Book Talk: Child of Mine by Ellyn Satter

by Kelsey Norwood

in Making Good

child of mine ellyn satterThis is a great book about feeding your child through every stage. Ellyn Satter talks about the role of a child and parent in feeding, a child’s intuitive feeding abilities, breastfeeding and formula feeding, and infant, older baby, toddler, and preschooler feeding. She shares some very useful information about children’s growth and development during these stages and how their progression affects their willingness and interest in feeding.

I’m kind of high stress about feeding, so reading this book was really good for me and made me feel like I can chill out and not let how much Joel eats stress me out. You know how kids are – they eat like a bird one day and an elephant the next. I get really worried when Joel won’t eat, I think because he was so small when he was born and his low body weight was a huge concern for the first several months. I still feel like I need to fatten him up even though he’s now in the 75 percentile for height and weight.

This is a bit off topic, but I came from a family of big babies. The smallest baby my mom had was 8 lbs. 3 oz., and the biggest was 10 lbs. 13 oz. I think because of this, I feel like if my baby isn’t so fat that he can’t walk, he’s not fat enough. I put a lot of pressure on myself to fatten Joel up because I have this standard that babies should be as chubby as possible.

Reading this book reminded me that every child’s body is different, and each person has an ideal weight that their body will naturally achieve with healthy eating habits. Every person has a different genetically ideal weight.

Satter’s philosophy about feeding is this: “Parents are responsible for the what, when, and where of feeding; children are responsible for the how much and whether of eating.” Basically, Satter has found through years of research that children will eat what their bodies need. They are perfect intuitive eaters. Forcing a child to eat more than he or she is hungry for interupts that perfect intuition about eating and causes problems later.

This book has really helped me gain a more correct perspective about feeding and has helped me chill out about how much Joel is eating. It still bug me when he eats a banana all day and that’s it, but as long as I offer him balanced and nutritious meals, he will get what he needs. Trying to force him will only make things worse.

I recommend this book to all parents, regardless of the ages of your children. If you have a young family, this book will help you avoid mistakes, and if you have an older family, perhaps this book can help you get back on the right track.


1 Dawna August 24, 2008 at 5:13 pm

I think after a few kids I finally realized that all I need to do is offer healthy options for my children and they do the rest. I wish that I had read this book when they were smaller.

2 Elizabeth M. August 28, 2008 at 1:01 pm

Although I haven’t had any problems with the eating issue for my kids, I sure wish my sister had read this book. What they go through over there at mealtime is ridiculous.

3 shannon March 9, 2009 at 1:39 pm

I read an excerpt of this book in college for my food science class. I think the author is right on. Thanks for posting about this because it reminded me that I want to go and read the whole book. I don’t have major conflict in my house when it comes to food, but I think I would just enjoy reading it.

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