Since the pre-K post was so popular, I thought I’d put out another query and see what you all think. If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know that we used baby led weaning with Keeley. We try very hard not to force her to clean her plate, but rather we give her small amounts of everything we want her to eat. If it’s something new or something she clearly does NOT want to eat because of the taste or texture, she has to at least try it. When we go visit family, one of us tries to make her plate. Mostly, because she just doesn’t eat with all the excitement. We go by tablespoons of food, basically, not a serving spoon size, ever pretty much. Now, if we’ve barely given her anything to eat, she’s not had a late snack, and she’s just messing around, we do pretty much tell her just to eat for the love of God. Occasionally she’s ‘rewarded’ for having eaten her food. You know, like a frozen fruit bar or raspberries, because she loves them and she needs fruit, anyway. Unless she truly doesn’t like something, she rarely leaves food on her plate.
The bigger problem is getting her to STOP eating. She never eats so much that she makes herself sick, it’s more of an inconvenience thing. You can’t just give her a bowl of cereal and call it a morning. She wants cereal or something else about FOUR more times before lunch. She gets up around 6 and has breakfast as immediately as I can throw something together. She almost always gets juice and milk. She has lunch between 10:30 and 11. In between there, though, she’s GRAZING. I’ve been stopping her at around 10 am, but is that odd behavior? I try and keep the tv off until 8 am so it’s not completely mindless eating in those first couple of hours, but she just WHINES about how hungry she is. It makes we wonder if she’s actually that hungry or if she’s fallen trap to the bo0b tube ‘it is on so I must eat’ trap. For a long time we didn’t even allow food in the living room, but enter a completely nauseated mom who becomes an ‘I don’t/can’t move mom’ and then ‘I’m so busy with a newborn’ mom that the rule has gone by the wayside. I’m trapped between the whole ‘natural’ idea of letting your kid eat when they are hungry so they know their own cues and the ‘planned’ snack idea– so she has breakfast at a certain time and then a snack that she can count on at another time, but she doesn’t like being put off. Matt just wants me to do what I have been doing, just letting her eat up until a certain time, but I’m a little tired of being a short order ‘cook’ even if it’s just pretzels or peanuts or what have you. She whines and complains and throws enough tantrums every single day that I don’t want food to be a fight, too. This is a huge fail, I wanted to ask her doctor about it, because I would say if anyone would have the correct information about portion size, it would be her doctor, but you know, I forgot. *rolls eyes*
So those of you that have had this experience, what say you? Should I give her a choice of say an egg and toast or a bowl of cereal at 6 and then plan a snack of fruit at 9, or just continue to let her graze? There’s only been a few times that it seems like it has affected her lunch appetite, but when is the 4th, 5th, or 6th time you’ve had to stop what you are doing to pour just a little more cereal into a bowl…that’s why I ask you guys. Is this just being a ‘pre-schooler’?