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Feeding Toddlers: 8 Common Mistakes Parents Make

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A picky eater or a toddler that won't eat at all can be frustrating for a parent. You may have read a stack of books or asked fellow parents what they have done, but feeding your child is not a one-size-fits-all process. Here's how to avoid feeding pitfalls and keep your child on track with lifelong healthy eating habits. By: Toby Amidor, MS, RD


by on Feb. 27, 2013 at 11:31 AM
Replies (41-46):
by on Mar. 3, 2013 at 9:49 AM

Yes, there are definitely exceptions!  Not all children are the same, and the same advice doesn't apply to all of them. 

I'm glad your daughter is making some progress! 

Quoting Xandriasmommy:

Normally I would agree. However I have gotten to a point with my dd that I feed her what she'll eat. She's been tube fed twice to get her back up to weight. I leave the food battles to her feeding therapist and I do what he finds works and feed her what I know she'll eat. She's been in the hospital for a week under dr supervision because he didn't believe me that at 1 she would starve her self then eat something she didn't want. He gave up after 3 days and brought cheese sticks and ham personally after not seeing her eat for 3 days. He diagnosed her then with infantile anorexia.

However I don't make her dinners. She does. If she doesn't want what we are eating (which is 99.9% of the time) she has to make it (obviously with a little help, I'm not letting her pull a bowl of hot water out of the microwave that's above the stove...) She's actually developed some good macaroni and cheese recipes out of the microwave...

No it's not what we are eating. But it's something she wouldn't eat 6 months ago.

We do what's best for our children. It may not be ideal, but I do what I have too. My dd gets food in her belly. IMO that's more important.

Quoting PrincessZ20:

Quoting Vertical15:

Mistake #2: Being a Short-Order Cook

Many parents fall into the trap of being a short-order cook to please a table of picky eaters. Concerns about starving their children, and stunting growth and development in the process drive the urge to cater to their every mealtime whim. But cooking on demand sends the wrong message.

Instead: Plan meals with at least one item you know the child enjoys. Kids are more likely to partake in the meal if they helped plan or prepare it. For example, if your child loves mac and cheese, but dislikes green vegetables, have fun making a dish of broccoli mac and cheese together.

This is one of my biggest pet peeves - parents who cook separate meals for their kids then complain when their child is a picky eater.

At my house they eat what's served, or they don't eat.  I do my best to ensure that there's something they like at every meal. 

Alex is 6 and what he likes today he may not like tomorrow, but there are a few things he consistently doesn't like (for example, pepperoni and spicy foods), so I have no problem making half the pizza without pepperoni, or leaving the hot sauce out of a recipe and adding it in later.  He's not particularly picky, and it's something that's not really an inconvenience. But I refuse to make two separate meals (I even know people who make 3 - one for their kids, one for their husband, and one for themselves...I just don't have that kind of time on my hands!) 

Alex totally adores cooking with me as well, and that really helps increase his desire to eat what we prepare. 

by on Mar. 3, 2013 at 9:12 PM

 We do the same thing.  Dinner is very close to bedtime routines.

Quoting PrincessZ20:

If my kids don't finish a meal and then are hungry half an hour later, they're served their leftovers, lol.  However, we usually have dinner close enough to bed time that there's just not time for them to eat again once dinner is over. 

Quoting Vertical15:

 I never insist on a clean plate but depending on how much they've eaten I will ask them to have another bite or two.  It drives me nuts when they eat dinner and a half hour later want a snack.


Quoting TigerofMu:

This is a good rule of thumb.  I've tried to make sure my kids eat but not force them to clean their plates.  It's a hard habit to break as an adult, even when you're full.

Quoting Vertical15:

Mistake #3: Insisting on Finishing Their Plates

Parents typically give larger portions than necessary or serve snacks (especially juice) too close to meal time.

Instead: Aim for 1 tablespoon per age of your child for each dish (about 2 or 3 dishes). So a 2-year-old child should receive 2 tablespoons each of carrots, rice, and meatloaf. Also, serve snacks about 1½ to 2 hours before mealtime. Instead of focusing on a clean plate, encourage eating until they're full.

See More: Transitional Recipes for Baby 12-18 Months




by on Mar. 4, 2013 at 8:46 AM

These are pretty common sense

by on Mar. 4, 2013 at 10:47 AM

 Very true but common nonetheless.  I know I'm guilty of some of them myself.

Quoting kellynh:

These are pretty common sense


by on Mar. 4, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Mistake #2-being a short order cook.  I've seen people make that mistake.  Believe me they regret it.  I don't do that with my kids, they eat what I make or don't eat at all.

by on Mar. 24, 2013 at 12:04 PM
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