Orange Peels Taste Better than Oranges

For the past few weeks (has it already been a month…?) we’ve been letting Olivia share in almost all of our meals, giving her some of whatever we are eating, as long as there is very little salt or sugar.  We have given her tons of variety, but for the most part, she really didn’t eat much.  P1080975Not interestedUsually I would sit her in the high chair, and within a few minutes she would throw up her hands and lean back in the high chair with a bored look; “just what exactly do you think I am, anyways?  a TODDLER?  I eat milk, silly.”

The only thing she was interested in was her sippy-cup of water, or plates and spoons.  With any of these, she would occupy herself for hours.  But with food?  Well, she’d pick at it, but that was about it.

I swear to you, I really tried everything.  I tried home-made purees.  I tried some random finger foods, and I tried smearing purees on toast.  I tried cutting all the foods in nice easy-to-grab stick shapes.  I tried tons of different textures, colors and flavors.  Sometimes she would pick at them for a bit and maybe even put it in her mouth for a few seconds, but she never ate more than a crumb or two.  Most of the time she didn’t even get that far.  One day after refusing to even touch the food on her high chair tray, I let her back down on the floor, and within minutes she had scooted over to a giant ball of dust and popped that right into her mouth.  (!!!)

“I don’t get it!” I told her.  “You like dust more than hamburgers and noodles?! ”

I got the dust-ball out of her mouth, and she gave me a devious grin.  I’m telling you, this girl KNOWS that she is being difficult!

So then I went and got the food from her high chair, and put it on the floor in front of her.  She took one look, turned away, and scooted off into the next room.

I re-read Gill Rapely’s book on baby-led-weaning, and decided that maybe I was giving Olivia her meals at the wrong times, and that she might be too tired or hungry when I sat her down to eat.  I made a huge effort to sit us down to eat at that perfect sliver of time right after a nap and nursing, before she got too tired or hungry again.  It did help a little bit, but she still was not all that interested in anything.

green onion

Olivia eating a green onion (it’s on the tip of her finger)

Until one day when I made a beef and broccoli stir fry with green onions cut into little rings.  I put a little in front of her as I had been doing every day for weeks.  She eyeballed it and sat back in her high chair.  But then, after a few minutes of staring at the food, she suddenly perked up.  You could see that something had caught her eye.  The interest was mounting inside that little brain.  She leaned forward and extended one finger and slowly approached a green onion.

She chased that green onion all around the high chair, and it fit perfectly on her little finger.  Then she picked it up and put it in her mouth.  I figured she would just push it back out, but she didn’t.  In fact, she chewed on it with her little teeth and pushed it around with her tongue.  And then she picked up another, and another!  After she had eaten about five of the green onions, she looked at me and started grinning.  Through those clenched teeth I could see her mouth stuffed with a bunch of green onions.  It was such a hilarious sight!  I don’t think she ate more than a few tiny chunks off those onions, because most of it ended up “falling” back out onto the table.  It was obvious that she liked them, though, and that’s when it finally dawned on me that my “stick-shaped” foods were not what she wanted.  She was starting to master her pincer grasp, and she wasn’t at all interested in large chunks anymore.

So after that I started cutting things into tiny pieces for her, and suddenly her interested was piqued.  All of a sudden she started trying to pick up bits of everything, the more microscopic the better.  I also noticed that she prefers dark foods.  And yet, she very rarely actually swallowed anything.  So far my biggest successes have been green onions and spinach.  Odd choices, I know.  I really thought she would have liked apples, pears and bananas, but she doesn’t seem to like the textures of those because she has yet to actually get any of them into her mouth.  As soon as she picks up a chunk of banana, she starts waving her hand around as if she were being attacked by a snake.  And no matter how much I try to explain to her that her mouth would be a great way to get that banana off of her finger, she just doesn’t listen!  Imagine that.

Now that it is cold season and we have had three colds one directly after the other, I decided Olivia needed some more vitamin C.  I started peeling an orange and I was going to let her try to pick up the individual juice sacs.  But Olivia was so excited by the sight of me peeling the orange that she was practically leaping out of her high chair to get at it!  To keep her happy I gave her a large chunk of orange peel to chew on while I finished.  I figured she would taste it and immediately drop it since it’s quite bitter.  But lo and behold, she *liked* it!  She kept chewing on it and chewing on it, sucking off little bits here and there for more than fifteen minutes!  And although I put some actual pieces of orange on her tray, she was not a bit interested in those.

Imagine living in a world where babies were all the same….?  Where they all followed the state-recommended schedule of foods?  Ahhh but how boring would that be.

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15 Responses to “Orange Peels Taste Better than Oranges”


  1. 1 Dad December 6, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Try some Cheerios … great finger food for babies!

    Since Olivia likes oranges, try some pomegranates.

    • 2 christiana83 December 6, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      Yeah, good idea with the pomegranates! We don’t normally eat cheerios, but I have been giving her grains of uncooked oatmeal from my Müsli every morning, and she kind of likes those!

  2. 3 Shana December 6, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Pomegranates have anti-viral properties so they are great to eat at the first sign of a cold (albeit, a viral cold!). My daughter is the same way with oranges…she likes the color and will touch it once or twice, but that’s about it. I offered it because I thought it would be yummy to teethe on since it’s cold and flavorful…

  3. 6 motherhoodisanart December 6, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Are those Olivia’s outfits or are they like bib shirts? My husband always eats his orange peels and so do my two boys now. My daughter and I stay out of it…I just can’t imagine an orange peel tasting good!

  4. 10 shoes December 6, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Yuck – orange peel!! To each their own I guess. I am glad you have figured out the magic formula for Olivia’s micro sized finger foods. My boys were not picky eaters when they were babies but now it is hard to get them to branch out from the foods they know and love.

    • 11 christiana83 December 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm

      Yeah I know – I was really surprised, too! I think she mostly just finds it interesting. But we’ve done it several times now since I wrote this post originally, and she loves them every time. Also she goes after them whenever she finds them on the floor…

  5. 12 Sarah December 7, 2012 at 1:46 am

    Green onions! I love it. 🙂

  6. 13 mtetar December 11, 2012 at 2:29 am

    Great POST. Have you tried Breadsticks? Some infants likes Breadsticks, Cheerios, Toast, or even Bagels, once they start Finger Foods. Sometimes they’re just not ready to try new foods or anything. Each child is different to what kind of Finger Foods they like. At times they like what the adult is eating, and it is good to eat when they are eating. Infants keep you guessing, until you guess right for them. Reinforcement, and being consistent also help. Here are two sites you could try, you might get some ideas from there. http://babycenter.com and
    http://livinggreenwithbaby.com

    Be BLESSED,
    Mtetar

    • 14 christiana83 December 11, 2012 at 8:52 am

      Thank you, Mtetar! I do look at Babycenter quite often, but I don’t know the other site yet – I will have a look. We don’t have bagels here, but she does like German bread. She also likes breadsticks, but they really have too much salt so I don’t give them to her normally. I am giving her lots of variety, (mostly she gets whatever we are eating) and things are slowly improving, but it just takes a long time. I am not in a big rush to wean her, though, so it’s ok.


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