As soon as you plan your schedule to wean your toddler off breastfeeding, the first thing that comes to mind is how you are going to make your Fussy Toddler Eat.
Weaning is not just making the child give up breast feeding or bottle, but introducing the child to solid food.
Breastfeeding, beyond doubt has so many benefits and that is why I recommend mothers to continue breastfeeding for 12 to 15 months.
However, you can begin introducing other food after 6 months of sole breastfeeding.
Weaning is a trickier process and there are no hard and fast rules.
It is common to see some children wean at the age of two years. The age in fact is not important, what is important is the understanding between the mother and the child. So, it might differ from person to person. (Do not get tensed due to peer pressure! You and your child are unique and you decide your schedule)
Weaning is not an easy process. It takes time and patience. While few children can be weaned easily, some are more resistant to weaning.
So, it is important to wean the child gently for making a smooth transition. Here are some tried and tested tips for making it easy for both your child and you.
Take it Slow
Remember that weaning takes a lot of time. In case of fussy toddlers, you need more time and perseverance. (SO! Finally I said that, yes! Perseverance is the mantra!)
There is no timeline as each child behaves in a different manner. Try to focus on smaller goals.
Say, first start with giving solid food once per day and then gradually increase the number of times.
Be flexible with the child and don’t get stressed if your child doesn’t respond as expected.
Make a Change in the Routine
It is good way to change the daily routine by distracting the child. This will distract the child from the usual pattern of feeding.
Distraction might be in the form of going out of the home during feed times or playing with the child.
Make sure that the distraction reduces the number of feeds gently. You might also try giving solids when the child is distracted.
- Take Turns with your Partner
During night, it always becomes the duty of the mothers to look after the child because they can easily make the child go back to sleep.
However, it is tough to initiate the weaning process with this pattern. Ask your partner to look after the child at night.
In case the child is hungry, your partner can offer solid food or a liquid form and put the child back to sleep.
Children are intelligent and they can understand when you talk to them about weaning – I did this, and believe me, my son at 1.5 years didn’t ask me to feed him even once after the initial explanation.
You need to talk to your child considering him already a year old, which will make him/her understand what actually you are trying to say!
Break the Habit
Many kids find it tough to go to sleep without being breastfed. Before putting the child to sleep, feed him in another room, and then move to your bedroom for sleep.
While at bed, you can read, or sing to your toddler to put him to sleep.
Always remember, you set a life habit for your child, so make it worthy to be followed later too.
Offer a Favorite Food or Drink
Children sometimes can’t express their hunger and thirst. Hence, they depend on breastfeeding.
Make a habit of giving substitute food once every two hours, with intermittent provision of warm water.
Offer them all the healthy foods of different colour at different time; this will make them want to try them.
Try not to feed, let the child experience the texture and try to eat by themselves. Though it might look untidy at first, they will eventually enjoy choosing and holding food on their own.
Few more tips for tackling the fussy toddler
– Don’t encourage them to fill on liquid food alone.
– Do not force them to eat.
– It is not a hard and fast rule for them to clean the plate. Take it slow.
– Let them play with food.
– Mealtime should not put pressure on them.
– Be creative while preparing food for them. It is like an adventure for them to try new tastes.
Above all, Family mealtimes are best way to encourage a child to eat. Kids learn from their parents.
I would love to know what you did to feed your fussy toddler, do share.