As a paediatrician, one of my role is as a parenting coach. Some of the commonest questions posed to me are those concerning food and feeding. Everyone who has tried to feed an active toddler will be able to attest that the daily feeding times often escalate to food wars. Their lovingly prepared food finds its way anywhere except into the mouth of the child.

I tell parents that both them and their children has a social contract in children feeding. They each must know where their responsibilities on feeding begin and end.

The parent’s responsibility on feeding

The child’s responsibility
how much

Much angst and food fights can be avoided if parents understand their responsibilities. Parents are to prepare food at the appropriate time and offer the food to their children at the appropriate place. It is up to the child to decide how much they want to eat and whether they want to eat at all. Parents, of course, being bigger can decide how much their child is to eat by forcing them. Unfortunately parents, for all their size, cannot force the child in deciding whether the child wants to eat. So feeding times become a contest of wills.

Each child is different and the amount of food and timing of their hunger need differs. Parents seem to think that all children must be feed constantly and must ingest food in large amounts. Often this idea comes from comparing their children with other people’s children. For some strange reasons, in such comparisons, parents seem to take into consideration children who consume more than their own children and neglect those who take less. Each child is different and after the weaning diet period as long as a child receive three meals and two to three milk supplements, their nutritional needs will be met. There is no necessity for mulitvitamins, spirulina, goat colostrum or other alternate food supplements in a healthy child who is eating. Not now, not ever.