Picky Eating

May 17, 2021, Hailey Cain

Ever since Delilah started eating solid food we haven’t really had a problem with her being a picky eater. Of course, she had her favorites, but there really wasn’t any food she would just not eat. We also never had a problem with feeling like she wasn’t eating enough at mealtime. However, I have noticed that since she has turned one, Delilah has had a decrease in appetite and an increase in picky eating.

I had read that a decrease in appetite after a year old was incredibly common, so I wasn’t too worried about it. As long as Delilah was still interested in eating, I tried not to stress too much about it. I still offered her meals and snacks on her regular schedule and I kind of just went by her cues to tell me when she was finished eating, even if I felt she hadn’t eaten much.  We’ve been feeding her like this for a little while now and it’s starting to feel like she’s getting pickier and pickier with her eating. I keep getting caught in the loop of wanting to be a little firm and, while still offering her a variety of foods, not giving in and just giving her things I know she’ll eat. While at the same time thinking that if she doesn’t eat well she won’t sleep well, and when she doesn’t sleep well, we’re all miserable.

It’s not that she just doesn’t want to eat at all, there are still quite a few foods that she will consistently eat. These aren’t the worst foods for her either, so it’s a tough balance. She still loves fruit, but she periodically changes which one is her favorite. She’s really liking raspberries now. She also still loves yogurt and cheese. I’ve also found these baby snack bars made with dates, bananas and pumpkin and she is crazy for them. I think the texture feels good on her newly erupted teeth. I plan to see if I can find a way to make them for her myself since she loves them so much.

The most difficult thing has been getting her to eat any form of protein. She’s been fairly inconsistent in her tastes when it comes to proteins recently. Sometimes she loves eggs, other times she won’t touch them. Sometimes she loves meat and sometimes she cries until I take it off her tray. So far beans have been our best bet for some protein. She’ll eat black beans most days.

I also think that teething is an added complication with Delilah’s diet. As my first child, I don’t have much experience to compare with, but I feel like teething has not been the most graceful process for Delilah. Her appetite almost always goes down when her teeth are bothering her and it seems like she doesn’t want to eat things she has to chew. She even turns away most soft food. For the most part when her teeth are hurting she’ll eat yogurt, applesauce and baby food pouches. I feel bad sometimes for always resorting to giving her the same things but it’s also comforting to know that she’s at least getting some good nutrition from what she is eating.

Figuring out the best way to feed Delilah as she’s going through this picky phase is definitely challenging. I just try to remind myself that it’s totally natural for her to go through a picky phase at her age.  No matter what, I’m still going to continue offering her a variety of foods to her, so they’re available when she decides to give them another try. Even if I end up snacking on half of it by the time she’s finished eating.