When toddlers refuse to chew

What to do when your toddler refuses to eat properly or swallow her food.

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Q: My two-year-old is a good eater; she tries everything i put on her plate. But lately, she refuses to chew or swallow her food. She squirrels it in her cheeks until i give up. How do i break this habit?

A: I know first-hand how hard this is, but try to be patient. She is likely practising control over her food. Some toddlers throw it, some spit it out, some pocket it in their cheeks. Even though it may seem as though she is not eating enough, she won’t let herself go hungry — toddlers are very intuitive eaters. She may do this for a few more days or weeks, but will eventually start chewing and swallowing her food again. You may want to experiment with fruit-and-yogurt smoothies or other softer foods until this phase passes. If you feel that the issue is more serious than this and that it may be a mechanical problem, talk to your doctor.