ASK COUNSELOR MOM
My toddler won’t eat. He is a picky eater. How can I make him eat?
All children are different at this stage. First and foremost, if you are concerned about his eating habits, please discuss this with his pediatrician. He will definitely want to make sure your child is growing properly. With that being said, many toddlers go through a stage of picky eating. Make sure you are offering your child a variety of foods and a balanced meal. Some people say that a picky eater is developed when a child is not offered a variety food. However, it is normal for many toddlers to go through this stage even when they are offered a balanced meal. Sometimes toddlers will go through stages when he just wants to eat the same thing over and over again. Toddlers generally eat 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. However, just like adults, there are times when toddlers might not want to eat at every meal/snack.
A mistake I made with my first child is that I allowed my son to drink too much milk. I learned from the pediatrician that my son needed to cut back the amount of milk he drank. Make sure that are not giving your son too much milk or juice. This can result in a child filling up on a drink instead of getting the proper nutrition that he needs. Generally toddlers drink 2-3 cups of milk a day. Juice is usually limited to 4 ounces a day because it is high in sugar.
Tips to Help the Picky Eater
- Establish a routine so your child knows when to expect a meal.
- Meal times are for eating, not for playing. Try to eat all meals at the table instead of every night in front of the tv.
- Always offer one alternate food that your toddler will like if you are offering a new food. Some moms refuse to make a second meal for their child and will try to force their toddler to eat the meal. The problem with doing this at such a young age is they are still developing their likes and dislikes. Just like adults, you can’t expect a young toddler to like everything. If after you have offered a second food and the child still refuses, your child might not be hungry then.
- Make meal time fun and not tense.