I want to be that mother who can stand up and say I am a strong confident mother and I know what is best for my children. We breastfeed and co sleep, We listen, We include, We eat chocolate and snot smoothies, we trampoline and grow frogs, we sling, we carry and we try and understand and work with our children without resorting to punishments, threats or coercion.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Food For Thought

I came across this post from last year sometime. I don't think I published it but I was obviously meant to find it tonight because it is relevant. Once again.....

Spin off from one of today's conversations.  At what point do you start worrying about decreased appetite in your kid. It's always said and agreed that its totally normal for them to go through phases where it seems like they are eating nothing and that they equally go through phases of eating loads. It all evens out. It's the same with adults we eat more or less depending on many variables. Tiredness. Heat. Cold. Hunger. Exercise. And the bane of our broken Continuum: Comfort.

 Appetite is so variable. Why should it be different for kids?

Sometimes,  it can be due to a virus or an illness brewing. Sometimes it's something. Sometimes it's nothing. Sometimes its an underlying symptom of another issue. And Sometimes it can get out of control.
Sometimes the selection is poor.
Sometimes it's just a phase and it'll all come good.

So I began thinking how long does it take you to notice a different level of appetite and then when should alarm bells be ringing?

I  notice things here and there
I start to notice less porridge being eaten in the morning
I notice bits of lunch are being left
I notice dinner not being eaten
I notice less fruit being eaten
I start to think hmmm I'm seeing more food being left on the plate

Here is a turning point. It can go either way right now.  And actually each stage could potentially have its own disproportionate reaction. (DR)

It could go like this:-

I ask more questions: do you want this? Do you want that?  What do you want?  Why are you not eating? You have to eat. Food is important.

I request more is eaten. Just a little bit. Half that. A wee bit more. That bit there then that's all.


I notice it's becoming a thing
I let go a bit
I back the fuck off
It already starts to feel better

The virus comes. It doesn't. The phase is over.
The kid starts eating again

Or in some homes it could go like this:-

You can't leave the table till you are finished
You can't watch tv till you've eaten that bit
You won't get dessert if you don't finish your plate.
Food is conditional.
Food has negative associations
Eating has become a negative thing

What's the harm?  Resorting to a little bribery or coercion at this point. It's just a small thing. Eating is important. Right?

In a healthy continuum. One that's not been broken. One where instincts are trusted, Is it all best left to the kid to work out when they are hungry and when they want to eat? Should we trust them and let them learn to listen to their bodies.  Should we stop attaching negative connotations onto food and projecting your own broken relationship with it, onto them?

I did it when they were (fed on demand) babies asking for milk. Why stop?!

As long as the house is essentially full of healthy choices (and in our case mixed in with a few unhealthy now and again!  I'm a work in progress on the healthy food front)
I would like to think so. I would like to think my kids will learn their own healthy relationship with food.

Sometimes though, my old thoughts take over.  It's hard not to worry. It's hard to let go. It's hard to not think I'm fucking up the food side of their lives this week!!

Meltdowns - Is it too much to ask for them to eat?
Losing the Plot - I am SO bloody annoyed with cooking food and it not being eaten
Breastfeeding - If only this could last forever, then I'd NEVER need to cook

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