When your baby gets upset because he wanted something different than what you served, it’s important to give him space to feel those feelings and to express them. You can listen to him, be empathetic, offer love and help calming down. However, you do NOT need to fix it for him.
It’s ok to hold firm on your decisions and your rules. You can set that boundary lovingly. When your toddler gets upset, it’s not personal! It’s not that she is angry at you (though it might seriously look and feel this way). She’s angry at the situation perhaps, at not getting her way, at not wanting it to go down like that. And if we pause for a minute, or take ourselves out of the moment to gain a clear head, we can all probably relate to the frustration of not getting what we want! Yes, it may seem a little ridiculous when it’s over the fact that your kiddo wants the strawberry yogurt when you're offering him the blueberry. But it's no less upsetting to him than if you wanted to hang out with a good friend and instead you had to work extra hours, unpaid. Once you accept that you also feel angry and hurt when things don’t go down the way you hoped or when you don’t get things how you like them, it’s easier to offer empathy (which is often all we want in those moments).
Remember, when your child cries because you served him something he doesn't want, you don’t need to fix it. We just need to offer love around their emotions and space for them to feel those emotions.
But what if he doesn't eat anything?
Yes, this very well might happen. We can help our kiddo not end up in that situation by making sure we serve a few options at each meal, so he can likely find something her is willing to eat. But if he doesn't, that's ok. You served healthy food options and your child decided not to eat them. That's his choice. Your only other job is to stay calm, loving, and empathetic while remaining consistent that the foods you serve are the meal and there will not be other options.
My baby is under weight or losing weight
If you hold firm on your boundaries around foods and your child skips meals so often that he is underweight or losing weight we recommend you talk to your child doctor and seek out a pediatric feeding specialist (an Occupational Therapist or Speech Therapist who specializes in pediatric feeding.) These specialists can help you figure out why your child is so uncomfortable trying new foods and why he is having difficulty listening to his body's cues. Not sure where to start with that? Subscribe to our email list to download our PDF on Finding a Feeding Therapist for Your Child HERE to find the help you need.