“Is she drinking enough?”
“He didn’t eat anything for breakfast.”
“She’s not even reaching for her favorite foods anymore.”
“What if this doesn’t work?”
“What if I can’t do it?”
“What if there’s a problem and I don’t know how to fix it?”
"What if we have to start tube feeding again?”
Every caregiver I’ve encountered has travelled down what I like to call the “weaning worry spiral.” And we travel it because weaning can trigger incredible stress – stress that leads us to try anything and everything to just get our kids to take one, big bite!
But do fancy plates, cups and silverware ultimately help kids want to eat more? Probably not. But for me, mealtimes are about more than just eating. They're about joy! And trust! And togetherness! And in my opinion, we lose sight of our long-term goal when everything that we do at the dinner table is just about 'getting our kids to eat.'
Ultimately, there is no 'getting.' There is, however, enjoying, offering, loving on, respecting, laughing, and sharing meals together. And all of those actions are fostered in an atmosphere where caregivers respect the Division of Responsibility and exercise deep breathing and lots of patience.
So when you're looking at fun plates and fancy cups, don't ask yourself if it will 'get' your child to eat. Instead, ask yourself, 'Will this bring my child joy?' And if so? Go for it! But don't make every mealtime decision about 'getting more calories into' your child. That just turns YOU into the feeding tube -- and in weaning, our goal is to help you to wean OFF of the tube, and not to replace a medical tube with a human one.
Elisabeth Kraus, MiT, Parent and Family Coordinator