feeding a picky toddler
Mom Life

5 Tips for Feeding a Picky Toddler

I’ve waited a long time for this day to come but it’s official: I’m no longer breastfeeding…during the day. 

I know, I know. I’m not quite at the finish line but I’m so close! 

I went from nursing on-demand/every two hours to feeding four times a day to feeding in the morning and before bed. Now, I’m only nursing my son just before bed. The good thing about only nursing at night is he knocks right out after about five minutes of feeding. The downside: having to have breakfast ready when he wakes up. Now some may think, “oh that’s easy!” Well let me tell you it’s not. 

Because no matter how much time I spend preparing a nutritious breakfast, whether or not he eats it depends entirely on his mood. I’ve heard that feeding a picky toddler works best when you have a smile on your face but I’m sorry, I’m still not a morning person—even as a mom.  

Some days my son devours his meals without hesitation—and if I’m lucky, he’ll do a little happy dance while eating. Other days it’s a fight and our Silky Terrier Jax comes out the only winner. 

I’ve got lunch and dinner down; his favorite meals are shredded chicken breast with broccoli and roasted potatoes and, of course, spaghetti. But breakfast has become such a task. Most of my friends tell me their kids love all the breakfast staples likes eggs, grits, oatmeal, the works. But my kid hates all of that! I’ve tried it all. Thankfully, I’ve found a few tricks to get around his picky eating habits. Here’s what I’ve found to work:

5 Tips for Feeding a Picky Toddler 

five tips for feeding a picky toddler
  1. Show them you’re eating it too. My son loves to share the foods he doesn’t want to eat. So in the spirit of leading by example, I have to put on a smile and eat that spoonful of applesauce covered eggs. Some days it pays off and he returns the gesture, other days I’m sure he gets a kick out of seeing me hold back a gag.
  2. Be consistent. Even if they constantly refuse something that’s good for them like vegetables, keep putting them on the plate anyway. Eventually, they’ll give in and—who knows—they just might like it.
  3. Reward them with their favorites. Right now my son is loving strawberries. Since I know he’ll eat those, I typically use them to hide his not-so-favorites. For example, I place a strawberry on the spoon with some eggs.
  4. Make mealtime fun. I read that kids like to eat in color so I try to keep his plate as colorful as possible. He’s also a sauce lover and just learned to dip so he enjoys smearing ketchup all over the table. I’ve also come up with so many different songs and dances to encourage him to eat; you’d be surprised what you come up with when you’re tired and desperate.
  5. Change up the seating. Try moving the high chair to a different area. Or try sitting them at the table with you. I have a booster seat that I now use and he’s loving being at the “big table.” Next, we’ll probably move to one of those kiddie tables.

I hope you find these tips helpful if you’re having difficulties feeding a picky toddler. Like everything else, I’m taking this day by day. I’m sure I have a long, picky road ahead of me so I’m trying to prepare myself because he’s only going to get bigger and require more food that he’ll probably hate. Until then, I’ll continue singing, dancing, and eating applesauce covered eggs.