Should I worry if my one-year-old eats only crackers and formula?

Ashley - posted on 05/05/2012 ( 7 moms have responded )

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I have been trying to introduce new foods, but she seriously only eats ritz crackers and refuses any and all types of baby and table food. I know she is just waiting for a bottle- If she doesn't eat real food, I still have to feed her SOMETHING right? How can I lessen the amount of bottle she eats in order to get her to eat real food? It's a fight and a struggle at every mealtime. I've tried the advice like sitting down to eat together, and to let her see me eat her food and give lots of praise when she does eat, but seriously, she won't eat anything but the bottle. I can't just NOT feed her. HELP!!! What do I do?

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Sarah - posted on 05/05/2012

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Actually, yes you can. You put the food in front of her, if she chooses not to eat, then she's hungry until the next meal. It's not NOT feeding her, you are. It's not your responsibility to make sure she eats, it's hers. It's your responsibility to offer healthy foods in a non-stressful environment at regular times. No baby will starve themselves. She may miss a meal or two, but she's not going to starve to death. You're allowing her to dictate what she eats. This is only going to get worse as she gets older. She's manipulating you and you're allowing her to get away with it. Stop offering a bottle with her meals. No crackers (save those for snack time). Put the plate down in front of her, sit with her at the table, and calmly eat. If she doesn't eat, then tell her you guess she's not hungry. No snacks or bottles until the next meal. Do the same the next meal. Eventually she will eat, but you have to stand your ground.

Sarah - posted on 05/05/2012

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My kids also wake up between 7 and 7:30. They are 3 1/2y and 21m. This is an example of our schedule:

7:30 Wake up, diaper change.
7:45 Breakfast (for example, toast fingers and oatmeal or yoghurt and fruit or eggs and toast)
We eat together. Milk offered in a cup or sippee cup. A small amount only (maybe 1-2oz).
If they eat their breakfast I will give them more milk (maybe another 2-3 oz). Other than that, water as they want through the morning.
10:30 Snack (fruit, cheese and crackers, whatever) ONLY if they ate breakfast. They know if they don't eat it's a long way til lunch. If I give them a snack, then they won't eat lunch.
12:00-12:30ish Lunch (sandwiches, soup, chicken strips, fish and chips, whatever I feel like making pretty much). They get a glass of water with lunch. Maybe if they did really well some watered down juice, but that's pretty rare (I'm not a fan of juice for kids).
Water through the afternoon
3:30ish Snack time (if they ate lunch). This is my more liberal snack like a cookie or pudding cup.
5:00-6:00ish (whenever it's ready) Dinner - whatever we're eating. Last night we had salmon, rice, and green beans (my son ate all of it, my daughter about 1/2). Another 2-3oz milk in a cup with the meal (again I will top up after if they eat or water if they don't).

My do our bedtime routine right after dinner so they don't get a snack, but if they were up later and had eaten they would get one.

Some points on the milk intake. At 1 year of age, limit it to no more than 500-750mls (16-25oz) a day max. If she's on formula, you can start switching her to whole milk (homo). She needs the milk fat for her brain development so this is a good choice. Also try to choose higher fat milk products (cheese, yoghurt, etc.). Kids and babies over a year who take in too much milk (over the amounts I stated) often get iron-deficient anemia because they substitute what they should be eating with the milk. It's a balance between giving them what they need and not giving them too much so they won't eat. Most of the time my kids will eat, though once in a while they won't. It doesn't mean they won't whine (at least my son) that he's hungry between meals, but I tell him he should have eaten at lunch then (or dinner, breakfast). They both know now if they don't eat then it's a long way until their next meal. It's hard to stick your ground, but I think in the long run that it teaches them that #1 - Mom is not a restaurant, and #2 - You can't push Mom around.

Good luck, I hope it all works out for you!

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Sarah - posted on 05/05/2012

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Oh, and I would stop offering her purees and baby food. At 1 she should be eating everything your family eats. You can cut up her meat and food in super small bits since she's still learning, but don't puree it.

User - posted on 05/05/2012

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Thank you Sarah-
I get so much conflicting advice from so many people it's so hard to know what to do. I truly agree with you that I am being manipulated. Can you help me put together some kind of eating schedule for her? I've been through 3 pediatricians and none have been helpful. When DO I give a bottle, when do I give purees, when do I give table food (meals) and when should snacks be? I need to create a routine where she gets everything on a regular basis but has proven to be INCREDIBLY challenging.

If she wakes up 7-7:30, what time should breakfast be, and would it consist of bottle or table food or both? When should I offer a snack. If you could just give me a break down of how you feed your baby throughout the day, a kind of guideline, I'm sure I can adjust it to fit our needs. But I am losing sleep stressing about how to start. I know how important routine is, and her sleep routine is right on, but meals... I'm SOL.

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