It’s only been in the last week or so that Damien has made progress in self-feeding. Though he’s been eating solids for a while now, he usually is in quite a rush to eat: “OMG food, give it to me NOW!” As such, he hasn’t had much motivation to move from his fisting to practice his pincer grip.
In the last week or so, he’s been making more progress by feeding himself toast strips, something he finally has a little bit of patience to attempt. He has already passed the stage where MumMums are good, and even is kind of so-so about Heinz teething biscuits already, but toast with peanut butter or cream cheese seems to keep his attention. He’s able to take bites (with his 2 mini teeth) and to shove pieces into his mouth, if they are in danger of falling out. He coos like crazy, so proud of his achievement!
Damien began eating solids about a week before he was 5 months old. Just like Aiden, he began showing early signs of being ready. If a baby could demand to be included in mealtimes, that’s exactly what Damien would look like. We began with a few simple foods, but he really just wanted to eat what we were eating. So, although we felt we were pretty liberal with Aiden (who also started early) in terms of texture, Damien tops him in terms of variety.
Following more of a ‘baby led weaning’ technique, I have not been as concerned with introducing multiple foods at once. I keep track of what he eats so I can back off several items if an allergy appears. His first foods were apple, banana and rice cereal, though he is not a fan of bland or mushy food. I only mushed his banana twice before he was totally fine chewing or swallowing lumpy pieces. He’s totally off rice cereal and even baby oatmeal got a big ‘No’ from him this morning. Who can blame him, really, when his other meals include tasty things like lasagna or meatballs?
Feeding Damien table food that is well cooked / soft has made it possible for him to eat almost everything we do with no extra preparation. He eats chunks of chicken (which I recall briefly making into a chunky puree for Aiden), rice and pieces of vegetables with no issue.
In the video above, Damien is enjoying two of his favourite foods: chicken and mango.
While staying at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort in Victoria, we had two breakfasts and one dinner at the hotel restaurant, LURE. The restaurant is split into a lounge / dining area with someone playing the piano for our dinner experience. The restaurant overlooks the harbour, with raised seating in the centre so more people get to take advantage of the view – a lovely idea.
Children under 6 eat free off of the comprehensive children’s menu while children under 12 are also discounted. On our first night, Aiden had a huge meal of roasted chicken, veggies and french fries (instead of roasted potatoes). The meal was wonderfully prepared and flavoured – he loved it. He was given a menu with a colouring page and his beverage was also free.
For the first dinner, Ianiv had a burger delivered to the room (since someone had to stay with Damien while he slept) and both Dora (Babby) and I had the risotto special – mine was with the scallops, hers with the prawns. Each came with crispy bacon and an egg on top, which was different. The menu definitely was more high-end, but it was good. I thought the risotto was a little under-seasoned, but it was otherwise perfectly prepared.
We had breakfast at the hotel each day, choosing the convenience of dining on site so we could rush Damien back up to the room for his first nap of the day. On our first day, we dined simply on bagels or toast/cereal for Aiden, though on our second day we all ate bigger meals. I was personally incredibly impressed by the whole wheat blueberry almond pancakes – they were delicious – and Aiden’s plain pancakes were also quite tasty.
Although servers don’t come by as frequently as at some restaurants, we did appreciate that for our coffee (which was a little pricey), we were given a carafe on-table for refills and were offered to-go cups to take additional coffee for our day – a really nice touch.
Another mom friend recently told us about the Well Fed Meal Assembly classes held in North Vancouver by the Well Fed Studios. For two months, these meals have been feeding us well! Ianiv took the course in June and I took the course with some mom friends in July – it was so amazing!
In just over two hours, I walked out of the studio with 8 family-sized meals (for us, 2 dinners at least!) based off of a menu of 12 that we pre-selected. How do we have so many meals in 2 hours? Well Fed studio does all the prep – all the cutting and pre-cooking and measuring. During the course, all you have to do is follow a well laid-out set of instructions to assemble all the ingredients into a meal that you take home to freeze (they provide all the ziploc bags & freezer trays). During the class, we enjoyed wine alongside bread & cheese – so great!
All the meals feel gourmet and they taste that way too! Using high quality ingredients and great recipes, we have been incredibly happy with all our meals. Since this is our second month, we have now tried 10 dishes and have not been disappointed in any of them. From pork tenderloin to gnocchi to chicken roulade to blue cheese bison burgers, the variety has been amazing.
In terms of kid friendly-ness, Aiden is kind of picky about foods being “mixed”, so he doesn’t really eat all of these meals (unfortunately). There have been a couple that he has enjoyed such as the chicken kabobs, chicken tenders and mac & cheese. We are hoping that continually exposing him to these meals will mean he eventually tries them (that’s our tactic with all our meals, but often we cook more simple dishes with him in mind).
If you are finding yourself going out, ordering in or eating poor thrown-together meals, this class may just be for you!
Toddlers are picky eaters. It’s one of the only things in their lives they have control over, so you really can’t blame them. As a baby, Aiden would eat almost anything I put in front of him (except fish). As a toddler, not so much.
Though he does like his food with some pizzaz (heck, he’ll ask for hot sauce on a quesedilla), he has definite preferences for types of food and how its presented to him. He also goes through food phases where a much beloved food (butter chicken) can suddenly become one of the many foods on the “no yike it” list.
Though we try not to cook for Aiden, our cooking choices are definitely impacted by what Aiden will or will not eat. We try to offer him a variety of healthy foods, so we tend to cook meals where we can set aside items he may like before mixing, saucing or spicing them up for ourselves, if necessary. We will also less frequently make foods he has never enjoyed, which is kind of a pity when we like those foods ourselves.
Aiden likes foods unmixed. He prefers his vegetables steamed only (no sauces of any kind) and doesn’t like most foods that group together (stir-fry, casserole, etc). In some cases, we can deconstruct the meals, taking out the food items he’s likely to eat and presenting them separately. I recently discovered that he will in fact eat fruit salad – if I re-separate out the constituent parts. Go figure.
I wish feeding a toddler was a straightforward thing, but it’s not. There are mysteries to every food critic, including mine, such as:
- Why will Aiden only eat cheese that is melted? Or Babybel (sometimes)?
- Why will he eat Mexican rice, with carrots and corn, but not other rice dishes?
- Why will he eat skin on apples but not touch fruit like kiwi or strawberries (because they look like they have seeds)?
- Why will he eat steak with a sauce on it but not the broccoli with the same sauce?
Our Picky Eater Tactics
We’ve tried many things to get Aiden to eat a more varied diet. Some of them have worked. For example, I can get Aiden to eat more fruit if I offer peanut butter for dipping. The same trick has not worked for vegetables or other food, however, as he doesn’t like other dips of any kind or even ketchup.
I’ve found that if I offer a plate of food with at least one food I know he likes, in a smaller quantity, that he will sometimes continue after that food onto others. Sometimes cutting food into new shapes, or involving him in its preparation, will work – but mostly not. Bribery (yes, tried it) works to get Aiden to eat more of a certain food, but won’t compel him to eat other foods he’s rejected at that particular meal.
We repeatedly offer Aiden new foods to try. To give him credit, he does try a lot of foods – some of them are just spit out after a few chews or rejected after a couple of bites. Other times, persistence pays off. This past week, Aiden has tried a strawberry, ravioli, oatmeal and brussels sprouts. He’s been offered these many times before, and even used to like some of them, but had rejected them for a long span of time. We typically just place the food on his plate – a verbal question on trying the food will always be met with a ‘No’.
We will continue to make progress, and have set-backs, I’m sure. This piece of advice has helped me a lot in struggling with this issue: consider a toddler diet as a week-long balancing act. Some days they may eat a lot of protein, others a lot of fruit. So long as the week seems to balance, don’t worry too much about the day-to-day.
Is your toddler a picky eater? In what way?