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How do I encourage utensil use?
Q: My 19-month-old daughter won't eat with a spoon or fork or allow anyone to feed her anything. What can I do to encourage her to try for herself? Also, she refuses milk, including flavored milk. She only drinks water. I'm concerned that she's not getting enough calcium. Help!
A: As long as she's feeding herself, even with her hands, she is developmentally fine. Little children learn eye-hand coordination by learning to transfer food from table to mouth using their hands. Until they're comfortable doing that, asking any young toddler to use a utensil is too frustrating for both child and parent. You might want to look around for angled toddler spoons that make it easier to get to the mouth.

Milk is not a favorite for many toddlers. If she will eat cheese, pudding or yogurt, she is probably getting adequate calcium in her diet. A daily multivitamin will round out any additional calcium needs.

Susan M. Leisner RD, IBCLC, RLC Nutritionist & Lactation Consultant