Feeding a (Sometimes) Picky Toddler.

Everywhere that I write online (Facebook, Twitter, blog, and elsewhere…) I notice there’s always a lot of chatter about feeding babies & toddlers. Some are picky, some eat everything. Some parents breastfed and some fed only formula — and of course some did both. Some started their tiny ones on cereal at 4 months, some started with purees (store bought OR homemade) at 6 months, some did baby led weaning, and others did a mix of a few.

This isn’t a post about the right or wrong ways to feed a baby or toddler — or even a post about how I did it and why.

But anyways — does it matter how exactly you did it, and will the way you chose to feed your child lead to a particularly picky kid, or one who will eat everything?

While searching around the Internet I came upon this article about Feeding the Picky Eater. I find it to be a great, well written article that is very reassuring to moms on why their toddler may eat one thing one day and not eat anything the next day.

Nowadays people are so quick (especially doctors) to jump to conclusions that there’s something wrong with the child. From day ONE — there’s always something WRONG. See a specialist. They didn’t gain enough weight. They gained TOO much weight. BLAH BLAH BLAH, I’ve heard it all. And now that my not so small anymore baby is a 16 month old toddler — I  don’t want to hear all of that “maybe there’s something wrong with them” talk. They aren’t saying enough words early enough, they started walking too late, they aren’t eating well enough — there must be something WRONG! Because you know — it’s not like every baby is different or anything, right? Staying on the “picky eater” subject — just because my kid likes strawberries and grapes, but won’t touch broccoli or chicken doesn’t mean he has “issues” (for instance, sensory issues and others that I know more than one or two moms worried about because they’re pediatrician brought it up).

My kiddo eats pretty well. He loves things like yogurt and eats both yogurt and drinks kefir on a daily basis. He drinks cow’s milk and almond milk (but isn’t fond of coconut milk). He likes water — and I’m sure would jump on the chance to drink juice if given — but I don’t give it to him, so he doesn’t drink it. But I do make him fresh juice from the juicer — and he’ll actually prefer a cup of “greener” juice rather than sweeter, fruitier juices.

He likes strawberries, grapes, and bananas and eats them often. Sometimes he likes oranges — but they have to be fresh, I’ve tried to give him canned mandarin oranges and he refuses them. He’ll eat up cheese any way he can get it — string cheese, sliced cheese, cubed cheese — he loves them all. He likes “snacks” like Teddy Grahams, eats whole wheat crackers and anything else crunchy. He’ll eat peanut butter sandwiches (we just intro’d peanut butter around 15 months) and if I’m feeling super adventurous I’ll even let him have a little Nutella.

But when it comes to dinner, there can be battles. I can cut up chicken and he’ll chew it and then spit it out. Most vegetables he’ll refuse, unless I mix them into a cheese sauce and pair with some fun macaroni (we love “Wacky Mac” vegetable macaroni shapes). Sometimes he’ll eat pork chops, sometimes not. But I prefer NOT to battle my child with dinner. If all else fails, pull out a cup of yogurt, cut up some fruit, a piece of cheese, and he’ll eat it ALL. As long as he’s eating — he’s fine.  Our newest addition to his diet has been adding in dried fruits. They’re sweet and chewy, so they’re fun. I bought a big bag of mixed “jumbo” raisins and he eats them daily.

Whether your little one prefers chicken, cheese, fruits… you find a way to make sure they’re healthy. And maybe they don’t love spinach like you do, maybe they would rather have applesauce 3 times a day, maybe they have been eating with a spoon since 12 months, or maybe they’re 15 months and only throw their utensils…

Every kid is different. Why can’t people just accept that?

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