Most kids have things they like to eat…usually sweets, and things they don’t like to eat…like vegetables. It seems to be something they are just born with. And it seems like every family has one child who is an extremely picky eater. My daughter, Amy was one of those. Amy hated breakfast and still for the most part, doesn’t eat breakfast. It was a struggle for a mother of a one year old child to find that it just didn’t matter what I tried to give her for breakfast, nothing would entice Amy to eat breakfast. I tried cereal, eggs, pancakes, even pop tarts, but nothing worked. Finally in desperation, I bought Carnation Instant Breakfast, because she would drink chocolate milk, and at least she was getting some nutrition.
I wasn’t alone in my child feeding dilemma. My sister-in-law, Jennifer had the same problem with her middle son, JD a number of years later. He didn’t seem to like anything. I felt like my struggle had been small, watching her struggle, because at least Amy would eat pasta, so I could get her to eat meals as long as they included pasta. To this day, sweets are not her favorite thing. She would much rather eat vegetables. Jennifer struggled with JD’s picky eating habits, and since he was born prematurely and was small, he couldn’t afford to skip meals.
I remember Jennifer’s struggle and worries very well. She told me that she didn’t know what she was going to do. And of course, since all kids are different, the things I suggested…things that had worked for Amy…were no help with JD. It was a frustrating time for Jennifer, filled with genuine worry. As a nurse, she knew what he needed, and tried her very best to get him to eat. Of course, it was a serious fight, with a very uncooperative one year old boy. He would taste the food she offered, make a horrible face, and act like, “You’ve got to be kidding!!”
The good news is that JD is now a healthy grown man, whose appetite has vastly improved. In reality, he can out eat most people in the family…no, all the people in the family!! None of us worry about his wasting away from lack of food these days. Nevertheless, I will never forget the day when Jennifer told me that she had started feeding him M & M’s…because at least he would get some calories!! I think she decided that the best thing to do was put some weight on him, and she would work on the nutrition later. Probably not a bad plan, but as baby food goes…pretty funny anyway.