Infant and Toddler Feeding Patterns and Problems: Normative Data and a New Direction

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To fill information gaps, predominantly non-Hispanic white parents in five Chicago-area pediatric offices were surveyed concerning infant (n = 130) and toddler (n = 151) feeding times and behaviors. Feeding time distributions did not differ by age. Percentiles (in minutes) were: 10th, 9.4; 50th, 17.7; and 90th, 29.3. The most common infant problematic feeding behavior (PFB) was “not always hungry at mealtime” (33%). Toddler PFB included “not always hungry at mealtime” (52%), “trying to end meals after a few bites” (42%), “picky eating” (35%), and strong food preferences (33%). Toddler picky eaters ate more slowly (means 23.3 vs 19.7 minutes, p<.04). Toddlers with recalled PFB at 6 and 12 months ate most slowly (mean 37.5 minutes). We conclude that: (1) infants and toddlers who take <30 minutes to feed are slow feeders; (2) reports of behavioral feeding problems are common in toddlers and are related to slow feeding; (3) and these data can guide clinical care and future studies. J Dev Behav Pediatr 17:149–153, 1996. Index terms: behavior, feeding, nutrition.

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