Just one more mouthful … How to survive those fussy eating years

Firstly, a word to the uninitiated – specifically to those parents with a bouncing baby happily sitting in their high chair letting you spoon-feed homemade vegetable puree into their open mouth …

Babies change.

Okay, not all of them, but definitely my first son.

There I was quietly patting myself on the back for being such a brilliant mother for giving birth to genius vegetable demolisher.

Then he turned three and meal times started to look very different.

Different how, you ask?

Different = fussy eater is my answer. 

Vegetables were suddenly unpalatable. Where his baby mouth would once open like a little bird, his three year-old self just screwed up his face.

“Nooooo … I hate that stuff, mum” he’d say to most everything he had eaten with relish as a baby.

And with that, I was suddenly transformed into of the “those” parents trying anything – desperately – to get him to eat food groups other than white carbs, cheese and ice blocks. Or – as it appeared on some days – air.

In retrospect, dealing with my son’s latent fussy eating was not unlike going through all five stages of grief! 

Here’s how it unfolded: 

1. Denial

“Oh no, he seems to be off his food today. Maybe he’s coming down with something.  I’ll just pop this new batch of steamed, organic vegetables in the fridge and try again tomorrow.”

Fast-forward to the following week: “Huh? How is this still happening? Maybe I just need to swap the order of the foods around …?”

2. Anger

“This is getting ridiculous! Its been two weeks now and all he will eat is rice crackers, cheese and some blueberries. How can this be happening? We introduced solids in the right order. He used to eat everything in his bowl? We did everything the book said!!! Why is this happening to me???”

3. Bargaining

Dinner time: “Here, just have a small bowl of sweet potato mash and these yummy free range sausages.” Twenty minutes later: “If you just try a tiny bite of this single pea, Mummy will give you a bowl of cereal.” Five minutes later: *Cuts a cheese sandwich, sets bowl of yoghurt and exactly three blueberries on the plate. * 

4. Depression

“Oh look, it’s 4:30pm. If anyone actually ATE dinner, there’d be a point in all my labour, getting everything ready for dinner. But they don’t. All  I do is end up wasting my own energy and washing up again at the end of the night. Why bother?”

5. Acceptance  

*Hands child bowl and spoon and points to fridge* (Just kidding! I only do that sometimes). 


Read more stories about fussy eating:


A big blast of nutrition (that you can drink)

A friend with a similarly-aged daughter went through the same thing and told me, as we vented our mutual frustration, that her GP recommended she whip up a sneaky smoothie on super-fussy days and pack it full of with extra (read: hidden) nutrients.

To the banana and milk, and she added a probiotic powder, chia seeds and other healthy ingredients that put her mind at rest.

To her daughter it was just a banana smoothie – highly palatable and drinkable.

To her it was peace of mind  – nutrition in one big blast.

Even more convenient, are ready-made shakes designed specially for kids. IsoWhey Clinical Nutrition Kids Complete* is a nutritious shake designed to give kids, ages 4 and up, what they need between those meals they may (or may not!) decide to eat. Specifically formulated for growing  and sporty kids, it supports healthy bones and teeth, cognitive development, immunity and energy.

Feeding active kids can be tricky on a nutritional level – they never seem to run out of energy! So Kids Complete is also a great way to provide a good quality snack for kids on the go.

And because it looks like a shake – and tastes like a shake – it will go down easily.

With my fussy eater now five and just about to hit the world of Big School, I’ve heard from school mums who have gone before me, I can expect big changes to his sleep and eating patterns too.

But as with anything parenting-related, I’m going to stick to my mantra: seeing is believing!


This post is sponsored by IsoWhey Clinical Nutrition Kids Complete. Try Kids Complete today.

*This product is designed to supplement a normal diet, to address situations where energy and nutrient intake may not be adequate to meet an individual’s requirements.

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