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Archive for April, 2012

Or as I like to call it: Help, My Toddler Won’t Eat! (All the time.)

Last week was our one-month check up with the nutritionist. The good news: Max gained almost one and a half pounds and now weighs in at a hefty 24 pounds, 8 ounces, a mere jump from the 15th percentile to the 27th.

But it’s not over yet.

He has come around to eating again, but meat is not on his menu. Nor eggs, nor cheese. So it’s a new wave of creative ways to sneak more protein into his diet: lima beans, edamame, milk, French toast, rice and beans etc. And of course, Pediasure supplements. Ugh.

I am not going to let it get me down. I worked hard for that one pound, six ounces. I have endured tears, and food thrown at me, and mopping up yogurt off my hardwood floors. I have endured constantly thinking about feeding my child; shopped until I couldn’t look at another nutrition label hoping for more calories and fat.

I have learned much over the past month when it comes to toddlers and picky eating. At least I know I’ve not resorted to this:

Below, however are a few things that have worked, and may help other moms out there.

  1.  Keep calm, and carry on. This is the hardest and most truthful rule. It’s incredibly stressful worrying about your little one, but even more so when his ability to gain weight, or lose it, hinges on what you’re feeding him. If he doesn’t eat a meal, take him out of his seat and move on to the next thing. If he disses that banana bread you made just for him today (and he will), just save it to try again tomorrow. If he screams and cries through meal time, remember there is always another meal time. It’ll be okay.
  2. Don’t let the doctors freak you out. Yes, it is an issue to simply overlook if your child is overweight or underweight. But don’t flip out. (See rule number one.) Even when the doctors give you that look: Oh, isn’t she delusional, getting excited over a little more than a pound? Even when the nutritionist comments about how she’s surprised your toddler is eating peanut butter and almond butter before the age of two—when at your last visit, she recommended you increase his nut butter intake. You know what is best for your child, so don’t be overwhelmed by all the suggestions they offer you. Just try one at a time.
  3. Switch up the eating pattern. For us, this meant swapping from the high chair to the table, in a booster seat. We added putting food in bowls and on plates, and when appropriate, spoons or forks. In other words, encouraging independent eating. Adding an additional snack also was helpful.
  4. Don’t stick to standard meal times. Max naps over lunchtime, and trying an “early” lunch did not fly, he wasn’t ever hungry for a meal. Our schedule looks like this:
    7:00 – 7:30 a.m. Wake Up
    8:00 a.m. Breakfast
    10:30 a.m. Snack
    11:00- to 12:00-ish Nap Start
    3:00 p.m. Lunch
    5:00 p.m. Snack
    7:00 p.m. Dinner
    8:00 p.m. Snack
    9:00 p.m. Bed
  5. Keep mealtime etiquette. Try to eat with your child, something about mimicking your eating works. Also, it offers more opportunity for them to reach for what’s on your plate. You can’t always eat with them, but you can have a cup of coffee, or hang out, or read them a story. Most importantly, just be nonchalant about the whole thing. Don’t offer praise or correct them for eating or not eating. Some days if they are eating, it’s better not to make eye contact. 🙂

So we move on to the next thing. And hope tomorrow, Max will eat that awesome chai peanut butter bread I slaved over this morning.

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