Friday, October 4, 2013

Hunger Strike Round 2

My post earlier this week about rules somehow turned into a post about feeding my baby.  I didn't realize that this was really where my struggles with discipline lie.

You guys offered some sound advice so I wanted to elaborate and clarify a bit and then ask for more advice!

First, Jett's diet is almost stricly fruit, veggies and proteins.  He eats very little grain, very little dairy and next to no processed food.  His "crap" snack that I let him have is Cheerios and he only gets them for car rides.

He loves fruit and he loves veggies but he does NOT love meat.

How do two meat loving parents end up with a VEGETARIAN???

Such a hippy already...good thing we live in San Francisco, he fits right in.

Second, he's only in the 18th percentile for his weight, so I do worry a bit more about him eating than I would if he weighed more AND he's slightly anemic...perhaps that's because he WON'T EAT MEAT.

Anyway, my point is that I LOVE the idea of plopping the kid down in the high chair, giving him some food and then that's it.  He eats or he doesn't, his choice.  LOVE THAT.  Like, honestly, it appeals to the laziness in me and this is what I WANT to do.

BUT, I got kind of a stern...not reprimand, but warning? that we needed to get Jett's iron levels up by his 15 month appointment or we were going to start talking supplements.  So, handing the kid a plate of food only to have him eat just the veggies followed by a snack of fruit later in the day then some more veggies for the next meal means he's not eating meat, thus not getting iron.  Because really the only way he'll eat the meat is if someone feeds him, at which point he HAPPILY eats the meat but he won't eat it on his own.

I've done other things like eggs, spinach and hummus for iron but let's face it, red meat is the easiest.

After my last post in which ALL OF YOU told me that you let your kid decide how much they want to eat ONLY IN THEIR HIGHCHAIR I decided I would give it a go.

What resulted is that my baby has had nothing but fruit, veggies and some Cheerios since Tuesday.  Last night he blatantly refused to eat ANYTHING except two bites of broccoli.  I even tried to resort to my old ways of hand feeding him after he was out of the chair but even that was refused.

I thought he would be crazy hungry this morning, but NOPE, he only ate half his breakfast.

So of course I worry, it's like part of the job description of MOM.

This is not the first time Baby Jett has gone on a hunger strike.  He basically ate nothing but fruit for 2 months just before he turned 1.  Ultimately I had to just let it happen and he went back to eating on his own.  But that time I wasn't concerned with him being anemic!

Luckily he's still nursing so I know he's getting SOME nutrients but guess what breastmilk does not provide?

Oh that's right, IRON!!!

So, now that you all know the WHOLE story, do you have the same advice?  Put him in the high chair, give him food and don't worry about it???

I'm trying to be all relaxed and chill about the whole thing, but in reality I'm starting to dread meal times.  So NOT how I wanted to approach food/meals as a parent.


  1. I learned with my kids that they ate better if they were surrounded by other people we always tried to sit down and eat too. Even if that meant me faking it and just feeding them from my plate. My oldest son was a lot like Jett. Long, lean and really loved fruit and veggies but not a lot more. Sometimes I found it was the texture of the meat...and I discovered he loved spaghetti sauce so I started making really really meat filled sauces and then siphening off a lot of the sauce part so he would eat the meat. You can also try some iron fortified cereals for snacks...maybe break the cheerio car rule for awhile and let him have a yummy cereal snack while in the high chair. And...supplements really are not such a bad thing. Just a few drops of iron supplement in his water or diluted juice will do the need to go overboard. The sad truth is that toddlers are famous for being picky and they are also at a stage where they want to be in control. After suffering mercilessly with my own parents over food...I swore I would never put any emotional attachment to food....We always offer lots of variety that is healthy and pretty much allow them to eat what they want. we have had great success, our kids eat well and we don't have a lot of stress around it. When they are hungry they eat. So....another tactic is to put out the food (meat) they typically eat last....first. Don't offer a full plate with veggies and fruit all at once....start just with the meat....when they are hungry they are usually less picky. Then..after a fair portion of meat is consumed....drop the fruit and veggies on the plate.
    Good luck mama....toddlers and food are always tricky. Just try out a bunch of things and see what works. OH..and toddlers forget if it didn't work 2 weeks ago....try it again anyway....I have had amazing success with that.

  2. They make soy fruit smoothie drinks (Freddy's has them, near the soy milk, I think its So Delicious brand??) its like a "breakfast protein" type thing.. I've bought them before for myself since they are dairy-free. They might have iron in them, and maybe Jett will drink them since it will be like liquid fruit? Also, Austin went thru a MAJOR hunger strike right after he turned a year old too.. so much that Daycare called me concerned almost everyday because he NOTHING or like 2 bites of a cracker, and wasn't eating at home either. I was Googling it and freaking out.. but it passed after about 3 weeks to a month. so it might be a developmental thing? But for iron, check out soy smoothie things.. you might be able to get something in him that way!

  3. Vegetarian baby!! What!

    Maybe there are iron drops that can go into his juice / water / milk? Or maybe boost the iron in the eggs and spinach dishes with iron drops?

    I also agree with "courses" for the food... Will he out right refuse meat or he just prefers other food first? I usually try to give the babies their least favorite but often most important part of the meal first. It doesn't always work but it's what I do when I feel like all they're eating is fruit.

  4. First off, you're wrong about there being no iron in breastmilk! That is a myth perpetuated by formula companies & iron supplement companies. :) It's true that it has less iron that iron-fortified formula & cow's milk, but the iron that is in breastmilk is actually absorbed BETTER. I'm not against using the supplements, but just thought that might give you some comfort that he IS getting iron through your breatmilk!

    2nd :Stella used to eat any/all meats we offered her. Now - I couldn't tell you the last time she ate meat - red or any other (except in spaghetti sauce, like the commenter above said). The child decided a few months ago to live on fruits, (a few) veggies, and some carbs/dairy. It drives me nuts sometimes, but I try not to stress about it, keep offering it a few times a week, and I figure eventually she'll start eating meat again.

    Honestly, my peds doc offered to test Stella's iron level (maybe at 1yr?) and I declined, and she wasn't worried at all about it. Said if I'm offering a variety of foods, eventually she will eat what she needs and to not stress about it.

    Good luck!

  5. We do feed to boys mostly in their highchairs, but I offer them a snack sometimes while they are playing. We had a bit of a hard time with meat, and still it comes in phases for the boys. Andy will not eat any mean that is cold, but we've found that casserole type noodle dishes with meat are a HUGE hit with the boys especially if they have a little cheese. A whole grain noodle + the meat should give him a good amount of iron. I've also found the boys are obsessed with quiche. I usually throw a little cheese and ham in it and they eat it like CRAZY-- maybe that would be another option? Also leafy greens in a smoothie with fruit? I've recently found that they boys love a smoothie, especially so if it is in my cup and appears to belong to me :) Good luck!

  6. Our OT told us that meat is one of the hardest things for babies to learn to chew. Maybe its a texture thing phase? Our boys outright refuse all meat and desperately need the iron. We are also making smoothies with added spinach and kale, using iron supplements, eggs, hummus, beans, iron fortified cereal for breakfast every morning. I'm not really a meat eater so I don't worry too much about them getting meat but offer a variety of sources throughout the week. For us cereal is the easiest source.

  7. It is likely a texture thing. You don't have to worry about him not eating meat (although I know you 3 year old still won't eat much meat, but she loves bacon and ham lol).

    My friend had really good luck with her son when she gave him kale. It's also good to mix iron rich foods with vitamin C rich foods as it helps people absorb the iron. You can blend it in with things and he won't even notice it's there (I blend spinach, peanut butter, frozen bananas, and OJ into smoothies for my daughter and she loves them).

    Also, sometimes kids just don't want to eat much. It's part of a growing phase. They eat tons and chunk up, and then they have a growth spurt and they don't want to eat much.

    1. I meant to add this link. It has some high iron foods listed on it :)

  8. Ack! I am always worried about the iron thing as I have been anemic in my past. Because of that, I still always make sure to give her the infant cereal in the mornings. She also really likes eggs. I don't know if they have it in the states ( I am sure they do though), but you can buy infant cereal which is essentially cheerios at at twice the cost that has the added iron...maybe you could buy these instead of his basic cheerios?
    As for meat....we sometime have trouble with that too, but I found that R is a casserole LOVER. She loves to eat things with meat mixed in, and best has been stew - she loves stew. And using stew i manage to get everything into her....but it is a sit down with a spoon meal which is not my fave. Also, she loves lasagna, spaghetti with meat sauce, various chicken casseroles etc. It is the only way I can really get meat into her, she doesn't love it on it's own - she will pick at it, but not really eat it.
    Good luck! Baby Jett has a mind of his own for sure! These darn stubborn babies! haha, why don't they just eat/sleep/poop when/what/where we want??!!