This past Monday evening, pediatrician Dr. Bill Sears came to the Charlotte area to talk about health.
When I first had Wyatt, I’d always heard Dr. Sears’s name associated with attachment parenting. I read The Baby Book, but glossed over some of the stuff. Then we started realizing that Wyatt was different than most babies, then his pediatrician mentioned the term “high-need”, then some Googling led me to this article by Dr. Sears and this one and this book, and I became Dr. Sears’s biggest fan.
If you have a high-need baby, buy this book now.
So, when I heard about this event, I RSVP’d as quickly as I could. My friend Erin joined me too.
Now, I’ll be honest, when Dr. Sears gave us an overview of his “Top Health Tips for All Ages” presentation in the beginning, I was a bit underwhelmed. Since I’m a medical writer and write about chronic disease prevention all the time, I didn’t think I’d learn anything new. But I’m happy to report I was wrong!
I’m not going to recap the whole presentation – just the parts that resonated with me as a mom – but I will say that Dr. Sears has a novel way of explaining why it’s so important to be active and eat real food. For example, he calls soda “diabetes in a bottle” and he never tells parents that their child is overweight. Rather, he says they’re “pre-diabetic” because it’s not a matter of if they’ll get diabetes, but when. He claims that just changing this one descriptor prompts parents to take action.
My notes from the presentation:
Breast milk is perfect because of the high fat content which is so important for brain development during the first two years of life. I took this to heart since my picky eater doesn’t eat much fat and I’m still breastfeeding.
The first two solid foods he recommends giving to babies at 6 months are avocado and salmon.
If you have an older child who won’t eat “healthy” foods, he suggests referring to these foods by another name. He shared an anecdote that one young boy asked why he was so short. Dr. Sears told him that he’d grow if he just ate “tall" foods. Weeks later, the boy’s mom told Dr. Sears that her son was eating a ton of broccoli! He gave other examples including “football” foods or “grow” foods.
It’s important to raise a grazer. As a mom of a toddler who likes to eat on the go, I was happy to hear this! He mentioned the nibble tray – which we use – and shared the “twos” of becoming a grazer: Eat twice as often, eat half as much, and chew twice as long.
Can’t get your child to eat whole grain bread? Buy a loaf of Wonder bread and a loaf of 100% whole grain bread. Ask your child to squeeze each loaf. One will be soft and squishy and the other will be hard and dense. Then ask your child which he would prefer his muscles to feel like. Such a cute example.
Seafood (particularly salmon), fruit (especially blueberries), greens, and nuts are the best foods. Kids can remember this by cheering go fish, go blue go green, and go nuts!
I wanted to ask Dr. Sears a couple questions after the presentation – specifically, what milk or milk alternatives he recommends for toddlers and more tips for picky eaters – but people attacked him afterwards and we were having some scary weather, so I headed home. If you ever get the chance to hear Dr. Sears speak, though, I strongly recommend attending.
It’s been a long time since I participated in Brittany’s munchkin meals.
Since Wyatt was diagnosed with FPIES we’ve had a lot of eating challenges, and our goal shifted from raising a healthy eater to getting him to eat anything other than breastmilk.
Recently, I’ve heard from several other moms who are struggling to get their tots to eat, due to allergies or just general pickiness. So, I thought I’d share what Wyatt has been eating. Please know this is just what works for us. He doesn’t eat much, and his weight is closely monitored by his doctors.
Breakfast: When Wyatt wakes up, I nurse him for a few minutes. I’m still breastfeeding mainly because Wyatt won’t drink milk. We’ve tried milk alternatives, smoothies, different sippy cups and bottles, and even chocolate milk and he won’t take anything consistently. It has been a huge struggle for the past 3.5 months. His doctor thinks he may just be one of those kids who never drinks milk, and encourages me to offer him a lot of cheese and yogurt. I’m really nervous to stop nursing and just rely on dairy products, though.
His real breakfast is always some sort of fruit, yogurt, and a grain. Either toast with peanut butter, oatmeal, or egg-free cinnamon rolls. He rarely eats the grain part of his breakfast, but I continue to offer it. His yogurt is 2% flavored Chobani mixed with full-fat, plain Greek yogurt. He won’t eat the full octane yogurt by itself or even with fruit mixed in, so we use the Chobani to thin it out.
Yogurt, oatmeal, and pear slices. He usually eats 1/4 to 1/3 of this.
Lunch: Wyatt doesn’t always sit down for lunch. Sometimes he’ll just eat a bunch of snacks between his two naps and that serves as lunch. Lunchtime staples include cucumbers (his favorite), bananas, oranges, organic cheese sticks, black beans, graham crackers, and pouches (HappyTot spinach, mango, pear is his go-to combination). I also offer him spoonfuls of peanut butter throughout the day, and he usually takes them. It’s reassuring to know he’s getting some fat, even though this may not be the most ideal way to feed a child!
Around 2:00 pm, he has his longest nursing session of the day.
Dinner: I wish I could say that dinner is whatever we eat, but that’s really not the case because he’s so picky.
We alternate between the highchair and booster seat. He’s a little small for the booster, but he hates the highchair.
We do a lot of Amy’s mac and cheese with peas mixed in (side note: all Amy’s products are made in an egg-free facility), homemade pizza, Mexican “casseroles” with black beans, cheese, corn, and tomatoes, and grain bowls, consisting of rice or quinoa, turkey sausage, veggies, and goat cheese.
He does pretty well with a fork and spoon!
Before bed, I nurse him one last time.
There are several days where Wyatt eats nothing besides breastmilk and pouches. Sometimes he literally picks the peas out of his mac and cheese and just eats them. Who does that? And I can probably count one one hand the number of times he’s actually eaten more than a few of bites of all three meals. Dinner seems to be his worse meal of the day – often, he’ll just scream or toss his plate on the floor as soon as I put his food in front of him, or he’ll play with his food rather than eat it. I know this is typical toddler behavior and I try not to stress about it. I just continue to offer him food throughout the day and pray he’s getting enough.
Who else has a picky eater? Does anyone else have a non-milk drinker?
Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share about a new product he is loving lately: the Little Green Pouch.
This is a reusable food pouch that’s top-rack dishwasher safe, BPA-free, easy for a toddler to eat from, but not easy for a toddler to open- all things that are very important to this mom!
Wyatt doesn’t care for homemade purées anymore, so I almost declined when Little Green Pouch offered to send me some pouches to test out. I thought Wyatt was too old for this, but then I remembered one of his favorite foods: yogurt (specifically strawberry banana Chobani). He eats yogurt with breakfast every morning and is determined to spoon-feed himself, which means only about half of it ends up in his mouth. The other day, I put his yogurt in the Little Green Pouch and it was gone in a minute.
I gave him another serving of yogurt in the Little Green Pouch later in the day and he snacked on it throughout the afternoon. Leaving the pouch out for him to eat as he chooses has been a lifesaver. He doesn’t drink milk and it’s not like I could just leave a spoon and yogurt out for him to eat on his own, so I truly love this product. It’s not messy and it’s easy for him to feed himself, a win-win!
I love it so much that I want to share it with you. Since Little Green Pouch was kind enough to gift me a sample, I’m buying one reader their own Little Green Pouch four-pack.
Just leave a comment on the bottom of this post sharing tips or tricks you use to get your child to eat. If your child isn’t picky, just tell me his or her favorite foods- I need new ideas! The giveaway closes at 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, February 24, 2013. I’ll announce a winner on Monday. Good luck!