I have a theory... that there are no picky eaters and that children who don't eat right are a result of clueless parents. Please, before giving me dagger looks on how self righteous you think my parenting is, let me explain.
I'm 30 and my hubby is about 2 years younger. We have 2 kids, a 7 year old and a 10 month old. By these numbers, you can imagine how young we had our first child and even though I did read several books about how to raise a child then, nothing beats experience.
You see, our first born is a picky eater. When she was born via CS, she was given to me for a taste of my bosom which I am confused whether it were for nourishing purposes or a photo op because it was so quick. After that, she was kept in the nursery drinking formula until I recovered. Breastfeeding failed. I tried until she got ill and I received a lot of ideas about how my daughter was allergic to my milk and was turning yellow and stuff like that that I decided to quit and do what we thought was best for her. 6 months later, when she showed signs that she wanted to eat solid food, we thought that she'd eat more if the food tasted yummy - like adult yummy. So we started with packaged cereals (I'm sure you guys are familiar with this one and probably had your taste of them too!) and juices, which she liked, but when we started to give her real food like rice and mashed vegetables, she gagged. I thought it was just because she didn't have teeth to chew the food yet so I postponed real food feeding until she was more than a year old. Since then, every feeding is a challenge, even until now. If it's not fastfood, she'd stay at the table for more than an hour thinking of a strategy on how to either trick the elders or finish her food.
7+ years later, our 2nd child was born. We were older and a lot more prepared. We've read more books and were more vocal about what we wanted. Hospital rules are different and the help of the Internet and social networking were tremendous. I gave birth to our 2nd child, still via CS, but she was with me from birth to home. Exclusive breastfeeding was successful. When she showed signs of wanting to eat solid food, the first thing that we gave her is unseasoned, steamed mashed green papaya, and she ate it! Our pedia taught us that we should've started with bitter melon which a lot of kids (and even adults) don't like, but the advice came late so 2nd child didn't like bitter melon (alone) anymore, but she eats a wide variety of vegetables. As of writing, here are the vegetables that are part of her mashed food mix:
- Moringa (Malunggay)
- Chili leaves (dahon ng Sili)
- Bitter Melon leaves (dahon ng Ampalaya)
- Bell pepper
- Chayote (Sayote)
- green Papaya
- Basella Alba (Alugbati)
She eats them without any seasoning, can you imagine that? I sometimes toss in sauteed onions and garlic to excite her palate but that's it. I taste her food sometimes and the potatoes make the mix taste a bit ok for me but I wouldn't eat a whole meal of it. She eats these food mixes 3 times a day and loves them to bits!
What I have learned is that children don't have innate preferences. They take what you give them, get accustomed to the taste, and develop a preference. It is the caregivers duty to offer and develop a healthier preference. Exclusive breastfeeding is a good start because breastmilk has all the right ingredients for an infant and just enough sugar so she doesn't develop a craving for sweets.
So far, we have 2 kids whom I can tell apart. Once our 2nd child grows and we have a third kid, I may be able to prove if this theory is true, but if you have a kid who's about to eat solid food, or are having kids or are planning to have kids, please give this a try. Maybe years later, you'll be able to tell me in the comments if it were true for you. Until then...
your every woman,