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How To Get My Fussy Toddler To Eat Solid Food
Frustration with Toddlers
- Oh dear what can the matter be,
- Dear, Dear what can the matter be,
- Oh dear, what can the matter be,
- My Toddler just hates to eat.
That was a famous nursery rhyme but I altered the last line (Johnny's so long at the fair ). We Moms have exclaimed in frustration so many times when our toddlers are fussy and just do not like to eat solid foods. If even they eat, they are generally very choosy. We have to remember that their taste buds are now adapting to different foods. They spent quite a while in the first twelve months just basically drinking milk. We now have to coax them (not force) to add new foods to their daily diet.
Asserting Their Independence
Your toddler may attempt to challenge you at mealtimes. They now have a little of their own independence whereby they can now feed themselves. They do not need us to come and 'rock their boat'. Do not upset them. Instead work with them. We Moms have to use a little psychology with fussy toddlers.
A toddler's stomach is very small so he/she would not eat much. They may eat often but not a lot. They would want to sample several foods in order to find their preferences. You should not insist that they finish their meals and they should be given snacks in-between (energy-filled snacks) such as fruits. Moms should avoid giving their toddlers highly refined and processed foods like cookies, ice-cream, cakes and candy. These foods have very little nutrients and the sugar content is quite high, which is not good for their teeth and health.
All toddlers are different, just like adults. There are some who would eat almost anything given to them and there are those who just would not eat solid foods. My friend's toddler does not eat any food even though he has been offered various types of food. He was taken to the doctor for fear of not receiving enough nutrients, but she was told by the doctor that she should not worry. The child is 2 years old and is in excellent health for his age. The doctor informed her that as the child grows and develops, his eating patterns would change.
Introduction of Foods
Your fussy toddler may throw his/her food all over the floor. Please do not get upset. Keep introducing the foods - maybe in a subtle manner - grate cheese and carrots and make a filling for sandwiches. Let them help you in the kitchen in some small way to prepare the meals. Make the meals attractive and colorful. Colors attract. They may like to eat what they helped to prepare. Maybe you can allow them to wash the lettuce or place cheese filling on the bread etc. It makes them feel good about themselves. Applaud them when they help to prepare and then eat at mealtimes. There are some adults who dislike vegetables, so do not complain if your toddler does not acquire the taste for vegetables as you would like them to. Give them time - that is one thing they have a lot of - 'time'.
We have been taught through culture of the different food groups such as carbohydrates, protein, fats and fruits/vegetables. We believe that if our toddlers do not get sufficient of these foods that they will be under-nourished. Perish the thought! Your toddler will be fine as long as he/she drinks milk and milk-based drinks (protein, calcium and B vitamins), citrus juices (contain Vitamin C), fruits - children love apples, pears, melons etc - remove pits and seeds. Yogurt is good. It can be frozen like ice-cream. Toddlers are bored easily - so offer a variety of snacks. Variety is the spice of life! Please note that you should avoid small, hard pieces of food that your child can choke on, such as nuts.
Moms Being Flexible
Moms, we have to be flexible with our fussy toddlers. Remember that these are phases that your child is going through. Strong likes and dislikes. Use your imagination but do not get angry as there are a lot of nutritious substitutes, that you can use for your fussy toddler.