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I struggle to make her sit down and eat a meal, she looses interest very quickly

my daughter is 2 and a half she has never been a good eater and i struggle to make her sit down and eat a meal she looses interest very quickly or lately she chews the food then spits it out?? i dont understand why she is doing this, the only food she will eat is pasta but wants it plain with no meat or anything and i worry she is not getting enough nutrition, she also wont sleep in the afternoon and wont fall asleep in her own bed i worry it is all related and i am loosing my mind.

Leann...
Answer: Hi There, No you aren`t loosing your mind, if you are not getting much sleep you will feel like it, but I can vouch for this being a very common complaint. I would ask the sleep expert about the sleep and what you can do to ensure you get a good nights sleep. A happy mum is a happy family I say. On the topic of fussy eating, it can really have you pulling your hair out! I have a six year old who is showing signs of coming out of it, but only glimpses. I still sneak stuff into all sorts of meals, makes it easier to go with it when I know he has been getting healthy food albeit disguised. Most healthcare professionals will say that as long as your toddler is gaining weight at her usual rate and is happy and healthy, she won’t starve herself. But as a parent this can be of little comfort. My quick checklist:
  1. Persisting with offering the healthy stuff even if it is rejected
  2. Sneaking in the good stuff where you can which makes avoiding the battles (no-one wins those ones) easier
  3. Getting them involved
  4. Offering a healthy supper down the line if dinner is rejected and your toddler complains of being hungry
  5. Trying to use the foods they do eat as a basis for making other food/meals that are more likely to be enjoyed. For example cream cheese on a bagel, pasta with bacon and a cream cheese base, bread and butter pudding made with calcium enriched milk such as soy or rice, try sweet potato chips etc.
  6. Swap lunch and dinner if that helps and make meal portions achievable (small but healthy).
  7. Check milk or other fluids aren’t interfering with their appetite.
  8. Remember that food rejection is a normal behaviour for most toddlers and preschoolers.
  9. Repeat the mantra "this like all things in infancy and childhood, will pass" and it will!
I have a tip sheet on fussy eating on Huggies that might have some pointers, but again I really think it would be best to get some help with this, the link is: Picky Eating Also I think the Jessica Seinfeld book using purees is a good idea, but I reduce the sugar, use olive oil and don’t add salt, I also have a recipe book based on my fussy foodie. If you feel you really would like some help and also to check that he is getting all he needs, there are a few options you might like to consider. If you wanted to start out with the obvious you might like to see a naturopath, nutritionist or dietitian who specialises in children. They will be able to firstly review what your little one does eat and tell if there may be some nutritional issues to be addressed and if so, how they are best dealt with. Then advise you on the fussy eat and what tips and tricks might help. Another option is a feeding expert, the gals at No Fuss Feeding (website of the same name) are excellent with feeding issues, and it’s their specialty. Or in a similar vein an early childhood consultant who can help with behavioural tips. Aussie: www.nofussfeeding.com.au NZ: www.paediatricfeedingdisordersclinic.co.nz/index.htm So I hope that gives you some ideas, keep offering the good stuff. Think also laterally, don`t forget things like baby rice cereal added into meals it is a good source of iron, things like pulses are a good alternative to vegies and also foods like goji berries are packed full of nutrition. All the best, Leanne
Answered: 01 Jun 2009