Help! My toddler eats hardly anything. I'm worried. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 06-10-2007, 04:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi there,
I know toddlers are supposed to be picky, but this is ridiculous. My son, who just turned 2, will only eat snacky finger foods. In the beginning he ate lots of veggie purees, but when he started feeding himself he went to finger foods that were sort of dry and portable and it's been that way ever since, like almost a year. But even in that time he's narrowed it down to eating maybe 8 things over and over. He won't even eats cold cereals like Oatios or toast anymore. Now he is maybe in the 15th percentile for his weight, though he certainly has lots of energy and isn't emaciated or anything. He still nurses fairly often (teething). I don't plan to wean him, but I worry that maybe nursing is spoiling his appetite.

He won't eat ANY fruit, and only a couple of vegetables. I used to be able to sneak grated yellow squash into his scrambled eggs and he won't even eat that anymore. He spits it out. He's allergic to cow's milk, citrus, and berries (I think the cow's milk is what makes children so big in this culture). He basically eats: tortilla chips, rice crackers, eggs, fishsticks, popcorn, wheat-free pasta with earth balance margarine, nori sea veggie, corn on the cob, almond milk, waffles (but not pancakes), barbara's wheatfree animal cookies, and occasonally spinach munchies.

I worry that I've cultivated his pickiness by giving him backup options if he refuses the meal that I made for myself and or dad. He knows if he waits he can get something else. I hate to have him go hungry! His father gets home late so often it will be just be Xavier and I for meals, but I don't know if eating all together more would help. I sometimes want to try to eliminate these snacky foods he likes from the house, but they are really the substance of his diet, and I hate to have him lose more weight while we figure it out.

I give him a multivitamin and green supplement for children. The doctor said don't worry, just give him a lot of whatever he likes. But he seems to just graze a little all day when left to his own devices. He doesn't sit long for meals and just gets up after a few bites, so I always fall back on having some of his snacky food available. I read about the food tray idea thing on this board, and I think I'll give that a try, but has anyone else had success changing their toddler's eating habits? Thanks for any insights or ideas--
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#2 of 3 Old 06-11-2007, 05:41 PM
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I suggest you repost this nutrition and good eating...BUT. I also suggest that you ALLOW him to graze all day, if that's the way he eats. It happens to be the healthiest way for a human to eat, and if you've breastfed him on demand, it's also the way you've TAUGHT him to eat...WHEN HE IS HUNGRY! Breastmilk is basically giving him the nutrients and fats and etc that he wouldn't otherwise be getting from the foods he's eating (as they aren't supre nutrient rich foods!), so I'd say on top of allllll the other benefits of extended nursing, don't stop for that reason!

Too, I'd read the book on Nutrition by Doctor Sears. It's got a lot of GREAT ideas in it. One thing that he suggests that I like a lot is to cut up finger foods and put them out at the child's height ALL day, so that he can graze at will. Put a rainbow of foods out, and if he's hungry enough and offered things often enough so that he's familliar with the, he'll eat. I did find with my daughter, though, that if she was avoiding a new food, it might be because she was avoiding a possible allergic reaction. SO go slowly when introducing possibly allergenic foods!

It's hard, but certainly don't offer more than one option when you make dinner. If your child is hungry they'll eat what's offered. If not, they'll pass. That's a bad and tedious habit to be stuck in, and their future spouse won't appreciate it (my husband was like that when we got married...he learned quickly that I only made one meal a night and it WAS NOT chicken breast and pasta every night of the week)--speaking from experience!!

Mama to two awesome kids. Wife to a wonderful, attached, loving husband. I love my job-- I'm a Midwife, Doula and Childbirth Educator, Classes forming now!

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#3 of 3 Old 06-11-2007, 06:05 PM
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i have an idea of how you feel, i have a very picky 2 1/2 ds

He mainly eats rice cakes, other snack like foods, and baby food (and lots and lots of bm )

first off let me say at least your dc has a good base of healthy things to grow on. good for you!

next try not to stress out about it (i know - so hard) Look at nutrition over a week not daily.

keep giving things you want dc to eat - kids have this amazing knack to do what is expected - so if you expect him not to eat it he wont-stay positive. even if it sits in front of him and he does not try, he is seeing/smelling/touching the foods and that is a big step. give him praise if he does touch / lick / try. (for us a success is my son leaving food he is not interested on his high chair, and not throwing it across the room )

something that works for us....
we made up a game where the food it trying to "get" my son. picture this ....
mama running around after ds "its gonna get ya". my son finds this hilarious. at first i would just touch the food to his lips (which he would lick after and get some exposure)

now when we play the game he actually licks the FOOD!

i would only do this if the dc was receptive to game.

also, it takes 20 exposures to new food to adjust the tastebuds.

hope this helps
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