Mum who scoffed cheese in pregnancy says ‘obsessed’ toddler now won’t eat anything else


Maddy Alexander-Grout, 38, and her husband James, 40, say their fussy daughter Harriet, “turns her nose up” at anything other than her favourite food, cheese

A mum believes that scoffing cheese while pregnant has caused her ‘stubborn’ toddler to become addicted to cheddar.

Maddy Alexander-Grout, 38, and husband James, 40, say they have tried ‘ every meal in the world involving cheese ‘ to feed their fussy two-year-old daughter Harriet.

The mum-of-two thinks the tot’s bizarre obsession comes from her guzzling large amounts of cheese during pregnancy.

And now Maddy says she is forced to grate cheese over vegetables. If she didn’t, the toddler wouldn’t eat anything healthy.

But Harriet is the youngest of a family of cheese lovers, who claim to have been the number one purchaser of the dairy delight from Sainsbury’s in Southampton.

The exasperated mum-of-two refuses to give up on her daughter’s extremely restrictive diet and says she will continue to explore different foods with the fussy tot.

Maddy, from Shirley, Southampton, said: “She will eat everything if it’s cheese and nothing else, she’s a pain.

“But it’s not like she likes all kinds of cheese – basically anything cheddar or cheddar-form, that’s it!

“She says ‘I love cheese mummy, I want cheese mummy, please can I have cheese mummy’ – that sort of thing all the time, and cheese is ‘yummy’ and anything else is ‘yucky’.

“It’s so hard to feed her, she’s a stubborn little one. We have basically had every meal in the world involving cheese.

“I put other things on her plate all the time so that she can try them and investigate but it’s always a no and the dog ends up eating most of it.

“I absolutely love cheese as well. We’re a very cheesy family, apart from my son who hates it, so we buy at least four blocks of cheese a week.

“On the Nectar app for Sainsburys you can look at what your top purchases are for and from that I know that at one point we were the top purchaser of cheese in Southampton.”

The mum says her toddler’s typical meals include cheese on toast, cheese omelettes and cheesy pasta, while her favourite cheesy snacks are cheese and crackers, Wotsits, Quavers and Cheese Strings.

Meanwhile any non-cheese food items usually end up being thrown to the family dog Dexter, a seven-year-old Spaniel, after Harriet refuses to eat them.

Maddy suspects that her diet during pregnancy may have influenced her daughter’s ‘obsession’ with cheese, as she suffered from gestational diabetes and was advised to eat more cheese.

Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy because the body can’t produce enough insulin (the hormone that controls blood sugar levels) to meet the extra demands of pregnancy.

The NHS advises women who suffer from the condition to eat three portions of calcium-rich foods, such as cheese, daily – leading Maddy to believe this is when her daughter got a taste for cheddar.

Maddy, who is the founder of a free parenting advice app called ‘Parenthood’, said: “It’s weird because I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant so I ate lots of cheese and now I’m wondering whether or not it could be connected.

“With gestational diabetes you have to eat high fat to keep your blood sugars low and cheese is one of the things they suggest.

“Cheese was all I ate when I was pregnant so maybe I got her into that habit.

“When we were doing baby-led weaning and putting food in front of her she loved these really tiny cheese cubes and she went for those over everything else.

“Anything else you put in front of her she would turn her nose up at, she doesn’t want to eat it.”

Despite the stresses of trying to feed their extremely picky child, the parents say they haven’t given up entirely and will continue to offer little Harriet a variety of nutrient rich foods in the hopes of finding more things she will eat.

Although so far her exclusive love of cheese has prevailed and the dog continues to enjoy an array of tit-bits.

Maddy said: “We try very hard to mix it up a bit so she might have macaroni cheese or vegetables with cheese on, but we literally have to grate cheese over everything.

“It’s pretty difficult but we haven’t given up completely. We are still putting fruit on her plate. We do try but most things she turns her nose up at.

“I don’t think she’s necessarily scared of other foods but she just has such an affection for cheese that it just comes first.”