Fussy eaters . . .

24th February 2015

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Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters In fact, picky eating is one of the most common concerns parents bring to paediatricians. But remember if your child is thriving, then they’re probably getting what they need. Most parents don’t realise how little toddlers actually need to eat (those tiny tummies fill up fast). Remember that children eat when they’re hungry. Children have a natural ability to sense when they are hungry and when they are full.

It’s understandably very frustrating and worrying when your little one doesn’t want to eat but it is important to still offer food at each mealtime so they can still follow routine and feel included. But parental pushing may lead to future eating problems so try not to send the signal that their non eating is stressing you out (even if it really is!). Occasionally a toddler may not eat because of an underlying health condition, such as an ear infection, teething, or reflux, so don’t panic, its best to carry on as normal rather then change routine or allow them to change things

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Things to remember –

  • Remember that toddlers need small meals and regular snacks.
  • Don’t worry too much – a toddler’s appetite and food intake can vary daily.
  • Offer small servings and give more if needed.
  • Let them tell you they’re full and don’t force a child to finish all food on their plate.
  • praise praise praise

What might help. . .

Mealtimes should be a relaxed, happy and positive experience. Suggestions include:

  • Let your child explore food by touching and expect some mess.
  • Let children feed themselves and give help if needed.
  • Enjoy family meals together at a table, so toddlers can watch and copy others, try the family foods and enjoy company while eating.
  • Keep mealtimes relaxed. Don’t have too many distractions like the TV on.
  • Offer encouragement, but don’t argue or force your child to eat.
  • Talk pleasantly to your child at mealtimes, not just about food.
  • Don’t ask your child to eat quickly.

You should ask for professional help if:

  • You have concerns about your child’s growth
  • Your child is unwell, tired and not eating
  • Mealtimes are causing lots of stress and anxiety.

Appetite slump

Between 1 and 5 years old, it is normal for a toddler’s appetite to slow down. It will probably seem like your child doesn’t eat enough, is never hungry, or won’t eat unless you spoon-feed her yourself. As long as your child’s energy level is normal and she is growing normally, your child’s appetite is most likely naturally slowing down.

  • Serve small portions of food—less than you think your child will eat.

A child’s appetite is decreased if she is served more food than she could possibly eat. If you serve your child a small amount on a large plate, she is more likely to finish it and gain a sense of accomplishment. If your child seems to want more, wait for her to ask for it. Avoid serving your child any foods that she strongly dislikes (such as some vegetables). She may eat only one or two preferred foods for weeks, then suddenly change her mind and want something completely different. Don’t worry – this is typical toddler behaviour. Don’t forget to consider how much they drink too. Milk and 100 percent juice can supply vital nutrients (though too much juice means too much sugar). But because drinking too much milk or juice can also dampen an appetite, you may want to serve drinks after.

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Fussy eaters . . .

24th February 2015