I often get questioned at Sassi’s petite form.
Yeh kamzor Kyun hai? (Why is she so weak?)
Yeh kuch khaati nahi? (Does she not eat anything?)
Thankfully she’s beyond the age when people would routinely shame me for breastfeeding trying to prove I’m not producing enough milk and that I should move to or at least supplement with formula. (Including our paediatrician!)
It doesn’t occur to them that she’s still breastfeeding.
Yes. She is almost 1.5 years old and still breastfed. Will nurse many many times a day and will only sleep on the boob. (Another post. Heartfelt)
However. Something I always ALWAYS get compliments on are her eating habits. How she will pounce to try something new, eat at the table with everyone else and most of all, eat from my plate.
“Oh you’ve trained her well”
“That’s such a relief, you’ve done a great job”
“Yeh bohot acha kiyaa” (this you’ve done really well)
I have ONE thing to say to all of them.
I didn’t do zilch. I kid you not. I did not do ANYTHING. It’s all her.
We just let her be. Like everything else, I follow her lead.
She used to smack her lips at us having a meal a few weeks before she turned 5.5 months old. We still waited it out till 6 months and literally ONCE gave her something separately, mashed potatoes or something. Or was it yogurt?
That’s pretty much it.
Since there were no teeth at the time we simply pulled vegetable out of our food and roughly mashed it with the fork before feeding it to her. Too mashed and she would gag at it. So she liked it chunky.
Slowly it was literally just everything off my plate.
We eat low salt low spice as is in the house but she has surprised me with haleem, biryani and chicken tikkaa while eyes and nose watering. She only cries for water. Asks for a drink. Never to stop eating.
Maybe it helps that I enjoy my food (visibly) and she picked up on it as an entertaining activity.
OR it is the fact that we don’t run after her…
My childhood of played like a film in my head would have two films running. My mom following em around the house with a plate of food begging me to eat or my father sitting at the dinner table for hours with threats of stuffing vomit down my clothes if I threw up and me crying through it all.
I ended up having a dysfunctional relationship with food. Every time I happily eat my fill, I feel miserable and guilty. Every time I skipped a meal or threw up after one I felt in control and accomplished.
I was not having either of those films being pictured for Sass. So I act like I don’t care (when on the inside I’m literally reciting half the Quran for her to look my way and ask for the next bite).
I let her eat for as long as she comes for a bite and then she frolics around and a few minutes later comes back again. So we don’t have any set mealtimes. She begins a meal and finishes it in yoyo two hours and that’s alright. She will read a book or few, watch some tv, make some darn make believe Tea in her tea-set (that I’m so tired of drinking 35 times a day!) but she WILL eat.
Here’s also what I do. I add calorie heavy food or ingredients to get meals.
I fry her omelette in butter or ghee. She prefer crispy fried tortillas over paratha so that also fries in butter or ghee.
I give her Yakhni Pulao (stock infused pilaf) at least once a few days.l because she loves it and it’s not-just-rice. It’s a lot more.
I give her fruit once a day even if she has just a smidge.
I keep offering her all of these things and on a bad day when she isn’t interested in anything that amounts to a considerable helping even over time, we break out emergency measures and stuff her with ice cream.
This is usually Haagen Dazs, Ben & Jerry’s or Hico. To ensure there’s milk going in there.
Here’s the thing.
Her portions are minuscule in one go. So if they don’t add up to what seems like a healthy portion, we get ice cream tubs out.
And that is a FACT!
I have learned to look at her food in terms of weeks instead of days because her days fluctuate. Some days she will hog all day on bits and pieces and fill herself up nice and right.
Other days I feel like she’s been starving on a Piece of apple and two grapes all day. That’s when we get French fries or Ice cream. Or BOTH!
ALSO lately she wants to feed herself and that’s a learning curve for me. To not freak out at every bit of food dropping to the floor and I am learning. I promise I am but I know I need to work harder on that one. Honestly I am HAPPY she wants to feed her face herself. I just hope she fixes her aim real quick too! Until then, it’s a lot of crying. Mostly me.
So yes. Making food a fun activity for her has helped us enormously to expand her menu. She’s not a picky eater but her portions are all over the place and that’s alright.
As long as she is
Meeting her milestones
GROWING UP and not down.
We are sorted and we are happy.
So PLEASE DO NOT fall prey to people telling you your child is weak and needs to beef up because a few years down the road it is those same people who will tell you how your child is obese and needs to control his or her diet.
I know. Because I WAS that child and even though my parents are rockstars and didn’t care a thing about what other people said, they fell prey to what I looked like as a toddler and beefed me up into a chubster. They didn’t care much about the time when others said I was chubby or fat but I ended up internalising that and it affected me for a very long time in life.
Let the baby tell you what they want to eat and don’t bother preparing separate food for them, get them hop on to the Chicken Karahi and Lasagne bandwagon ASAP and enjoy the ride with them.
with this post, I’m also kicking off a #InPlateGuest hashtag because a toy or another often makes an appearance in the plate of food.
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