“He doesn’t eat anything”, “she didn’t want her meal, I gave her two yogurts”, “I can’t let him/her go to bed without having eaten”… Through these words, it is the parents’ distress that can be heard. “He doesn’t eat anything”, sometimes means that he did not want the meal that was prepared, neither the stewed fruit, but he drank a bottle. Milk is not “nothing”. Milk is food which provides baby with proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. In fact, milk covers all of baby’s requirements. As long as there is no weight loss, there is no reason to worry. But here, reason is not in question. It is a mother’s or father’s subconscious which is expressing its distress of not being a “good” parent.

 

In practice:

Initially, “the sufficiently good parent” is easier to achieve than “the perfect parent”. The parent who responds to the child’s needs, without anticipating or fantasizing is a “sufficiently good parent”. A child is not hungry in the same way every day; therefore he cannot eat the same quantity every day. He has a sharpened system of regulating which he should be left to express and which must be heard. Except in very particular cases, like infant anorexia, a baby does not make a particular issue concerning what he eats or not.   He eats according to his needs which are hunger and fullness. The most difficult for the parent, is to realise that he doesn’t know more than his baby concerning what and how much he needs. Parents need to take a step back and accept to be a “sufficiently good” parent and to trust their child.