When my children were babies, I tried to do everything the "right" way. I breastfed them for over a year. I made a lot of their meals from scratch. Though I was a late starter the first time around, my second daughter never ate a morsel of processed baby food. I researched nutrition and tried to keep everything as healthful as possible. My first-born wasn't offered any sugar treats until she was at least a year old (not quite so easy the second time). I did everything I had read to do to give them the foundation for being adventurous, healthy eaters.
Except it didn't work.
Any parent of a picky eater can tell you that eating is really about control. You cannot make the child eat, and the child knows it. Maddening as it is, worrisome as it is, that's the simple truth.
I recently borrowed an infant-food cookbook from the library to see what it had to say about nutrition from the start. This was an organic cookbook, and in truth, it was a bit too new-age for me. There were a lot of "Mama Mantras", discussion of "sacred space" in the kitchen, and recipe tips including infusing each meal with positive thoughts of love and kindness (all good things, truly, but...). I skimmed. Rapidly. Then, I came across this highly-applicable gem in the older child section that I thought was well-worth writing down:
Your true responsibility lies in what you offer your child, when you offer it, and how you offer it--not whether or not he eats it. That is up to him.
That is a Mama mantra I can use, and I hope some of you can too.