Do they still know their limits by toddlerhood?

Oh, we're done with all that vegetable-steaming and mess, our children are cutlery-wielding, spaghetti-chomping angels... at least some of the time.

Do they still know their limits by toddlerhood?

Postby AngelofTroy » 21 Feb 2014, 11:34

I've always followed BLW with LO, and he's a great eater, we're very lucky in that he'll try most things and loves to eat, and has a healthy balanced diet.

However, he's 16 months now and talking lots, he can ask for food and now he asks A LOT! I did think he was maybe just practicing his new language skills and not really hungry but he will happily eat what I give him 90% of the time.

For example, he'll eat a big bowl of porridge with grated apple and cinnamon, (25g oats, 150 whole milk) and the second he finishes, he starts with "more porridge please!" or "pear! Pear please!" and I'm not sure what to do. He's a big boy, 11.1kg, on the 75th percentile, and I don't want him to become overweight. I have always trusted his ability to judge what he needs but now I'm finding myself limiting certain things. His diet is pretty much all healthy food, but for example cheese is surely only healthy in moderation, even for a toddler? Same with yoghurt (he'd eat an adult portion of natural Greek yogurt no problem) and will eat 2 of my homemade veggie muffins (which is enough for me at lunchtime) and still ask for more!

He can usually be distracted by play or other food, so I've started saying things like, "that's enough yoghurt now, would you like a rice cake/to read a book?" but I worry I'm doing the wrong thing by limiting him. I don't want him to think of those foods as naughty or special. :-\

Can anyone advise me?
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Re: Do they still know their limits by toddlerhood?

Postby SparklePetal » 21 Feb 2014, 11:48

I think he probably does know enough about what he needs to know whether he's full, but you don't necessarily have to give him whatever he asks for :wink: I limit foods if there is only a certain amount in the house and it has to last until the next shopping day, for example. I usually have something in mind for "if you're really hungry you can fill up on X" (banana, slice of toast, rice cake or something). I think it also depends on how you structure the feeding opportunities through the day. Are there regular snacks, or is it more like three meals? He may need to change the timing of food as he gets older. My DS sometimes has three breakfasts, but not so much later in the day. If you will give him more food before too long then he doesn't need to cram himself full, and distraction might be a valid option. If it will be a long wait until lunch, I'd be more inclined to let him keep going. Hth!
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Re: Do they still know their limits by toddlerhood?

Postby FestiveTidings » 21 Feb 2014, 12:37

My DS is now 3 and has always eaten loads early on in the day, gradually decreasing during the course of the day so I wouldn't worry and still trust that he knows his own appetite. My DS probably eats more than me over the course of the day by the time you include snacks and fruit but then he is far more active than I am - even if I am running about after him. He's using up these calories far better than I am. All that running about, not to mention the actual growing he's doing.

The 75th percentile is a fine place to be so just relax and try not too worry. If you are worried about the amount of certain foods consumed such as cheese then limit that and offer something else (such as Greek yoghurt) in its place. I would only limit foods because of the salt content, not the fat content. Fats are essential for little ones.

Apologies if this doesn't read very well. Brain is struggling to focus today!
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Re: Do they still know their limits by toddlerhood?

Postby StJuniper » 21 Feb 2014, 12:41

I was reading just yesterday that children under about 4 self-regulate if they are fed in a no-pressure way-- right up until they get old enough for social cues about whether they should eat more or less to come into play. At two, my son has gone through phases of eating as much as me and of only eating a few bites per meal, of carb-loading like a marathon runner and of being a protein junkie, of ignoring vegetables and eating lots. He has set mealtimes (nurse at 8am, breakfast 9:30, lunch at noon, snack at 3:30 and dinner at six) and has to eat from among what's offered (I try to offer carbs, proteins, and fruits/veg at every meal) but I don't limit or enforce his intake or worry if he only chooses one kind of food. He has always been god at taking the amount and kind of food his body needs.
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Re: Do they still know their limits by toddlerhood?

Postby AngelofTroy » 21 Feb 2014, 13:12

Thanks everyone, that reinforces what my gut is telling me, which is not to limit coz healthy foods. I give him a big breakfast soon after he wakes, usually about 7.30am, sometimes a snack mid morning but it depends as he often sleeps 9.30-11.30/12. Then lunch about 12.30, a snack or 2 throughout the afternoon (usually a piece of fruit and/or rice/oat cakes, occasionally goodies crisps if out) then dinner at 6. He has cow's milk in a cup first thing if breakfast isn't milky, and always before bed.

The problem comes when he wants more of everything. He loves olives and cheese but I have to limit those due to salt content, but I guess I'll go with his wishes on fats as he probably needs them.
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Re: Do they still know their limits by toddlerhood?

Postby Kitcameron » 21 Feb 2014, 19:12

I wouldn't have thought 11.1kg was much above average tbh. Are you uk or abroad? I see that's 75 centile for a girl of that age but I thought boys we generally slightly heavier anyway. I have a red book (uk baby record book thing) for a girl so only have girls charts etc.

I agree with all the above though regardless of place on weight charts and centiles etc.
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Re: Do they still know their limits by toddlerhood?

Postby AngelofTroy » 21 Feb 2014, 19:28

Yeah we're in the UK, health visitor plotted him as 75th but looking again she's put him at 16 months exactly and he's actually 16.5 months, and even 16 months would be a bit under the 75th. I guess I worry because he's been a bit up and down, he was born on the 50th, dropped to the 9th when we had breastfeeding difficulties, then climbed back to 50th slowly and then up to nearly 75th now. I think sometimes HVs just see that he's climbed up from the 9th without realising he was never meant to be that small!
Last edited by AngelofTroy on 21 Feb 2014, 20:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do they still know their limits by toddlerhood?

Postby pirate_han » 21 Feb 2014, 19:29

If I think about it I can see that B self-regulates over the day or the week. I offer breakfast, a mid-morning snack of fruit or cheese, lunch and dinner, and she has milk at bedtime. She usually either eats a big breakfast or a big lunch, and picks by dinner time, often just eating a bit of yoghurt. She has been known to have two weetabix and a bowl of Krispies followed by smoothie for breakfast which I'm not sure I could do! In the days before a growth spurt she will eat more than I'd think she'd be capable of, and then there are days where she'll hardly have anything. I trust her body and don't limit, if she wants more she asks and gets it unless there's none left.
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Re: Do they still know their limits by toddlerhood?

Postby Marrow » 21 Feb 2014, 19:36

Courgette was born on the 50th, dropped to 0.4th at 6 weeks, and has been climbing up and up and up since. Last weighed a few months ago, but she was nudging the 75th then.

So, if you're doing it wrong then so am I ;)

Like others, we limit based on what's in the house, salt intake, and proximity to official meal time. But other than that pretty much everything is fair game.
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