to share some of the fantastic lightbulb moments I have had with Ollie.
Since Ollie was around 8 months old we have had troubles with his eating, after a great start to weaning and drinking less milk, he went back onto having 4 bottles of milk a day and refused of the foods we put in front of him.
Now at 19 months old we may have finally moved back onto more food and less milk! HUGE JUMPING UP AND DOWN MOMENT!
This has been through the patience of the health professionals in Hove and also this book.
‘It’s easy to kick-start in your kids a lifetime interest in food preparation, because nature is on your side. Kids love to eat. They love the smells, colour, tastes and even the mess of food’
On reading this and talking to my health visitor it was evident that Ollie was not experiencing food as something fun and interesting, hence not wanting to ‘waste his time’ on it.
Alongside giving him new foods that we would eat, letting him try anything we had I also decided to start showing him how fun food could be. I started this week with BAKING MUFFINS!
‘Toddlers can help you to make play dough (not to eat!), stirring and kneading the mixture, adding bright colouring.’
You may be thinking ‘oh no, you’re mad for letting Ollie lose in the kitchen’ and yes I would say you need to have a spark of ‘insanity’ to attempt this, but take my word for it IT WAS INCREDIBLE FUN!
Step 1 – To make things easier, while Ollie was napping I measured all of the ingredients that I would need into little boys that he would be able to hold or lift himself. I also prepared warm soapy water in the sink so that an any point I could wash his hands.
Step 2 – Work slowly through the recipe. I showed Ollie what each ingredient was and asked him to help put it into the mixing bowl. All the time I was asking him what it felt like, tasted like, smelt like (when he touched the flour he said ‘soft, fuffy’).
He really enjoyed cracking the eggs and counting how many I was putting into the mix (this is a great number exercise for a a toddler). He also took great pleasure in using his fingers to add the butter to the mix, he liked the feel of the warm butter on his fingers. He used his hands to carefully put the flour into the bowl, however he then thought it would be fun to see how it fell on the side, chair and floor.
After putting the mixture into the muffin cases we tried the mixture as well as another new texture.
Step 3 – Washing up!
Ollie is a huge fan of water so I knew that I could encourage him to help me clean up. I gave him different cloths/sponges to see the differences and helped him clean some dishes (this will lead me onto another blog post about toddlers helping out around the house). He was more interested in throwing water everywhere shouting ”SPLASH’ really loudly but he enjoyed the warm water on his hands.
Step 4 – THE YUMMY TEST!
This was of course the much waited end result. Whilst the muffins were cooking I kept asking Ollie to safely check their progress through the oven glass, he kept saying ‘cakes wow’.
I really enjoyed watching him touch new foods and taste new things. It has encouraged Ollie to see that there is a fun side to cooking and I have continued to ask for his help everyday whilst making meals and snacks. He is really enjoying being a helper and with this new revelation and the addition of being open to letting him try anything with no force Ollie’s eating has increased so much.
I have had some great success with encouraging to eat and I enjoy meal times again!
BUILDING EATING TIPS!
The health visitor also gave me some tips that have really worked with encouraging Ollie to eat more that I felt you would find interesting too.
- Don’t stress! When giving your little one new foods, do not use phrases like ‘eat you going to eat some more’ or ‘try this’ as it is not giving them the choice to try something new, which was as adults have. It is key to encourage their own food exploration. When sitting with them make food fun.
- Use new pots/bowls and cutlery so that it is more interesting.
- Give something new in a separate bowl alongside what they normally eat, this allows them to try something new but not have the worry that the ‘new’ food is mixed in with the foods they know already.
- Allow 20 minutes for each part of the meal (i.e main and dessert).
- Exchange tv for music if your child is becoming mesmerised by the box!
- See everything as a step forward, even touching a new food, or smelling deserves praise. Allow your little one to make mess and explore the textures of food it gives them confidence.
- It can take between 15-20 times of seeing/tasting a food for a baby to ‘like it’.
- DON”T STRESS!
Have you had any difficulties with your children eating?
I hope you enjoy the images and I look forward to hearing your results.