Everett loves to eat. If he was able to communicate his top 5 favourite things, I’m pretty sure four of them would have to do with consuming something and the last would be throwing Cheerios to Summit. A pretty big portion of his life revolves around food.
It has paid off for us, because feeding Everett has been miraculously easy. He will happily wolf down almost anything you put towards his mouth. He also doesn’t have any allergies, and so we haven’t really had to worry about modifying his diet. We’re at a point where he can eat a good portion of what we prepare for ourselves.
It is a dream.
You’ll notice I said he will eat almost anything; the key word is almost. The problem of an often hungry and allergy free baby who can chew almost anything means he whips through the food options fairly quickly. This also means that he quickly learns what foods he prefers over others.
Peas and broccoli were some of the first foods he ever had. Since it was something different than breast milk, he felt they were heavenly delights. He would happily shove them into his mouth. That was over six months ago, and he has now been introduced to a world of bread, cheese, mangos, salmon, strawberries, chicken, cookies, and so much more.
Everett has learned a lot of things in the last month. He has figured out how to wave and clap and say “oh uh”, and all these things are very cute. But he has also learned how to point to the food he wants and violently push away the food that doesn’t satisfy his craving. If we happen to get the food past his defenses, he’ll spit it out and toss it to his partner in crime, Summit.
I could have gone happily through parenthood without Everett learning to be choosier over his food. It hasn’t helped that he makes a goofy face and pushes food out with his tongue, which I find both adorable and hilarious. But the problem is that Everett realizes it makes me laugh, and will often do it to provide me with evening entertainment. Emily isn’t as impressed, and would rather just watch Modern Family instead.
For a short time, we had Everett defeated in this little food challenge. If there was something he didn’t want to eat, we would then pretend we were scooping food from our plate but still feed him his food. Apparently, Everett has taste buds that helped him figure out how each food tastes, and so he foiled that strategy rather quickly.
We now try to hide the undesired food inside something he likes. This had been working the last few weeks, but he has now adopted the “store food I don’t like in my cheek and then surprise everyone by spitting it out 10 minutes later.” As far as surprises go, I’d prefer a bag of chips.
The other key strategy is to first serve up the less than amazing delicacies when he is super hungry. But this only works when I don’t forget to keep the much desired food hidden until the big revelation. Once he realizes there is something better around, it is the “spit and point” routine (“No daddy, cheese is what should be in my mouth right now.”)
What are your feeding strategies when your baby is less than excited with his meal?