We are many parents who have thought that we have to feed our babies. When the child has turned his head away and refused to open his mouth, we have thought that he has lacked interest in food. But often it is wrong. Many children simply want to eat on their own. When they get to experiment with the food, and put pieces in their mouths themselves, they think that life at the dining table becomes much more fun.
How to fix a megaphone that can reach out to all new baby parents? I wish there was one. In that case, I would shout loud and clear so that no one missed it: “Read on when your child should start eating. The advice you get at BVC is rarely enough. Instead, take a crash course (via this link). With a little more knowledge in your luggage, the chances are much greater that you will have fun at the dining table. ”
My child refuses to open his mouth
In fact, I wish someone had shouted exactly those words at me when I was a new parent. When a misguided mother recently contacted me via social media, I recognized myself on the spot. This is how she wrote:
“I have a 7 month old who absolutely does not see the point of eating. He has 0% interest and he does not even open his mouth anymore. Turns his head away and nowadays he also gets pissed when we put him in the dining chair. What do I do? Gets a little stressed also because of that iron because he does not want to eat. (Drinks only compensation) Have not tested blw, have read a lot but I really do not dare so it is mashed food he eats (homemade food that we eat). How do I get him to eat, what have I failed at? ”
My son only ate if he could eat by himself
That’s exactly how I felt about my children. My daughter ate incredibly little food as a baby, and I thought that was the way it should be. “She probably does not like food,” I thought. Since she ate the recommended powdered porridge, it still felt okay.
With my son it became even more difficult, because he did not even want powdered porridge. From the age of six months, he totally refused to be fed, no matter what we gave him. I felt a huge desperation, until an older wise friend said: but let him eat himself. Give him different pieces that he can put in his mouth.
My immediate reaction was that he would put them down his throat. But she advised me to give peas, corn, liver pate, avocado, soft-boiled potatoes and other things that he could grind with his toothless jaws. And think – when he got to eat by himself, he became really fond of food.
When we chase the baby with the spoons, they do not want to eat
If I had had more knowledge about how to teach young children to eat, I would have avoided so much stress. Without knowledge, it can easily go wrong. Kajsa Lamm – my co-author of Great course on children and food and expert on children’s eating – usually describe the process as follows:
The baby eats a few bites of puree, but then suddenly does not want more and turns his head away. The parent becomes stressed because the child needs to eat, and begins to chase the baby’s mouth with the spoon. This is completely understandable, because children need to get some energy. But chasing with the spoons can lead to the child feeling uncomfortable, and wanting to jump down from his chair. In the end, it even refuses to sit in the dining chair.
BVC often stresses parents even more
This is so common, and the coaching parents receive from BVC to solve the vicious circle is unfortunately often purely counterproductive. When the child refuses to eat, some BVC nurses say that the child MUST eat to get iron, which only aggravates the parent’s stress. (Note: Does not apply to all BVC nurses. Many also provide great help).
One of Kajsa’s advice when babies do not want to eat, is to let them try to eat themselves. If children are allowed to play with the food and explore it with their fingers, there is a good chance that they will also put a lot in their mouths. When the child is having fun with the food, you may also be allowed to feed a little. Let the desire rule, and be sensitive to the baby’s signals. When it turns its head, leave it alone. Kajsa always says: “the child should come to the food”.
How was it for the mother who sent the pm?
How did it go for the mother who contacted me? She took courage and tried to let the child eat whole pieces herself. And now she writes that it exceeds expectations:
“I still get my heart in my throat sometimes when he pushes a lot into my mouth. But he clearly thinks it’s MUCH more fun now. However, 98% of the food does not end up in the stomach yet. But before he started whining after a few minutes in the dining chair and now he sits and does the food for about 30 minutes before he feels satisfied. So BIG difference! Thank you so much for making me dare ”
Think as little as it takes to end up in a vicious circle instead of a vicious one. Since I do not own a magic megaphone that reaches all baby parents, I hope you can help me spread the message that food introduction requires some knowledge. Share and spread this post. Tell everyone near you Great course on children and food. And you baby parents who work to give your children a taste adventure: permeate social media with pictures of your food-loving babies. So maybe more children can have some fun at the dining table!
(And then a small piece of firewood. Some babies really have no appetite, not even if they are allowed to eat themselves. It can be due to lots of things. In that case, seek professional help, preferably from a speech therapist).
This is a guest post. Any opinions expressed are the writer’s own.