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Mom’s Question:

Do you have tips for feeding a 2-year-old correctly?

I just saw your ‘what foods to avoid for babies‘ and am suddenly worried. I’m from south India and here all people give only fresh cows milk directly from the farm as soon as it is milked, if the baby is not taking breast milk. Is this wrong?

Anyways coming to my baby’s food habits… I fed my son only breast milk once in 2 hours day and night till he completed 6 months, then started lactogen stage 2 and cerelac for semisolid food introduction.

When he was 8 months I gave him broken rice starchy food with little salt and ragi milk also home made we call it ragi kanji here. I introduced idlis (if you have not heard of it, it is made by grinding rice, urad dhal and fermented and baked into soft round forms) when he was 9 months. After he completed 10 months I introduced rice to him.. rice cooked very softly with thoor dhal, few french beans and half a carrot and one small garlic flake and salt, grinded it coarsely in mixie and gave him for lunch daily..

He took breast milk til he was one year, though only at night once or twice, other times I fed him lactogen. After one, I started toned cow’s milk, eggs, and all other vegetables except egg plant.. I gave him drumstick, ladies finger, bitter gourd, beetroot, potatoes, carrot, cabbage, snake gourd, radish, etc..

He won’t eat any fruits at all.. he liked mangoes once but then lost taste for it again.. after he was two I started mutton.. just once a week and three small cubes of regular home made mutton curry along with rice..

Now he is 2.3 years, my mother in law wants to start on fish.. Here they either deep fry fish with chilli and salt or put it in a spicy gravy… I’m not sure of how to introduce fish to him, I am a strict vegetarian and all this non veg foods are so new to me and I can’t decide.. usually non veg people start giving fish and meat to babies after 10 months itself and I was so strict over my son not to give till he turns 2. All the food he eats is prepared as it is for adults with chilli powder etc, but little less spicy I give him..

My son is a picky eater and eats very low quantity food..

Please advise..

PS: he loves to eat masala maggi noodles and biriyani rice very much.. both has lot of spices like cloves and cinnamon sticks added to it.. am not sure of these too..

by Nanthini
(India, Tamil Nadu)

Baby Helpline:

Good Foods To A Picky 2-Year Old

How great that you are really trying to give your son a good start! And to me it seems like you do!

Cow’s Milk Instead of Breastmilk or Formula

First, you ask about cow’s milk as a substitute for human breast milk. This is actually a hard question. Human breast milk is likely to be the best food for an infant by far. Second would be formula, provided that it can be given in proper amounts and with clean water and equipment. I know for many moms around the world this simply isn’t a possibilitiy. Either formula is too expensive, the water isn’t clean enough or both.

Then, if the baby is younger than 4 months old, cow’s milk is probably the best choice. Cow’s milk, however, doesn’t have the same composition as human milk, for example it contains a lot more protein. It isn’t ideal, but a better choice than formula based on contaminted water, or diluted to fit the wallet of the family. If feeding a baby cow’s milk, again making sure that the milk as well as the equipment is completely clean, preferably boiled, is key.

For a baby older than 4 months, another option is to start with solid foods instead of cow’s milk, or at least in combination.

Tips for Feeding 2-Year-Old Correctly

Regarding your son’s eating habits, it seems to me that you have given him an excellent start. Something to think about is to keep his intake of salt to a minimum. Studies have shown that too much salt in childhood produces a serious rise in blood pressure that progressively worsens with age.

Since your boy is at an age when he grows rapidly, introducing some meat or fish could be a good idea, both for protein and iron. You’ll find some recipes here if you are interested. (There is a recipe for scrambled eggs too in that link, another option to give your son enough protein.)

Another option could be to simply simmer some fish (instead of frying) with herbs and serve him small pieces of boiled fish together with rices and vegetables.

Picky 2-Year-Old – Normal?

You are also a bit worried because your son is becoming more picky. That is actually very normal for his age. Before the age of 2 years, many (not all!) toddlers are open to all sorts of foods, but then it is suddenly “no” to everything.

This “picky phase” can continue for quite some time, years even, and is a good time as a parent to practice patience and creativity.

Always serving something the child recognises and likes along with anything new, never force the child but rather encourage, and make the food look nice are good rules of thumb. Also offering healthy snacks often and on the go, are good ways of getting nutrition into an active, picky 2-year-old.

Many vitamins are also available in different fruits and vegetables, so if your son does eat vegetables, he is probably getting a lot of what he needs anyway. (For a list of vitamins and where to find them, click here.) It is all a matter of making the eating a positive experience and encourage your child any time he shows interest in new foods.

I hope this provides you with some help.



Dec 17, 2018my baby not at all having food

by: Harika

My daughter is 2 yr old. She used to be good while I’m feeding her lunch but now a days she doesn’t want to have food at all. Once when she was sick I forcibly fed her… as i worried about her. After that when I ask her to come for lunch shez very afraid and doesn’t want to eat.

Plz anyboby help me regarding this problem.

Dec 19, 2018Making eating a positive experience

by: Paula (Baby Help Line)

Hi Harika, Just as you have already discovered, trying to force a child to eat may very well lead ot them associating eating with the negative stress and feelings of being forced even long after the actual situation in gone. And if the child then doesn’t want to eat, mom and dad gets even more worried, try to force the child even more and a vicious circle has started. You need to break this negative association by making eating joyful again. Being 2 years old, I bet your daughter is on the go a lot and loves running around and playing games. Don’t make her sit down to eat – especially not where you once forced her to eat. Instead give her something on the go, and also play with her, for example hiding pieces of food in a cup and make her find it. (But make sure you remember where you put it!) You can also arrange a party with her for her doll or lovey and let her feed them and you (but not herself unless she wants to). When you eat, let her try something from your plate if she wants to.

Children won’t generally starve themselves for longer periods, but at 2 years, a child has a strong will – which is good! Thus playing with her to eat rather than forcing will be much more effective. Many 2-year-olds love helping out in the house – making the table, doing the dishes or helping out with the cooking. Try to invite her to participate. You can also ask her about the seasoning – that’s something I’ve used a lot with my picky children. If they are asked for advice on if the food needs more salt or whatever, and get to try and taste while cooking, they are much more likely to dare to try the foods once served. Another effective game at this age, can be to say (with a smile), that she is NOT allowed to eat (something you know she really likes) and make a game out of that. A 2 year-old really wants to be “big” and doing the opposite to what Mom says can be very tempting.

Last – not eating much for a few days or even more is not good of course, but not dangerous. Not drinking anything is a much bigger concern, due to the risk of dehydration. So offer her milk or water often.

Good luck!

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