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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tips for Picky Eaters and Tasty Textures

Before Little Mary grew her chompers, she was a good eater. I couldn't keep enough baby cereal in stock, nor could I have enough home made pureed food ready or defrosted so I would have to run out and buy jars of baby food to keep up with the consumption!

However at Mary's one year doctor's appointment, the weight and height measurements seemed to indicate she had fallen off the growth chart to 0% and the doctor had to explain to me the diagnosis she gave for "failure to thrive". She reassured me that it was a medical terminology but she was not having trouble breathing or anything like that. I almost cried (but I didn't) just cuz it sounded so bad. She referred us to a pediatrician but the appointment would be weeks away.

Then shortly before Christmas, Mary was already one years old with four or five teeth, but the next two were coming in and she didn't eat for days, just surviving on breast and cheerios for sure. From that point, I noticed the food strikes with a day of good eating here and there. At the start of February Mary caught an ear infection and a chest cold and around the same time she stopped eating too, except for cheerios and junk crackers and sometimes raisin bread and fruit smoothies with goji berries and kale. And we offered any  Finally the appointment with the Pediatrician came up. Mary was evaluated but there were no physical or developmental issues for her lack of interest in eating. The doctor referred Mary to a Dietician at the hospital who observed my notes on Mary's diet over five days. She analyzed the volume of formula Mary was taking (20 to 24 oz) and all the junk calories I was giving her and she explained to me it was about the food texture!

The babies have teeth to chew but it is only an up and down motion so the rotary chewing has not fully developed so whatever they can't chew well enough to swallow- apple slices, thick bread, meat they will spit out. As well because of the transition period of infant cereal and bottled formula to table foods there is a time of weaning when  it will appear they are not eating. She suggested foods of uniform texture and cutting out the junk calories that come from goldfish crackers.

1. Foods with Uniform Texture
- salmon patties
- french toast
- pancakes
- hamburger patties but not extra lean ground beef; add more egg and bread crumbs for a smoother texture
- shredded cheese

2. Offer a new food up to 15 times

3. Let them explore the food and and get messy

4. Offer foods with richer calories
Cheese, high fat yoghurt like the Liberte 6% or 9%

5. Establish good eating habits, sit at the table
Try to keep a schedule to avoid random snacking  in between meals

The period of transition being tough for the baby brings up an interesting tidbit I read on National Geographic about the analysis of teeth and bone skeletons of early humans that the impact of the lower nutritional intake at the time of weaning was observable in the teeth.

I just want her to eat more and grow taller

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