Raileigh was born to two wonderful parents (haha) who love to eat and try new foods. Raileigh was also born with two food strikes against her: REFLUX (I'm now in the corner quivering) and two heart murmurs (VSD and PDA). So Raileigh has too much acid in her stomach to even feel hungry enough to eat and the fact that she has a heart defect makes her not want to eat. So if there's one thing I can tell you is this: You can't force a baby or toddler to eat. It...just...won't...HAPPEN! We learned this about our precious princess when she was fifty hours old. We were those parents who sat coaching our child to eat for the first year of her life because let's face it, if she doesn't get a little in her tummy, the acid became silent and then she'd start choking on it. If you ever saw us coaching her to eat, you probably praised God you didn't have to barter with your child!
She was never hungry. Give her breast milk, she didn't want it. Give her Alimentum aka the GOLD formula, she didn't want it. She'd eat, she'd barf. We'd measure how much went in verses how much came back. We were those parents. I assure you an oz. of liquid looks like A LOT! Rice cereal: she hated with a passion. Vegetables, she liked at first then refused. Fruit, she hated at first then LOVED. From two months until six months, she lived on Alimentum then from six months to a year she lived on Alimentum and pureed fruit. If you think I'm a horrible mother because I gave my child formula, I'll tell you that you're just as horrible for wanting me to give her
Now back to my story! When Raileigh was old enough to eat a cracker/cheese puff (gasp, i know horrid isn't it), we gave it to her. She's definitely my mini me. I used to drive my Mom crazy because all I would eat is cheese puffs. Pay back sucks! :) So we learned that Raileigh eats this: Cheese,
We tried the approach, she will eat when she's hungry. No she will not eat anything other than those foods when she's hungry and you will pay for it at night because she's hungry and it's bedtime. Call me sucker! I might even pucker up like a sucker fish! That's okay, I'm no mother dearest, I don't demand she eat the food or she eat it every meal until it's gone. I wasn't raised like that and through my own experience, I have learned that she will eat the vegetables/fruits/proteins etc. when she is ready. It's more important that she get calories and enough fat per day to help her heart hole close. We offer her meats and vegetables, and we move on. We don't harp on her not wanting the food. We want her to eat healthy amounts and thrive. We don't want that child who was labeled failure to thrive which I might add is NOT her label anymore. I made sure she would be able to stick her tongue out at Dr. Dingdong and say ha, you were incorrect!
What made me think of this story to write is today's lunch adventure. And I'm that provider that offers choices to the kids, I don't make them eat what they don't want to because I don't want the stress of it. If they eat it fine, if not okay. WIth that being said, I don't have Doritos and M&Ms for lunch, it's healthy choices that I know the children will like.
Moving right along. So today at lunch, Raileigh is eating her famous grilled cheese, banana, pudding, while the other kids are eating, chicken, pudding, carrots, and bananas which is what they wanted. I offered the kids ranch to go with their carrots and Raileigh says, "Mommy, I want ranch and carrot!" YAH! So I give it to her. She holds it in her hand and says, "Lucas, carrot is yummy. Laila carrot is good! MMM! Hunter eat your carrot, it is so tastey! while eats her grilled cheese, still holding the carrot in her hand. Mommy, I like carrot. It GOOD!" So all through lunch, she's eating and repeating to the kids how fantastic this carrot is. And then the MOMENT, we've all been waiting for comes. I'm watching from the corner of my eye. The other kids, are brushing teeth, washing hands, nothing different than any other day, she's my slow one and will finish eating last, she redips it in ranch, she takes a bite, it rolls from her tongue, she tucks it under her leg. She SHOUTS: 'MOMMY IT'S GOOD, I LOVE THOSE YUMMY CARROTS!' I didn't react any other way, than saying ME TOO RAILEIGH! I love ranch and carrots. She didn't have her hamburger moment today and it's okay. She will one day. I'm just proud that at 25 months, she will taste something new (on her own time) and she will finally crawl in your lap to see what you're eating.It's okay to us that she's that kid who wants a spoonful of peanut butter to lick while playing. It's who she is.
We have had other people try to give her foods she doesn't want because they 'bet' they can get her to eat it. Guess what? They couldn't! If they could or you could, I'd love it! But I'm okay with her waiting for her hamburger moment. I'm okay with raising the beautiful girl who likes her Cheese,