Some of you may have seen my recent posts about Amabel’s breakfasts? She has unfortunately gone off my (and her once) favourite breakfast of porridge and basically demands the same muesli every morning. Now I blame her Father (who else!) as he spent some time at home on gardening leave last year and took over breakfast duties most mornings as I was experiencing a not so pleasant pregnancy. I didn’t realise that he was dishing out the same breakfast day in day out, no porridge in sight! When he went back to work I didn’t have the energy to try and tempt her with anything else. So now I’m on a mission to shake things up. At 3 years old she also decides on a whim that she ‘doesn’t like that’ without so much as a glance at what I’ve prepared.
Last night I decided to give overnight oats a shot. I figured all that layered goodness (rolled oats, milk, Greek yoghurt, vanilla, blueberries, banana and chia seeds) in a cool glass Kilner jar might just appeal. It also meant I could prep the breakfast before bed, freeing up a few minutes for essential coffee consumption the next morning.
The jar looked beautiful after a good 9 hours in the fridge, as the colours started to slightly merge with one another, but my first thought was ‘don’t let her see the Chia seeds!’. So, I decided to flip the banana so they weren’t so obvious. It’s just another thing she could complain about.
First reactions were quite promising, thanks to my excitement about breakfast, but then came the line (imagine the whiney voice for maximum impact)….
“I DON’T LIKE THATTTTTT. I WANT SOMETHING DIFFERENTTTTTT”.
Urgh. Now if you you’ve been to any of the Weaning in Nutshell Workshops that I’ve hosted, you’ll know that I don’t believe in offering alternatives. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy or pleasant for me. I mean especially at breakfast when the caffeine has barely hit the blood stream and a long day stretches ahead. And, as I’m sure you’ve all experienced, I’d gone to effort to make this gastronomic delight, the bin I did not want it to see! I remained calm, smiled and said something along the lines of ‘oh ok, that’s a shame’ and then turned to make my own breakfast. There were more shouts demanding toast/cereal/pancakes but I pointed out that I didn’t have anything else (other than my porridge – crafty hey?!). But I knew from previous experience that often if left long enough she’ll be tempted to eat what’s in front of her.
As I brought my breakfast to the table, I grabbed a few dried cranberries left over from Christmas cooking and a few raisins (given the sugar content and stickiness we reserve dried fruit as a treat, normally one that Grandad brings with him on visits!) and threw them into the jar. She wasn’t totally won over by this instant update but I fished one out on the spoon for her, along with a few oats and a blueberry and she ate it. Now I did basically spoon feed her most of it (I didn’t even do this when she was 6 months old), but she liked it and she ate it – success.
Now I know for many of you, this type of challenge is a way off. Babies who are new to weaning, don’t have all these fickle opinions and voices to go with them! But I wanted to share this story as 6 months very quickly turns into a year, 2 years and even 3 years and I’m yet to meet a child who hasn’t had at least one ‘fussy’ stage. We want to support our families for as long as we can and that means growing with them! What I’m basically trying to say is when it comes to feeding children keep your cool. Don’t let them see you rattled by refusal or tantrums, respect their refusal to eat what you’ve offered but also give them a chance to change their mind. Equally don’t become a slave to their demands – rest assured that a child will not starve and often need far less food than us adults expect!*
* If you are concerned about your child’s health in any way you should always consult with your GP or health visitor