My son is the world's pickiest eater. At just 5-years-old, his tiny frame adds up to a mere 36 pounds — a weight he has maintained for the last two years. In the time since his birth and all the nutrition problems thereafter, I've learned helpful things to nudge him into eating a little more. I've also (out of sheer trial and error) mastered the worst ways to respond to my kid's picky eating habits and, after all is said and done, I have to admit that my son still hates the majority of what I offer him. Sigh.
Honestly, I can't say I blame him. After a traumatic entrance into the world — one where he had no fluid offering him some cushion while my umbilical cord was moments from snapping (and did at birth) — his feeding problems are nothing short of understandable. After being diagnosed with digestive issues and severe reflux, whether it was through breastmilk or an overpriced formula, he struggled to keep much of anything down. We spent countless nights standing guard as his swaddled body slept at an angle, to keep the food where it belonged, only to have him spit up his food the moment we'd close our eyes. It's frightening to think of all the times he nearly choked to death on his own vomit and, if we didn't lose sleep all those times to keep an eye on him, there's a good chance he would have.
So, as you can see, his picky eating habits apparently began sometime in utero and have successfully lingered up until last night's dinner, when he refused his mashed potatoes. He's had them before and loved them before, and yet here we are having the same battle we do over most foods every single day. Feeding picky eaters is an ongoing battle, and I say this as a picky eater myself. As a 34-year-old woman, you couldn't pay me to eat foods most people eat on a regular basis. So, in other words, I totally get it. My responses to my son, however, need some work. With that said, here are a few of the worst ways to respond to picky eating habits. I am your Food Yoda — learn from me.