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on 20 May 2017
This book has transformed the way I feed my baby. I cannot recommend it enough. You can read it in one sitting and it will help you forever.

My baby's eating was never that bad, I thought - mealtimes would sometimes end in meltdowns, and at 9 months he would occasionally resist being put in the high chair. I thought this was normal. I was giving him purees and finger food and I thought I was doing everything right - eating with him, encouraging him, praising him and so on. I didn't think I had a problem. But Jo's advice has been a godsend. Her principles are so simple and such common sense - and yet in some ways quite counter intuitive. Our whole culture is geared towards praising a child for eating his greens - or negotiating with him ("one more spoonful and you can have dessert"). And yet this is what can cause so many problems. I found Jo's advice beautifully simple and incredibly easy to follow, and the results have been wonderful.

Mealtimes are now always a pleasure. My little boy loves to try new things and seems to get a lot of joy from mealtimes, because I am so much more relaxed about it and trust him to eat as much or as little as he wants with no comment or pressure from me in any way. There is no more chasing his mouth with one more spoonful of puree, or trying to cajole him into tasting something "delicious". I just lay out a variety of food and leave him to get on with it, while I also eat or we chat about other things.

I am so pleased to have found this book when I did. I would recommend anyone to buy it who is planning to wean their baby soon or has any worries about how weaning is going. It's not only about how to cure an older picky eater, it's also really helpful in preventing it. Plus, what a great title.
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on 13 March 2017
Really helpful and informative, had a big impact on our meal times together. Would recommend this book to my friends.
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on 7 December 2015
I bought this book having read other books on the subject. My son's eating had become so limited and I sought advice from netmums. This book was recommended and I have to say it really has helped me and my son. It's not a huge tome and only took me a night to read but the advice inside is invaluable. It sets out a clear strategy that makes so much sense and the writer has a website and blog where you can seek advice also. We've changed our mealtimes using her ideas and things have really improved, after only a week. We even went out for lunch altogether and it was enjoyable! It's all about making eating a function and not a drama and this really is helping my son and me, after all I was the one making meals such a big deal!
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on 12 January 2014
At last! Sound, professional advice on how children can build a healthy relationship to food. The best ideas always seem to be simple and here is a concept that appears blindingly obvious but is actually new: Emotionally Aware Feeding. Supported by research and observations within her own and other families, Jo Cormack explains clearly not just how mealtimes don't have to be a battleground but the importance of Emotionally Aware parenting generally, particularly of babies and young children. This alone makes it a must read. I love the conversational language, the technique of putting more detailed information in grey boxes and summarising crucial points at the end of each chapter. I find myself agreeing with her from my own experience and it struck home when I had to admit to having used every one of the 7 methods she lists for encouraging babies and children to eat (chapter 3, appropriately entitled 'Attention, please!') Even if you don't have children, this book will enlighten you on how your own attitude to food developed from infancy. The stress and strong emotions associated with meals when children are overly fussy or reject all attempts to introduce new foods is overwhelming. Emotionally charged mealtimes can become the norm. Now imagine a pleasant, sociable meal with your well behaved children, where they are enjoying their food and the atmosphere is relaxed. This may seem utopian to you now but by applying the techniques and principles from this book you have a hope of achieving it. NO MORE WAR and more peas please! (Note: this is NOT a book about your child's diet/what type of food to serve) War & Peas
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on 26 August 2014
At last a book written with common sense that doesn't talk down to parents. Its ridiculously easy to follow and understand and works really well.

As picky eaters go, our son (4) isn't as bad as some children who have very limited diets, but I was looking for something that would help stop the almost nightly cries of "yuk thats gross", as soon as he spotted what was on his plate, as well as refusal to try anything new. This is the only book that has tackled all of those issues and more.

This book goes against the advocates for sticker charts and spending ages creating a smiley face masterpiece on a plate - thank goodness. Rewarding a child for eating wasn't something that sat well with me and I certainly wasn't creating a special dinner either.

The book focuses on a principle called emotionally aware eating, it takes a way the stress and negativity surrounding meal time, and allows the child to make decisions for themselves about whether or not they eat certain food, food isn't used as a bribe or reward either and it has also made me question my own beliefs around food from my experiences of growing up.

We are a week in using this and I don't even have to think about using the EAF technique any more. Its second nature, I don't feel stressed at all if he doesn't eat all his dinner or if he wont try something, its lovely! meal times are great now, my son doesn't say "yuk" to anything anymore or get upset at what he has been given, he has even tried new food.

The author of the book even took time to personally send me an email to clarify some of the points in the book - amazing.

Thank you Jo, you have made such a difference to our family.
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on 15 February 2014
This book is topical at a time when children snack all the time and obesity levels are worrying. It is carefully researched and clearly written with chapters short enough for busy parents to read, and most useful summaries at the end of each chapter.

I have witnessed these hints in practice having seen Jo Cormack's young daughters eat their lunch without fuss or comment and with one asking for a second helping of cabbage.

The book deserves to be read by parents, grandparents, as well as nursery and infant teachers.
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on 12 April 2017
Really well written, not talking down to parents. explains why some actions must be taken considering both parents and children. Will try all the advice and review again.
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on 1 February 2016
I was looking for suggestions to help expand the range of foods that my 6 and 4 year olds eat. This book has been brilliant. It's full of interesting theory as well as practical suggestions, and is very quick and easy to read. Ideas can be implemented straight away and I have already seen improvements in what my children will eat. Very grateful to the author, and I hope to be able to maintain her ideas for the long term.
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on 18 March 2014
I had high hopes for this book - I have quite a collection now on eating problems and thought this would be a good addition. I also love the title and the cover. So I started reading with a potential maximum score of 5 stars....

Until the introduction. Oh dear. Selective Eating Disorder (my main area of interest) is outside of the remit of the book. On closer inspection there is also an Appendix at the end of the book with a list of other exclusions: Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Diabetes, Looked After Children, Obese Children and Underweight Children. Hhmmm I am going to have to take one star off because I would really expect this list of exclusions to have been made clear in the cover text to avoid people wasting their money.

Closer inspection of the Selective Eating Disorder (SED) section in the introduction is slightly concerning. The author refers to the American Psychiatric Manuals DSM IV and V and correctly states that SED is not included as a recognised eating disorder. What she doesn't mention is that there is a new definition Avoidant & Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) from the year before her book is published which supersedes the informal term of SED. In the introduction section "Health Warning" there are further inaccuracies "if you have any serious worries about your child's eating, there are professionals available to you who can be a vital source of help and support". Clearly the author has very little knowledge or experience to understand the limitations of the advice she is offering. In practice there is very little support for complex feeding issues. Parents are passed from pillar to post between professionals who provide contrary advice based on feeding lore rather than research. Another star off for factual innaccuracies.

I also remove one star because the author's solution to picky eating is almost entirely behavioural. But what about food sensitivities/intolerance, sensory issues, motor problems or gastro intestinal issues? I didn't expect the book to cover these things, but if EAF does not work for some families it may be that there are deeper issues. The author does say that if your child has been diagnosed with health problems then the book isn't relevant - BUT a lack of diagnosis does not mean that the problems are not there. Not providing a list of "red flags" for when extra help might be warranted means that families might plough on with EAF when it is unsuitable.

Baby-led weaning (BLW) is held up as the ideal way to transition your baby to solids. From personal experience it is not (Katja Rowell's book Love Me Feed Me gives an excellent appraisal). It only works for children who do not have underlying problems, which of course parents can't know until it is too late. If I had £1 for every time I had been told that my son would be a good eater if I had used BLW then I would be a wealthy woman! I did. He isn't. It is much more complicated. There did not seem to be any acknowledgement that there could be serious long term negative consequences resulting from the advice being given. I can't blame this author for the sins of Gill Rapley, but I wonder whether EAF could be equally problematic.....

If you think that you have a bog standard picky eater War & Peas will probably be of great help. Unfortunately if you have more serious problems, or want to use the "precautionary principle" to avoid causing problems, or in case your child has underlying difficulties which might be compounded, then consider choosing another title. I would suggest that Katja Rowell and Ellyn Satter have clearer methods and their advice is rooted in long term clinical experience. Ellyn Satter has lots of free guidance on her website and she is available to give personal advice via her facebook group.

Good luck with your picky eating journey.
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on 15 March 2014
Are mealtimes stressful for you? Do you have a picky eater? Then this is definitely a MUST READ book. This is one of the best books I've come across that tackles the issues of emotional eating and picky eating. Jo Cormack writes beautifully and sensitively about a subject parents struggle with. Jo combines her therapeutic training and her insight into a well packaged, cleverly written little book that I believe ALL parents and Psychotherapists/Counsellors should read. If you want to give your child a positive relationship with food that will last a lifetime, read this book NOW!
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