Picky Eater

I missed this week’s Tuesday Reads as we’re going through a slightly rough patch with Emilee. She just recovered from a nasty flu bug that kept her from school for two weeks. Unfortunately, with this illness, she suddenly became extremely picky with food.

Before that, she already hit the period where kids get picky with vegetables, but this round it’s even worse. She would refuse her lunch or dinner completely as if she wasn’t hungry at all or she would take one look at what’s being served and refuse to eat it. If we’re lucky, she might eat a few mouthfuls before rejecting it. On the few golden days, she would complete a good amount.

It is a definitely a trying time for us but hubby and I have agreed that we will not cajole or force her. If she doesn’t want to eat then she doesn’t eat. No point trying to bargain and entice her with promises of this or that if she eats. First, she is a strong-willed child and sticks with her decision regardless. She can “agree” to whatever bargaining chip you have, only to go back on her word later. Second, trying to force her only brings unhappiness and tears for all of us. Third, we can try to offer some alternatives but she can’t be eating bread (her favourite) all the time. She needs to know that there are limits to what we choose to eat and demand for. We cannot be demanding for the sky and the moon when my mother-in-law has taken effort to cook a meal for the family. What are we teaching her if we give in to her wants and demands all the time? If she refuses to eat what there is to offer at the table then she goes hungry.

This is by no means an easy decision for us. Emilee is already small and light for her age. It took her some time to reach 9kg. With each bout of illness, she loses a few precious hundred grams of weight. For the parents-in-law, it pains them to see her lose weight and thus their mission is to want to fatten her up. There are times when they try to cajole and bargain with her but hubby and I as Emilee’s parents have to step in to stop them.

Her illness definitely caused her to lose her appetite but I’m not sure if the two weeks of medication somewhat altered her taste buds. Could be that coupled with her just nice going through a picky phase. I can only pray that this phase passes soon enough.

She is off medication this week and so far with a bit of reminder, she managed to eat lunch in school. Dinner has also been quite ok with a few hiccups. I have begun giving her Appeton which some mummies claim helps increase appetite. I also decreased her morning and afternoon milk feeds by 50ml so there’s no reason why she should feel too full for lunch or dinner.

If you have any other tips or advice on what to do, do share with me. Also, it would be good to share on what to do with picky eaters. Thanks!

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