Once your child turns one, they’re going to be learning a lot of new and exciting things. So why are toddlers such notoriously picky eaters? A lot of it has to do with their need for consistency. Thankfully, there are ways you can make eating easier for everyone. Here are reasons why your toddler could be picky about their food and things you can do to help.
They’re Sensitive to Certain Foods
Solid food, with its textures, colors, and flavors, is a new experience. Sometimes toddlers decide they don’t like a particular quality of a food, and this can lead to rejecting things they’ve never had before. They might need to see new food ten to 15 times before they’ll try it. In the meantime, provide healthy food choices among things you know they like, and work around particular sensitivities. If they don’t like a texture, try an alternative method of preparation or combine it with a texture they do like. If your child is sensitive because of a medical issue making swallowing or digestion difficult, talk to your midwife or maternal fetal medicine specialist in Arizona.
They Want to Do It Themselves
Toddlers explore their independence by feeding themselves. Try offering them “finger foods,” and teach them how to dip them in other foods for more variety. Let them hold a spoon or a fork while eating or decide where food goes on their plate. Your job is to provide healthy foods for them to eat, and their job is to eat what they want and how much they want.
They Can’t Sit Still
Your toddler is developing, which means short attention spans and a need to move around, both of which make sitting still long enough to eat difficult. Set your child’s meal out before they sit down, keep the mealtime around ten minutes long, and make sure it’s free of distractions. Let them get up when they’re finished eating, even if they haven’t eaten much. If necessary, keep them in a booster or high chair until they’re three years old.
They’re Copying You
Your toddler will look at you for an example of how to react to foods. If your child sees you enjoying a variety of healthy foods, they’re going to make healthier decisions about what to eat. We tend to prepare foods that we like to eat, so making sure you serve a variety—and aren’t making icky faces of your own—will help your child expand their palate.
They Just Don’t Want to Try It
Let your child make their own decisions about food. If you force them to eat things they don’t like or quantities they can’t handle, you could have a really stubborn toddler on your hands, and they could be at a greater risk for obesity. They will eventually eat healthier foods on their own, and you don’t need to bribe them with cookies. If you’re concerned about them eating a balanced diet, keep a record and talk to your midwife or maternal fetal medicine specialist of Arizona about diets and multivitamins.
Postpartum Care from Desert Blossom Women’s Care
Your questions about babies and motherhood don’t end once you’re out of the delivery room. The certified nurse-midwives at Desert Blossom Women’s Care know that you’re going to keep having questions, and we’re ready to answer them. We work with your healthcare team and specialists in maternal fetal medicine of Arizona to ensure that everything from conception to postpartum care goes well. If you’re in southern Arizona and interested in compassionate midwifery, schedule an appointment today.