My Toddler Will Not Eat!

20131103_164136Frequent feeding is a habit that we all generally get into in the first year of our babies’ lives as, from day one, everyone seems to go on about your baby’s weight. You tend to become ever so slightly obsessed!! Weight gain in babies is important as it is a fantastic sign that they are thriving.

Toddlers, however, are a different kettle of fish altogether. A typical toddler’s food schedule should be: breakfast – morning snack – dinner – afternoon snack – tea. Drinks are also important: milk (full fat), water and juice are absolutely sufficient once a baby turns one!

So you are reading this and saying, yep I follow that general pattern but my toddler just will not eat! You are not alone! I can pretty much guarantee you that your toddler, is still having one or two bottles a day, possibly of formula/follow-on milk … hmmm, sound familiar? From hereon in, formula is a bad word!! It is time to toughen up.

First steps – drop any and all bottles; if you have to keep up a bottle to help your toddler drop off at night, make it a water bottle or, at the very most, a half water / half milk bottle.(Reducing by a fluid ounce weekly until they no longer need it.)

Replace formula and follow-on milk with full-fat milk, from a beaker!
Naturally enough, our Mummy-gene kicks in around the amount of milk our toddler is getting – we have after all, been trained from day one to measure the amount of milk our baby gets – it is hard to let go of that. However a ‘pint of dairy’ is all they need. Two 300ml cups of milk a day is more than sufficient for toddlers, with access to cheese and yoghurts during the day. Offer milk during/after dinner and tea, fresh juice with breakfast, and water with their snacks. Offer food first, drinks are to wash meals down with!

Space out meals, with at least two hours between them.

Breakfast should be cereal-based, and does not need to be topped up with toast! Snacks should be small, and be either fruit or cheese-based, with the emphasis on small.Dinner should be the main meal(at most half an adult portion),and dessert can be yoghurt/cheese – dairy-based. Teatime should be carb-based and smaller then dinner. Beans or scrambled eggs on toast/pasta/sandwich. Age appropriate portions again.

Tough love is necessary too.

Encourage as many meals as you can at the table, and failing that insist that your toddler sits whilst eating; if they don’t sit, they don’t eat! Avoid eating on the run or grazing. If your toddler refuses to eat, remove the meal and do not fill the gap with a snack -they must wait until their next meal! Do not offer a menu – they eat what you have prepared, or they go without until next meal.(Try to make meals you know they will eat!) If they haven’t attempted to start their meal after fifteen minutes, meal time is over and food is removed.

Praise the little victories.
A couple of mouthfuls? For a toddler who has never eaten at that time before, this is brilliant and should be treated so. Sitting down to eat? Amazing, wonderful and SO grown up!!

As with most things, implementing a new routine takes time; however, consistency pays off! I promise your toddler will not starve – they may experience hunger but that is not the end of the world.

Thanks for reading

I love feedback, please leave any thoughts and comments below.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Why Not? | BabySteps
  2. Trackback: Eat,Play,Love | BabySteps
  3. Trackback: Picky Eaters aka Every Child Ever! | BabySteps

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