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Eating and Drinking
Eating and Drinking
By the time your child is 3 years old, he should be eating and drinking most of the same foods that the rest of the family is eating. It might still be hard for him to chew tough foods. Also, because of choking risks, it is still important at this age to avoid serving foods in large chunks (e.g large grapes, large pieces of hot dog, hard candies, etc.)
A lot of preschoolers can be described as “picky eaters.” Children at this age are starting to assert their independence and, therefore, want to have some say in what they will eat. This is quite a normal stage of development.
Red Flags for Eating and Drinking Problems
If your child is showing some of the following signs, it may be helpful to talk to your doctor or another health professional.
- Regular coughing or choking during eating
- Taking a really long time to eat a meal (more than 30-45 minutes)
- Getting sick often with pneumonia or chest infections
- Gurgly, hoarse, or breathy voice after eating
- Less than normal weight gain or growth
- Lots of leakage of food or liquid from the mouth
- Coughing, gagging, or throwing up during or after meals
- Stuffing mouth with food
- Holding food inside pockets in mouth for long periods
- Difficulty accepting new textures of food
- Avoidance behaviours to specific foods and textures (gagging, vomiting, blocking the spoon with hands or closed lips, crying, pushing food away, etc)
- Refusing to eat more than a few foods, or refusing to eat anything from one of the food groups
- Being extremely rigid about how food is prepared or how it is served
- Abnormal bowel movements that last longer than a few days (diarrhea, constipation, loose stool)
- Skin reactions to foods (dry patches, hives, rashes) Note: If your child seems to be having a severe allergic reaction to a food (difficulty breathing, turning red, developing hives or rash on the face/chest), you should seek medical help immediately