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Should I make my toddler eat table food?
Q: My 17-month-old son loves jarred baby food, but he gags if I try to force him to eat most table foods. He likes grilled cheese sandwiches and crackers, but that's about it.

My pediatrician says I should stop offering jarred food and eventually he'll eat table foods. I'm worried he'll refuse to eat and be hungry and miserable. He goes to daycare and is watched by both of his grandmothers when I work.
A: I agree with your doctor, Sue. Stop the jarred foods immediately. Obviously, if your son will eat cheese sandwiches and crackers, he's eating table food, and I would guess that his caretakers also provide him with other food as well.

Your son is taking advantage of your fear that he will stop eating entirely, which will not happen. You are the parent and your job is to provide nourishing foods that are appropriate for his age. It is your son's job to eat them. If he refuses, so be it. I promise he will come looking for something to eat later on. At 17 months he is hardly at risk for any major nutrition problems if he skips a few meals.

Please do not wait any longer to correct this situation. The older your child gets, that harder it will be to change his behavior. He is less likely to be a miserable child if you set eating guidelines and show some authority.
Susan M. Leisner RD, IBCLC, RLC Nutritionist & Lactation Consultant