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Why your toddler refuses food

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
Why your toddler refuses food

When moving from the baby to toddler stage, we sometimes forget to move our baby on with their food and milk intake.Too often I hear parents say, "But my child won't eat their food". The main culprit is often not the fussy child but the amount of milk and juice they are consuming.

Amount of milk they're consuming

After one year of age, toddlers need fewer milk feeds as food becomes more important for their nutrition. We need to think about giving solid food feeds before we give any milk - even breast and formula feeds.This applies after 6 months of age.

If we give our toddler too much milk, then they will fill up on that and not eat their solids and can then potentially end up being malnourished. Yes, even in the developed world I have seen things like iron and other nutritional deficiencies caused by filling up on milk and juice - and it needn't be happening.

Another culprit of your toddler not eating the correct amount of food is juice and cordial

Juice and cordial fills them up with empty calories and decays their teeth. If given by bottle and several times a day it is even more disastrous. At night that is even more toxic, as toddlers and babies do not produce saliva at night, so there is no protection for their growing teeth. I have seen all the front teeth of toddlers destroyed by bottle use after one year of age. Even the sugar in milk attacks healthy teeth and the poor toddler then has no front teeth till the adult teeth appear at around 6 years old. The worst case I came across were two children in the same family at three years and four years of age and they had black decay of their teeth down to the gums. Untreated this would lead to tooth abscesses and these children had all their milk teeth removed. It was really awful and unnecessary. I'm not going to put any horror pictures on here - or maybe I should. If I can prevent at least one child not being affected by this it may be worth it.

Save your children's teeth

So save your children's teeth - stop bottle use between 6 months and one year of age, move to a sippy cup or cup with a hard spout.

Brush teeth after their milk feed at bedtime and use a fluoride toothpaste after 2 years of age - morning and night.

Stop the use of cordial or fruit juice. The acid and sugar in the juice attack healthy tooth enamel. If a toddler is never exposed to cordial as a young child it doesn't know what he/she is missing. What we expose our children to even as a baby develops their food preferences for life. We only crave sugar because we have been exposed to it.

Wouldn't it be nice if your child loved to drink water instead - a free and healthy choice?

Milk requirements for a toddler after one year old

  • 2 breast feeds a day - morning and bedtime only
  • 500mls of Full Cream Cows Milk a day. This can include milk in meals cooked/prepared and cheese or yoghurt.

Further resources

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What to do when your fussy child will only eat 3 foods

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