Author Topic: Toddler Eating Support  (Read 521 times)

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Offline albers30

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Toddler Eating Support
« on: January 17, 2017, 04:50:59 am »
I just wanted to reach out to other moms and see if what I'm dealing with is the norm and if so how they handle it and if not how can I change my toddlers behavior.  My little girl is almost 18 months of age and has recently gotten much pickier with her eating, she used to eat anything now theres only a handful of items she'll eat.  Also, she doesn't sit still for more then 5 minutes it seems to eat which makes meal times very difficult for us and our other kids.  What are others experiences at this age and what tips do you have.  My biggest concern is not her pickiness but helping her learn how to properly participate in meal time. Thoughts?

Offline Katet

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Re: Toddler Eating Support
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2017, 05:13:31 am »
My biggest concern is not her pickiness but helping her learn how to properly participate in meal time.

My 13yo was a limited eater (hate the term picky) but not now. I think with meals you model model & model & they will get there, at 18mo they won't get there overnight but if they see you do it they will learn. They will always learn what they are modeled (good or bad)  So really how you work the meal times is more about your behaviour than worrying about what she is doing now.

In terms of her limited eating the best motto is "your responsible for providing the food, she is responsible for what she chooses to eat" so if you provide healthy options she will choose from them. Toddlers do survive on thin air (although watch the milk intake, that can impact food too, can't remember the amount that it should be, but often toddlers have too much & so limit solids) although the reality is their stomach is the size of their fist so they don't need much food.

Another thing to remember is that their tastebuds are getting to the point of most sensitive - I think between 2&4yo they are  on average something like 10 times more sensitive than an adult so many foods just are too strong.

I found that mixing it up & having picnics & or a small children's table for meals helped with making meals more relaxed & also from about age 2-4 or older, my DS2 ate the evening meal maybe once a week, he ate 90% of his food before 3pm & even now as an 11yo he eats a small dinner (evening meal) compared to what his older brother did at the same age. His metabolism works that way & we just rolled with it.
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Offline cath~

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Re: Toddler Eating Support
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2017, 09:11:01 am »
I think that around 18 mo is quite a common age for LOs to get "pickier", so sounds quite normal to me in that regard.  Sometimes it is related to teething canines as that can put some LOs off their food a bit (or a lot!). 

ITA though that you just keep offering healthy options and let your LO decide which and how much they want to eat. 

Sometimes my DD has been more tempted to try new things if it's in a bowl on the table from which people can help themselves, rather than me putting it on her plate when I serve.  Perhaps you could try that? 

Also, DD is often much happier to try new things when I am preparing (e.g. chopping) them rather than when they are at the table.  So perhaps you could offer her some tastes of things as you are preparing meals?  You could also get her involved in simple meal prep, e.g. washing veg is an easy job for them to help with at this age.

I agree with PP re mealtimes, just keep modeling.  But it will take a while, especially as she's still so young.  But I'd also perhaps decide what would be the minimum you'd expect and don't expect too much iyswim.  You say she finds it difficult to sit still for long.  Is she in a high chair?  If so, could you bring her more to the table?  e.g. by taking the tray off, or getting her a booster seat?  Would you be happy for her to get down when she's finished (i.e. had enough) but before others?  You mentioned other LOs.  If some of them take a while to eat then perhaps it is too long for your DD to wait at this age...?  I'm not sure if she's quite ready for this, but perhaps when she's a little older, could you find her some jobs to do which involved fetching/taking things so she gets to move about but is still participating in mealtime?


Offline creations

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Re: Toddler Eating Support
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2017, 20:10:43 pm »
Could she filling up on something else making her less interested in meal times? milk? juice? snacks?
I don't expect my DS to sit as long as the rest of us do at meal times, sometimes he takes longer sometimes he is finished and is excused - but mostly it is his appetite for the meal which motivates him to be enthusiastic about family meals rather than making/teaching him to stay or join in.

Certainly he was picky during teething and seemed to lack appetite. He liked bread sticks when his gums were sore.

Through less interested phases a few sultanas at the beginning of the meal or on his plate with the other food would often get his appetite going and then he'd be happier to tuck into the main meal. Maybe try a little appetizer?


Offline albers30

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Re: Toddler Eating Support
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2017, 05:19:24 am »
We've let her move to a toddler table with her sisters but that actually makes it worse because she can just get up and run off whenever she feels like it. She doesn't snack much, generally just breakfast lunch, maybe an afternoon snack and dinner. She doesn't get juice and milk is generally just meal times and maybe sips here and there during the day along with water. She does like to help and engages in mealtime it's just limited to a 5-10 minute span and this includes eating very little or eating her whole meal. She tries new things and has a variety of things she'll eat and yes she eats more when it's her favorites but she still does it very quickly and is wanting to be off on her way which is fine unless it's teaching her a bad behavior so I didn't know if I should be pushing her more to sit with us at the table longer or not or if this was acceptable behavior at this age.

Offline Katet

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Re: Toddler Eating Support
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2017, 06:15:17 am »
teaching her a bad behavior so I didn't know if I should be pushing her more to sit with us at the table longer or not or if this was acceptable behavior at this age.

Do you & her Dad walk around at meal times?
because it's not what she does that is teaching her bad behaviour it is what she sees others doing around her that matters.
Modelling is everything.

My Mum used to say "do what I say not what I do"... but the reality is children are 100 times more likely to copy what is "done" than what is said.

Toddlers are active, they live on air at times (I think a whole apple is actually 4 serves of fruit for a toddler)  & so as long as she is growing (mentally & physically) try to take a step back & not worry.
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Offline creations

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Re: Toddler Eating Support
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2017, 09:34:50 am »
Ha her pickiness passed not then?
You said in your first post that she had become very picky and there was only a handful of foods she would eat but now you say she eats a variety of things and tries new things. Was it a phase that passed do you think?

Certainly at 18 months I didn't require my DS to stay at the table for particularly long after eating.  Long enough to "tidy up" (ie if he had spread things around the table I'd ask him to pick his bits up and put them back on the plate) and to have his hands and face washed but otherwise he would be able to get down from his chair pretty quickly.
When we were in a restaurant we'd take a book or something to entertain him a little while or he could come and sit on someone's knee if they weren't eating, or he could get down but be limited to staying by our table (often under it) and not wondering off.

Basically though, once he'd left the table he wouldn't be coming back for more food, I was very clear that we do not leave the table to wander around and then come back for more food.