Posted by: S-p | 2009-03-23

17 month old - poor eater!

Hello DietDoc,

I visited my Paediatrician on Friday, regarding my daughters constant battle with constipation - which is one long viscious cycle, because it causes her to eat badly, causing her to get more constipated etc!! The main problem is her eating ...

What I really need to know is, how much food is ENOUGH for a 17 month old girl. The last week she has been eating a bit better, but I feel it is still not enough - but maybe I am wrong.
To give you an idea, on Saturday she ate the following:
Approx 1 tbsp oats, with a bit of milk and sugar
1 small tub yoghurt
1 tiny piece apple
1 provita
A little pasta (say 10 pieces penne) with a sauce made from onion, tomato, bacon, carrots, baby marrows.
500ml formula (throughout the day &  bed time)
150ml rooibos tea
And a bit of water

On a " bad"  day, all she will eat is 1 yoghurt.

She is a picky eater, and I have to be more creative to get veggies in her - its such a struggle!!

Any suggestions of foods to try, and foods to avoid to stop this constipation struggle?!

Thanks so much for your input!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear S-P
If you click on 'Child' at the top of this page and then on 'Diets for Toddlers' you will see what and how much a young child should eat. The food intake you list is too little and too low in dietary fibre to promote bowel regularity. I would be interested to hear what the Paediatrician said about her general health. Did the dr perhaps check to see if she is not suffering from iron-deficiency anaemia? or some other problem that depresses the appetite? Another possibility is that your lassie is suffering from depression and may need to be seen by a child psychologist because psychological problems often manifest in a refusal to eat. I think that the first step is to have her assessed by a clinical dietitian (visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area), so that the dietitian can determine if she is undernourished or deficient and help you to increase your lassie's dietary fibre intake. To combat the constipation you can try giving her dried fruit that has been soaked overnight in water and then boiled up with 1 T of honey. Serve the dried fruit (1-2 T) with her porridge and milk at breakfast. Also consider giving her probiotics such as Intestiflora to improve the 'good' microorganisms in the bowel.
Holding thumbs for you and your daughter

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