Q: All my daughter wants to do is eat. She is 20 months old and is always asking for food. Is it possible to over-feed her?

A: You’re wise to be concerned that your daughter is always asking for food.  It’s entirely possible for children to overeat, and it’s not at all uncommon for parents to overfeed their kids. It might be hard to believe, but parents aren’t always good at determining whether their children are overfed, and thus whether they’re overweight. We love our children completely, and often blindly!

The first order of business is to take your daughter to her pediatrician for a complete check up and an evaluation of her eating habits. If her weight is in a good range for her height and age, she might be continually asking for food because she’s actively growing and gaining weight as she should be. If her pediatrician finds that your daughter is underweight, her frequent requests for food could be a sign that she’s got a metabolic issue or a nutritional need that needs to be addressed.  If she’s overweight, she might have a physical or a behavioral issue that needs to be addressed.

Once your daughter has been evaluated by her pediatrician, it might be helpful to ask for a referral to a dietitian who specializes in childhood nutrition. Together, you can create a diet and feeding schedule that best meets your daughter’s needs, and helps give you peace of mind.

Answered by Dr. Rallie McAllister