12 Steps to Combat Picky Eating and Create Healthy Mealtime Habits

12 Steps to Combat Picky Eating and Create Healthy Mealtime Habits

12 Steps to Combat Picky Eating and Create Healthy Mealtime Habits

You’ve just spent an entire evening preparing a new recipe and setting the table only to have your children outright refuse to eat anything you’ve made. Your pride in rocking this new recipe is dashed as your kids devolve into tears and gagging noises, convinced you are trying to poison them. How on earth are you supposed to teach healthy eating habits?

As many as 50% or kids, at least for a period of time, fall into the category of “picky eater”. As a parent, this is incredibly frustrating. You’re going to great pains in trying to nourish your offspring and instill healthy eating habits while your child wants to just eat fishy crackers and Doritos.

But you can create a healthy home and instill healthy eating habits–even in your pickiest eaters.

Here are 12 tips to help you do just that.

1) Get your husband on the same page.

Nothing will sabotage any new parenting endeavor then being undermined by dad. However, I’ve found that this is usually because I didn’t fully inform him of the new strategy I was trying. Sit down with your partner and determine what kinds of foods you want to be eating and your plan of action.

2) Involve your child

Ask your child what you should make. At the grocery store, have them help you pick out foods. Kids love picking out produce. Have them help you in the kitchen preparing the meal.

This was really helpful in our house. Involving my pickiest eater in the cooking process has not only been fun and bonding, but she’s now much more likely to eat something she helped prepare.

3) Talk about how food impacts us

I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life. It’s been in the last few years that I’ve really shifted from a weight-loss mindset, into a being really healthy and strong mindset.

As a mother of 4 daughters, I can’t tell you how badly I want them to avoid the struggles that I’ve had.

So we talk a lot about how food affects our bodies and energy level. Will this food give us energy to play and help us be stronger? Or is it going to make us feel crabby and tired? I talk about how sugary foods, while okay for occasional treats, totally zap me of energy. But salads, vegetables, raw nuts,  give me energy and make me feel good.

12 Steps to combat picky eating & create healthy mealtime habits

4) Set a good example

Children are much more likely to do what you do and not what you say. Our children are walking testaments to our actions, not our words. This applies to how we eat as well.

I’ve also found that if I am eating anything around my kids, they will want to try some. From salads to smoothies packed with kale, if I’m eating and enjoying something, my kids want a piece of the action. And I’ve been really surprised by what my children will not only try, but end up really liking.  

5) Keep only healthy options around your house

If there aren’t unhealthy options littering your kitchen and pantry, then your child will have little else to beg for in place of the meal they’ve been presented.

For example, I never have juice or soda around the house and I only buy dense whole grain bread. They think white bread is candy. So all sandwiches or toast is made with heavy fiber and nutrient-packed bread. I try to keep all snack foods they healthiest options available.

6) Make meals fun

Making mealtime fun is will go a long way in having your associate healthy eating with positive emotions. If mealtimes are a always a battle, everyone is trained to get frustrated at dinner time!

Get your kids to help out, experiment with fun dips and sauces, and switch it up (like breakfast for dinner).

7) Don’t make a seperate meal

Making a seperate meal for your child–while it may keep the peace at dinner time–only ensures that picky and limited eating will continue.  When one of my kids outright refuse everything (rare), they are always welcome to have any raw vegtables, nuts or seeds, and sometime fruit. But no seperate meal.

8) Don’t bribe with dessert

This just teaches kids that healthy food is bad, but must be suffered through to get to the true reward: dessert. If dessert is the reward, then dessert is always the goal–not healthy eating habits.

I’ll admit that I tried this…a lot. And the result was that my children would constantly try and negotiate “how many bites” until they earned dessert. It wasn’t about eating until fullness. It was all about the dessert.

If your goal is to help your children enjoy healthy eating, bribing with dessert will not get you there.

9) Introduce 1 new food at a time with foods they already like

I have found time and again that of I have 2-3 things I know my kids like at a meal and a third or fourth thing that they will try for the 1st time, they are much more likely to try the new thing than if I just try and give then a plate of full of new and strange food.

10) Never force kids to eat

Forcing kids to eat just ensures that kids will have negative associates with the food you are forcing them to eat. But unfortunately, I think for most parents this is the go to response.

But think to when you were a kid. Did your parents ever force you to eat? Did it work?

As a kid, anthing I was forced to eat became enemy number one. If my parents forced me to eat something, I was turned off to that food for years. I vividly remember as a child being forced to eat oatmeal. As I imagine it, I can still feel the revulsion I felt and my gag reflex on high alert.

I was absolutely convinced my mother was trying to kill me. So I refused to eat oatmeal for almost 20 years. And lo and behold, I discovered that I actually love oatmeal. I can’t help but wonder if I could have spent years loving oatmeal if I hadn’t been forced to eat it.

Healthy eating habits come with positive associations to healthy foods. 

11) Stick to a Routine

Keep meals and snack times at roughly the same time everyday. If a child isn’t hungry for a meal or snack, then they should be hungry enough once the next one comes around.

12) Be consistent

Children’s brains are pattern seeking. If the pattern is that you enforce something new for a day or two and then forget about it, they pick that up quickly. But if you maintain consistency with your expectations and practices, they will pick that up and develop healthy eating habits.

For most people, healthy eating habits aren’t just going to manifest overnight. But through consistently encouraging healthy eating through these steps you can help your children try new foods, enjoy healthy eating, and create habits that will serve them for life. You can create a home of healthy eaters.

You’ve got this, mama.

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide

Breastfeeding is tough. Which is part why 60% of mothers do not breastfeed for as long as they want to. While there are many reasons for this, one reason is that breastfeeding becomes too inconvenient and too difficult when life gets busy.

If you want to be successful and nurse long term, creating a breastfeeding-friendly wardrobe is essential. Cute and versatile breastfeeding clothes will make nursing discreetly quick and easy regardless of where you are.

And the good news is that there are sooooo many amazingly cute breastfeeding clothes out there right now (see below for a comprehensive list). We’re basically in a renaissance for breastfeeding clothes. It’s an exciting time to be alive, ladies!

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide #breastfeeding #nursingclothes

It’s worth the investment

Let’s just be honest for a sec–popping the ladies out isn’t exactly convenient in most clothes. You may be able to get away with what you have for the first month or two when you hardly ever leave the house.

It makes nursing easy and convenient

But once you are back into the normal routine, nursing quickly becomes incredibly inconvenient in most normal clothes. I have seen my fair share of moms who’ve had to pull their entire dress up to nurse their baby. And–let’s face it–I’ve been there too. It’s not pretty. 

But you can completely avoid that hassle. Breastfeeding clothes (and nursing-friendly clothes) make discrete nursing easy and convenient. They also increase your chances of successfully breastfeeding for as long as you choose.  

It can SAVE you money

And that means saving literally thousands of dollars on formula. Formula costs on average $1800 for a year’s worth. Yikes! In the end, investing in your breastfeeding success will save you money. For other breastfeeding tips, check out my post 6 Essential Tips for Breastfeeding Success.

Been there and done that

But alas, I can be a very slow learner at times.

While I am a major breastfeeding clothes advocate now, it took breastfeeding 3 kids to figure out how much easier life is with them. With my first three kids, I looked at nursing clothes online, and while they were cute, I felt like they were a little expensive.

I’ll get by on what I have, I thought.

But “getting by” meant many uncomfortable and awkward situations as I strained to get the milk bags out of uncompromising clothes. I’d be sitting in my car nursing a child with a dress or blouse pulled all the way up exposing my tummy.

Or awkwardly trying to nurse with a cover while trying to navigate through about 5 articles of clothing, pushing this one that way and that one this way just trying to feed my child.

It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t fun.

So once I was pregnant with my 4th, I finally decided to splurge and buy actual straight up, honest-to-goodness breastfeeding clothes. And I’ve never looked back.

Welcome to Shang-ri-la, ladies!

It completely changed my breastfeeding experience. It was a whole new and wonderful world. It was awesome. And I pretty much told anyone who would listen that breastfeeding clothes are amazing. 

No more awkwardness and stress while trying to nurse in public. No more fumbling with 6 articles of clothing and intense discomfort as I try to feed my child.

Not only was nursing very convenient, but nursing clothes are designed to make it discrete. Most are designed so that very little of your breast is exposed while you are nursing–and what is exposed is covered by your baby. I found that while in public, I could quickly, easily, and very discreetly nurse my little one (with no cover) without getting any looks whatsoever. Not only was it soooo much easy for me, but it’s like people didn’t even notice.

I’m still nursing my 14 month old and wearing nursing clothes every single day.

So, now that you know you need some breastfeeding clothes, let’s dive right in!

Breastfeeding Clothes: The Basics

Nursing clothes are made to make nursing convenient and discreet. Clothes in your closet may already fit the bill (hello, deep-v’s!), but investing in some great nursing pieces are totally worth it. 

Assuming that you do laundry about once a week (if you do it more, then hats off to you, milady), here’s a basic guideline for what you will need.

  • 5 + Nursing Bras (regular & sport)
  • 5-7 Casual tops
  • 1-2 Dressy Tops
  • At least 1 dress
  • Optional: nursing pajamas 

While you don’t need to go out and buy a completely new wardrobe, you do want to make sure you have enough clothes to make breastfeeding convenient.

If it’s not convenient, you’re probably going to stop nursing before you really want to.

Also note that, if you are like most women, the first several months after giving birth you might want some more forgiving clothes as you work back to your pre-pregnancy size/shape.

Breast-feeding Clothes You Need:

5 or more nursing bras

These are absolutely essential. If you can’t whip your tatas out of your bra easily, it won’t matter what you are wearing. Breastfeeding is just going to be awkward. So first things first, get some nursing bras! For more guidance on selecting nursing bras, check out the article from The Bump.

5-7 casual nursing-friendly tops

  • Nursing Tops: I recommend getting at least one honest-to-goodness nursing top. This top from Undercover Mama is my favorite. It’s long, comfortable, and it actually clips right onto your nursing bra so it is INSANELY easy and convenient to nurse. It’s long and flattering and makes nursing and running around after kids easy. Undercover Mama is a fantastic and reasonably priced brand to get cute and comfortable nursing clothes.
  • The Deep V: These are perfect casual wear and are not nursing specific, so you may already have them around. I’ve really like these ones (note: you will want to order a size up). Pair with jeans, leggings or a cute skirt and you are golden. Personally, I love this skirt–like LuLaRoe but way cheaper and it comes in a zillion patterns/colors. Downside of the deep-v is that the top of the breast is exposed if you are concerned about being super discreet and like to nurse without a cover.
  • The Button up Top: Not nursing specific, but still super convenient for nursing. 
  • Nursing Tank Tops: Wearing these handy tank tops under your clothes make most tops nursing-friendly. Downside is that you have to lift your top up  and fumble with more articles of clothing. But if you are on a tight budget, these are the way to go.

2 “dressy” nursing-friendly tops

At some point, you are actually going to need to dress up somewhat and get out of the house. If you work, I’d get several tops.

Even if baby is not coming with you, chances are you will need to breastfeed at sometime while wearing whatever outfit you are wearing. Even though my baby never joins me while I teach evening classes (obviously), I nurse her right before I leave and right when I come back. 

A nursing dress

You may not wear dresses all that much, but when you need to wear one, chances are it’s going to be hard to nurse unless it’s an actual, honest-to-goodness nursing dress.

Personally, I love to wear dresses. Plus many styles of dresses are quite forgiving and comfortable to frumpy postpartum bodies.

This is probably my very favorite dress and it comes in 4 colors! It’s also Undercover Mama so it clips right into your bra for super convenient and discreet nursing. 

I also REALLY love the dresses at Milk and Baby. I have bought several and while some were kinda pricey IMO, the convenience of nursing clothes seriously makes it worth the price. I’ve sqeezed every penny from those dresses!

Optional: Nursing Pajamas

Nursing pajamas are nice for hanging around the house during the postpartum healing period. During that time I don’t really  “get dressed” yet, but it’s nice to have something comfortable to wear when answering the door and for when people stop by to see the new bundle of joy. 

Recap: My Favorite Items

 

BREASTFEEDING CLOTHES RESOURCES

List of Great Breastfeeding Clothes Websites

  • Milk & Baby: Great selection and super cute clothes. I have a few dresses from here and I always get compliments when I wear them. People are so shocked when I tell them they are nursing dresses! 
  • Milk Nursingwear: This retailer also has a massive selection of great clothes.
  • Latched Mama: While the clothes are pretty simple, they are affordable and well made. My 3/4 sleeve dress has held up really well.
  • Amazon: Amazon has an impressive array of breastfeeding clothes available including many of the above brands plus some very inexpensive options (just be aware of quality and fit issues with cheaper selections).

Clothing Retailers with Nursing Clothes Selection

These are all retailers whose nursing clothes I love. 

Welcome to the world of convenient & discrete nursing!

My friend, learn from my errors and make sure that you have a breastfeeding-friendly wardrobe to set you up for breastfeeding success. Clothes make all the difference in making nursing both convenient, easy, and discrete.

Nursing is hard enough without clothing choices making it inconvenient. By investing a a few items, you can change your whole experience.

Good luck, mama!

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide #breastfeeding #nursingclothes

Primary Clothing Review (with video)

Primary Clothing Review (with video)

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Primary Clothing Review

It’s obvious that Primary, an online children’s clothing company, was created by moms. These clothes make mom’s lives easier. From the affordable and high-quality clothing basics to the outstanding customer service, there is a lot for a busy mom to obsess over.

Don’t feel like reading? Never fear: here’s a video review! (It’s my first video and I’m totally trying not to be awkward–not sure I succeed lol)



 

No time for the full review? Here’s the 10-Second Primary Clothing Review

For more in-depth look at the clothes and my experiences, scroll down a bit further. Otherwise, in a nutshell…

What is awesome:

  • Great value:. Very high quality–especially considering the cost.
  • Easy to care for: Everything is machine washable, and very few items would ever need an iron.
  • The clothes are simple. All solid colors. No loud patterns or designs. All of which makes it easier for kids to match their own clothes.
  • Wide color selection: Most clothes come in ALL the colors so there’s no explosion of pink and purple for girls and green and blue for boys.
  • A+ Customer Service: The company is super responsive and customer service is top-notch.
  • Comfortable & Functional: No tags, pockets in dresses, 
  • Clothes are true to size: Plus, the website is very helpful in selecting the correct size.

Why you might not like it:

  • These are definitely basics. If you don’t like simple solid-color clothing, this is not the company for you.

Our favorite Clothes (note: all girls stuff since I have girls)

Review of Primary.com kid's clothes.

 

THE IN-DEPTH LOOK AT PRIMARY CLOTHING

My Experience

As a mom of 4 growing girls (3 of whom dress themselves), Primary immediately appealed to me.

I was sold with the concept:

  • simple, affordable, high-quality, children’s clothes in a range of vibrant colors
  • no tags, no patterns, sequins, no logos, and no glitter (aka Satan’s dust) to come off all over my house and children.

I was tired of random images and charaters on my kids clothes, mismatched patterns and glitter explosions. Bring on the adorable, simple, and affordable kid’s clothes!

Halloween

Since Halloween was approaching, the website was full of DIY halloween costumes ideas using Primary clothes. I mean seriously, just check out these awesome ideas and try not to fall in love. 

All it would take is a few quick DIY hacks paired with some clothes from Primary and I could create some super cute costumes.

And all the clothes could just be added to their regular wardrobe (unlike a cheaply-made costume). Practical and economical.

With 20% off total order for first time buyers, I figured “what the heck” and ordered outfits that could double as costumes for all 4 of my kids.

First impressions

When I opened the package (which was adorably colorful, btw), first things I saw were the gorgeous colors.

When I handled the clothes, I could quickly tell these were quality fabrics. As a seamstress, I can be a little obsessive about fabrics.

It was seriously love at first sight, I kid you not. Right off the bat, I knew that this was just the beginning (3 months later, I’ve ordered 3 additional large orders).

And boy, the clothes were so very cute! The girls loved them. They were thrilled with their panda, Belle, and sunshine costume (frankly, the unicorn didn’t really care).

Primary Halloween

WHAT I LOVE

As a super busy mom on a budget, I am always looking for both things that make my life easier and are great values. Primary clothes fits the bill on both counts. Here’s what I love about Primary (and trust me, there’s so much to love):

1) Easy for kids to dress themselves and match

My kids dress themselves from the time they are able (about 2 and-a-half). This makes my life so much easier and they develop independence and a sense of self (win-win). While I don’t get worked up over horribly mismatched clothes, with Primary clothes, it’s very easy for my girls to put together really cute outfits. 

2) They use high quality, sturdy fabrics

I have been impressed by the quality of every item I have purchased (and I’ve had 4 big orders at the time of writing). While I had been hesitant to spend $23 on a kid’s cardigan, when I pulled it out of its packaging I was immediately impressed by its quality. I realized that I don’t have a cardigan that nice.

3) Very affordably priced (especially considering the quality)

Like a lot of people, I am on a budget. I’m alwasy trying to walk the line between price and quality and it can be tough. I’ve bough my fair share of crappy kid’s clothes that shrink and fall apart.

Every item is made of high-quality fabric. Which means it not only looks nice, but they will last longer and won’t shrink up several sizes.

A great example of the quality can be found in Primary leggings. They cost $10 each ($9 for 3 or more). Comparing Primary leggings to Target leggings (my old go-to) is almost a joke. Primary leggings are sooooo much better. Thicker fabric, nicer waistband. The leggings are AMAZING. 

Since the regular prices are fantastic, the sales are absolutely spectacular values! Once you order and get on their mailing list, you get access to sale before the general public!

4) Clothes are very comfortable (no tags!)

I have a kid who is super sensitive to how clothes feel and is easily irritated by seams, tags etc. There has been no such issue with Primary! I seriously wish primary had clothes in my size. 

5) Free shipping, always

Yes, please!

6) Customer service is spectacular

Before ordering, I looked at their Facebook page. I noticed how incredibly responsive they were to customers. When I had an issue with an order, I saw why. They were customer service rock stars!

7) No logos/sequins/sparkles/character etc

I like that kids get to look like kids and not walking billboards. As I have all girls, I’m 100% tired of clothes dripping with sequins, characters, logos and other things that don’t age well (and are often accompanied with poor quality). 

8) The pictures on the website are SUPER helpful in selecting sizes

On the website, they show pictures of all sorts of different kids wearing the clothes and they list the size and the child’s weight and height. I LOVE this since it really helps get an idea of how the clothes will fit your child. So helpful!

WHAT YOU MAY NOT LOVE

1) Can get a bit boring

While I love the general idea of no patterns, it’d be awesome if there was just a polka dot print or nice stripe to mix it up a little (in full fairness, they do have a couple striped items). Despite truly loving this company, I couldn’t just buy all their clothes from Primary. I need some pattern to mix it up. As advertised, it is clothing basics…

Primary_Kids_Clothing_20_Percent_Off

Primary Sizing

Sizing seems pretty true to size. From my experience, do not order too big.  Many articles of clothes at the time of writing are in combined sizes (2/3, 4/5, 6/7 etc). The 2/3 is a little big on my very petite 2 year-old.

My 4 year-old fits pretty well into 4T, generally, and she fits perfectly into the 4 pants and the 4/5 tops are maybe just slightly large on her (but I’m all about a little big as opposed to too tight). The 5 year-old (who wears 5T) fits perfectly into 5 pants and the 4/5 tops.

Overall, Primary simply makes my life easier 

What mom doesn’t love not having to drag kids to the store? With Primary, you can get affordable, high-qulity, simple children’s clothes straight to your doorstep. Take advantage of the 20% off your first order and let me know what you think in the comments below!