Gosh, if us mummas had a dollar for every time the babe refused food we'd be living a very different life. Food has to be one of our biggest forms of stress!
Well, I wanted to share with you some research I came across in my nutritional studies over the last few weeks that I think will really shed some light on why the babes appetite often changes. Scientists have discovered there is a certain age when a section of your brain develops, this crucial part effects the recognition of your appetite.
Let me explain in a bit more detail, the "hypothalamus" is a small gland that sits at the top of the brain stem where it connects to the spinal cord. One of it's roles is to release a chemical (Neuropeptide Y (NPY) - to be exact) that latches onto the brain cells and then sends out a signal about your appetite, i.e more or less food please! Interestingly, this part of the brain is not fully developed, or in complete working order, until approximately 18 months of age. A-huh I hear many of you saying....this could well be the reason for why our babes at this age stop wanting as much food all of a sudden or, on the other hand, want more as the connection is finally made.
Now if you don't think it's the pesky "hypothalamus" changing things up, and your intuition is telling you that your babe needs to eat, here are a few tips that I've found have really worked for my little one:
- Change location
This is easier for some than others but for me, living in a small apartment, it's a technique I have often used. I'll scoop the babe up, pop dinner in a container and we'll head out for a walk where I'll feed it to him then. Other options could be eating outside, moving the high chair to a new location, etc.
- Stop and play
I know this may be against many mummas’ rule books, as meal time should be orderly and at regular times but pick the bub up, play with them on the floor for a few minutes and then try again. Feel free to tell them what's happening, e.g. “Let’s have a quick play and then get back to our yummy dinner”.
- Cook together
I regularly cook with my little guy, yes he lasts a few minutes before he runs off to play with a toy but it gets him interested in food. I have him push the blender button or pour measurements in to a bowl (with my help) and I'll bring him in to taste the dish. When he's tasting it I do get over excited and say "mmmm and yum."
- Eat together
Sit down and have a few bites with them or better still, eat when they eat. Your digestion will love you for it. As a follower, you’ll know I am all about feeding the babes an adaption of what you're eating, at every meal. Not only is it easier for you but it's great for family bonding and developing tastes. So grab a spoon and tuck on in. If they see you enjoying it they are more likely to get involved, in the end they want to be just like you.
Now, you clever bunch, I'm sure you’ve also got some great techniques to get the food in, so please share a few with me in the comments section below.