Month 16 Worry: What to Do about Picky Eaters
What the Doc May Do
Your pediatrician’s job is to monitor general nutritional requirements and to follow your child’s growth curve. A dietary history should be obtained at every well visit. A child who is not eating large quantities of food yet is growing perfectly well on his curves is reassuring. On the other hand, I will often have concerned parents in my office who swear their child is eating nothing, yet their growth curves prove them to be obese. The reasons for this are perceptual and societal, and it is a growing concern of pediatricians nationally. And by all means, minimize or eliminate fruit juice. It has limited nutritional value and is taking stomach space meant for more nutritious foods.
What about vitamins? Most doctors will say that vitamins are not necessary. Although this is a controversial issue, I feel that vitamins have a few significant downsides to consider.
- First, there is little or no scientific evidence that a daily vitamin in an otherwise healthy child is medically beneficial, except in very specific situations.
- Second, multivitamins with iron are one of the top causes of poisoning in the United States. One Scooby Doo chewable a day may be okay, but the one time your toddler gets into the bottle and eats twelve … hello, Poison Control (1-800-222-1222)!
- Lastly, vitamins give parents a false sense of security. I have no study to back this up, but I believe that parents who give a multivitamin daily don’t try as hard on their child’s dietary variety as those who don’t give a vitamin.
Expanding your child’s limited diet is a full-time job, and there just are no short cuts to a balanced diet.
More 16th Month Health Help
Even the most confident parent has concerns about her child’s health and wellness from time to time. Learn more about which medical issues are most common at each age, here. (If you have any pressing concerns or questions about your child’s health, please check with her healthcare provider.)
- What was last month’s most popular health worry?
- Learn which medical question you might have next month.
- Here’s what else is happening with your child’s health and development this month.
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