Thursday, May 20, 2010

Feeding Anxiety

Bennett is a decent eater but a bit picky. He does eat a lot of fruit and some vegetables as well as yogurt and whole grain breads. He is not crazy about meat but will eat chicken, ham and fish sometimes. I've spoken to his pediatrician and she's happy with his nutrition.

I on the other hand often find myself worrying about what he's eating or not eating. When Bennett is eating, I don't like to have any distractions because it distracts him from eating. When he doesn't eat much, I work even harder to coax him. And when I'm really worried I call in the big guns - otherwise known as Grandpa. I don't know what it is but my father can get Bennett to eat when no one else can.

The other night Bennett and I were alone for dinner. I found myself doing what I usually do - preparing and presenting one course at time and coaxing and cheering for each bite. I started to wonder whether I was doing him any favours. I'm assuming that most parents don't work so hard to get their kid to eat and don't spend nearly as much time worrying about it.

I'm not sure where this feeding anxiety comes from. Perhaps from our early days in the hospital when Bennett was so small and we were struggling with breast feeding and then trying so desperately to get him to drink even an ounce of milk. Thankfully we've moved well beyond that but my anxiety remains.

What do you think? Should I just present his meal all at once and let him eat or not eat? Should I continue what I'm doing now? Do other people worry so much about eating?


Amy said...

I used to worry a lot too. Maddy sounds very similar to Bennett. She's a decent eater too, but has a very limited variety...peanut butter, eggs, pancakes, cheese, broccoli, babyfood fruits, chicken sometimes. I don't worry so much anymore, because she'll usually eat something every day (when she was younger, she seemed to live on air alone!) I'm also trying to step back a bit, now that she's older, just so she can be in control of it herself....not easy though! are not alone!

Anonymous said...

I like what Amy said about being "in control of it herself". Lots of parents worry about this, including me in the past.

I don't think either of you really experience 'limited variety'...I have known and read about many children that literally live on two foods only.

However you present it, the game you play with encouragement probably accelerates your stress. That's the reason you might want to change the 'rules' at the table. (that other) Barbara

Kara said...

"Do other people worry about eating?" OMG....worry is an understatement!

As a reformed manic eating cheerleader, I'd suggest that you back off the cheering and try to encourage more independant eating. You'll have much less anxiety once school starts if you can cross the eating worries off of your list.

I used to dread mealtime, and so out of frustration I started putting a plate of food infront of Kasia and leaving her to it. 9 times out of 10 she'll have eaten most of it while I was busy making our dinner or cleaning up afterwards. Some days she doesn't eat all that much but I'm okay with it. All in all, mealtime is much much less stressful this way. Good Luck!!

grandma said...

I agree with everyone! You did the same thing and almost drove us crazy. Finally, we decided to let you eat as much/as little as you wanted and it eventually evened out. You didn't starve and neither will Bennett.
Lots of love, hugs and kisses
ps.... it's Friday evening. Can we come over yet? LOL.

Barbara said...

Thank you everyone. It makes me feel a lot better to know that I'm not alone in this. I'm going to try harder to step back but it will be hard for a self-admitted control freak!

I had typed other longer comments but my computer is having trouble. If I don't update the blog it's probably because this thing has crashed!

Mummu and Poppa said...

Grandpa Jimmy used to say "Let the child be, when he is hungry, he will eat." Seems to be the way things happen ... and when Bennett tastes something that they likes - watch out - there is no stopping him.

Bennett, you seem to none the worst for 'being a picky eater'.

Good Eating our Little Man.

Poppa and Mummu
xxx ooo xxx ooo xxx ooo xxx ooo

Kiera Beth said...

Barbara - I echo what everyone else has said. As hard as it is, I think that it helps to let the kids have control over what they choose to eat.

As long as Little Dude is getting some food from all of the food groups, I do not worry too much. Drew tends to get much more worried about the ups and downs of toddler eating.

My dear friends have a rule for their kiddo that if he does not eat his dinner, he will not get anything else to eat for the evening. They put the leftover in the fridge & if he gets hungry he can eat the leftover. There was one night when all of the kids were having an ice cream treat and he could not have one since he had not eaten dinner. He ran into the house, finished his meal & came back out for ice cream. His Mom said that the meal times had been so much less stressful since putting that in place.