Like most first-time moms of toddlers, I spend quite a bit of mental energy on the fact that my toddler usually refuses to eat (with the exception of cheese sticks), and how I can possibly lay the bedrock for future good eating habits and lifelong nutrition. Right now she just bats food away from her, or throws it away from her. She doesn’t want pouches, either. She will take a pre-nap or bedtime bottle (8 oz whole milk each time, she doesn’t get milk at any other time), and she will usually eat 1/2-1 cup of mandarin oranges in 100% fruit juice. That’s seriously it. Once she took a bite of yogurt with her spoon. And another time, she took one bite of toast.
Do these kids live on air???
Of course I’m going to be the one millionth parent who visits the pediatrician for a 15-month well-child visit to fret out loud about my toddler’s refusal of food. I have also received a lot of good advice from experienced moms and caregivers. In order to keep consistency between me (4 days a week) and my mom (3 days a week) I have actually created three posters with guidelines.
Poster #1: The Schedule
I tried to keep this very broad, just outlining snacks, meals, and naps for my mom. I don’t want her to feel like I’m micromanaging play activities.
7:30-8:30 Wake up, change diaper, get dressed, eat breakfast
10:30 Eat snack
11:30-12:00 Nap or quiet crib time
4:30-5:30 2nd nap time, or quiet play time
7:00-7:30 Outside or physical activity (prior to bedtime routine)
8:00-8:30 Reading and beditime
Poster #2: Meal and Snack Time
Just reminders for both us.
-Sit at table with Jo Jo and use identical plates (her high chair turns into a booster chair, so I’m gonna try this)
-Give her spoon or fork and assist as little as possible (she likes to feed herself with utensils)
-Eat the same foods yourself so she imitates (gonna be hard for my mom, she either doesn’t eat anything or just eats junk)
-Include her in meal preparation (put toast in toaster, stir mixtures, etc), holding her on the hip or letting her stand on a chair
-Don’t drink pop or eat sweets in front of her (don’t know how well we are going to do with this one at first, but I’m determined)
-Limit milk to 16 oz (2 cups) per day (currently giving with pre-nap and pre-bed bottles)
-Only give water or juice (which she drinks 1/2 cup of for constipation) with snacks
Poster #3: Daily Menu for One Week
Makes me less lazy with meal prep if I know exactly what I’m going to make and exactly what to buy at the grocery store for a week.
Example for Monday:
Breakfast- 1/2 piece toast with butter, 1/4 cup yogurt, 1 tbsp blueberries cut in half
Snack #1- 1 mandarin orange cup, 1/2 cup water (more if she’s still thirsty)
Lunch- Several sweet potato fries, turkey dog cut up, 1/2 banana sliced (or whole if she likes biting into it better)
Snack #2- 1 cheese stick, 1/2 cup apple juice
Dinner- Several slices of fried zucchini and onion, 2 pieces (small strips) of grilled chicken cut up, 1/2 small tortilla with melted cheese