Around the first birthday or so, a child’s growth slows down considerably. Correspondingly so does the amount of food consumed by the child. If the child is healthy and happy and all mental developmental landmarks are being achieved, then there may be no need to worry even if according to you the child is eating too little.
Children will not starve themselves if offered adequate food. When they get hungry they will eat.
Fussy eaters are more often created rather than born that way. An anxious mother is more likely to have an anxious little fussy eater. Making meal times a battleground is also likely to rebound on you. The best things you can do to avoid this problem is
- Let your child eat anyway she chooses even if it means turning away as she mashes the potatoes still further or applies half the food as a paste on her face.
- Encourage her to feed herself as much as possible. Let her participate by giving her an extra spoon.
- Offer child size portions.
- Let her eat the sweets first or in any combination that she likes.
- Make mealtimes fun for all when the whole family gathers together at the table.
- Let the meal end when she’s had enough.
- Change the food offered everyday – all children like variety.
- Substitute – if she won’t have milk make milky soup, cottage cheese, cheese, caramel custard etc.
- Make the food attractive.
- Avoid power struggles around food. Provide a nutritious meal and allow her to choose what food she wants to eat.
- Set limits on the amount and type of in-between-meals snacks that are allowed to her.
- Evaluate the child’s diet on a weekly rather than daily basis. You will probably find that, over the course of a week, she’s eating a variety of healthy foods.
- Don’t treat dessert as a reward.
- Don’t put sugar or salt in the curd. Let the child get used to food without too much additives.
- Set a good example.
As far as possible avoid showing your anxiety over her eating habits. If you are concerned whether she will eat the jackfruit that has been made for lunch than she will obviously create a fuss. By this time children are tremendous ‘mummy manipulators’ so put whatever is made for the meal in front of the baby without fuss and she will eat it. Don’t let your personal biases and preferences in food affect the child. You may not like many foods but if given a chance, she may. Encourage her to eat all kinds of foods and if possible do the same yourself.