Today I’m excited to share the second installment of our Real Talk with Real Moms series. It kicked off last month with a discussion around sleep. At that time I was getting next to none and it was brutal. I’m pleased to report that Carter is now sleeping much better — thanks to sleep training. Yep, we bit the bullet and it was a total transformation and really not that bad. No, he’s not sleeping through the night, but I’m getting six hour stretches and it’s not taking 90 minutes to get him down and I’ll take it. I was actually thinking I should go back to that post and share all the nitty-gritty of our experience in one giant comment – if anyone’s interested {mention in the comments on this post if you are}! But for today’s posts, all the mamas are discussing their experiences with feeding our tiny little humans.

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We have interesting relationships with food, don’t we? I don’t remember being a terribly picky eater as a kid. Sure I didn’t like tomatoes or avocado or black olives, but to my memory there weren’t screaming refusals at the dinner table, or hiding vegetables under my plate or anything. I remember generally enjoying most of what was put in front of me.

But as an adult who revels in food experiences and who won’t shy away from trying anything {save those black olives, still don’t like ’em!}, I find myself having a lot of anxiety about what my kid’s relationship to food will be – even though he’s only ever tasted breast milk! I think having a picky eater would just be miserable. Battles at the dinner table. Not being able to enjoy cooking. Having a freezer stocked with chicken fingers. I’ve given up so many aspects of my pre-baby life, having to give enjoying good food – and being able to share that experience with the people I care about most – feels like it could send me over the edge.

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Of course there are all the health reasons why I want Carter to like food and be eager and willing to eat a wide variety of things. I have grandiose dreams of keeping boxed foods, microwavable snacks and gummy treats out of my kitchen. Yes, I already have a baby food maker just waiting for its inaugural use. And then there are the total extreme cases. I have a friend who’s little sister ate nothing but cereal for years! Of course I want to honor whatever my little dude’s personal tastes turn out to be, but if I’m truly being honest with myself, what I really want is to raise a mini foodie.

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My favorite book on the subject thus far has been Bringing Up Bebe. That may be because it’s the only baby book I read prior to giving birth – ha! But regardless, in it, the author talks about how the French approach food with their children. In France there are no kid’s menus. Children don’t eat separately from the parents. Three course lunches that include things like fish, braised asparagus and stinky cheese are served to pre-schoolers – and they generally seem to not only eat it, but enjoy it all without fanfare. So why are we cutting hot dogs into bite sized chunks just to get some calories into our kids?

With the time to start solids rapidly approaching, I need to figure out how to kick this whole eating real food thing off and I really don’t want to screw it up! Yes, I’ve heard rumors about a few tricks of the food training trade. Introduce a food at least 10 times before a child can definitely indicate they don’t like it. Don’t offer fruit for quite some time so they don’t get overly used to sweetness. Pay attention to texture – that’s what could be unpalatable. But for the most part I’m flyin’ blind right now.

So to all those parents who have come before me, or to those of you who have simply read way more parenting books, I am seeking your advice! Any secrets to cultivating a little foodie hiding out there? I would be SO appreciative of any and all tips and tricks you’re willing to share. And of course I’ll glad share how that first introduction of real food goes. I think we might try it any day now.

For more thoughts and personal experiences on the trials and tribulations of feeding our littles – from breast feeding all the way up to toddler-dom, check out the rest of the mamas in this series below.

> The Effortless Chic

> Ave Styles

Parker Etc

PS – we’ll be going on a mini-foodie adventure in wine country this weekend and I’ll be sharing it on Snapchat. Follow apartment34 if you’d like to see where we end up!

image one by michelle drewes // image two by bess friday image three by luisa brimble

 

 

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20 Comments

  1. please update with what worked for you on sleeping! I have 3.5 month twin girls who have decided to get a jump start on their 4 month sleep regression, and I’m losing my mind! One has just started screaming before bed even though she used to go down just fine. Even if we start early, she will be up crying for hours and the only thing that has worked has been to put her in the swing. Help a desperate mama out! 🙂

  2. Yes, please on what you did for sleep training! We are nearing the time we need to do it and I can use all the advice/ideas I can get. Our little guy is 13 weeks.

    1. Well, I started a little disjointedly, reading the no cry sleep solution, the sleep easy solution and healthy sleep happy child. While the books can be helpful and the various perspectives informative, I ended up making my own CIO system. We’d put him down to bed after his consistent bedtime routine and if he cried I go back in after 3 mins, then 5, then 7, then 10. He never went longer than 15 minutes. Within a week he was falling asleep within 15 mins and I realized he was doing almost a fake cry as soothing method. He’d fuss for a minute or two then stop, be quiet, and then fuss again. That latest for a couple of weeks but has since stopped. Now he babbles to himself in the crib instead of fussing. It’s the cutest thing ever. He still wakes 1-2 times a night but it’s a vast improvement over 10x! While I swore I’d never CIO our made up hybrid model worked for me – i never felt like I was abandoning or torturing my baby and now I can just lay him in his crib and walk away. Hallelujah!!

  3. So glad sleep training worked! It worked for us and it was life changing!

  4. Ohh, where to start?! I was just like you & only read Bringing Up Baby prior to having my little one. Followed by a couple of other French books. My little one (15 months old) is well into eating solid food & I can say every day is a new adventure. I made the majority of his purees from the start & so happy I did. There is great peace of mind knowing exactly what they are eating. I keep processed foods to an absolute minimum, have him on a 4 times/day meal schedule with no snacks in between and he is perfectly fine with it! There are good days & bad days (days you watch your delicious home cooked meal thrown on the floor), but hold your ground & do what is best for you & your baby…I think we can make little foodies out of our little ones. If the French can do it, why can’t we?! My struggle that I avoid thinking about is when he starts daycare…the lack of control over the snacks that are provided and how often they eat, which seems to be frequent. I pride myself in the work I’ve done so far and hate to see it all thrown out the window with daycare.

    1. Feel you Meghan! We have Carter on a four hour Breast feeding schedule which has worked super well and I hope can continue with the introduction of solids. We’re there certain foods or purées that you started with?

      1. We tried the rice cereal to start and it was a huge no-go with our little one. So I just went straight to purees…sweet potato was a huge hit, and pear + apple combination. Two cookbooks I used all the time: Cooking For Baby & The Baby & Toddler Cookbook.

  5. When we started solids around 6 months I was all excited to make delicious, organic, home made purees but of course Ingrid didn’t really like them. I found over time that she really didn’t care for the pureed texture so we switched to just feeding her little bits of whatever we were eating. She likes that much better and now eats almost anything we offer. She still sometimes goes through phases where something that she loved one day all of a sudden is a no-go. I also found that she really wasn’t excited to eat until around 9-10 months. I didn’t push it, i’d offer her food at every meal but didn’t make a big deal about her eating or not and just waited until she seemed more ready because she was still getting most of her nutrients and calories from breastfeeding. I think that allowed her to start to enjoy it on her own without feeling force fed :).

    1. That’s such great advice Maia! I’m not going to try to push it. I love the idea of just offer a little bit of what we’re eating!

  6. So glad you are getting some sleep! We did Baby Led Weaning and it was the best decision ever! We did some purees every once in awhile because of convenience, but mostly we just gave her bits of whatever we were eating and now she eats just about everything– even spicy! Would totally recommend checking out that book!

    1. Going to get it on my kindle immediately Jen!! Sounds like exactly what I need. Interestingly Carter isn’t super interested in our food yet but he wants to drink out of every glass I bring to my lips!

  7. I could go on for hours about food and kids. Ugh! I have two boys, ages 8 and 4, and sadly I complain a lot about our food situation and especially how much I dread planning food and cooking. I used to enjoy cooking, but now it’s just a chore, and I usually have to cook one thing for the adults and something else for the kids (and often prepare one child’s food one way and the other child’s food the other way to suit each one’s preference). I used to think that was crazy until I found myself facing picky eaters.
    My older son has never been too picky, although he went through phases when he wanted olives on everything, for example. I pushed lots of veggies when he started solids and introduced healthy foods like lentils when he was little. I think the first child naturally copies the adults and therefore eats a lot of what they eat. But he definitely has strong likes–we tried to raise him vegetarian since we were vegetarians before he was born, but he loves milk and meat! Especially beef! Ha!
    My second child has been much, much more challenging with food. He likes very few things, refuses to eat basics like soup, beans, cereal, etc., and also wants to eat lots of sweets. He’s also a more strong-willed child in general, so this comes partly from his personality.
    I read something about the Ayurveda approach, about the idea of introducing all the tastes to toddlers (since American kids often get just salty and sweet).

  8. Erin,

    I just wanted to let you know I’m really enjoying this series. I found Real Talk/Real Moms through your site, and have found it to be so helpful so far. Like you, I’m a first-time Mom. My little boy, Beau, is 4 months old, so I feel like we’re right on your heels in dealing with these milestone issues. You seem to have very similar parenting ideals as I do (i.e. modified CIO and raising a foodie baby), so I’ve found your content especially relevant. Unfortunately, I don’t have any helpful advice for you (yet); just wanted to tell you to keep doing what you’re doing. I’m sure you’re striking a chord with all kinds of other Mamas out there, too.

    I do have one suggestion for a future topic: The difficulties of maintaining relationships after motherhood. I know so many women feel isolated and lonely after they become mothers, but there isn’t a lot of discussion about it. I’d love to hear how other moms have been able to maintain relationships with friends who don’t have kids, or how they’ve made new Mommy friends.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words Hawlie. It’s great to hear the series is resonating. It’s often so hard to tell how much of my new life as a mama anyone is really interested in. And I love your topic idea for another post. I’m certainly finding maintaining any relationships tough with the crazy mom schedule. I could certainly use more advice there!

  9. Erin,

    I just wanted to let you know I’m really enjoying this series. I found Real Talk/Real Moms through your site, and have found it to be so helpful so far. Like you, I’m a first-time Mom. My little boy, Beau, is 4 months old, so I feel like we’re right on your heels in dealing with these milestone issues. You seem to have very similar parenting ideals as I do (i.e. modified CIO and raising a foodie baby), so I’ve found your content especially relevant. Unfortunately, I don’t have any helpful advice for you (yet); just wanted to tell you to keep doing what you’re doing. I’m sure you’re striking a chord with all kinds of other Mamas out there, too.

    I do have one suggestion for a future topic: The difficulties of maintaining relationships after motherhood. I know so many women feel isolated and lonely after they become mothers, but there isn’t a lot of discussion about it. I’d love to hear how other moms have been able to maintain relationships with friends who don’t have kids, or how they’ve made new Mommy friends.

  10. I started putting my daughter in her high chair at around 5.5 months – before she could actually eat anything. Every morning I would eat breakfast and she would sit and ‘eat’ with me. It seemed to help gently introduce her to the idea
    of food. Once she started looking interested, I would give her a bit of what I was eating. We ended up doing a mix of purees (I used Ella’s Kitchen to try a new food and then if she liked it would make it myself) and baby-led weaning. She’s almost a year old now – loves her veggies and eats loads of chicken – especially if it’s a freshly roasted chicken. I have yet to find a fruit she doesn’t like, and we all enjoy meal time. Just be prepared for the mess and the days when they don’t want much of anything. Good luck!

  11. This is exciting times, Erin. I hope you’re enjoying it with little bit more sleep in your schedule. I love that you want to raise a little foodie. I’ve learned that it comes a lot from just appreciation for food and learning that through family meals. I enjoy home cooking although it’s physically hard because I find that kids learn to appreciate food a lot more. Food is the last thing you should stress about, right? I have a great passion in this area. 🙂

    1. I would LOVE to take some cooking lessions from you Selina! 🙂