Has your baby, with a once healthy appetite, suddenly boycotted her food? According to medical experts, it is no coincidence that the time that children learn to walk (between 9 and 16 months) is usually the same time that they become less interested in food. With so much to discover who has time to eat? Additionally, their growth slows considerably at this time – and although they are more active, their energy needs decrease.
What should I do?
According to William Sears, a paediatrician and author of several books on caring and raising children, while children need encouragement and structure when it comes to mealtimes, whether, when, and how much they eat should ultimately be up to them.
“Your child may eat well one day and eat practically nothing the next,” says Sears, who co-authored The Family Nutrition Book with his wife, Martha.
Offer finger foods
Toddlers don’t always like eating from utensils. Sometimes cutting up the food into bite size pieces and offering it to them is the best way to ensure that they eat. This may be very messy.
Keep notes of what he does eat
Instead of getting upset and worried about the fact that your child has refused to eat, keep a diary where you note what she does eat during the course of the week. You will be surprised to see that she is actually eating enough to fuel all that energy. Also try and offer food again after about two hours.
Make healthy choices
Always make sure that you prepare nutritious meals for your baby. Don’t forget to add fluids such as milk and juice in her diet. But too much juice equals too much sugar. Choose to serve drinks after or between meals, instead of before, as this may dampen her appetite. Make sure that you stop offering your toddler cookies and chocolates. Instead, prepare balanced meals and snacks and offer that instead. Make sure that your baby is fed something from the five food groups.
The five food groups
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meat and protein
- Fats, oils and sweets
Don’t make it a battle
Eating should not be a battle between you and your child. Babies have very few things that they can control, and since they have discovered that they can control what they eat, they will try and control it as much as possible. They won’t starve themselves, but they can hold out on food for longer than many adults may think. Don’t back down by offering junk, make sure that when she is hungry, the food she eats is healthy.
As long as your baby is gaining weight you shouldn’t worry. Just make sure that she gets at least something from all the food groups in a week’s time. But if she refuses to eat and drink the entire day, then it’s probably best to see your doctor.