Knowing when to feed
Your toddler is a master at solid foods already—and he’s a grown up now who wants to be heard. Expressing his desire to eat and getting a response from you are important for his social and emotional development. Allow him that as best as possible, but don’t let him make the rules.
• Bangs toys and throws temper tantrums
• Makes sounds, words and hand gestures to get your attention and to say “Gutom na ako please!”
• Enthusiastically reaches for food wanting to feed himself.
• Expresses desire for specific foods with words or gestures like “Namnam!”
• Cries or fusses
Your Toddler is learning independence, so feeding herself is a great way to practice.
Knowing when she’s full
Being independent means letting you know very clearly that she’s done eating and wants to move on. Your toddler will shift gears, becoming uninterested in her food from one bite to the next It is her way of making decisions and taking control.
• Turns away or shakes head to say “No more!” or “Busog na po ako!”
• Plays with or throws food means mealtime is over. It’s playtime!
• Covers mouth or face with his hands.
• Crosses arms to show refusal of more food.
• Chewing slows down and attention is off somewhere else.
• May spit out foods that she usually likes.
Co-written with Kate Perales, RND.
Crow RA. An ethological study of the development of infant feeding. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 1977;2:99–109.
Korner AF, Chuck B, Dontchos S. Organismic determinants of spontaneous oral behavior in neonates. Child Development. 1968;39(4):1145–1157.
Morris SS, Rogers CS, Taper LJ. Care-giving behaviors in feeding 3-, 13-, and 23-month-old infants. Nutrition and Behavior. 1983;1:147–156.