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Toddler Eating Habits: A Diner’s Guide

Toddler eating habits often leave parents wondering if a child can survive on air.  Even when a your little one does show interest in food, there may only be three or four foods she will eat. Looking for ideas?

The norm for toddler eating habits is to view foods suspiciously. Toddlers display picky eating behavior and confuse parents by eating seemingly nothing one day and voraciously the next. Children between the ages of one and three often go into food jags, eating mostly one or two foods, and then they get over it. This is normal behavior for a toddler.

Asking Why About Toddler Eating Habits

The rapid growth that occurs during the first year of life slows considerably at about age one. Thus, the dip in appetite seen in most toddler eating habits  reflect this slowing growth rate. Also, as toddlers become more independent, they begin to exert control over a variety of situations.

Parents who try to push or cajole toddlers into eating often end up in a lose-lose power struggle. It’s important to relax and trust your child’s judgement since the ultimate goal is to establish positive lifetime food habits.

A Parent’s Guide to Toddler Eating Habits

Parents can also avoid focusing on one particular meal and instead ask, “What did they eat for the day or even the week?” Concerned parents may want to keep a food diary to help track what their toddler is actually eating over the course of a few days. Finally, make sure your child’s growth is monitored regularly by your child’s health care provider.

More tips for feeding toddlers
Continue to offer your toddler a wide variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups, including whole milk until her second birthday. Whole milk provides the extra fat needed for brain development for children under the age of two. Nonfat or 1% milk are acceptable after the age of two.

Offer healthful snacks at regularly scheduled time between meals. Think of snacks as “mini-meals” that contain smaller portions of nutritious foods. Snack time should not be equated with “treat” time.

To promote healthy feeding development, allow her to feed herself, never force her to try a new food and accept it as final when she indicates she is full.

Parents teach best by example. Model healthful eating at snack time. And look for more ways to create healthy meal plans.

This post was written Connie Evers, MS, RD is a registered dietitian, author and child nutrition specialist. Her website is Nutrition for Kids. The post was edited for readability by Sixty Second Parent Editor Anne Oxenreider, MA, M.Ed.

Be Ready with an Infant Flu Shot

Get an infant flu shot as soon as possible. Please know that a flu shot for an expectant mother can protect a baby under 6 months from this very contagious illness.

I recommend getting the seasonal flu shot as soon as they come out. The flu shot is generally available and recommended late fall and through the early spring.

Every child six months and older should get a flu shot.

Every child six months and older should get a flu shot.

Young children, especially infants, can become very ill. As a reminder, the nasal spray is no longer an option, so it’s a shot for all.

For children who have a chronic health condition or lowered immunity, the flu shot can prevent serious later health problem. Always take steps to prevent the flu.

Infant Flu Shot Under 6 Months

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that, among children of all ages, those under 6 months of age are at the greatest risk of being hospitalized from flu.

Because flu shot is only approved from the age of 6 months, I recommend that expectant mothers receive a flu shot. This will protect themselves and their newborn children from flu-related health problems.

See more about the effect of expectant mothers and the flu shot in Medical News Today.

What is the Flu? from Sandy L. Chung, MD, FAAP

Cough…cough… sniffle..sniffle…  uh oh, your child is definitely coming down with something. If your child has had fevers, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose and headache or body aches, then it is very likely, especially during cold weather.  Is it the flu?

News Alert

Anesthetic Cream with Vaccines

Medical News Today reports new research about managing pain due to vaccinations. The Canadian Medical Association Journal states that anesthetic cream provides the best relief to infants for pain related to these shots.

The article points out that infant vaccinations protect babies from 14 serious childhood diseases. So despite the pain and distress, parents need to have their baby vaccinated.

This new research says apply anesthetic cream–and tender, loving care.

The Turtles are Bad!

That is the pet turtles spreading Salmonella. Several states have reported outbreaks of Salmonella associated with the little creatures that children love to have as “pets.” Infections with Salmonella may cause severe diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramping and just plain feeling sick. If you have a turtle or other pet reptiles and symptoms of Salmonella infection occur, seek medical help. And, perhaps consider a pet other than a turtle!

For more information on the risks of Salmonella passed along by turtles or other pet reptiles please visit the following link to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website.

Dietary Supplements and Concerns for Children

Many people use dietary supplements for a variety of reasons. However, there are concerns affecting children that should be noted. A recent study reported in the Journal of Toxicology stated that calls to poison control centers about dietary supplements had increased by 50% from 2005 to 2012 and that 70% of those calls involved children under age six. More than 90% of those were unintentional.

So, if there are dietary supplements in use in your home, make sure young children cant get to them! This is one supplement to their diet they do not need!

Protecting Against Severe Allergic Reactions

With warmer weather, many varieties of stinging and biting critters are around that could cause significant harm to children who are allergic to them. If you do not have an EpiPen(epinephrine injection) or know how to use it, obtain a prescription for one and proper advice on its use from your child’s health care provider. There has been some controversy over the rising costs of EpiPen. Recently a generic EpiPen was introduced to the market which reduced the costs for prescriptions, but you should speak with your health care provider to find the best option.
Remember this is just another way to be prepared to protect the health of those you love!

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