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Mum

Hi! My little boy has just turned one and he has CMPA as well as a suspected oat allergy. We are due to start the milk ladder with him, but currently he’s completely dairy free.

I try and give him a varied diet, but he has a definite preference for carbs! I had gestational diabetes and am currently very high risk for diabetes, I know he is at higher risk too so the carb situation worries me. We’ve noticed (from birth) that he loves to eat and doesn’t seem to stop by himself. I read everywhere that babies are good at knowing when to stop when they are full but I don’t think our baby can as he eats so fast. Is this possible? He’s a pretty big boy (over 11kg) and I worry we are over-feeding him.

He also is terrible at drinking water from a cup. I’ve tried everything (doidy, baby cup, weighted straws etc) and he just doesn’t get it. He only drinks milk from a soft spouted sippy cup and milk from a bottle which I’d like to get away from.

Any tips would be amazing! Thank you so much!

So first, please don’t worry about your toddlers love of carbs! It’s very normal because toddlers have a high need for energy, and often like plain, simple foods.

There’s also no direct link between eating carbohydrates and diabetes in children.

When we look at these increased risks for diabetes it’s important to note that they are due to associations and not causations - so when you look at the number of children who go in to develop type 2, more of them come from mothers who had GDM than not. But that doesn’t take into account all the many many other factors that can increase risk for type 2 diabetes.

With regards fullness and stopping when hungry, yes babies and young children are typically very good at this, if we as parents respect it and create eating environments that support it. That’s not to say children will never not eat past the point of hunger, especially if distracted, or that they will always stop eating before they get uncomfortably full.

You mention him eating very fast, and you can try to encourage him to be a little slower by role modelling, having small amounts on the plate to begin with, emphasising to chew the food, or engage in family ‘conversation’ around the table too. Sometimes we can be surprised by just how much children need to eat on any one day, and it’s easy to then doubt ourselves and them.

With his growth, if it is rapidly jumping up in a short space of time, then it might be something to chat to the HV about.

With cups, it is very much about perseverance and time - I would pick one or two that you want to have and stick with them for a bit - an open cup would be easiest, it just requires some assistance from you.

Start by holding the cup to his mouth to drink, then move to him holding the cup with your support, introduce the cup as a play thing in the bath and during the day.

If he finds the cup difficult to hold, adding some elastic bands can provide some grip.

Again, role modelling can really help - showing him you drinking water from a glass or cup, getting involved in playing with him, pretend drinks in cups, making you tea etc - anything that allows him to practise that skill.

Katie, Tinto Expert