Thursday, January 24, 2008

Feeding My Toddler - LFW

As you know, Princess turned two-years-old in October. I am having an issue with feeding her. I don't know if I did the wrong thing as she was beginning to eat or if this is normal for a toddler. If I handled it wrong, I would like to know now so I can do things different with The Little Guy. So here is my story. Give me your input please.

When Princess started eating baby food, she would eat any kind of vegetable and fruit. After a while she began to refuse baby food, but didn't have enough teeth to chew most "adult" foods. For veggies, I gave her those veggie puffs from Gerber or I would put veggies in plain yogurt and she would eat it that way. We never really gave her meat. She continues to eat fruits no problem.

Now that she can eat almost anything, I can not get her to eat any vegetables or meat. She used to eat tomatoes (fruit/vegetable? Who really knows?), but now she won't eat those either. Other than fruits, she eats mostly "noodles" (pasta with milk, butter, & Parmesan cheese), peanut butter and jelly, grilled cheese, bread with butter, pancakes, and waffles. She drinks about 4 cups of whole milk in a day. (The doctor recommended whole milk because of how petite she is.)

The other day I tried putting some of Little Guy's squash on a grilled cheese. She noticed it after one bite and refused to eat any more of it. I tried a bite of it and it was terrible.

At her 2-year check with the doctor, he asked what she eats and I told him. He just said that is a "toddler's diet". So I was not concerned. I am still not too concerned because I hear of kids who are picky eaters all the time. I think the biggest thing for me is I make Hubby and I dinner. I make her something different. And then of course Little Guy gets something else.

I know you are going to tell me to be a "meanie" and make her eat what we are eating, aren't you? That's OK you can tell me that, but if you have any other wisdom or encouragement please share that too.


On Fire For Jesus said...'s what we have done.

We've always served veggies with both dinner and lunch. After making sure that the vegetable is edible (ie: carrot sticks are really hard at age 2), I put it on their plates and expect them to eat it.

We went through a quick stage of, you won't get anything else until you eat your vegetables first. It was quick, b/c my kids are super picky.

We also sometimes do fun things like pretend we are giraffes.

And I don't mind dip or peanut butter.

Our rule is, "try everything once, once a day." We've been firm to that. I don't make anything extra for dinners. They get what we get and if they don't eat it, then they don't get anything else.

I'll confess that my 3 year old is still on the skinny side, enough that I have doctors and nurses telling me about it. But he does eat and he isn't starving. And the veggies do get in him, without me having to sneak them in.

On Fire For Jesus said...

Okay - I'm convinced that when I answer your LFW questions, that I am pretty mean and hard as a mom!!!

jermar said...

We have the policy at our house "eat what is served or you don't eat". I always try to serve at least a meat or a veggie that I am certain the girls will eat. Other than that, they have to at least try it. If they don't like what is served then they don't eat til the next meal is served. WOW, that does sound really mean now that I'm typing this out. However, this rule has "encouraged" Littlest and Biggest to eat new things.

Anonymous said...

Boy, some really mean moms answering this entry. She's 2 & very special!!! Continue to encourage her to try what you are eating. Small amounts on a big plate make it seem like its not much. Stop between meal snacks. Sit at the table for snacks or drinks - it's amazing how that stops the snacking (works for adults, too & they will let you know the rules).

The Gang's All Here! said...

I actually disagree with the comment about stopping snacks for a toddler. They eat far smaller amounts at any given meal than we do, or than we'd like for them to do, and they need the refueling more frequently. Some pediatricians even recommend a healthy "cruising by" tray.

Some people call it a 'toddler tray.' That's when you provide, at each meal and at snacks, a small array of what's already being served for the day plus some "sure things." For example, at dinner for Shaggy, on his plate there was a small portion of our dinner plus cut up grapes and peas and noodles. All the extras were things I kept on hand. I never just cut up grapes for one meal, I'd do the whole day or two's worth. And the "extras" were the snacks I offered a couple times a day.

However "mean" or laid back you choose to go, toddlers are still picky. They are actually trying to gain some independence and control - a natural and necessary developmental stage. And it's just that, a stage. I promise you it won't last forever. And you just keep trying things - cuz they are tempermental and change their mind daily, hourly - again normal.

I can prove it - Shaggy now eats EVERYTHING that isn't nailed down,in huge quantities, all the time. He even eats broccoli and "mushy stuff" - the very same mushy stuff that he used to gag on!

That's my two cents - not that we didn't do the "eat what's on your plate" occasionally, but I prefer my meal times to be about connecting and enjoying each other - we learned the hard way that fighting over food doesn't help that occur!

Promises Fulfilled said...

I sometimes feel a little inadequate answering these, since my oldest is a few months younger than yours, but I figured that I would give my two cents also.

Unless it is soup or something really spicy, we always give Brady the same things that we are eating. He has to at least try the item. He does not like veggies that are in a casserole, so I do make sure that I have some set aside for him to eat. I also do not put sauce on his pasta at the moment - just b/c it is messy. That is just my preference. Sometimes he does not eat all of his veggies, but I am with On Fire - what we serve to him is all that he is offered, nothing else. So, if he does not want to eat it, then he does not have to - but nothing else is offered.

I was told before by someone that a child will eat when they are hungry and will not starve themselves. I guess that I keep that in the back of my head and if Brady does not eat a lot at a meal, I do not stress about it.

Hands-Free Heart said...

We try to be reasonable in what we serve our kids, but from the time they were 9 or 10 months old, we were serving them what we had, or a similar-looking food so that they thought they were eating the same as us.

Other things we did early on... from the start we introduced veggies first, and treated all fruits like dessert for the first year (just a couple bites at the end of the meal). Yes, fruit is good for them, but the sweetness really turns on the sweet tooth. With Fuzzy-Wuzzy I did mix the veggies with yogurt sometimes.

We've implemented something I learned from a family with 4 boys: they place a very small amount of each item on the plate. Seconds can only be had after all firsts are eaten. Dessert is still allowed, in the same small portion... but if you want more, you gotta eat your first helpings.

Squiggly-Wiggly was easier than Fuzzy-Wuzzy. FW is almost 2 and we've started implementing the same rules on him that SW has. FW didn't understand them real well and of course didn't like them once he did get it. But to help him understand, I would have one bite of what he didn't want to eat, with the bite of what he wanted following right behind it. That is, one veggie, one bite of bread. As he asked for more bread, I'd point to the veggie again... one veggie, then one bread. It helped to have HotSauce step in and enforce it, because I give in too easily sometimes.

Now he understands better, but sometimes chooses not to eat at supper. I realized he's holding out for snack, so another of SW's rules have been imposed on FW. He now gets leftover lunch for afternoon snack (followed by a yummier snack if he eats it)... and leftover supper for bedtime snack. Usually he's hungry enough then that he eats it and then gets his treat. We're talking small portions, and sometimes I remove some of the "leftovers" from his plate before I give it to him (he doesn't see that part).

Also, we don't allow snacks in the last hour before supper... except for veggies or apples, and they can only have water (we drink water a lot so they're used to it). Milk is given at snack time, and they may have milk or juice later in the meal if most of the meal has been eaten.

I agree strongly with The Gangs All Here that you cannot eliminate their snack times... toddlers need to eat often ( I think it's at least every 3 hours ). What you can do is choose what foods to offer to ensure that they don't fill up so much on snacks that they're not hungry enough at meal time. If my kids are whining near mealtime, or I know it has been too long since snack time, I simply set a healthy non-filling food on the table, such as one or two baby carrots cut lengthwise several times to make them like matchsticks, some leftover peas (just cold from the fridge... like you see on the salad bar), or tiny slivers of apple. I don't offer these things, as they would refuse them. But when they're just sitting around on the table, the boys usually try them and eat them.

Wow, this was a long post! And as you can see on my blog post from earlier today, Fuzzy-Wuzzy is such a good eater... he eats all kinds of things :)

Melissa said...

When you figure out what to do from all this conflicting advice, let me know. The only vegetable #3 eats is lettuce and an occasional raw carrot.

Obviously, I should not be giving anyone advice about this. The only reason #1 eats so well is because she spent a lot of time growing up at a friend's house (we swapped babysitting) who ate very healthy due to heart disease in the family. So, I can take no credit. In exchange for them feeding #1 vegetables, I introduced their daughter to sausage and soda.

Holding It Together said...

I can't speak to this from personal experience because we have a variety of feeding issues going on at our house, but I can recommend a great book called "Just Take a Bite" by Lori Ernsperger, PhD and Tania Stegen-Hansen, OTR/L. I have heard them speak and they have a systematic approach to introducing new foods with lots of great ideas to make it fun. I think much of what they suggest would work with typical children just as well as special needs kiddos.