I love watching Jo Frost’s Extreme Parental Guidance, not because I find it useful, but because I find myself agreeing with her tactics and it reaffirms what I already know. Not to say that I am some kind of Super Mummy (however if you wish to refer to me as this, I would not object), but it is within my personality to criticise my own actions and always find improvement until I reach what I perceive as perfection. I always seek for more and am very stubborn in my approach.
One of many examples I could give on how my stubborn only-child self comes in handy, is demonstrated during meal times. DS usually scoffs his Weetabix for breakfast, however as we progress through the day, he occasionally becomes more difficult. I have built up a tolerance to his rejections, as he pushes the bowl away and repeatedly says ‘no please’. As a parent, I realise he is a baby and does not fully understand his wants and needs. The key is to remain positive, smile and strike up a conversation to maintain the interaction between you both. This provides a distraction – other things I try are toys, objects (eg. keys etc) as DS can differentiate between his own toys and ‘adult’ objects, books and/or CBeebies. I do not think it is necessarily bad to allow him to watch television whilst eating at this stage, it gets the job done and the television is off as soon as he is finished. Another one is allowing him to feed himself; the problem with this is sometimes the food is sloppy or if you give DS pasta, he will only eat the pasta and leave everything else. In this situation, I always feed him the other parts first, before allowing him to feed himself.
I have a trick up my sleeve for every game his plays and usually after approximately 10 minutes, he will resign to being fed. He does want the food and he does enjoy it, but initially he is unable to understand. It is not always a battle with him, there are various factors, like teething, which can alter his mood and appetite. He generally is a very big eater and I make it my priority that he has a little of every food group in one day.
I am very pernickety when it comes to what foods I will allow DS to have. I obsess over the nutritional value of each item he has, checking labels for salt and sugar content before deciding whether it is good enough for him. I refuse to give him anything pre-made (including jars like bolognese sauce etc), sweets, chocolate, crisps, chips, anything frozen (except peas and unless I have frozen it myself). Some may say I am a little anal about his diet, however I think it can only be a good thing to be concerned, you would be worried if I wasn’t. For the majority of his meals, they are freshly made. His lunch is often shared with Daddy’s and his dinners are the same as ours; of course we make him a separate dish when we decide to have the cheeky take-away. I often think that DS has a better diet than we do.
It was not always easy to find the motivation to prepare fresh foods, I have trained myself for almost two years now. It is like everything else in life – it starts of hard and you are unwilling, but as you build up a daily routine, the satisfaction of feeding your baby goodness takes over and it just becomes natural. I use to follow Annabel Karmel as she makes delicious recipes that are so simple to make, however nowadays I tend to just throw an assortment of veg together along with some carbs and meat.
I hope Jo Frost touches more on the subject of food and eating. It is tragic we see mothers who use MacDonald’s ‘Happy Meals’ as a daily meal, fuelling their children with sugary and saturated snacks before offering them potato smiles for dinner.