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Trust your toddler

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In spite of everything I’ve read about Baby-led weaning, and about trusting your toddler not to let himself starve, I still find it almost impossible to just “let him be” when Little Man is off his food. And yet time after time, when he starts eating again I wonder why I didn’t just trust Little Man to eat when he was ready.

In the past two months, Little Man has had two bad chest infections, both of which required antibiotics as treatment. While he was taking the antibiotics, Little Man was completely off his food, and even getting yogurt into him was a struggle.

Following his most recent illness, I was shocked at how much weight Little Man lost while he was sick. So naturally, when he started refusing food yesterday, I wasn’t that willing to just “let him be.” But clearly, he was trying to tell me something – something along the lines of “Mammy, I don’t feel well and I’m not hungry, now please stop chasing me with that yogurt/toast/Weetabix/potato/carrot/fish cake/whatever you have now…”

And sure enough, at 6pm yesterday evening, Little Man suddenly spiked a temperature. A dose of Calpol and some cuddles later, and he was sound asleep. He slept until almost 9am this morning – waking once during the night with another high temperature. 9am!! I don’t know when that has ever happened before. Clearly something was up.

Even so, I couldn’t let the food issue go today. Charlie and I took it in turns to try to tempt Little Man with plates of this and bowls of that. No joy. We worried about how much more weight Little Man stood to lose if this turned out to be another week-long illness. We may have over-reacted a little though because just as we were starting to panic, Little Man woke from a short afternoon nap with a normal temperature and a fierce hunger! Over the course of the next two hours, he consumed a big bowl of potato and veg, two yogurts, two pears, a banana, some cold chicken, cheese, and half a beef fajita! And then he ate a half a bowl of Weetabix for good measure. All washed down with two cups of milk and a cup of water.

If I hadn’t seen it myself, I wouldn’t have believed it. In the midst of all of this, what did I spot but a new tooth – or at least, the beginnings of a new tooth. I guess with all the illnesses lately, we jumped straight to the conclusion that he was coming down with a week-long illness again, and forgot about our old friend “teething“. So this post is more for me than it is for anyone else. It’s a written reminder to myself to trust my toddler. If he’s not hungry, don’t force the issue – because when he is ready, he will eat. Boy will he eat!!

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2 Responses to “Trust your toddler”

  1. Jenny says:

    Totally agree but also agree about needing to regularly remind yourself. My Bub normally has a good appetite and going off his food is usually a sign of illness or teething. Happened only very recently and I was absolutely right in my instincts – a tooth appeared this week. Easier said than done not to worry or try to feed though…

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