Feeding a child is the most challenging tasks, especially when the baby starts crawling and walking. And when the baby finishes the food, it feels like you have climbed Mount Everest.
It is difficult to make a toddler sit at one place to eat. The parents and caretakers give up easily when the child is not eating. One has to understand it is a phase; we have to make food look lucrative in order to grab the child’s attention.
Rather than being anxious try to analyze, why your toddler is being fussy. Look at some of the reasons and their solutions:
- It is normal for any toddler to become fussy in eating after they turn 2. Because in the period from 1 to 2yrs they have tasted different types of food and now have developed their taste buds. The food which they liked in the first year might be rejected frequently. Try introducing same foods after few days’ gap, by altering the taste and color of the food.
- Some children like to try variety of foods. They might get bored of the same food. So change your preparation or serving style. Try serving in small quantity. If you are preparing a gourmet meal, do not serve them all at once. Use attractive plates, bowls and spoons. Take help of family members to feed the baby.
- Make eating a fun time. Play, paint, read and sing along while feeding your child. One can also explain them about the food: what they are eating, what are the benefits, etc.
- Keep some gap while feeding meals. Ideally any child should be given 4 meals a day apart from fruits and milk.
- Children, who once start eating, do not drink milk. But try not to give away this habit. Drinking milk is equally beneficial as eating. Include health drink for supplementing their growth along with the food they eat. All health drinks are not the same. One might get many products on shelf. One glass of milk mixed with a nutritious health drink which has natural ingredients and no artificial preservatives, like Junior Horlicks helps to meet the additional nutrients requirement like DHA which are not available in daily diet. Since the key brain functions develop during the early years, it is important to give additional nutrients along with regular meal. Active growing children require optimal micronutrients to match their energy needs and improve immune system.
- Toddlers try to be independent like us. They want to eat on their own. Give them time. Eat together. They love to copy you. Praise them when they eat well. Do not bother if they spill food. Arrange for a bib and napkin beforehand.
- Try fixing a regular mealtime. So even though your toddler is playing at the stroke of that hour she will ask food.
- Never force food. What is the point if your toddler pukes or falls sick with a stomach ache, if you are just forcefully stuffing him with food? Let the feeding process not rebound.
- A toddler might not eat when they are gastric, have throat pain, cold & cough. Sometimes, they also might need de-worming. Talk to your pediatrician, if the problem prolongs.
- Some seasons also cause change in eating patterns. In summers one eats less and in winters the appetite increases.
- Children when are in a mood to play and have fun, forget about eating. In Fact, they don’t even have much fluid. Try giving small snacks and juices at such times.
- Bribing them every now and then to eat, won’t help in the long run. Let them know eating healthy food is part of life for survival and required to remain strong and healthy. Rather than bribing them for a toy, chocolate or ice-cream, instead coax them that you will play a new game or tell a new story once they finish their food.
- Give liquids like soup, juices and milk at least an hour before or after meal.
- Reintroduce foods which are rejected earlier. Present it in different manner.
- Do not extend feeding time beyond 35 mins. This will help you not getting stressed.
- Once your child has set a routine and a correct pattern of feeding, try introducing table manners too.
- Do not worry more on weight gain. Children when turn one, tend to lose a lot of due to their eating habits and continuous moving & playing around. Make sure they eat right and healthy food.
- Take kids to the market. Make them familiar with vegetables and groceries. Tell them which vegetable they will be eating today. If they want, let them choose and discover.
Us mother get easily discouraged when the food which we prepare by spending time & energy with so much of love & affection gets vetoed. We all have our bad days. Take it as it comes. Let our reaction not affect our children’s eating habits. Along with making efforts to reduce fussiness, we should also make sure to provide balanced diet that provides important nutrients.