Monday 5 January 2015

Surviving a food strike

We made it! It took a few weeks but the food strike is finally over and Little Dude is eating like a champ again... until the next time.

From talking to my Mummy friends, food strikes seem to be a common occurrence and come in all shapes and forms. Just in my little circle of friends we've had:
  • Refusal to eat any solids and very little milk (this was L)
  • Taking food into mouth then spitting it out immediately (yup, L again)
  • Refusal to eat any savoury food
  • Sudden refusal to be spoonfed
  • Refusal of foods that were previously favourites 
  • Sudden refusal to eat breakfast (all other meals were fine)
  • One random week of happily eating from a spoon, which stopped as suddenly as it started (L again)
  • Gleefully blowing all food out of the mouth in sudden explosive raspberries (not good news for sofas, walls and carpets!) 
In my experience, the reason for the food strike isn't often clear until after it's passed. The first one L had was a combination of teething and a tummy bug. I'm pretty sure on this because we shared the tummy bug and I struggled to eat for a good week myself - I can't blame him for feeling the same way. The second one was due to a nasty cold and temperature. Being off solid food I could handle, but watching him push his bottle of milk away was more stressful because I worried about his hydration. It turns out that, as often is the case, baby seems to know best. After a couple of days of eating very little, things started to get back on track. 

Obviously it's important to contact a Doctor if you have any concerns about your baby not eating. I am now on first name terms with everyone at my local out of hours GP service, particularly those manning the phones at 3am. Reassured that L wasn't going to starve himself, I tried a few different things...

  • Stopping solid food altogether while he had a temperature. Under 1, milk is the most important source of nutrition so I focused on making sure he had enough of that and forgot about everything else.
  • Offering at least one favourite food at each meal. I figured if he wasn't going to eat that, he wasn't going to eat anything.
  • Sticking to comforting, plain foods - omelette, porridge, pasta,mashed potato - when he was getting back into it. Nothing too acidic or strongly flavoured.
  • Making yogurt smoothie pops - a way of getting liquids and milk into him which also soothed sore gums and/or throat
  • Using my freezer stash - spending time preparing meals then throwing them in the bin can be a bit soul destroying so I raided my freezer for things that could be prepared quickly
  • Repeating to myself 'This too shall pass'. A lot.

It's taken a good 4 or 5 weeks to get back to where we were with his food. In the meantime I recommend patience, perseverance and plenty of chocolate for Mama. :)

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