Toddler Eating Too Much?

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Can a toddler eat too much?

May 2006

My 15 month old daughter has an amazing appetite- she can put away as much as a much older child. She is in the 90th % for weight and 75th % for height so she is a big, sturdy girl. I have no problem with her size- she eats everything we eat and loves all of it (stopped eating baby food at 9 months)- she also poops up to 5 times a day! Now that she's talking a little, she can ask for specific favorite foods (e.g.: Cheese!) Is there a time when we should begin to limit the amount she eats/drinks?
-tired of changing poopy diapers!

My now 4.5-year-old daughter sounds exactly like yours and I have wondered on and off for the last few years about whether to restrict her. I recommend the book ''Your Child's Weight: Helping Without Harming'' by Ellyn Satter. Bottom line: do not limit how much she eats, but you can control when she eats and what she is offered. Liz O.

I believe that it is when a child stops eating baby food that that is about the marking point for when it can be appropriete to limit food (before then is just ridiculous!). It does sound like your daughter is getting a bit too much; it might be time to start limiting portions. Though you should be grateful she is eating, and will eat a variety of foods (an absolute blessing, never forget), it isn't good for a small child to eat so much food that their exercise and height cannot match up with their food intake. Simply give reasonable portions for her size (that would be an amount of food the size of her fist for each type of food), and when it is gone just say ''That's all. Supper is done now.'' Of course, if this feels wrong for your child instinctively, it probably won't make or break her life eating habits if you don't limit food intake, just so long as you serve mostly highly nutritious foods Lawerence

Your baby sounds perfectly wonderful and healthy. And it sounds like you have done a great job helping her develop a healthy relationship with food. My 15-month-old sounds just like your baby. I think she eats half her body weight each day, poops up a storm and easily outpaces her 3.5 yr old big sis at the table. So would you be shocked to hear she is only in the 10th percentile?!

I have recommended Ellyn Satter's ''Child of Mine'' to many friends and think you would get a lot from it too. Enjoy her great appetite, and if you are really ready to ditch those poopy diapers you could always think about geting a jump on potty training. Diaper Free Baby is a great resource I usually catch 1-2 poops a day in the potty, which gives me hope that I won't be wiping butts all day for the rest of eternity. Good luck! rundmstein

I have the same question! how can my 12 month old baby eat a slice of buttered toast, a yogurt and HALF A CANTALOUPE for breakfast?! Then eat another slice of toast and a cheese stick 20 minutes later?! Then it's lunch time!

He stopped eating pureed baby food at 7 months and has been eating regular adult/restaurant food since 10 months. He's also completely off the charts for height and weight (but leveling off), but no concern from the pediatrician. So, i've just been putting up with the poop - at least 3 times, sometimes 5 times, sometimes more! He's hungry, he points to food, he eats with relish - opening his mouth wide like a baby bird. I guess he just needs it!

Looking forward to reading the responses. zina