Picky Eater Help

Expert Feeding Help
for Professionals and Parents

Melanie Potock’s keynotes, courses, books & articles focus on raising kids to be healthy, happy eaters. From babies to toddlers to teens, “Coach Mel” is here to help.

Raising a Healthy Happy Eater Isn’t Always Easy

Get Expert Advice on Feeding Babies, Toddlers & School Age Kids,

Including Extreme Picky Eaters


This book is designed to answer the most common questions about feeding babies and toddlers up to age three. It also debunks myths while offering practical tips on making mealtimes joyful and less stressful. It teaches a no-nonsense, straightforward approach to responsive feeding that’s focused on nurturing trust and communication between parent and child. Read more about Responsive Feeding here.

Toddlers & Preschoolers

In her award-winning book, Raising a Healthy Happy Eater, Melanie and her co-author, pediatrician Dr. Yum, teach parents how to guide their children on the path to adventurous eating.  Parents report that toddlers are the most challenging to feed, thanks to active little bodies and fleeting attention spans.  Learn how to lay positive foundations for eating at 6 months of age, navigate the “terrific twos” and avoid picky eating in the preschool years!  Get the brand new, updated 2nd edition. Read more about feeding young children here.

School Age

Kids can cook right along with their parents from an early age, but it’s especially important from preschool and into the elementary school years.  What’s the number one food group that parents struggle with the most?  Vegetables!  The secret to helping kids love any kind of food is to follow Melanie’s Three E’s: Expose, Explore, Expand.  You’ll learn how to use the Three E’s and create veggie-love in Melanie’s book, Adventures in Veggieland: Help Your Kids Learn to Love Vegetables with 100 Easy Activities and Recipes.  Read more about feeding school-age kids here.

More fun!

As a speech language pathologist, Melanie combined her love for language, little kids and food by writing a children’s book!  You are Not an Otter: The Story of How Kids Become Adventurous Eaters is available on Kindle, in paperback, and in both English and Spanish.  Don’t miss the parent tips in the back of the book!  Learn about all of Mel’s books here.

🤢Funky gunky water bottles? I just bought this little gadget and it was so easy to get in all the crevices…and it’s so cute! Like a little 🥕…

🥰Kids cups and water bottles are my thing…I’ve tested over 25 and only the best for your child’s oral development end up on my Amazon Shop. They also have to be easy to clean but having the right tool makes life so much simpler. That’s why you’ll find this smart little gadget featured on EVERY category of cups/bottles for babies to teens on my Amazon Shop. Link in bio 👉🏼✨amazon.com/shop/mymunchbug ✨

🤍(Amazon Shop owners earn a few cents for each purchase you make, but it does add up to support my free content on Instagram and in my newsletter, so thank you for using my Amazon Shop for products you can trust.❤️)

#responsivefeeding #slpmom #otmom #ptmom #feedingtoddlers #ashaigers #milkforkids #kidsmilk #mytoddler #toddlermom #bottleweaning #toddlertroubles #pickyeaters #pickyeater #fussyeaters #fussyeatersolutions #fussyeater #pickyeatersolution #waterforkids #drinkmorewater #waterbottles #bottlesforkids #cupsforkids

👎🏼Toddlers who suck on their fingers or thumb is concerning for future facial development. The challenge at such a young age is that it’s not a habit we can stop but we CAN minimize the amount of time that they’re sucking on them. 

👶🏼Infants: If your infant begins to suck fingers or thumb as a substitute for the pacifier, return to the paci just at bedtime and wait till the first birthday to wean. According to certified orofacial myologist (COM) Erin Geddes, “It’s much harder to wean from thumb sucking than the pacifier, but by baby’s first birthday it’s time to eliminate the pacifier all together, and baby is less likely to adopt finger or thumb sucking as an alternative.”

✨”However, if your baby is determined to keep sucking little fingers or their thumb, Erin recommends “taking note of what is happening right before they begin to suck. Are they also using a blanket, a favorite stuffed animal, tags from clothing, toys, or blankets when they are sucking?”

✨”Changing the child’s routine includes their sleep routine. Prior to going to sleep, provide extra cuddle time, listen to soothing music, and increase reading time. This is also when you would eliminate the stuffed animal or blanket that is associated with the sucking habit”

✨The key is to watch your child and figure out what triggers the urge to suck. The lovey can help or create the urge, so watch carefully. At age four, kids can work with a COM to learn strategies to stop… with your help.

💻Preschool: Check out my YouTube channel for three videos on strategies for older kids regarding thumb sucking(link in bio) and if you’re weaning your baby, toddler or preschooler from the pacifier, take my on-demand course to learn how 💗 see 👉🏼mymunchbug.com/course-library/

♥️For the best chewies to help with the wean visit my Amazon store via #linkinmybio👆

#thumbsucking #pacifierweaning #mytoddler #toddlerlife #ashaigers #orofacial #orofacialmyology #toddlertroubles

🥰Doesn’t feel like work when I get to talk with you about kids, food and feeding…mymunchbug.com/melanie-potock-live-events/ 👉🏼I’ll save 3 seats for walk-ins, but otherwise registration closes tonight so please hurry! ❤️ #melaniepotock #northcarolina #ashaigers #feedingtherapy #arfid #arfidsupport #pediatricfeedingdisorders

🤍There’s a reason that most hospitals worldwide offer a cylindrical, all-one-piece silicone pacifier. 

❤️Speech pathologists and feeding specialists know that ideally, babies need a cylindrical shape to let the sides of the tongue wrap around the nipple for optimal mouth development. Flat or orthodontic nipples don’t develop facial muscles in the same manner. Yep, they are easier to hold in baby’s mouth, and some kids get them from the start and have trouble transitioning - and it’s ok if that’s your situation. I can help…please keep reading.

🤍No matter what, wean early, unless there is a medical reason not to do so. Consider your baby’s sensory system and readiness of course, but most babies are able to limit the use of a “paci” to bedtime at 6 months. They have lots of other ways to comfort themselves because they have learned to bond with you and bring other objects such as teethers to their mouths for oral input.

❤️The longer we wait to wean, the harder it is on baby and parents. ANY pacifier will impact baby’s palate and facial development by age two, and ever more so by age four. HOWEVER, it’s the tongue placement that is vital to consider. Babies who use ANY pacifier past the age of 12 months are at risk for maintaining a low resting posture of the tongue, developing speech issues and maintaining an immature swallowing pattern that can lead to hesitant or picky eating. That low resting tongue posture contributes to creating a high narrow palate, which in turn changes baby’s facial features depending on frequency, duration and intensity of sucking. 

🤍If you’ve got a sweet toddler who loves there paci, don’t stress, just wean. (see last paragraph!)

🥰There are plenty of benefits for introducing pacifiers:
✨Reduced risk of SIDS up to 12 months (primarily under 6 months)
✨Pain relief during minor medical procedures 
✨PREEMIES/NICU use: “Nonnutritive sucking is associated with shorter hospital stays, earlier transition to bottle feeding from enteral feeding, and improved bottle feeding” 

😘Use code mymunchbug10 for 10% off my on-demand course, Pacifiers: Everything You Need to Know from Choosing the Right One to Weaning #melaniepotock 🔗LINK IN BIO

10 Ways I can help you feed your baby, toddler or big kid:

🍼Bottle Weaning Course

👶🏼Pacifier (Everything you Need to Know!) Course

❤️Picky Eating Course

🤍Feeding Development Course

🥦Nutrition Course

😘Pediatric Anxiety & Extreme Picky Eating Course

✨ARFID Masterclass

✨Food Allergy Masterclass

✨Tube Weaning Masterclass

🤳Coaching for Parents & Professionals

👉🏼Website with all info linked in my bio or go to MelaniePotock.com - Can't find what you need? DM me & I'll help with links!

🤍❤️🤍Follow @mymunchbug_melaniepotock  for daily tips! Thanks for sharing my Instagram with friends & family – I appreciate your kindness and referrals! #melaniepotock

🪥Here’s how to help kids manage toothpaste and learn to spit into the sink! It’s easy, just follow my Three T’s! 

🐠🐠Today I used TWO the Innobaby mini-scrub silicone fish because they have a suction cup that sticks the fish to the sink so kids have a secure target to aim for! Plus, they wash up easily and suction again to the mirror for a quick dry till next time. (These are also the most gentle scrubbies for dirty faces or baby’s cradle cap) BUT… you can also find them on my Amazon shop under “kitchen tools for kids” because they are perfect for little hands to scrub veggies! So many uses! Catch them here 👉🏼😉🎣amazon.com/shop/mymunchbug

💗Make sure kids feel stable and secure by resting their elbows on the countertop. Fine motor skills, like spitting, requires trunk stability. It’s hard to spit if you’re wobbly!

💦🪥Try practicing the steps with just water and a toothbrush, so the routine if familiar to your child before 
adding that little bit of toothpaste. 

🪥🎯🐠🐠The three T’s: Toothpaste, Target, Two! 
🪥Toothpaste: Just a pea-sized dot will do! 
🎯Target: Ideally, draw the 
number two on the target, with the number facing your child so he can see it. Or, just double the fun by putting two targets that stick in the sink! 
🐠🐠Two: When your little one is ready to spit, encourage them to enthusiastically to say “TWO”, with a little force on their tongue. Because they are looking at the target, seeing the visual cue “2” and tilting their 
head down, they can’t help but spit. With a little practice, they will become more proficient at it, but 
expect a little mess at first!

✨This is important: Recently, a large account took my original idea and changed the word to “ptew” - as a speech pathologist I want you to know the combination of P and T is not only incredibly hard (and not developmentally appropriate) for little kids to say, it also does not duplicate the motor pattern of spitting. So bigger accounts that take original ideas … please stop. 
#originalidea #iboughtmyownfish #melaniepotock

🥕Got a picky toddler or preschooler or just want to avoid struggles with food?🥦Or, got a kiddo in feeding therapy who is learning to be a more adventurous eater?

🦦Download FREE games & instructions to use with my Children’s Book – You are Not an Otter (The Story of How Kids Become Adventurous Eaters)! The book comes in Spanish too…

🦍Order the book here: mymunchbug.com/books/ or click main link in my bio

🐊Download the FREE games & more here: mymunchbug.com/free-toolbox/ or click main link in my bio

🦓DM me if you can’t find what you need – I’ll cut and paste the links for you.

💕🦝💕HUGE thank you to Argie at @pediatricfeedingandswallowing and her little munch bug that shared what it means to be a true FOOD EXPLORER! 💕Give this post a LIKE to let them know you loved their video!💕

🦦Do you have You are Not an Otter? 
💕Tell me what your kids think of it in the comments!#melaniepotock

#kidsinthekitchen #cookwithkids #kuhnrikon #sensoryplay #sensorytherapy #otmom #slpmom #pickyeaters #pickyeating #pickyeater #feedingtherapy #feedingtherapist #stockingstuffersideas #stockingstuffersforkids #booksforkids #animalbooks #toddlerbooks #ashaigers #mytoddler #toddlertrouble #preschoolbooks #mypreschooler

Praise can be tricky! All kids LOVE attention, but may interpret praise as pressure.😳

🤍This is most common with our more sensitive kids, and our hesitant or picky eaters. So, focus your attention (your child’s paycheck!) on the child, not on the food. 

✨If you notice them interacting with a new food, try easing into it by chatting about anything BUT the food. How about chatting about thier T-ball game or their favorite animal? Just giving a child attention while they explore a new food will reinforce the behavior of exploring food! 

🥰We know that food exploration is the foundation for eventually taking a taste…give it time, and give them the attention, not the food. #melaniepotock

Often, we hear snacks referred to as “mini-meals” but they aren’t always the same. 👉🏼In terms of quality,
the ideal snack is nutritious, right? But, sometimes a handful of fish crackers will just have to do, on occasion. 👉🏼In terms of quantity, for kids ages 2 & up, a typical snack is enough to hold in their hand, and there are no second servings.
🤷🏼‍♀️Why? Because kids can have more at meals until they feel satisfied. That small snack between meals is just enough fuel to ensure they don’t get hangry & arrive at the mealtime table hungry.
🤷🏼‍♀️What about the idea that kids can have mini-meals throughout the day? Yes, that’s an option. In fact, it
may be essential for some kids with medical &/or metabolic issues.

👍🏻Pros: Each snack opportunity, when seen as a meal, is more likely to be balanced & nutritious. Mealtimes come with a different mindset, but keep in mind a small snack can be nutritious too!
👎🏻Cons: When parents feel the need to feed mini-meals, it can be overwhelming. Sometimes it’s nice just to hand a kid a package of pretzels & a glass of milk & give yourself a break!
👍🏻Pros: Very active kids may do best with frequent mini-meals. I personally prefer to eat that way, but I
also eat very slowly, so my smaller portions seem to get consumed at about the same rate as my husband’s larger portions. It all seems to work out.
👎🏻Cons: As toddlers are learning mealtime routines, they don’t always have the hunger or the patience to
attend to 3 mealtimes if they are used to mini-meals. This can be hard to juggle when the rest of the
family is trying to enjoy a meal together.
♥️If you’re following a mealtime schedule (free download on my website - see FREE TOOLBOX tab!) with 2 to 3 snacks per day or you prefer 5 to 6 mini-meals, just choose a wide variety of foods throughout the day. That’s they key. And remember, the most important word in family mealtimes is FAMILY. Focus on that. 😉 #melaniepotock

Thank you to #theclinicdietitian for her input on the medical conditions that require frequent mini-meals.

So, you’ve introduced the open cup but your toddler has discovered GRAVITY.

😳Happens to the best of us – it’s going to be ok!
💦Grab some paper towels and follow my 3 C’s.
🧘‍♀️ Stay calm.
Respond in a concise manner – just state the facts. Screenshot the graphic so you remember exactly how to handle this one!
👉🏼Parent consistently and get all the adults on board too! Consistency is key when it comes to establishing positive behaviors in kids.
💜Most of all – remember to join in on the fun when it is an appropriate time and place, like bathtime! Kids just want attention and that’s the time to reinforce their delight in pouring, splashing & discovering
all the fun things that we can do with cups!
👉🏼But when we are not in the bath, cups are for drinking. 😊 #melaniepotock

🤦🏼‍♀️Got a picky eater who will only eat one brand of chicken nugget and GOD FORBID they change the packaging? 
🤦🏼‍♀️Got a kid who will only eat at one brand of fast-food restaurant and a fry is NOT a fry at any other drive-thru?

👉🏼When kids are brand-specific, they stick to FAMILIAR. They aren’t comfortable with change, especially when it comes to their food.

✨What to do about it? Start small. Include one small piece of the same food (different brand) on the child’s plate, along with the preferred food. Start with just visual acceptance – eating comes later.

❌Please don’t…
1. Put a new brand in the familiar brand’s container. It won’t solve a thing and it only breaks down trust.
2. Try to reason with your child. It just creates an adversarial environment.
1. Encouraging your child to help prepare the new brand of a favorite food. Get them involved and keep the atmosphere light and happy.
2. Away from mealtimes, encourage your child to explore the new brand…cut it up with fun food cutters or child-safe scissors and really get to know it. Make it familiar over time.

✨Be consistent. When your child is tolerating the presence of the new brand, you can begin to serve a 
few pieces of just that brand and not the other. Be sure there is still something else for them to eat on 
the plate too.

❤️Parent patiently – this one takes time! TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS - I want to know - what’s your biggest frustration about always needing one brand of a favorite food? 

❤️Learn more baby, toddler & big kid tips about food and by following @mymunchbug_melaniepotock 

#pickyeater #pickyeaters #pickypicky #parentingtoddlers #toddlertrouble #feedinglittles #feedingkids #ashaigers #slpmom #pediatricfeedingdisorders #pediatricot #slpeeps #feedingtherapy #feedingtherapist

❤️How to Explain Memorial Day to a Young Child?

Parents.com shared terrific advice on this:

Three to seven year old kids “likely need parents to explain the meaning of Memorial Day in simpler terms. (Becky) Reback says defining the word "memorial" helps give kids a foundation to grasp what "Memorial Day" means. She suggests using the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary, which provides clear and concise definitions. It defines "memorial" as "something (such as a monument or ceremony) that honors a person who has died or serves as a reminder of an event in which many people have died."

After reading this definition to your child, Reback suggests giving them an example of a memorial they've seen before to help them understand. "If there is a monument in a local park, point that out," says Reback. "Maybe they have a rock in the backyard that remembers a pet who died. That's a memorial, too."

Then, Reback recommends bringing the conversation full circle. "Tell them, 'On Memorial Day, we honor, which really means to celebrate and remember, the Americans who died in wars…America chose to fight in. Some people chose to fight for our county. They died in the war, and we remember them,'" she says.

Source: https://www.parents.com/holiday/memorial-day/traditions/patriotic-ways-to-celebrate-memorial-day-with-kids/
#melaniepotock #memorialday

Melanie Potock

Pediatric Feeding Expert and Author

Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP is a mom who once had a picky eater.  She’s experienced first-hand the stress that parents feel when they are worried about their child’s nutritional health.  Fast forward to today, and you’ll find Melanie blending her knowledge of feeding therapy with practical parenting strategies that help the entire family eat healthier.  She’s an international speaker and author of six books, including co-authoring the award-winning Raising a Healthy Happy Eater.  Whether you’re raising a child who seems to be on the path to loving all kinds of healthy foods (and you want to keep it that way) or if your child is stuck in the chicken nugget rut, “Coach Mel” is here to guide you.

Melanie's Advice Shared In...

  • Washington Post
  • PBS Kids
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Autism Parenting Magazine
  • CNN
  • ASHA Blog
  • ASHA Leader
  • Parents.com
  • The Bump
  • New York Times
  • WebMD
  • Parents
  • Romper
  • Fit Pregnancy
  • Georgia Chapter AAP
  • Fatherly
  • Care.com
  • Dr. Greene
  • Yahoo Parenting

Courses for Parents & Professionals

Melanie offers both on-demand courses and live-streaming Masterclasses.  CEUs are optional for both OTs and SLPs, yet audience members include parents, RDs, pediatricians & other health care professionals.

Need help with a picky eater, or just want to prevent kids from falling into the chicken-nugget rut?  As a parent, SLP or OT, what do you need to know about child nutrition?  What about the anxious eater – Could this be more than just picky eating?  Melanie’s on-demand course subscriptions provide the answers!

Want more in-depth instruction in a small group, virtual setting?  Register for one of Melanie’s Masterclass!

Explore course options here.

Booking Signing

Parenting Advice

Melanie’s advice has been shared in The New York Times, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Parents Magazine and more. Over 150 articles for both parents and professionals are found here or contact Melanie for a personal one-hour coaching session via video chat.

Masterclass participants get a 25% discount on coaching.

Learn more about professional and parent coaching here.

Keynote Speaking

An international speaker, award-winning author and pediatric feeding specialist, audiences find Melanie’s advice to be practical and possible, even in the most challenging cases.  That’s because Melanie is in the trenches, working closely with the most extreme picky eaters and supporting families and health professionals around the world. Melanie has been invited to speak at over 100 different events, including the American Speech Language Hearing Association’s National Conference and the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo.

Audiences say it best: If you are looking for a professional speaker who can “provide practical solutions” for parents, caregivers and therapists and your company needs a “highly knowledgeable, organized presenter” with “energy and enthusiasm” who can deliver a “dynamic course”, then your best choice is Melanie Potock. Contact Melanie here.

Product Consulting

Need expert input on your new parenting product?  Melanie has provided expert advice for Orgain, Inc., Holland Health Care, Inc., Healthy Height, Inc., NumNum, LLC and numerous health care and parent product companies.

Looking for an expert to educate your team on how children learn to become adventurous eaters, baby-self feeding or the importance of purees?  Feeding is developmental, just like learning to crawl, walk, run. At least 1 in 4 typically developing children have trouble learning to eat!  Raising a healthy, happy eater requires the right tools and the right advice.  Melanie provides company education and collaboration via webinars, social media and creating educational videos for your audience.

Contact Melanie here.


feeding advice for parents and professionals

Parenting a Picky Eater,

50 Easy Ways to Get Your Kid to Eat New Foods

By Salma Abdelnour Gilman It may seem like an impossible dream right now, but your kid has the potential to love all kinds...Read More
February 7, 2021
Sensory Concerns,

A Special Needs Guide for Learning to Eat with Your SEVEN Senses – Part One

  Most of us think of five senses and the human body: Sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. But, when it comes...Read More
January 14, 2021
Parenting a Picky Eater,

3 Ways to Explain Baby-Led Feeding to Your Extended Family

By Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP Whether it’s a holiday dinner, a virtual family brunch or an outdoor family picnic, well-meaning relatives may...Read More
December 30, 2020
Parenting a Picky Eater,

Planting for Kids

By The Lettuce Grow Team Melanie Potock has a knack for taking eaters of all ages from picky to passionate. Here are a...Read More
October 19, 2020