Toddler Fussy Eaters

IS IT JUST A PHASE?

It is very common for children to go through stages of being a little fussy over their food choices with this often starting around 15 months. Just the same as a toddler may refuse to put their coat on or get in the bath it is normal for your toddler to suddenly decide he’ll only eat a few different foods. This is part of normal development as your child exerts their independence and wants to get some control.

As toddlers develop into their own person they will no longer want to be fed by adults and may assert independence and refuse to take food from a spoon preferring finger foods, they may reject new foods and go off old favourites. In most children this is a phase and will usually only be a temporary. The trick is to stay calm and try not to make a fuss or get upset although this can be frustrating.

At Magnificent Munchers we work with children who fussiness becomes extreme and does not appear to be changing as they get older.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

Parents often ask at what point is the fussy eating a problem for my toddler. The first point to consider is whether your toddler is growing and putting on weight at the expected rate. If your child is losing weight then you need to see your GP. If your child is gaining weight and their fussy eating is not impacting on your lifestyle or causing them upset then it comes down to parental choice if you decide to try to implement change to broaden their food range.

At Magnificent Munchers we are concerned when a child has less than 20 foods in their diet as this usually means due to the limited repertoire they tend to eat the same foods repeatedly. When a child eats the same foods cooked or prepared in the same way over and over again it is referred to as food jagging. Eventually they usually stop eating the food and will refuse to have it again even after a few weeks break from the food. The less foods in a child’s diet the increased chance they will food jag. Parents tell us that their child does not replace a dropped food so their food range decreases over time.

Will my child grow out of their fussy eating is another question we are asked. If your child is eating a limited repertoire of foods, it is unlikely that your child will suddenly start to increase their food range without implementing a change.

My toddler only eats with their hands and won’t let me feed him, should I be worried. By eating finger foods your toddler will feel more in control than being spoon fed. At Magnificent Munchers our priority is to get children to eat a range of foods and to make food fun so we do not worry about table manners as they can develop later when your child is eating a wider range of foods. Think about the types of food your child is eating, are they always finger feeding and therefore avoiding certain textures of food.

Will your toddler only eat if watching the TV or iPad? If your child is watching a device whilst they are eating they are not paying attention to their food or learning about it so device watching should be avoided if possible.

My toddler is constantly fidgeting at the table and doesn’t want to sit for long. We wouldn’t expect a child to stay at the table for more than 20 minutes. They may be fidgeting because they do not feel supported in their seat. Pop a stool or step under their feet to give a firm base of support.

HOW MAGNIFICENT MUNCHERS CAN HELP

If your child’s eating habits are causing upset and stress within your family then it is usually time to seek some help.

Jacqueline offers a free phone consultation to discuss each child’s individual eating difficulties with parents/carers. During the consultation any medical conditions should be discussed and it will be determined if individual or group sessions would be most appropriate for your child.

To find out more about how Magnificent Munchers benefits toddlers who are picky eaters or have difficulty at mealtimes call 07591 733420 or email the Magnificent Munchers team enquiries@magnificentmunchers.com