For a healthy mom/infant relationship feeding time is so special. That is when we cannot stop looking into their eyes and they are completely locked into ours. They study our faces with such seriousness. They often fall asleep when they are full snuggled into our arms. As toddlers we move them into a high chair and work hard to make sure they are given a proper nutritional balance. We talk, laugh and play as we feed them. They try to feed us. We love them so much we eat their nasty food as they stick it in our mouths and say MMMMMMMM (wondering how on earth babies eat this stuff, except blueberry buckle which was GOOD). We gently wash their faces when they are done and often rock them for their nap afterwards.
Now move into our children's world as infants. If they were fed on time a bottle may have been stuck into their mouths and propped by someone. Then the person probably walked away. This may have been from neglect or it may be because they were in an orphanage that was very busy. There was little snuggling, rocking or emotional connection. As toddlers, they probably moved right into adult food because of lack of resources. I know many families in homes that not functioning well do not sit down to a meal together. Everyone just eats when they are hungry. My boys had little food. I will not go into it but it is a not a surprise they have such emotional feelings about food.
This brings us to the caramels. The sweet melty taste of caramels or vanilla ice cream has that feeling of mother's milk. So snuggling your child and feeding them a caramel or spoons of ice cream while you talk, do Eensy Weensy Spider, sing songs, or tell jokes is an important intimacy builder. It is going back and giving them something they missed that was very important. If they fight you, do it for short periods and make sure it is relaxed and happy. If they are bigger or just cannot handle having you hold them have them lay on the couch while you sit next to them.
One of our boys is going through some real emotional issues with food right now. I am thinking of going back to snuggle time and the caramels with him for awhile and see if it helps. I hope you'll give it a try! Have a healing day!