How to deal with a picky eater? — The Bump
Babies: 9 - 12 Months

How to deal with a picky eater?

Merry Christmas, everyone!  My almost 1 y/o has taken on the habits of a picky eater.  She used to eat whatever I put in front of her (or whatever was on the spoon), but now that she's a little older, she realizes she has options.  I'm sure this is a pretty typical behavior for her age, so I'm wondering how you all deal with it.  She is MPI so my food options are slightly limited.  Also, she has no teeth, which limits us even more.  She's very good with finger foods, but I can obviously only give her things that she can gum or suck on long enough to be able to swallow.  I try to give her eggs, shredded or ground meat, and the veggies we're eating, but she will often throw those things on the floor and then we resort to giving her fruit and a peanut butter sandwich or bread with coconut oil on it.  She loves bread so I know if I spread something on bread, she'll eat it.  I'm concerned with her affinity for carbs that she'll be lacking in fat and protein.  She still nurses a few times a day and I've been giving her coconut milk.  My other concern is raising a child who is a picky eater.  At what point do you implement the rule that they eat what they're given?  I have a 10 year old step-son and for the 3 years that I've been his parent, we haven't allowed him to be picky, but he's obviously much older.  So what say you? 

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Re: How to deal with a picky eater?

  • I start the "a hungry baby will eat" approach as soon as they start solids.

    I present them with a range of healthy foods, that expose them to different tastes and textures. They can eat it or not.

     Later on they'll be more eating opportunities.

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    Elizabeth 5yrs old Jane 3yrs old
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  • We'll give them what they like but make them alternate.  So if we're giving them purees and they don't want to eat veggies we'll pull out the yogurt and alternate bites.  If they refuse to eat the veggies they don't get any more yogurt.  Once they're a little older and get it more and we can communicate better with them better we won't give them the foods that they want until after they eat the foods that we want them to eat.  I'll obviously run this by the pediatrician, but I read somewhere that little kids don't need very much food on a daily basis (just a couple of ounces, I think).  Not that you shouldn't feed your kids more then that, but that if they're stubborn and won't eat as long as they've had a little bit to eat that day they're good and you don't have to give in just for the sake of getting more food into them.  Based on the horrible eating habits that I had as a child (and still have today, to an extent) it's important to me that my kids learn early on that we won't be held hostage to their tantrums.  It won't be a fight or a big deal, just "okay, you don't want to eat this, I guess you're done for the night" and clear away the plates.
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