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Old 10-13-2012, 09:27 AM   #1
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2yo slooooooow eater

My DD is 2 years 4 months old. She eats SO slowly for most meals. For example, yesterday at lunch she took an hour to eat a small bowl of hummus, some pieces of rice cake, and a few snap peas. And that was with me actively paying attention to her, offering another bite when she's finished chewing one, encouraging her to eat faster, having cantaloupe (her favorite) as a "bribe" that she could have when she finished, etc. Of course, once she was finally done and got the cantaloupe, she gobbled that up super fast!

She feeds herself about half the time and asks for help sometimes. And other times she sits there and plays with her food. I KNOW she is hungry. And I also know her food isn't that exciting to her. She has a lot of food allergies, so her diet is pretty boring and limited, but she is also not very open to new foods I keep trying with her.

She spends a lot of her time during the meal playing with the food or her sippy or her utensils. She melts down if I take them away. And she also holds the food in her mouth so she isn't ready to take another bite after a loooong time. She is REALLY stubborn, but she does work well with incentives and rewards. Yet even the promise of a bit of fruit after several bites of her other food doesn't really work anymore.

I have thought of setting a timer and she has to finish eating by that time, but I don't think she'd understand that concept yet. I've considered just letting her be done when she starts losing interest, but the thing is, she NEEDS to eat (she has had low weight problems in the recent past) and isn't a fan of eating, so she isn't ever going to be eager to eat unless I only feed her fruit, which is her favorite. Obviously, she needs to eat more than fruit, especially with the digestive issues she has. (As far as the digestive issues go, they are mostly under control, and I am pretty sure she does not feel pain or discomfort from eating, so that isn't a factor.)

Any ideas on how to get her to eat faster?? What works for your LO??


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Old 10-13-2012, 09:45 AM   #2
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Dd2(5) has always been a very slow eater. She spends most of the day at the table lol When she was younger she had little meals and snacks through out the day(3meals and 3-4snacks). It helped with keeping her focused and seemed to make her happier then being forced into eating more at once. Once she started feeding herself Id sit with her for awhile but then would leave(to clean the kitchen or something close by). I let her take as long as she wants. It does get frustrating while eating out-and we have gotten hers to go so she can finish in the car/at home. I was a slow eater as a child and felt like a bad girl when ppl would rush me By 2nd grade I had learned to shovel food in so fast I didnt enjoy it at all and would get a tummy ache(due to short lunches at school and ppl always rushing me). Once I was out of school it took years to learn to eat at a slower pace again.

I know you said her diet is limited and she's not into trying new foods(most toddlers arent) but I would keep offering them to her. Eat some with her and make her food into fun shapes(anything turned into a smiley face gets eaten a little faster lol). Let her know fruit is at the end of the meal if you want but then Id leave her be. I wouldnt punish her or set a time limit. As long as she is eating I'd leave her be. I know waiting on a child to finish eating can be frustrating but then I remember my childhood feelings about eating and know that as long as my child is getting the nutrients she needs(and enjoying it) then thats more important.
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:28 AM   #3
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I like the pp's advice. Also, have you tried sprinkles? Allergies permitting of course. Colored sugar makes everything more exciting.
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Old 10-13-2012, 12:06 PM   #4
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Old 10-13-2012, 12:14 PM   #5
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Re: 2yo slooooooow eater

My ds1 is a slow eater. He gets really distracted (has ADHD and SPD). He's 5 now, he's been this way since he was a little over one. I never push him to eat faster or tell him he's slow as that can create bad eating habits in the future (like eating too fast to please me and then creating bad tummy aches, obesity, etc).

For trying new foods I just keep offering it, it takes roughly around 12 times for a child to like something new. When they are older and they really don't like it then I don't offer anymore, kids just like adults do have different tastes.
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Old 10-13-2012, 12:26 PM   #6
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Re: 2yo slooooooow eater

My oldest goes through phases of sometimes being a slow eater. It doesn't bother me too much, because I am a slow eater too. I could easily take 40 minutes to eat a meal, especially if it is as a family and I am talking and interacting with DH and the kids.

It drive my husband nuts though since he will finish eating in 10 minutes or less.

The only time we set any sort of time restriction is if we are getting ready to go somewhere or do something that requires them to be done eating. Usually he will speed up a little bit when he knows he only has so much time.

We have set a timer before, but he hates it and will then cry at the dinner table. I don't want to create a situation where meal time is a battle, so for the most part we just go with it.
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Old 10-14-2012, 12:36 AM   #7
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Re: 2yo slooooooow eater

I definitely would avoid pushing the issue too much, my mom always rushed me to finish meals and pushed me to eat more than I was comfortable eating. Now I have a really hard time slowing down and not eating to the point of feeling sick. I agree with the pp who said to just let her do it at her own pace.
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Old 10-14-2012, 01:03 AM   #8
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Re: 2yo slooooooow eater

I don't think slow eaters change. I have a 9 year old who is still a slow eater. Most nights I have to re-heat his dinner for him a few times. This is also with him being distraction free. There are times though he will gobble foods (like snack time) but for the most part its a process with him. I tried everything with him and just decided in the end to let him do it his way. Food is being eaten and he is happy. You also have to remember taking food away by a certain time COULD (not saying will) cause issues with eating. It may stress your child out or it may cause over or under eating. Just my from experience with my slow eater. I was afraid of him seeing me trying to change his comfortable routine as a punishment. I think what your doing now is good. Encouraging with a food she likes at the end.
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