This is Charlotte, our Kiddie of the Month for March.
Charlotte is 3. She’s always found eating a bit tricky, even when she was a baby. She was quite colicky and often unsettled, on both breastfeeding and bottle feeding. She started solids early but had a few issues with gagging and vomiting at first. She also had some constipation, which might have affected her appetite. Charlotte is a very independent and clever little girl, and she can’t be tricked into doing anything she doesn’t want to do- especially trying new foods! Her parents have noticed that she’s gradually cut out some of her favourite foods over the last year. Charlotte is also very sensitive to the different properties of food- particularly texture, taste and the look of food. She can easily tell if something is hidden in her food and she much prefers plain flavours and consistent textures (nothing too “scratchy”!) She also doesn’t like wet or sticky touch on her hands. Charlotte is growing beautifully, but that can be hard for her parents to trust when they don’t feel like she eats very much at all! They would really like for her to be able to eat the same meals as them.
What we’ve worked on: Charlotte’s parents came to a parent talk I gave, and immediately started to implement the Division of Responsibility like absolute professionals! This has worked really well for Charlotte, because she now feels in charge of her own eating- which suits her personality. Mum has also noticed that Charlotte is more interested in food around her, knowing that she won’t be pressured into trying it.
What’s happening now: Charlotte and I have done some fun, messy play with new foods. She’s built up confidence with the feel of wet foods, and likes to have a cloth nearby if things get too messy. She’s also explored some new foods like beef with her mouth, and although she hasn’t eaten these foods- she’s making positive memories about the taste and feel of meat. This is so important in her learning to trust new foods! Mealtimes are generally less stressful, and Charlotte is much more interested in foods around her. Change at mealtimes can take a while, but Charlotte has tried several new foods lately including carrot and tzatziki and natural yoghurt. Go Charlotte!!
What Mum says: I have found the division of responsibility concept to have been very helpful with Charlotte, she used to ask for snacks all day long and would often decide what she would eat and would never eat any vegetables. Sharing our mealtimes without the pressure to finish what's on your plate has taken the stress out of what was previously my most dreaded part of the day! I have been amazed to see Charlotte gaining the confidence to try new foods and try to include her in preparing meals as much as possible.