Problems can sometimes arise when feeding infants and toddlers. Knowing what’s typical and what isn’t can help parents know when to consult with a doctor or dietician.
Understanding that it is typical, for instance, for two year olds to go on food jags or to sometimes be picky or light eaters, helps keep parents from undue panic.
Most children do not eat a balanced diet at any given meal. Instead, as long as the parents are offering a wide variety of healthy foods, children’s diet will be balanced over the course of a week. This may look like eating only grapes at one meal, nothing but chicken nuggets at another and only their favorite cereal for two days. At the end of the week though, that child has eaten from each food group.
If a child seems to have frequent constipation, diarrhea or vomiting, there may be an allergy or intolerance to one or more foods.
Waiting too late to introduce solids can also lead to a child who is resistant to having anything other milk go into his or her mouth. Typically, solids should be introduced around six months but not later than seven to ten.
Every child is different, some signs that your child is ready for solids are the ability to sit up, loss of tongue thrust which pushes food out of the mouth, and an interest in what you are eating.
Some children have sensory integration issues and need help learning to tolerate the different smells, tastes and textures that go along with eating.
While the child’s pediatrician is always a good resource, parents should be aware that Registered Dieticians are also available and have had much more extensive training on food and nutrition than doctors are given. They are an excellent but under used resource.