Your Baby from 19 to 21 Months: Curiosity and Independence

Picky Eaters Unite

Without a doubt, one of the most common battlegrounds between parents and toddlers is the high chair. "Parents are always complaining that they can't get their toddlers to eat," says New York pediatrician Blanche Benenson, MD. Whereas before you might have been able to get your 1-year-old to eat a good helping of veggies and fruit at each meal, your 19-month-old rebel may eat only pasta -- and maybe not much of that.

It's also true that many children this age prefer familiarity to novelty; it might take up to two dozen tries before they'll even consider eating a new food. Adding to the automatic "yuck" response to new foods is toddler taste bud sensitivity, which is much greater than an adult's.

What's more, "Their physical growth has slowed dramatically," says Ari Brown, MD, coauthor of Baby 411 (Windsor Peak Press). Infants gain about 14 pounds and grow by about 8 inches before their first birthday. But between their first and second birthdays, children are apt to gain only 6 additional pounds and add a scant 3 inches.

"You can trust your child to eat when she's hungry," says Dr. Benenson, "so don't fight with her over feeding issues. To a toddler, sometimes the fight is more interesting than anything on their plate."

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