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How To Make Sure The Kids’ Feeding Time Is Not Mission Impossible

Child eating pasta

When a baby or toddler refuses certain foods or does not eat at regular mealtimes which adults are accustomed to, it can create tension and anxiety. Without an understanding of how young children eat, many parents find themselves disillusioned about feeding their child and misunderstand them as “fussy” eaters. This can lead to life-long issues around food.

This is the view of Dr Iqbal Karbanee, paediatrician and CEO of Paed-IQ BabyLine, who says that a lot of conflict arises when parents expect their children to conform to certain unfounded expectations around eating patterns and food preferences, which can be avoided. BabyLine is South Africa’s trusted telephonic medical advice service for the first 1000 days of a child’s life, starting from conception to birth and beyond.

“Childhood is a dynamic phase, and as a child grows and changes developmentally and physically, their nutritional requirements are also changing, ” says Karbanee.

He says that when it comes to butting heads with “fussy” eaters, it is often within the 18-month to 3-year-old category where feeding tantrums, food refusal and picky or select eating give parents headaches. He adds that parents must learn to be more dynamic in adapting to the unique needs of their child.

“Although feeding and nutrition should be viewed in the context of a child’s individuality, unfortunately we also have to consider the cultural and societal norms that come with the family, as well as the influence of others on our expectations of eating,” says Dr Karbanee.

He stresses the need for parents to understand that their young child is an individual,  and as long as they fall  within the basic developmental parameters, then they’re still within normal limits and doing fine.

Below he gives his top tips to help parents and children survive the very normal “fussy” eating phase:

“Children eat very differently to adults. Adults seem to have regular meals at certain times, sometimes whether they’re hungry or not. We should actually aim to eat more like children, because they will eat only as much as they need to eat,” Dr Karbanee concludes.

About Paed-IQ BabyLine 

Paed-IQ BabyLine is a trusted, telephonic medical helpline for pregnant moms and new families. With healthcare advice given by qualified, experienced and medically trained nurses, we aim to improve health outcomes during the first 1000 days of a child’s life, starting from conception to birth and beyond. We are there for mommies-to-be at all stages of their maternity journey as well as new parents or caregivers to young children. By offering early and appropriate medical intervention through advice, we have helped to safeguard the health of over 10000 children, and helped over 5000 moms and families to successfully navigate the medical concerns of their young children. Visit for more.  

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