Helping Picky Eaters

My baby seemed to enjoy a lot of different foods until he turned one. Then he became the pickiest eater! How do I get him to try new foods?

Our Daddy MD Guide’s reply: This is common for this age, and we certainly had to deal with it quite a bit with our own girls. The growth rate slows down around this time, and toddlers naturally don’t have a big appetite. (They don’t need one.) It is important to be patient. If your one-year-old is not hungry, it’s okay to give her a break and try again when she is hungry. My tip would be to avoid giving into snack time between meals. Offer foods first and drinks second.

Matthew B. McDonald, MD, a dad of three- and one-year-old children and a pediatrician at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Our Daddy MD Guide’s reply: Toddlers seem programmed to be suspicious of novel flavors. The best way to overcome this resistance is through repetition. It may seem futile at first, but your toddler may need to try a given food between 10 and 20 times before he comes to accept it!

Pairing a novel food with a proven favorite can shorten the process. If you’re cooking homemade food for your toddler, be sure not to add salt; food that tastes great to you is probably too salty for him!

David L. Hill, MD, a father of three children, a pediatrician in private practice in North Carolina, and the author of the upcoming book, Dad to Dad: Parenting Like a Pro

Q&A by Wyatt Myers