Raising Body Positive Children

Vintage ad with spoon-fed baby and slogan saying, "Whoa, darling-that's all for now!"

“Shh. We’re not supposed to talk to her about food.”

–My little brother, 10 years old, telling my little sister not to ask me about why I wasn’t eating.

–Jenny BEST, founder, solid starts

My relationship with food is fraught in a number of ways. Having dealt with anorexia in my ballet career, to over-indulging upon retirement, to discovering my love of growing food, to dealing with a child who refuses to eat—it’s been a long road. And I’m not going to lie: As I type this, I can feel the pooch from my twin-baby belly hanging on the tops of my thighs. I can’t stand the feeling and I’m actively fighting the urge to suck in my belly.

Jenny Best in the New York City Ballet.
Solid Starts founder Jenny Best in the New York City Ballet. Photo Credit: Paul Kolnik

When you think about your relationship with food and how you feel in your body, there’s a lot baked into that. How did your parents talk about food and model eating? What were your teen magazines advertising to you? Did grandma ever comment about your body changing?

Raising body-positive children starts here.

Some things you can do:

  • Refrain from commenting on how much your child is eating.
  • Don’t praise your child for eating and don’t show disappointment if they refuse to eat.
  • Let baby decide what goes in their mouth and how much. If spoon-feeding, stop the spoon before baby’s mouth and let baby reach for it to bring it in themselves.
  • Refrain from encouraging your child to take one more bite or to taste a new food.

Above all, create JOY at the table. Channel a dinner party vibe. Cheers your glasses, talk about the birds outside, descriptive qualities of the food: Is it crunchy? Grainy? Sweet? Sour? Warm? Cold? Do your best not to show any worry or concern.

And pro-tip, don’t say, “Whoa, darling, that’s all for now.”

Happy eating, everyone.

xo Jenny, founder

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