Is my sons preference for breast milk stopping him from eating food? He’s gradually been increasing his list of food dislikes, even some firm favourites. He eats no vegetables or fruit and no food that isn’t bone dry (breadsticks, bread, raw cheddar). Some days I despair, despite always having fresh cooked food and fruit on the table it all ends up on the floor. He always reverts to BM later after the meal and is full of energy.
Thank you for your question which has a combined answer from Jill Wheatcroft and Dr Emma Haycraft
Thanks for your question. It sounds like you are having a really difficult time. It is not uncommon for children to fill up on milk and on top of this most children typically go through a phase of refusing to eat certain foods. This is a natural part of their development and part of their learning to like and enjoy new tastes and textures. You can read more about it here: http://www.childfeedingguide.co.uk/common-feeding-pitfalls/food-refusal
At 13 months while there is an ‘easy’, attractive alternative on offer, in the form of breast milk, your child has less incentive to eat solids and try a variety of foods. If you’re concerned about your child not eating solid foods, you may want to consider reducing breast milk feeds, for example exclusively to morning and night. Whilst it may take a few days for a smooth transition, once your child has realises that there will be no breast milk aside from at the beginning and end of the day, this strategy will help encourage the eating of your prepared meals. Alongside this in the absence of fluids coming from milk do be sue to offer regular drinks of water during the day as well.
It is not uncommon to find mealtimes genuinely stressful if a child is refusing to eat. Do try and take the pressure off of yourself, just remind yourself that if a child is really hungry the self preservation mechanism deep inside us ensures the child will eat if it is hungry. As long as you child is gaining weight and is healthy then try and relax on the food front, it is great you are offering home cooked meals but if you need a break for a few weeks then offer easy foods to prepare. One of the few things babies and small children have control over is eating so they can make this a challenge. It might be strangely helpful to remind yourself that you are not alone and many parents have one version or other of this problem.
We hope this helps,
Jill Wheatcroft Child Health Lecturer & Dr Emma Haycraft Co-developer of the Child Feeding Guide
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