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Fussy Eating: From Sweet Food to Sweetcorn (and anything else she can get hold of)!

By Sleep Fairy, Sarah Quick

So you’ve heard of the movie, “My Week with Marilyn”, well this is My Day with Mila


This blog is all about the situation that we were never going to find ourselves in… The one where our little ones will only eat sweet things… Or so we think!

I arrived at Mila’s (who is 10 months old) house at 7:20 on Thursday morning prepared to find a way forward in this eating challenge. I was greeted by a bright eyed if slightly strained looking young lady, Mila’s Mum Frankie! ”I hope you’re ready for this,” she said, a little apologetically.

Over the last 30 years I’ve been a nanny to several children, hung out with loads of nieces and nephews, God children, my own daughter, my fussy step daughter, and countless other situations were children have had “issues” with food, so this wasn’t a strange place to find myself.

Mila was asleep when I arrived so we hung out in the kitchen whilst Frankie made scrambled eggs on toast for her husband and chatted about Mila. Weaning had gone well, and Mila enjoyed her food initially. But when she was 7 months old, disaster struck when she contracted gastroenteritis and all things food-related went horribly wrong. After a 4 week struggle to get Mila fit and well again, Frankie started to introduce regular meals again, with a mix of savoury and sweet foods. Mila wasn’t impressed and refused anything that wasn’t sweet!

“Ok, we need to go cold turkey,” I told Frankie. “No cake, biscuits, chocolate, jam, only savoury foods for 9 days!”

Frankie was really unsure and less than confident that anything was going to alter Mila’s habit! But as I explained, that was just what it was, “a habit”. Frankie slowly began to see a glimmer of hope that things might change.

We drew up a meal plan to make sure that Frankie had everything she needed. We talked about the best place for Mila to eat and what Frankie needed to be doing and saying before, during and after meals.

When Mila woke I met a happy and engaging little person who was keen to play. She wasn’t, however, so keen to eat the cheese on toast Frankie had made for her breakfast. She screamed and sobbed and threw a tantrum worthy of an Oscar! Frankie, with my support and coaching, managed to be consistent and firm with her wilful little actress, and boy did we have some truly spectacular performances that day!

Through a mixture of behavioural changes, clear and direct communication and focus, Frankie coached Mila to a point where within 4 days she was trying whatever she was given. Within less than a week Mila was tucking into roast chicken, broccoli and mashed potatoes and not long after, corn on the cob!

I’m a true advocate of social, fun and healthy meal times. I’m so thrilled that Frankie was open to being coached through this period. I knew that with Frankie’s commitment and my support we’d get a positive result. Way to go, Sleep Fairy buddies.

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