Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Can you please just EAT?

I don't know about you, but I have a very picky eater at home (besides myself). She seriously gives me this face every time I ask her to try something new before typically pushing it aside. Did I mention her first word was "NO." She gets it from her Mama, that's for sure.
Since birth, we've had a tough time keeping weight on our little one. I mean, she's long & lanky like her Daddy so we expected a bit of difficulty in keeping her within her weight range for her age, but it's still been a process that we've always had to keep an eye on. When time came for Tot to switch from formula full-time (yes - the dreaded formula word, but more on that in another post) to solids - I really wanted to do my research to find the best way to chunk up our little one in the healthiest way possible.

I'm certainly not one of those organic moms, but I am diabetic and do try to eat as healthy as humanely possible (it helps when your next door neighbor is Whole Foods). When I was pregnant, I focused 100% on what I was feeding my body so that Tot received only the strongest of nutrients and I pledged to do the same throughout her life. For the Mama's that make home-made baby food - bless you, you're wonder women. I started this food adventure hoping I would be able to do the same, but with schedules and toddling babies causing havoc in the kitchen - it has been a pie in the sky dream of mine. But, that doesn't mean that I haven't done my research! Picky eaters are tough, but over the past few months - I've relied on a few tips & tricks to get us through this solid transition.


The first piece of advice I received was having your little one suddenly put down the bottle and eat 2-3 meals a day is nearly impossible. Instead, work on transitioning them to solids through small snacks you can offer once or twice a day. The majority of getting your Tot to love food is to demonstrate the independence they have in not needing a bottle or Mama to quench their hunger. In reading lots of Mama boards on easy to grab snacks, puffs came out as the clear winner. If you have a toddler, I'm sure you've had your fair share of puffs to snack on. While not filled with tons of nutrients, some of the puffs I've found are whole-grain and incorporate a variety of veggies including beets & kale.

Note: For the money-saving Mama's (like myself) Diapers.com typically has a sale once or twice a month where you can stock up on puffs for days. Literally, we have a closet filled with boxes of Happy Baby products to throw into the diaper bag at a moments notice!

These are a few of our favorites...

Instead of forcing her into her high chair to eat her snacks, I want to encourage Tot's independence by allowing her to eat her snacks on her own. Little Miss Sass won't eat anything unless she can feed herself. But, giving Tot a bag of her own yogis or puffs is not a wise choice for your carpet. Enter the Munchkin Snack Catcher. I simply fill the container with the desired snack, hand it to Tot and voila. She feels pride in feeding herself and I finally fill her tummy with some probiotic treats a couple times a day. 
Sprout Packs

I'm not going to lie, Tot eats her fair share of Gerber's pouches and that's A-OK in my mind. I've done my research on nutritious packets, and Gerber lines up with a variety of their competitors. But, did you know that you could purchase an organic line of baby pouches in a similar price point to Gerber? Until recently, I didn't realize that was a possibility, but after searching my handy Diapers.com app, I realized I had a few other options without breaking the bank. That's when I discovered Sprout pouches and boy, does Tot love them. With a variety of fun, protein-filled flavors - Sprout offers Mama's a quick fix for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that go beyond the simple chicken noodle soup of normal baby packs. Apple oatmeal raisin is a family favorite (I even love it - seriously, try it yourself, you won't regret it). 
For more details visit: http://www.sproutorganicfoods.com
And while a yummy packet definitely makes things easier for a picky eater - it still doesn't solve Tot's love of eating on her own. As a family that travels a ton, we needed an easy solution to meals that we can pick up on the go. Bringing a bowl and spoon with you everywhere gets a bit cumbersome. After a few blogs, I witnessed a Mama handing her daughter a pack to sip on herself. "Wait, where did you get that?" blurted out of me faster than you could imagine. This wonderful Mom introduced me to the ChooMee Sipn Food Pouch. This washable, flexible top fits all pouches and has a simple catch so your little one can't suck up too much too fast. When Tot is hungry, I slip one on the top of her pouch and she's able to eat in peace without a trail of food throughout the house! It's mess-free - what more could you ask for? Check it out on Amazon for yourself...


One thing that eases the transition from bottle to solids is introducing your little one to liquids other than formula/milk. It also helps keep their tummy happy and regulated while all these new foods swarm around. Tot was not a fan of sippy cups and after talking to several Mama's, it seems this is a common denominator amongst babies. While she loved being able to hold her own cup, sucking out of something that wasn't a bottle wasn't an easy transition for us and really delayed her in enjoying water & juice (watered down, of course). After a pile of failed sippy cups, I was desperate for anything. One of my favorite local stores, Sprout San Francisco, had the perfect solution sitting on their counter. I gave one last Hail Mary play and picked up the cup. With it's silicone base and embedded ring, it prevents spills but moves with the little ones any way they decide to drink. Easily washable, it's been heaven-sent and one of Tot's favorite cups. I throw it in my purse daily (did I mention it's spill-proof?) and fill it with any type of liquid for Tot. For more information, visit: http://www.sproutsanfrancisco.com/shop/feeding-teething/bottles/silicone-straw-cup


The last tip I received from our friends and physicians was let the girl eat what she wants! To encourage positive eating habits, I had to let Tot be Tot and explore foods at her own pace. But, whenever possible - find ways to  assist her in trying new things. The biggest concern about the transition from formula (or milk) to solids is the risk of your little one choking. I know it's a huge fear of mine I still grapple with every time Tot shoves 6 yogis in her mouth and smirks at me. The first thing Tot really enjoyed was fruit and to this day, it is still her favorite. But, a lot of fruit, beyond the typical banana, has seeds in it, which are a huge choking red flag. I started googling and realized there was a simple solution right in front of me - Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder. 
Tot adores her watermelon so every morning I put together a container to go to school with her and her little mesh pouch. When she's hungry, you simply open the packet and place in the fruit or any food you want your little one to taste, close it and pass it over! They can hold onto the handle themselves and snack away without you having to worry about them eating something a little too big to handle for their age. Most of the time, Tot chews on it until it's empty - I simply wash it by hand and start again. It's the perfect solution for even the pickiest, sassiest eater in your life! 

While these work for us at home, we'd love to hear about any tricks you use to get your little one to eat solids! Any special routines you use to introduce new foods? Share in the comments below! 

Happy feeding!

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