Five Tips For Picky Eater Toddlers

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Comfort for babies means happiness for all in our family.

I breastfed both of my kids – Scarlet until 15 months and Des until 12 months. I consider myself one of the lucky ones, in that there wasn’t much real trouble. Sure I struggled, especially with Scarlet, with pain and uncertainty. Clogged ducts and an occasional fever. I worried whether she was growing well, as you do when you are 100% supporting a baby with your own body. We had dips in the growth chart, and that was scary and disheartening for me, but ultimately our journey continued past one year. I was both sad and relieved when it was over. It was a mutual decision, but mostly she was ready to stop.

With Des, it was different. It was easier in some ways because I no longer feared growth chart dips and clogged ducts. I could wrestle most problems like a veteran parent. Breastfeeding was also harder because he was in the NICU after birth and was on heavy antibiotics for over a week. It took months of calling the doctor and changing my diet, before I realized he was actually ok – just with a sensitive stomach for several months. He grew up beautifully and strong, but with an occasional sensitive stomach, from potty-training, travel, or when he’s had to go back on antibiotics for any reason. Usually it’s an ear infection.

The Gerber Nutrition Journey is made up of five parts, and each one is supported by nutrition science and sound feeding guidance. It’s a unique, stage-based nutrition system of products, education, support and services, and is consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations. The journey starts with breastfeeding, because breastmilk is the ideal food for babies, and when your baby is ready, Gerber provides guidance on developmentally-appropriate feeding choices.

In my story, Scarlet went from breastmilk, to solid foods and breastmilk, to solid foods. Des went from breastfeeding to solid foods and breastmilk, to solid foods with formula supplementation. Gerber® Good Start® Gentle Stages are great solutions to use for feeding your baby, but you can also use them as a solution for feeding your toddler. Gerber® Good Start® Stage 3 Toddler Drink is for toddler tummies, and is made with probiotics. We feel strongly about probiotics for Des, and found this.

We go to Target quite a bit, because it’s a favorite place for us, and found Gerber® Good Start® Stage 3 Toddler Drink easily amongst other age-appropriate foods, formulas, and feeding care products for both babies and toddlers.


picky eater toddlers


Each formula from Gerber® Good Start® is designed to serve a particular need.

Gerber® decided to make their formulas without the use of genetically modified ingredients, based on what parents wanted. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the World Health Organization and National Academy of Sciences, and other regulatory agencies and organizations, have found that genetically modified crops are as safe as traditional crops. However, Gerber® listened to consumer feedback about their products to make their formulas.

While both of my babies breastfed well, and ate a lot of fruits and vegetables after their first birthday, I did wind up with pickier toddlers! Scarlet was more picky than Des, but we still use these five tips today – to ensure wholesome diets.

Five Tips For Picky Eater Toddlers:

Gerber Good Start

  1. Consider supplementing, of course. Gerber® makes age-appropriate formulas and other products for toddler tummies.

  2. Respect your child’s appetite, even when it seems they don’t have one! If your child isn’t hungry, don’t force the issue and potentially cause power struggles or anxiety with reading. Serve small portions to allow room for your child to ask for more.

  1. Stick to a routine, as much as possible. Des had a regular eating routine at daycare and I have been learning to honor that during the summer. He thrives on routine. Allowing him to fill up on juice, milk or snacks between meals hasn’t worked out.

  2. Give new foods, but be patient. Children sometimes need repeated exposure to new foods. Make it fun with favorite dips or sauces. Cut foods into fun shapes with an assortment of cookie cutters. Serve a rainbow of colors! Lastly, ask your child for help. If I go grocery shopping with Des, he pushes his own cart and we walk the perimeter of the store so that he can help me pick out both old favorites of fruits and vegetables, and new ones to try. It really works! The perimeter has the produce.

  1. Set a good example! Of course, it starts with you. A challenge is to not present dessert as a reward, but sometimes that is difficult because we live in a world of rewards and desserts. Just be creative and do the best you can!

Gerber® Good Start® Cartwheel offer below for 9/4 – 9/17:


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    1. Sometimes I go through the baby aisles and see all the current baby food and I wish I still had tiny babies because the food gets better every year!

  1. Breastfeeding was easy for me, but I had to supplement with formula the first couple of months because my body had to work harder after breast cancer surgery to make enough milk with just one breast. 🙂 Thank goodness for formula!

  2. Madison wasn’t really picky as a toddler, it’s now that she’s a pre-schooler that she’s picky about everything she eats and barely eats at all now. And those tips are so spot on, especially lead by example.

  3. Oh my gosh my Liese is the poster child for a picky eater! Getting her to eat… Oy vey the battles! “Gerber® decided to make their formulas without the use of genetically modified ingredients,” Yep that is why I have always loved them!

  4. Dealing with a picky eater can be hard. I’m happy that my son is interested in exploring, cooking, and trying new foods. Lately, he has been in love with cookbooks. He will pull one out almost every day and read and flip through the pages.

    1. Scarlet tried artichokes today, and then Des was inspired to do the same. It was so awesome. Des has generally been less picky but they both have gone through stages.

  5. I find that giving small portions work! Reiko would always ask for more. He’s very picky too! I have yet to figure out how I can incorporate more fruits and veggies to his diet. We’ve used Gerber for him too when he was a year old.

    1. It’s taken ages with Scarlet. She’s better at eating now – better than she’s been since she was a toddler eating everything. And high five for the Gerber formula for older babies/kids!

  6. Hi Tamara, I was lucky that I managed to breast feed my two (my son wasn’t easy to start with, but my daughter was born to feed, she practically crawled to my breast the moment she popped out). I’m also lucky that neither of mine were picky eaters, my main concern was that my son has never ate enough and still doesn’t, due to the fact that he doesn’t feel hunger like we do.

    Supplementing a child’s diet is a good idea to ensure they are getting all the goodness they need to grow and thrive.


    1. So lucky indeed! I had 16 months with Scarlet and just over a year with Des, and it was hard, but I’m so happy about it.
      And that concern about your son is something I’ve never experienced or thought about, and I’m sure you were always aware of it. And still, of course!

  7. #2 is key. It’s so easy to forget that we’re not always hungry at the exact times we “should” be. There are days when I don’t feel like eating much for lunch. So it’s unfair for me to assume my kids should finish off their plates just because it’s lunch time. Great tips!

    1. Right! And it changes for kids, during growth spurts, or after growth spurts, or just with development. Kids are pretty good at eating when they’re hungry, and not when they’re not. Better than adults, I’d assume!

  8. my eldest is definitely a picky eater! My youngest however, has probably tried way more foods than I have at the tender age of four. Since his grandpa is a chef, he eats ALL the stuff his papa makes, its insane, but kinda cool too. 🙂

    1. That’s like Des. He will eat ANYTHING. Scarlet.. is tougher. But tonight she tried artichoke and then Des did too, and pretty soon, they ate all our artichokes! I never saw that coming.

  9. I don’t think that Gerber Good Start was around when my kids were little but I wish it were! My kids were always picky eaters, and it was hard to make sure they were getting all the nutrition they needed.

  10. Thankfully, the kids aren’t too picky when it comes to food. They’re little foodies. HOWEVER, my girls do NOT like tomatoes, but yet they love pizza, salsa, spaghetti, etc…. and one likes ketchup too. Odd?

  11. My kids for the most part have been pretty good when it comes to food.
    There was a stage where they were picky and all they wanted to eat was nutella on bread but thankfully we are past that! We did supplement with Good start just to make sure they were getting what they needed.

  12. My kiddos have always been great eaters, which I know is a huge blessing. I know some friends who have picky eater on their hands so it is good to know companies are starting to make supplements for little ones.

    1. I have one of each, but sometimes they have off weeks and are picky! I suppose I do too. Congrats on the great eaters! It makes such a difference.

  13. Like you I was pretty lucky with my breastfeeding journey and I have two pretty good eaters too. It’s great that there are options for mama’s who need/want them though! 🙂 -Erin at

  14. Yes to respecting your toddler’s appetite! My son who is now 11 was so picky as a toddler but I didn’t make an issue over it and PS he now loves all the foods he wouldn’t tolerate as a toddler!

    1. Oh that’s awesome!!!
      And I think toddlers really just have changing appetites and it’s all part of growing. I mean when it’s separate from just being… well.. toddlers.

  15. It’s great that there are so many options for parents nowadays. It wasn’t as easy to find good milk substitutes when my kids were younger and I had one that had tummy issues that probably could have used this.

  16. I love that there are so many options like this for parents. Especially GMO free. My oldest was a really picky eater and this would have been great for him. My youngest likes to eat right now lol but should that change its great to know I can supplement with this!

    1. I hear that! I see my sisters going through that now. I nursed both for as long as I could, but even when I was exclusively nursing, I still needed to know there were good backup or supplementing options. You never know!

    1. I’m so glad you were able to experience both! I also discovered the wonders of nursing and supplementing. Then we used the Gerber solids. I still love them!

  17. I love that Gerber has removed GMOs from their ingredient lists, it really shows that they want to please their customers since that is what so many were asking for. I swear I have the pickiest toddler on Earth! It is great there are healthier options to increase calories for toddlers than just giving them junk foods that they want to eat.

  18. Love, love, love that there are no GMOS! My boys were always great eaters when they were toddlers. I did however have to supplement both when they were infants.

  19. It’s so difficult having one very adventurous eater and one picky eater. Love the idea of sticking to a routine. Though, I found that difficult over the summer. Now that the girls are in school together and (finally!) have the same schedule, we’re developing something of a routine. Hopefully that will help!

  20. I love your tips! Letting your son take part in shopping is a good idea.
    I can’t wait to introduce solids to my girl. She’s 5 months now and I’m trying to gather as much information about baby food as possible.
    For now, I’m supplementing with formula from and although she has a sensitive tummy, she’s doing great on it. I think that’s because the formula is free from chemicals and also sugar.
    All the best,

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