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I`ve resorted to continuing to spoon feed her smooth purees just to get quantity into her

Hi. My 15 month daughter is 9.6 kilo and 76cm tall. She hasn`t ever and still wont eat lumpy purees. She eats 1/4 cup of food at a good meal, half of that at a poor one. There are more poor ones than good. She has milk once in the night I`m about to try cutting out. And 100-150ml milk 3 times a day. Seldom to never for juice or water. I`ve resorted to continuing to spoon feed her smooth purees just to get quantity into her. She eats a small variety of finger foods though which I`m happy with. Garlic bread, peas, cheese, apple, fejoa; that kind of thing. My question is; at what point should I stop pandering to her somewhat difficult eating and just let her "eat or go hungry" philosophy? She has 4 top and 4 bottom teeth. Does not yet chew meat well, is okay but not great with bread chewing, and does very well with biscuits or crackers that soggy up easily with her saliva. Also, how do I incorperate vitamin C containing foods into her diet? Oranges dont really mix well with veges or cereal like most other fruits. {chuckle}
Thanks in advance. Angie.

Leann...
Answer: Hi Angie, Milk we are finding more often interferes with appetite. It is not at all the fault of parents though because the messages about 600mls of milk are I believe confusing. 600mls of milk far exceeds a toddlers calcium requirements and fully meets a school age child`s calcium RDI. This of course ignores the fact that most children will also get calcium from other sources. Excess calcium interferes with iron with appears linked to fussy eating as well as the other obvious iron issues. Excess milk also provides excess calories and fills tummies up quickly and displaces real food. And on it goes; I am of course not telling you things I think you already know. So I guess all I am getting at is you are on the right track with the milk! Generally if a toddler is eating a healthy varied diet they will need about 1 cup of milk a day or calcium-enriched alternative. Below is a link to my milk tip sheet if you wanted a more detailed explanation: Milk Intake So now the trick as you have found is to reverse the trend. It isn`t easy, like so many habits our little ones pick up they can be tricky to amend them. I believe it is helpful to get the guidance of an early childhood consultant or your CHN. Most often they will give you strategies to make the move slowly so it doesn`t cause you or baby stress. For example, reducing down the total mls in one bottle over a week or so to half, then doing the same with the next and so on till all bottles are halved. Then working on continuing the reduction down till you have removed the bottles all together. Making a slow transition will generally go unnoticed. It will slow reduce the calories and hopefully pave the way for bub to eat more. Children are quite good at self-regulation. Once all the milk-fillers are gone you can offer some milk, say half a cup, in a cup, after a meal twice a day. Stick with it, habits are hard to shift. I am not a big fan off going `cold-turkey`, its stressful for you both, its the last thing we need as parents in most cases. It doesn`t sound like a feeding issue, given she is happy with finger foods so swallowing lumps isnt the problem, it sounds more to do with liquid nutrition. Also your toddler may just need more opportunity to practice her oral skills at chewing, it like other muscular development requires practice, so you can see how a gradual shift will help with this. Shifting too quickly may not allow her to transition and eat well. So rather than a feeding expert a nutritionist, dietitian or similar would be a good next port of call if things don`t work. So I hope that helps, all the best with things. All the best, Leanne
Answered: 29 Apr 2009