Do you feel anxious or worried about the amount of food your child is eating? Does it feel like it’s not enough or too much?

I have 3 very different boys…

They each have their own food story so far – coloured by their unique way of being and experiencing their world.

  • My eldest eats what appears to be small and every three days, he feeds…
  • My middle son gets seriously hangry just before each meal…
  • My youngest’s best meals of the day are breakfast (which he calls dinner and wants to eat warm dinner food) and dinner… this means that there are some meals where he doesn’t take any food at all.

Interestingly, their size doesn’t actually match what they seemingly eat.

  • My smallest son (the hangry one) seems to eat the most!
  • My tallest son (youngest) seems to eat the least!
  • My eldest son is average height and could worry me in between his ‘feeding’ days.

They’re actually all growing predictably.

Interestingly, early research by Rose & Mayer (in 1968!) found that smaller babies ate MORE and larger babies ate LESS!

Further to this, from research we also know that there is:

  1. Great DIVERSITY in the shape and size of all human children.
  2. Great DIVERSITY in the daily food intake of children.

Great DIVERSITY of TYPICAL growth.

It turns out that we have about ONE way of knowing how much a child “should” eat…

In the words of Ellyn Satter:

“You only know how much a child NEEDS to eat by how much a child DOES eat.”

Within the context of Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility in Feeding, children have a strong and resilient ability to regulate food intake and grow appropriately.

To me, it makes so much sense that my boys get to do their jobs of WHETHER and HOW MUCH to grow into bodies that are right for them – I have no way of knowing how much they need!

I get to support them by providing WHAT, WHERE and WHEN – and importantly TRUST that they are capable.

If you’ve been worried about how much your child is eating, come and talk to us.

Eat Happy!
Inés Astudillo
Accredited Practising Dietitian