Food and Nutrition

Picky Little Palates

Parentune Support
3 to 7 years

Created by Parentune Support
Updated on Jul 23, 2020

Picky Little Palates
Reviewed by Expert panel

I have the honor of mothering a vibrant 4 year old, who used to be quiet a picky eater and still is. Advice from my paediatrician and some likely-troubled moms, the internet and the persistence to keep at it, helped me sail through. Here are some tips from the journey so far :
1. Start with semi solids from the age of 6 months(compulsorily), and introduce new foods weekly to habituate the child with new textures and consistencies. This not only gives him extra nutrients but also teaches him, to accept new tastes, and get into the habit of chewing. We started with mashed potato, pulped fruits and move on to dals and cereals like rice, wheat, oats etc later. By 9 months, my daughter was eating almost everything being cooked at home.
2. At 1, my daughter lost almost half of her appetite suddenly, the paediatrician told us, that growth hormone diminishes function from now on, so she would eat less but nonetheless, we have to keep at it. Also, he told us to wean her off mother's milk at 1, so she would automatically accept other foods.
3. We made a new routine (and stick to it till date), with a target of 5 small meals a day, comprising of fruits, cereals, eggs, khichdi, dal, roti, dosa, chila, soy milk, coconut water and boiled/sautéed vegetables. Initially, very less would go in, and most of it came out with equal fervor, but we tried distracting her with songs, poems or showing her things outside, while feeding. I realized a park full of children is the best place to feed our picky eaters. Please don't distract the child with TV, tablet, mobile phone while feeding, sure it gets the job done, but also hooks the child on to gadgets from a very early age.
4. Till date, we have handled several food resistance phases, with patience and perseverance. We follow a meal time routine, feeding her at the same time and if possible, in the same environment. Encourage homemade foods and never give in to junk food cravings of your child at such times especially. Fix the junk food day, at once a week and keep your commitment, if you want the child to keep his.
5. Children may not eat when they are cranky due to a physical sickness, an environmental or even a weather change. Please analyze and be empathetic towards their needs and never badger the child into eating. Food should never be given as punishment. Cajole them into eating by making it look enticing, or prepare it in their presence, learning the names of ingredients as you go along. Even children can participate in some of the easy to do recipes. Also you could prepare homemade versions of some junk foods the child craves.
6. Finally, improvise, when possible. You know your children better than any paediatrician, grandmother or the all-knowing blogger. Think of new ways to make meal times enjoyable with them through fun activities.
Happy Feeding!!

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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| Jul 31, 2015

Hi Neha ,Tnx for nice blog. I am a mother of 18 month old baby. She is a vry fussy eater. my pedia has also suggested me to ween off ,but i am unable to do so. pls suggest me how u did so...

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| Aug 01, 2015

Hi Neha, thanks for your comment. I accomplished weaning in 2 phases and it took about a month. First, I weaned off the daytime feeding and then the night time feeding. Firstly, try keeping her tummy full with other foods, so she wouldn't require milk and try handing over the child to some other caretaker during the time she craves for feed just to soothe herself, like sleep times. Usually, day time weaning is easier as there are more ways to distract the child during the day. You will have to be really strongwilled for night time weaning, so take the help of your mom or mom in law to hold and soothe the child and don't hold the child yourself. Unless you wean her off completely during day don't go for night time, the child tends to feel very insecure during this time. Hope this helps.

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