They almost came for me this week. The parenting police nearly arrested me for not providing my child enough food. What kind of West Indian mom sends her child to school without enough food? Guilt. Is. Real. So are growth spurts.
Save your judgement. Not everyday is perfect.
Growth spurts happen. All planning aside and out the window, toddlers appetites vary like the weather in the American Mid West. But man those growth spurts suck more than a hungry new born!
This begs the question, how do you rrreeeaallly know your toddler is getting enough food.
The answer from experienced moms? Child not eating = getting enough food.
Tell that to the mom that learned this week that her child eats his snack and errybody else’s at camp! SMH.
With a mix of guilt, shame and sweat from driving for a nary half hour with a child screaming because he was hungry in the back seat, as soon as he was fed and down, I hit the internet for info.
Amen and hallelujah, the experienced moms were right. According to my fave site What to Expect:
Rest assured that extreme fluctuations in appetite are fairly typical toddler eating habits. But on average, as toddlers pass their first birthday, their growth slows, so they don’t need to eat as much as they did when they were babies — and their appetites reflect that. So while it’s important to offer your child three regular meals and two or three healthy snacks a day (think of it as six mini-meals), be prepared for the fact that on some days they’ll get eaten and on other days they won’t.
God bless the internet. Amen for the doctors too. Two docs I know backed this up.
So what’s a still worried Triniparent to do to ensure their liscence is no revoked for underfeeding their child?
See my tips below:
Smoothie It Up: I’ve noticed that even when every other food is tantrum inducing, liquids other than water are hardly ever rejected. As my small man is transitioning from the bottle, as soon as he sees a 12 oz bottle headed his way, he’s in heaven. Soooo, I’ve snuck some food in them there bottles of happiness. You’ve be amazed what a sippy cup + some banana, milk and oats with bhagi blended smoothie can do to bring happiness to baby and momma. More recipes on this site.
Now, someone out there is going to say “but the toddler supposed to be eating solids”. Dear judger – go suck on a smoothie pop. Parent sanity is important too.
Which brings me to another suggestion:
Smoothie Sucker Bags: Ok, at 16 months my small man is too small for these. I’ve seen these at play with older kids and they lap them up. Carrot, beet juice, some milk and a banana blended and frozen in a tightly tied plastic bag makes for a cheap, old fashioned treat. You can be fancy and make smoothie ice cubes or lollies – its not exactly 1978 anymore when we were licking down smoothie bags like rain. The dessert version of sucker bags (plenty sugar – be careful) was found in this cool DIY Trini video.
Let Them Eat – Themselves
My son is happiest when he’s feeding himself. Saddist love a fry like nothing else. Soo, cassava fries (cut up small), Sweet potato and tuna balls (mash some sweet potato with milk; add a little cheese and tuna: roll into small balls – fry, bake or serve), salt fish accra, – you get the picture – foods he can eat alone. And if there’s time for mess? Put a dip with the food. I’ve seen my son light up and eat anything he can mix into a puddle of water on his feeding tray so I tried putting some callaloo in a bowl with some cassava fries and voila – mess but some more eating.
Easy treats found in the Trini frozen food section? Hargow, Pows (yes, the flour ones with chicken – #shocker), Aioli Marketplace Ravioli.
I’m a believer in the holy grail of children’s snacks – Crix. My son can literally eat whole wheat crix any day, any time. And for an extra treat? Crix Crisps.
Nutritious? Not really. But Crix = happy toddler so well, yeah!
My last tip?
Don’t rush the brush.
Don’t stray from routine. I’ve gotten into yelling matches about my obsession with my son having to sit and eat. I’m not mommy dearest, I’m just serious about eating. If he’s not in the chair and eating, he’s on the go. When he’s ready to eat and he’s home, we in the chair. When we are out…ok, OMG, who am I kidding? When we are out he is eating fries yes, F R I E S. Out requires happy baby.
However, my point is, don’t try to force your toddler re food.
I promise you, they will eat what they need.
If all else fails, let them eat cake. Um, NO totally be real. Sugar? This ain’t 1978.
Share your food tips in the comments section.
Hugs and love.