In a recent 1:1 weaning session yesterday I met a one year old who had become very fussy about eating suddenly, and seemed to reject a lot of foods that were accepted before. Sound familiar to any of you?? We often hear parents saying ‘My 12 month old won’t eat, and they were brilliant before!’
We looked at everything the child had eaten over a week, and I took a brief health history too to review all his body systems (e.g. sleep patterns, digestive health, mood, skin health etc) Here are some of the things I talk about with the parents.
- Look at your child’s nutrition over a week, not a day. Try not to worry if they go through phases of not eating much. We all accept times when baby’s have a growth spurt, but we’re often less happy to accept times when their appetite reduces.
- Know that babies rate of growth slows down between 1-2 so they may need less energy than before.
- Neophobia ‘fear of new things’ is common between 12-24 months and is a totally normal phase of development. Babies become distrustful of new things for a period of time.
- If babies begin to feed themselves at this age they may also eat less, and take longer for meals until they get the co-ordination right. Consider whether you allow enough time for meals to let them feed themselves or is there a rush to finish due to the family schedule? Also aim to end a meal within 20 minutes if they are finished so he / she doesn’t get bored.
- Provide a sample of different foods at each meal, some new, some well accepted foods
- Give small amounts at a time if food is thrown on the floor. Allow them to trial their new skills of pincer grip and give them blueberries, peas, chickpeas to pick up one by one.
- Think about what else is going on for them at this time (e.g. have their passed a new developmental milestone such as learning to walk, talk) or has their routine changed suddenly?
- Try food in different forms if texture is an issue. E.g. beans on their own, raw mushrooms/ courgette, or roasting instead of boiling veg.
- Keep on offering a range of healthy foods and if they don’t eat what you give at one meal don’t make a fuss, clear the food away and wait until the next mealtime. Don’t offer an alternative snack to fill them up, just accept they may not be hungry
- As always trust your instincts and if something feels wrong over an extended period of time consult your GP. Look for wet/dirty nappies, changes in mood, fever etc as normal.
If you’d like some individual support with feeding your family please get in touch. Anna comes to your home to talk through all your feeding issues and your baby can be there too, but it’s not essential. Book on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07812010412