Feeding Solid Food To A Toddler Is A Repetitive Cycle of Joy And Despair!

As breastmilk is the major source of nutrition in the first year of a baby's life, it didn't bother much when she rejected solids in that timeframe. Post first birthday, when solids became the primary food, I was meticulous about the fact that she isn't deprived of any nutrients.

Ever since my daughter started eating solids, I had been trying various recipes in an attempt to render all healthy items to her in an acceptable manner.

My efforts yielded positive results for a few months before everything changed upside down when she turned 1.

As breastmilk is the major source of nutrition in the first year of a baby’s life, it didn’t bother much when she rejected solids in that timeframe.

Post first birthday, when solids became the primary food, I was meticulous about the fact that she isn’t deprived of any nutrients.

I attended courses on toddler eating and comprehended the fact that force-feeding or distraction feeding wouldn’t help in the long run.

Force-feeding

Do we adults eat the same quantity of food all through the day? Wouldn’t we eat less when we are full and eat more when we are hungry?

The same applies to our kids as well.

Expecting them to finish their meal every time is unfair. Babies are smart enough to know their appetite. Forcing them to eat will create an aversion towards mealtime.

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Distraction feeding

This is the easiest form of feeding, wherein a toddler gulps the food, not knowing what it is and how much of it goes inside the tummy.

Mama’s will be contented in this method as the nutritional requirement is fulfilled undoubtedly.

What about Mama’s who don’t follow either of the above methods?

During the normal days, we’ll be on top of the world after every feeding session, especially when our kid demands for extra food.

During the food denial days, we sail in the sea of scepticism about our methods and grumble to our friends.

We pile up stress about their nutritional intake and try the variety of recipes in an attempt to make them eat, only to get disappointed at the end.

We even tend to offer them snacks (biscuits, wafers, cakes) which we strictly restricted earlier.

And the cycle repeats!

But is it all really worth it?

Of course yes. Toddlers don’t just learn to deny, they do learn to demand for food when in need.

The greatest lesson a toddler learns in the first three years is to listen to his/her body and comprehend how much or how little to eat. Force or distraction feeding will isolate them from this lesson.

Food jags, temporary loss of appetite, are absolutely normal in a child’s development cycle as long as they stay healthy. While an infant’s birth weight triples in a year, toddlers weight gain is slow and steady post 1 year.

Instead of focusing on turning them plumpy and chubby, let’s focus on bringing them up as healthy eaters, so they get to decide what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat.

Image source: Ziprashantzi via Getty Images, free on Canva Pro

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About the Author

Gayathri Venkatesan

Instructional Designer by profession; Writer by passion. A self sculpting mother exploring life in various dimensions. read more...

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