Our son is free from the NG tube after only 3 weeks, thanks to the incredible team at Growing Independent Eaters! And now that we’re at the end of our weaning journey, we have to share some of the things we learned in the hopes that it will help some of you to believe that weaning is impossible.
When starting a wean, there are so many questions. One of the recurring fears that I discuss with parents is: What if this doesn’t work, where do we go from here? When tackling this answer, it’s really important to back up a step and to start with another question: How do we define success and “working”?
So often I hear loving and well-intended caregivers using phrases like 'I was able to,' or how do I 'get it into them' (referring to food, utensils, or oral motor therapy tools getting into children). How do I 'get them to open their mouths' so I can 'do x to them.' I hear meals described as feeds, sessions, therapy, or exercises. Lots of words that describe doing things TO our kids.
As a kid, I was the designated “picky eater” of the family. Every family has one, and we all know who they are. My mother would often introduce me to new people as “her picky eater” and the one “whose best vegetables are ketchup and pumpkin pie.” I would slink off with the kids, doing my best to disappear until the inevitable dinner bell rung and I'd have to endure the humiliation of being the picky eater in front of strangers.
Weaning is a long, hard, and exciting journey for everyone, but is possibly truest for families working to wean their toddlers: children gaining newfound independence in all ways, but especially with food. This independence likely comes with behaviors such as refusal, pickiness, short attention spans at the table, tantrums for no apparent reason, and possible plate throwing.