The muffin tin.
May 25, 2011

When Charlotte was six months old, we dutifully made a bowl of quinoa and put it on a spoon and shoved the spoon in her mouth.  Everyone told us that six months was the magic number.

The quinoa didn’t really seem to be the magic food, though, and so began the Great Hunt For The Food Our Daughter Would Eat.  My sister and I spent hours upon hours making frozen cubes of pureed fruits and veggies for her to try, but none of them took.  In the end, the only foods that Charlotte would consistently show interest in before she hit nine or ten months of age were mashed bananas and applesauce.

Which means that I more or less breastfed my daughter exclusively until she was nine or ten months old.  She didn’t eat food every day or even every week during that period of time and when she did, she rarely took more than one or two bites.

Today, ever the slowpoke when it comes to her taste-buds, Charlotte eats much less food than the average tot her age.  She will eat everything from tender squash leaves to rutabagas, from apricots to lemons, from rose hips to beets or garlic cloves plucked straight from the garden – and she usually likes it.  But she still prefers breast-milk to food and she also likes to nibble all day long more than she likes set meals.

Several people suggested this muffin tin idea to us when Charlotte was a bit younger and we were struggling with her constant nibbling.  We gave it a whirl, but it was only marginally successful.  Most of the time, she took a couple bites and then flipped the muffin tin over on the ground and demanded milk.  But lately she entered a phase where she refuses to eat anything except THE FOOD SHE ASKED FOR, DAMN IT, and suddenly the muffin tin idea has begun to work like a charm.  I fill it up with nuts, fruits, vegetables, cheese, a cup of water, crackers, WHATEVER, place it on an upside down milk crate outside and turn over a clay pot for her to sit on and PRESTO!, instant joy.

She can graze like this forever.  It is awesome.  That is all.


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  1. By Alicia S. on May 25, 2011

    Sometimes I wonder how toddlers survive on the amount of food they eat. You’re probably overestimating the amount of food other toddlers do. When my son was 2, if he wasn’t interested in what was on the menu for any meal that day, he’d literally eat next to nothing all day long. Without even noticing. Our family doctor has been telling my mom since she was my age that no toddler who was offered food ever starved.

    Even though I know that, though, it does feel sooooooo good when they begin to actually fill their tummies.

  2. By on May 25, 2011

    I’ve never heard of this idea. Brilliant! Maybe. I’ll have to try it out with my son. He’s almost 18 months now and basically lives off of hummus. Seriously. The kid can’t get enough of his hummus. I just stick a spoon in the container and he eats and eats and eats. He’s also still wanted breast milk, but in the last three weeks I think is weaning himself of it as he only wants it at night. I’ll have to try the muffin tin idea, thanks!

  3. By on May 25, 2011

    PS - I love this picture of Charlotte!

  4. By Courtney on May 25, 2011

    Love this idea!  Harper is very similar.  She’ll eat bits here and there, but definitely prefers breast milk.  I’ve been taking the tray off of her high chair and placing at her level wherever we are, but this seems more efficient!  And fun.  Definitely going to have to try this out.  Thanks :)

  5. By on May 25, 2011

    My son’s about the same. We started Jude on food around 6 months, but he also never took to it (and we never got on any sort of feeding schedule) until he was about 9/10 months also. The only reason I really forced myself into any sort of schedule is because talking to other parents it seemed like my kid wasn’t getting enough. To this day, there are times he’ll have a bite or two and be done with dinner - and other times he’ll down half a watermelon without blinking.

    I’m not sure I understand what the muffin tin is about (I’m assuming breaking the food up into smaller portions might lure them in?), but recently Jude discovered one of our silicone ice trays and now insists on separating meals into it - so perhaps there’s something to it.

  6. By Cynthia A on May 25, 2011

    Bailey loves food!  I do not know if the muffin tin could hold enough, you have seen her appetite, LOL!!  Love this photo of Charlotte!

  7. By Jeneva on May 25, 2011

    Alicia - Kids typically like it because it offers them lots of choices (allowing them control) and because they find it more fun. It’s also easy for them to see what each item is where on just one plate, they can easily get overwhelmed.

    I use muffin tins every once in a while but my kids’ main plates works in the same fashion with 4 separated places. So it works in the same way. They really seem to do well with it.

    BTW, totally love this photo. Her hair, the way she is sitting and the background!

  8. By on May 25, 2011

    Jeneva - Thanks for the explanation. That’s basically what I assumed. Seems like an interesting concept.

  9. By christy on May 25, 2011

    i had been wanting to share this story to get your opinion on it but never had the right moment until now.  my son is 10 months old and still hates food. yesterday he cried through breakfast and supper and only took a few bites at lunch.  i was OK with that at first (yeah breastmilk is best yayaya) but then our pediatrician got on my case and sent me home with a can of formula, thoroughly pissing me off.  my son has a double chin and chubby thighs but apparently being in the 6th percentile called for a bi-monthly weight check.  GAH.  i hope this gets better.  p.s. i didnt use the formula because i think my son is healthy; never once having been to the doctor for an actual illness.

  10. By Danielle on May 25, 2011

    I LOVE this idea! And I’m constantly worrying about my daughter’s lack of interest in food. She’s a nursing maniac! She’s not quite one yet, so I don’t think it’ll work until she’s a bit older. But I’ll definitely keep it in mind!

  11. By Sarah Christensen on May 25, 2011

    Christy - How annoying!!  Charlotte still periodically decides that she wants nothing but milk from sun-up to sun-down, and she’s still alive and thriving.

  12. By on May 25, 2011

    Christy, sounds like you all are doing fine. Save the formula for an earthquake when the neighbor’s kid needs something to drink cuz his mom’s milk dried up months ago !~!

  13. By Stefanie (radieschen : les petits radiss) on May 26, 2011

    Sarah, that’s funny, I was just wondering yesterday if “baby-led weaning” wasn’t a concept you would probably approve of. Obviously, Charlotte has made the decision for you. The muffin tin is a good idea. I’ll keep that in mind when I want to start offering solid food to my son in two months. Stefanie

  14. By Cynthia Krajcarski on May 26, 2011

    I must say, Charlotte’s boots are TO DIE FOR! I must have a pair for Isla!!!! Where did you find those gems?


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