Food Wars

Ever since Shorty’s birth he and I have been struggling over food.  It started when he dropped 12 ounces in three days.  My milk supply wasn’t in yet and I needed him to gain weight immediately.  I put that child on the boob as much as I could in those first few days home hoping he would gain his weight back.  When my milk came in he did gain back the weight and even more than expected.  For the next nine months every time he looked at me he wanted to suckle and eat.  He ate so much that for about five months the only thing I was accomplishing in a day was breastfeeding him and watching lots of the TLC channel while doing it.  When I decided to start occasionally supplementing with the bottle it took us several tries before we finally found a formula that agreed with Shorty’s digestive system.

When we introduced rice cereal to him he seemed to take to the spoon like a natural pro.  He loved most of the baby foods we introduced until we got to stage three foods.  Then there were few things he would eat.  I can’t say I blame him because that stuff is bland and nasty.  So, in order to make sure he was getting enough nutrition I often had to just keep giving him stage two meats and veggies.  The problem with this was that it took him longer to accept the chunkiness of real food when the time came for him to start eating a little of what Big and I were having.  So, Shorty was one of the last babies on the block eating table food.  I felt like a failure when all the other kids were eating yummy food and I was still relying on jars of baby food.

Of course, eventually, Shorty ate regular food.  Again at first he ate most things we gave him, except for some fruits.  But he’s two now and food has become a struggle in our house yet again.  He went from eating any vegetable we gave him to barely eating any.  Bananas have now become the evil enemy in his mind unless they are baked in muffins.  He won’t eat barbeque chicken any more and my attempt to feed him honey mustard chicken was received with gags.  I mean this literally.  He actually gagged when trying to eat it.

Meal times have become a war zone.  It becomes a kicking, screaming fight to just get him to the table.  Part of this is because he no longer wants to sit in the booster seat.  But after several meals without the booster seat Big and I have decided that chasing him around the kitchen to get him back to the table is not worth it.  So, we’re back to forcing him into the seat again.  His new trick is pushing his plate violently away from him.  Time out for this behavior has yet to work and I’m ashamed to admit he even got his hand slapped.  All that managed to do was make us feel like the worst parents in the world.  It’s not something I want to repeat.

His eating habits are a constant thorn in my side.  I worry about his nutrition.  I know he’s hungry sometimes when he refuses to eat because he keeps going to the fridge and the pantry looking for food.  I don’t want him to turn into one of those people who snacks all day and doesn’t eat meals.  I also don’t want him to be a picky eater.  I worry so much about him eating that I’ve become a constant food pusher.  I’m always trying to force something into him for fear he is not getting enough.  Bad, I know.

I’m praying that this is one of those two year old phases.  Maybe when he’s a little older he’ll sit at the table and actually eat the nice meals I place in front of him.  It happens on occasion now but not enough.  I fear going through life catering to my child’s weird food habits like my mother still does with my nephew and my brother.  I need the food wars to stop for my own sanity.  Any suggestions from moms who’ve been there and done that?

This entry was posted in Children, Family, Food, Health, Mommy Worry, Motherhood, Parenting. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Food Wars

  1. eugenehuo says:

    Hi from a Dad out here!

    Oh yes, the terrible twos have begun. 🙂 Hang in there. My two are 4 and 6 now, but I remember thinking that I would go crazy when they were in their 2-3 years old phases.

    A couple things:
    – stop pushing food.
    – establish set eating times for the family. If breakfast is at 7:30, then that’s the time. And when you have finished, and all the adults have finished, it’s over, the kitchen is closed. Once he gets used to the idea that food comes only at certain times, and now that you have stopped providing food for him at every opportunity, he will have to decide to come and eat, or not.
    – if he misses a meal, he will be upset, sure, and so will you, but he won’t starve. He’ll get the message soon enough, that if he wants to eat, he will have to sit at the table and eat when you are eating
    – the booster seat is one of those things that he is pushing the boundaries on. He wants to be big, doesn’t want to be restrained. I think that if buckling him in causes screaming and fighting, then you’re setting up the meal to be a power struggle right from the beginning. So that’s not good. So what’s the alternative? Letting him sit without a booster (assuming he’s big enough) you have the problem of him escaping the table. I’m afraid that you’ll just have to gently chase him down and put him back in his chair. But let him know that if he keeps getting up and leaving, that when the grownups are finished, his food goes away. Hopefully the novelty of being able to leave the table will wear off soon. Unfortunately this means that actually eating your own dinner might be a bit challenging, but maybe take turns dealing with your son while the other eats quickly. Speaking from experience… 🙂

    I don’t know if this is making sense, it’s just sort of what I think I would do in this situation. Best of luck, and hopefully this too will pass!

  2. faemom says:

    It’s a phase. Hang in there. I’m with you.
    I totally agree with everything eugenehup said. Keep reintriducing, eventually he’ll be curious to try it.

    Evan is still a bit of a struggle. I’m thinking “come on, kid, your uncles and I gobbled this stuff up as kids.” Sometimes he’ll love a food, just to turn around and hate it later. But sometimes he’ll finally like a food.

    If you’re worried about fruits and veggies, start adding purees to foods. Keep giving him fruits and veggies, but the purees will be healthier and you’ll have piece of mind.

    Good luck.

  3. Kiirekass says:

    Your mealtimes sound like mine with the same feelings of parental inadequacies. I’ve actually always done as eugenehuo mentioned above- no snacks, just mealtimes. Probably as I am not a snacker either. Not that this works. Some meals my kids will eat nothing, and I mean NOTHING except for a “no thank you bite” which I insist on. We don’t fight or argue as we used to before I gave up about 6 months ago. They are pleasant and sit around for awhile pushing the food around. Then they take one bite of each food and even my 22 month old will say “no thank you.” Then when they are done they thank me for for the meal and ask to be excused. No fights, but no eating. My pediatrician reassured me that as long as they are healthy and growing, not to worry, and so I try not to. They must be eating well enough I guess. I mean, my 22 month old won’t have fruits or veggies of any kind but I am constantly told that it’s the age. Hang in there, you’re doing the best thing as a parent- being concerned!

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