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Dealing with children who are fussy eaters can be very difficult. Most parents go through this stage at some point. As moms, we all want our toddlers to get the nutrition they need and can feel a little stressed if they refuse to let anything healthy pass their lips.

The average toddler's likes and dislikes can be hard to keep up with. It's quite normal to discover that their favourite food from yesterday has fallen out of favour today. Most toddlers have picky days and, according to NHS statistics, 1 in 5 develops fussy eating habits.

During this period all we can do is keep trying. Most importantly, try not to let it worry you as more often than not, it’s just a phase and they’ll grow out of it.

1. Here are some tips that will help in encouraging fussy eaters:

  • Organise your baby’s mealtime and feed only when he is hungry; as a pattern emerges you can use this as an ongoing routine.
  • Give them small portions to begin with and praise them when they’ve finished.
  • Let them eat at their own pace and try to keep mealtimes as relaxed as possible.
  • Include your toddler in family mealtimes as they like to copy you and this encourages them to try new foods.
  • Your toddler's eating environment should be calm to allow them to focus on their meal. Feed them away from distractions like the TV.
  • Talk positively about food to help them get excited about eating and don’t forget to make the food as attractive as possible.
  • Try reintroducing foods they’ve refused after a few days; it can take up to 15 tries before they’ll accept some foods.

2. Another fussy-eating phase, is when it comes to milk. Try these tips to encourage your toddler to enjoy more milk:

  • Start their day with a milky bowl of porridge, pap, custard etc.
  • Include warm milk in their bedtime routine; sit together and let your toddler enjoy their milk. You can try putting Milo, Bournvita, Ovaltine in your toddler’s milk.
  • A new beaker or an exciting cup that's used especially for milk will make it seem like more of a treat.
  • If your toddler usually has cold milk, try warming it up or vice versa.
  • If your toddler rejects milk in its entirety, try putting the portion of milk needed in his cereal. This worked for me because my son never drank milk directly; do not be discouraged.

With these tips, as moms we still have to try to be patient and offer them a variety of tastes at each mealtime, then if they don’t like one thing you can move on to the next without any fuss. With a little perseverance you’ll get there and your toddler will learn to enjoy a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet.

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