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Mealtime Mayhem

Disclaimer: When feeding your 9- to 12-month-old, don't expect to stay clean, and don't assume that what worked once will work twice. If you get any nutrients in your mealtime misfit at all, consider yourself lucky. Remember that everything for your baby at this age is about learning, so if half of mealtime involves smearing and poking, look on the bright side: At least you're still feeding your child's mind (if not his belly). Also, be aware that even the largest baby has a pretty small stomach. It can't hold a great deal, so your little one probably won't eat very much in one sitting. A better plan of action is to offer meals and snacks at regular times throughout the day.

Common feeding challenges  -- solved!
Offense: Intentionally drops food on the floor.
Motive: He wants to see what will happen, or he may be done eating.
What to do: End mealtime; give him another object to drop.

Offense: Doesn't use utensils properly.
Motive: He doesn't yet have fine motor skills to use a fork and spoon well.
What to do: Help him out; this is how he'll learn to use utensils correctly.

Offense: Only eats one type of food.
Motive: This could be about control.
What to do: Don't force feed; provide his favorite food with a little of something else.

Offense: Barely eats anything.
Motive: It could be about control, but he could also just be a light eater.
What to do: Avoid battles, offer a variety of foods, and stay in close touch with the doctor.

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