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Feeding a Picky Eater

Omigod, she's actually eating it, I think in amazement one morning as I watch my daughter scarf down an entire apple without any prodding. I feel like dancing around the table, but out of fear that she'll stop chewing, I try not to make a big deal out of what is, for me, an extremely big deal.

Just a few weeks before, getting 8-year-old Allison to eat an apple  -- or any other healthy food  -- was a major, exhausting production and had been so ever since she was a toddler. At around 2, she developed a loathing for formerly beloved foods, such as sweet potatoes, oranges, and turkey, and the list of what she would eat shrank until it included just macaroni and cheese, peanut butter sandwiches, chocolate milk, and very few fruits  -- all in minuscule quantities. Our dining table became a battleground where my husband and I pitted our weapons (logic, bribes, threats) against our child's (a cast-iron will). We were defeated every time.

What's made the difference this morning is that we finally have a strategy. Here's how I was able to break our miserable cycle and what you need to know  -- and do  -- to get started right with your baby.

Nancy Kalish is a frequent contributor to Parenting and Family Life.