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Leaving The Table

Posted by admin Wednesday, March 27, 2013

In the early days of weaning, your little one is normally strapped in to the highchair with no desire or ability to go anywhere. But once they learn to walk, sitting at the table to eat a meal can be a challenge for some families, especially if they've got in to the habit of eating in front of the TV or grazing around the house.
 
Jane & Matthew
Jane complained that Matthew (3 years old) would rather be running around than sitting at the table eating a meal. Whenever they go to parties or to the cafe, all the children are sitting nicely and eating and Matthew is running around and playing, occasionally popping back to the table for a nibble and then whizzing off again. His mum can't get Matthew to sit down and eat a meal at home - he is always up and down and won't stay in his chair.
 
"But this is baby-led weaning, right? Letting your child lead the way and letting them decide when, what and how much to eat?"
Wrong!
 
If this statement really is what BLW is then if they can choose WHAT to eat then you must be happy they get to choose sweets and chocolate all the time. 
 
If they can choose WHEN then you have no problem when they wake you up at 3am for more sweets and biscuits.
 
Of course this is ludicrous and so is the statement, but sadly this is what many parents are interpreting as BLW and this is giving them the permission to allow their child to dictate the eating environment.
 
Never forget - YOU are your child's teacher. YOU teach your child and YOU decide what is and isn't acceptable. 
 
Now, for some of you, your child eating on the go is acceptable and to have them sit down at the table and eat a meal is a battle that's not worth fighting. It is worth fighting, and here's why:
 
 
PROBLEM: Remember that hierarchy we talk about in most of our posts? You make the big decisions and your child makes the small one. It seems in this example that Matthew is making all of the decisions so there is imbalance – Mum isn’t having any say in this at all.
 
SOLUTION: Mum makes the big decision and informs Matthew that everyone sits at the table. Matthew makes the small decision of whether or not to eat.
 
 
 
PROBLEM: It’s a physiological one, but if Matthew is running around the blood will be diverted to his big muscles and he won’t want to eat or be able to digest the food he does take on – the blood will be diverted away from the stomach and appetite suppressed. This is why you don’t exercise on a full tummy – the body can’t digest food and supply muscles for exertion at the same time. So if Michael is running around and nibbling he is setting himself up for gastric problems, in adults we categorise this under IBS.
 
SOLUTION: Eating only occurs when sitting down at a table. Eating on the go isn’t an option and for a time that may also need to include snacks.
 
 
Jane and Matthew aren't a real family, we've just used them as an example, but these stories are typical of the families we work with and help every day.
 
 

 

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Thank you x