Fussy Eating Management

Hello & welcome

To the closest thing to a silver bullet for fussy eating.

Some fussy eating does actually have a root cause, something that neither your child nor you can help, and that needs understanding and management.

But a surprising amount of the time there are important things that we could be doing differently.

“Children learn to eat - or not eat – from how they are fed”
– Ellyn Satter, Registered Dietitian, Family Therapist, and internationally recognized authority on eating and feeding.

If you have an “extreme picky eater” then you may find this page useful: I wrote it for you, based on the hundreds of customers that I’ve helped to healthier, happier easier mealtimes, with just a few simple tactics 😊

But maybe have a read-through here first.

"Mashblox sounds simple… and they are… simply game changing!"
– Emily Fletcher, Mum to an 18 month old
“Mashblox is a genius idea.” - Corrine Sultana, Mum of 9 months
Australian Non-Toxic Awards judges

What are Mashblox, exactly?

18 month old Alice eating pumpkin from Mashblox self-feeding cube

Mashblox self-feeding cubes are squishy, hollow silicone building blocks for serving mash, slippery or frozen foods, or little food pieces. The silicone makes them familiar and fun to handle, while turning mealtime into a controlled playtime.

Because they’re so tactile (they feel good to touch and squish),

And they leverage our very first instincts: to put things in our mouths,

They turn whatever’s inside into a “safe” or “familiar” food – like their blankie or favourite plate might.

"Children like what is familiar" – Ellyn Satter

Mashblox self-feeding cubes have helped define different fussy eating styles, by revealing what really motivates kids with their food, and have been used to coach hundreds of customers to understand, manage or overcome them.

How they help

There are four main reasons that a normally developing child might not be eating that Mashblox can help overcome.

    1. They’re not hungry – If they’re feeding themselves then you'll know that they’re eating for the right reasons.
    It won’t make them eat if they’re not hungry (and nor should you), but it will help you know.
    A normally developing child will have the physical competence to safely feed themselves with Mashblox if given the chance, and the benefits to overweight and obesity prevention in later childhood, as well as fussy eating are well established. #LetThemFeedThemselves

      “Hi Alix!  Got our mashblox…. Love them already!
      Phoebe hasn’t eaten this much in weeks! Her teeth are sore ☹
      She’s just smashed some avo, carrot & zucchini :D”
      - Bree, Mum of her teething 7 month old.

        2. They’re not familiar with whatever is on their plate, or it looks irregular or boring to them – this is also why junk food is so popular. When offered with a "transition food" kids become used to Mashblox surprisingly quickly!

           “Cube risotto is better than bowl risotto” – J, 3.5

            3. They don’t like how you’re feeding them. If they’re in control of their feeding, then they’re less likely to reject the food out of rebellion to you.

               “We thought that he didn’t like porridge, but when we put it in mashblox we realised that he just didn’t like having spoons and things shoved in his mouth”
              - Stephanie, of her son 10.5 month old son Eddie

              “Sending you some photos of our little girl loving the mashblox!
              Chopped up chicken, yoghurt and rice! She wouldn’t have it from the spoon but couldn’t get enough of it in the blox!” Annie, of her 6.5 month old bub

                  4. For attention. If they’ve gotten used to the way you react or fuss over them when they turn their nose up, then this response can become a habit (for both of you)
                  Mashblox can interrupt this cycle to help them feel special in the way that being a deliberate pain in the a*$e usually achieves for them.

                       “Mashblox encourages mindful eating. It allowed food to become a game”
                      - Cat, Mum of 1 year old Liam“

                      There are other things that we can do differently that will help their holistic experience, but there’s too much to say about that to put it into a single web page. Keep your eye on the Facebook or Instagram pages for more.


                            * Hides healthy foods in plain sight (for easier transition to eating from the plate later)
                            * Neatly separates food, for all those kids that are particular about their food not touching (this can also be a control thing)
                            * #MakeGoodFoodFun
                            * Are easy to pack up and carry out.

                              As seen on:

                              Logos: Women's Economic Forum, TEDx (Canberra), Foxtel's Industry Leaders Season 8, WIN News (Young Achiever's Award 2018), ABC Radio Canberra

                              "You can't just give one to the baby because every one wants one. Kids of all ages love them
                              - Ruby, Mum to 9 month old Angelica, Eduardo 18 months, Trinity 3 years.

                              "Familiarity with Mashblox when introducing new foods makes them more easily accepted. They know exactly what to do with them”

                              Buy Mashblox now

                              How to use Mashblox for your fussy eater

                              • There's a very simple two step formula to this.
                              Meal 1: Fill to corners with a transition food
                                  Choose a familiar mash or puree food that they already enjoy to introduce the cube. This will help them get used to it and even get excited about eating out of them - especially if you make a big deal of them.
                                  If they take a few meals to become accustomed to them then you may want to demonstrate.
                                    You need to fill them to the top corners so that the food will squeeze out properly (please see the YouTube video below on How to fill Mashblox). This is the most important reason that you need to use mash foods.

                              Meal 2 - 5: Fill to corners with a food that's been a sticking point & serve.

                                They'll usually pick it up first try.

                              Do not:

                              • Put in whole pieces of food except to transport food & practice pincer grip: it just won't have the same effect for fussy eating.
                                Examples include french fries, crumbly mince meat, cut grapes, whole strawberries etc.
                              • Put sweets in there, please. We want to #MakeGoodFoodFun, not bad food more fun.
                                Note that I'll recommend different things for special circumstances, and you'll probably work out your own life- and feeding- hacks also.

                              If you're reading this and thinking, "Yeah that sounds great, but you don't understand my child..." then please take a look at this page. Chances are that we've made Mashblox work for their style of feeding too, but with different tactics and for different reasons.

                              There are multiple other fussy eating styles where children eat, or don't eat for other reasons (and these often need intervention) but in most cases of "fussy eating", it's a minor sensory issue, or the world has become more interesting for the moment or their growth has become more resource-consuming and food has thus been deprioritised. This is healthy! As children grow, we want to raise them to be "fuel eaters", i.e. they only eat what they need, but we tend to help them learn to eat with fun eating experiences.

                              To the experienced eye, you can usually tell what's going on by the patterns in types of foods that kids enjoy... And what foods they react to differently when it's in Mashblox.

                              Please note:
                              I have no specific recommendations to support Paediatric Feeding Disorder or other physical reasons for fussy or obstructed eating. If they're at risk of choking on regular foods, please speak to your paediatrician.

                              I ate them all! They’re Cute!!” – Eduardo, 2

                              Buy Mashblox now


                              What are they made of?

                              Mashblox stacked with spaghetti bolognaise, avocado, frozen raspberries, scrambled egg.
                              • * Medical grade silicone:
                                Mashblox are BPA free ✅

                                They are:
                              • * Dishwasher safe: Turn inside out to clean
                              • * Fridge and freezer safe
                              • * Microwave and oven safe 180°C
                              • * Safe to boil and sterilise
                              • * Choking hazard safe: International Safety Standard ISO 8124.1 certified, birth to 14 years.
                              • * Australian Made

                              How to fill them


                              Make sure you fill them to the corners for mash foods, or only put in pieces of foods (e.g. steamed peas and corn, blueberries or nuts - as age appropriate) to practice pincer grip or to contain mess. You can also freeze water or berries inside for teethers.

                              Remember, no child will adapt to a new or challenging food if they’re not hungry. #LetThemFeedThemselves

                              Buy Mashblox now


                              Mashblox mission statement:

                              Mashblox isn’t just a product.

                              It’s pioneering an #InfantSelfFeeding movement.

                              Infant self-feeding science worldwide knows the benefits to fussy eating, infant obesity intervention, and to general mealtime harmony, but until now there has been no guaranteed way to make it safe and practical for all infants and parents. That’s what Mashblox brings to the table.

                              Mashblox purpose is to empower children to eat only as much as they need, and to discover that they actually do like eating healthy foods! ... As long as they don't have to see or touch them first. 

                              We believe that nobody knows better how much a child needs to eat than the child themselves, so best practice is to #LetThemFeedThemselves

                              Who is Alix O'Hara? 

                              Alix at One Fine Baby expo, 2018

                              Author, Mashblox Inventor, Entrepreneur
                              & Fussy Eating Coach

                              Alix is a multi-award-winning inventor and entrepreneur who has dedicated her life to helping parents make mealtimes easier, and helping young children avoid the challenges and pain that dysfunctional feeding created in her life.

                              “The most important thing in the world to me is just to #LetThemFeedThemselves. I’ve got a whole thesis on why. This just explains how to use Mashblox for fussy eating.”



                              What age range are they for?

                              Mashblox have different benefits at different ages. They are safe for complementary feeding from 6 months and up, and fussy eating benefits peak at about 3.5. Children with more pronounced autism enjoy them at older ages also.

                              How are these different from squeezy pouches?

                              Squeezy pouches only serve puree foods, and often artificially puree foods i.e. the only reason they're pureed is to turn them into "baby foods". This won't help your child learn to eat them: they won't see the colour of green leafy veg; and they won't even get the fibre from puree veggies.

                              Will this delay my child's development?

                              Mashblox were first prototyped in 2016, and I’ve heard no reports of any child starting from 5 months to 3.5 years (or 8 for autistic kids) getting hooked on them in any obstructive way. The first prototype tester family had bubs aged 9 months, 18 months and 3. They all loved them graduated to cutlery when they were able to handle them appropriately. For most children, this is about 5 years.

                              The other question to ask yourself, is which is the greater risk – if they grow up to double digits eating only nuggets or white foods, or not eating greens – or if they develop an attachment to a serving implement? My Romper-Room-Doo-Bee and Bunnikens plates broke or got lost eventually… And I still kinda miss them now that I think of it… But I learned to eat without them.

                              You may even find that your child turns away from them at a certain age, when they want to act more grown up, like you.

                              What kind of foods do I use them for?

                                Anything mash or mushy. Scrambled egg, dahl, avocado, rice, pasta bolognaise, casserole, pumpkin, banana, chia, weetbix, rice cereal, you could even mince up cheeseburgers if you needed to to get ARFID feeders or beige food dieters used to the cubes.

                                Please don’t otherwise use them for junk foods.

                                Small pieces of food can also be used to practice pincer grip (e.g. steamed peas and corn, blueberries or nuts - as age appropriate) and you can also freeze water or berries in them.

                                  How does this affect their teeth?
                                    Mashblox don't affect developing teeth, unless you’re packing them full of sugar. They’re soft silicone and many parents find that they have benefit as teethers.
                                      Will pieces break off?

                                        They’ve been certified to quality standard ISO 8124 against choking hazards, and I couldn’t bite through them when I tried with adult teeth. Please discard if they start to tear in the seams: this can start to happen if you’re not careful while turning them inside out for cleaning.

                                        How did you think of these?

                                        Mashblox were inspired by watching a toddler chomping into an apple, that he’d occasionally drop, bounce and roll in the dirt, chasing just as if it was a ball. This little boy caught my eye because he was so incredibly independent, and I watched as he repeated this again and again.

                                        I thought there had to be a way to combine children’s instinct to play with their food, and to explore the world through their mouth, into a practical solution. Voila, Mashblox hollow silicone building blocks and feeding cubes were born.


                                        Buy now button with Gold winner and Rose finalist ribbons for the Australian Non-Toxic Awards Baby Mealtime and Eco-Innovation categories



                                        The way I see it, you have two options.

                                        You can keep fumbling through, dealing with the fuss and preparing multiple meals - and just hope that they're getting the right nutrition and developing the right habits while you wait for them to get over it (if they do - and some don't),

                                        Or Mashblox self-feeding cubes can shortcut the whole process for you and save you and your kids years of trial, error and stress.

                                        Buy now button with Gold winner and Rose finalist ribbons for the Australian Non-Toxic Awards Baby Mealtime and Eco-Innovation categories



                                        #Mashblox #MakeGoodFoodFun