Just now while having dinner at IMM, I noticed a family nearby our table with a toddler of about 1.5-2 years old, his daddy and mummy, and their helper. And I was shocked because they were trying to force feed the poor boy with porridge!
I turned to look at first because I heard the boy crying. And at first glance I saw the mummy holding him, with him wailing and throwing his head backwards and the helper took the chance to stuff a spoonful of porridge into his mouth. He choked of course and regurgitated that whole spoonful out and of course got a scolding.
The mum then carried the boy away probably to soothe him. While the helper stayed behind to prepare more porridge. When they came back, they tried to stuff porridge into the boy’s mouth again.
I really wanted to go up to tell them this is not the way to feed their toddler. I didn’t have the guts to as the mum and helper both seem really frustrated. And the dad appeared nonchalant while finishing up his dinner.
What they probably do not know and I hope someone tells them one day is that they are just going to make the poor child dread meal times and dreading mealtimes will not make feeding them any easier.
My toddler used to not like to eat. I almost wanted to force him to eat and came across an article that told me otherwise. I will share what I have learnt and tried.
In their first year of growth, they have a very good appetite. Mine used to finish 2 bowls of porridge from 8m to 12m. After 1, their growth slows down. And sometimes the intake of food lessens. Sometimes it lessens a lot. It may appear that they are choosing food to eat, but it is usually not so. It is simply that they are not hungry. Why are they not hungry? Their bodies are growing slower as compared to just a few months ago and they require less nutrients from food. So yes we can try to encourage them to eat. But there is no need to force them to do so. Sometimes a bottle of milk in the evening is sufficient for them.
So how did I try to encourage my toddler to eat during the period where his growth slowed A LOT? Mealtimes became challenging. I would try all sorts of ways to feed. But when all else fails, I have learnt to just leave him be.
1. Put half a blueberry on top of every spoonful of dinner. (Or any small fruit that he likes)
2. Let them self feed. Yes it will be messy.
3. Have your meals together with them.
4. Keep them entertained. With a toy or book or drawing materials.
5. Turn the spoon into a zooming aeroplane that flies into the mouth or a fish swimming into their mouth.
(Please add on to the list if you have more ideas!)
If all these fail, don’t fret. Move on to soup or fruits. And if they still do not want, just give that bottle of milk before they go to bed. My aunty used to take it to heart that the toddler does not like her cooking. But it is really not true. There are good days when he eats and finishes all his food.
If you have a kid who loves eating, please really appreciate that! 🙂 my boy is now 2.5 years old and some meal times are still very challenging. Let’s continue to be patient and try to make their (and our) mealtimes easier and more pleasant. 🙂