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

Upcoming Events & Courses

On-Demand Courses

Visit the Course Library

Live In-Person Events

Atlanta, GA on April 27, 2024
Anderson, SC on April 29, 2024

Live On-Line Courses

Food Allergies Masterclass, August 10, 2024
Appetite Masterclass, August 10, 2024


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.

🤍There are plenty of nutritious packaged snacks to include in your kids’ lunch (or for snack time at school) but here’s the problem…

😖They are so darn hard to open! For many little kids, especially if they have even mild motor delays, ripping open the package is frustrating, and they sometimes ignore it completely in a lunch. And if you've got a picky eater, the last thing we want is them to ignore a preferred food.

⏰PLUS, did you know that the average amount of time for kids to ENTER, EAT and EXIT the elementary school cafeteria is just 20 minutes in the USA? The last thing we want is kids wasting time holding up their hand and waiting for help to open their food. Oh and SUMMER CAMPS - those are coming up soon! Definitely use this hack then too!

🍱Bento boxes are ideal, but hey, the convenience of throwing in a package of crackers or a granola bar means a lot too! 

👉🏼🥰👉🏼Use my hack – it’s so simple – and tell me what you think! 

Pro Tip: Draw a ❤️or a 😊 on the post-it tab. The kids love that.
#melaniepotock #originalidea

😳Got a toddler who picks their nose, A LOT? Want to solve it?

🤧When we try to break a habit, we FIRST need to think about WHY it started in the first place.

👉🏼Lots of reasons for this habit, but here are 5 reasons you may not have considered:
👉🏼Gastroesophageal Reflux can cause swelling in the nasal area
👉🏼Obstructions: (scabs, foreign objects) What could be up there? 
👉🏼Attention: Toddlers need a lot of attention & nose picking sure grabs your attention!
👉🏼Mouth breathing: If your child typically breathes through their mouth, the nose dries out AND may have be difficult to breathe through in the 1st place. 
👉🏼Anxiety: When kids feel anxious, they often resort to habits to self-soothe and distract from anxious feelings.

❤️So, offer alternative habits that are safe to replace the need to pick. Fidgets, chewies are great! If you use a bandaid on their fingers, be sure to STILL offer alternatives to keep hands busy. The need to fidget or chew is strong for these kids, in my opinion. When you know the “cue” to pick may be present (dry air, stressful environment, etc.) parent proactively by having the alternative handy. Offer the alternative in a very low-key way “Your fingers found their way inside your nose. Here’s something for them to hold instead” (chewies etc on my Amazon Shop at amazon.com/shop/mymunchbug)*

🤍Third, we need to provide the right kind of feedback when we see our kids using a tissue, or some of the strategies above. Try “I like to chew on these when I’m feeling ___________ too!” It shows you understand their need, it’s not just them that feels that way, and you’re giving them attention for doing THAT instead of nose-picking. (Keep in mind too much nose-blowing causes congestion, so limit it to a gentle blow.)

👉🏼👉🏼If it persists, talk to your pediatrician. They can refer you to a specialist for additional strategies. 

🥰Share this with a friend who may need it today – it’s more common than you realize! Melanie❤️

#melaniepotock #pickyeaters #slpfeeding

*affiliate link

NOT medical advice. Educational info only.

Research: Connor et al European Respiratory Journal 2018

💕Lovevery’s Babbler Play Kit includes:

🎾🏀⚽️Slide & Seek Ball Run! Your toddler will learn about object permanence when the balls roll down and disappear…

🐇🐇🐇Adorable Bunnies in a Felt Burrow! Practice bilateral coordination and learn the concept of “containment”

🟣🟡🟠Flexible, Colorful Wooden Stacker – Practice fine motor skills!

🟢🔵🔴Circle of Friends Puzzle: Ideal introduction to puzzles for toddlers!

🪙🪙🪙Wooden Coin Bank Set: That pincer grasp may have met it’s match! LOL! Practice fine motor skills with precision with this fun set!

❤️❤️❤️Plus: Coin Lid & Coins for the Coin Bank: More fine motor fun!

🥕🥕🥕Included: Carrots and a lid that fits on the coin bank to for visual spatial practice and pretend play

🤍🤍🤍Included: Posting Lid for Coin Bank – This one is my favorite parts!

😴😴😴Bedtime for Zoe Board Book – ease into bedtime and zzzzz….

📚And of course, in every play kit, you’ll find an age-specific play guide with expert tips and info on your child’s development!
Link is in my stories, or DM the word LOVEVERY & I’ll send it to you!

🥰Seriously, this one might be the best play kit EVER. Thanks for sending it to me @Lovevery, I LOVE IT.❤️

#melaniepotock #slp #Lovevery, #LoveveryGift

🤢Silicone straws are safest for kids, but they can leave a soapy aftertaste if not cleaned with the simplest liquid detergents. 

❌Avoid liquid detergents that have moisturizers, essential oils or antibacterial agents. Those ingredients are more likely to stick to the straw (especially inside the straw) – yuck!

💦 Use a straw brush and remember to dry upright so the interior drains well.

❤️I love having a few extra straws on hand too in case one gets lost. @ezpzfun makes extra straws for all their cups – you can use my affiliate code Melanie10 on their website for 10% off! 

🤔Have questions about the best cups? DM me for a link to my Amazon Shop, where all my approved cups are organized for you and your little munch bug! 

✈️Share this with a friend who may not know it may be the type of detergent they’re using!!! Easy fix!

Thanks for following me too!

#melaniepotock #cupsforkids #ezpzfun

🍼Babies start reaching for the bottle while you’re feeding baby at about 5 months of age, but they aren’t typically ready to hold it independently till around 6 months of age. 

🍼🍼Here are 2 tips to help develop this skill, but keep in mind that holding your little one and feeding them in your arms helps them grow too, both physically and emotionally! 

👉🏼1.	Work on sitting upright, even baby will be bottle feeding on a slight recline. Baby can sit up for about ten minutes by themselves. What does this have to do with self-feeding a bottle? When their core is stable, they can operate their arms and hands well! It’s that stable trunk that allows them to hold the bottle in their sweet hands and hold it upright and steady!

👉🏼2.	By 6 months of age, babies are taking a lot of formula or breastmilk in the bottle…and it’s heavy! Midway, when taking a break to burp baby, consider occasionally pouring the milk into a shorter (and now lighter) bottle. It will be less frustrating for baby to hold. They will graduate to the longer bottle for the entire feed soon! Or, if you have time, try 2 smaller bottles in succession.

✨Important:✨Never lay baby flat to self-feed their bottle. The full-recline can lead to ear infections. Always use a semi-recline position (or more upright) and ALWAYS monitor them closely while they are still learning.

❓🍼❓Did you know that as early as 6 months we begin the process of bottle WEANING? If you’ve got a baby starting solids, take my bottle weaning course to get a plan in place for slowly weaning over the next 6 months. If you’ve got an older toddler, my bottle weaning course will help your kiddo too – don’t stress, but don’t wait. See video courses via links in my bio or mymunchbug.com/course-library
(DM me if you can’t find anything, happy to help!)

#melaniepotock #babybottle #feedingbaby #slpfeeding

Bottles and spouted sippy cups: “Leave it before they love it too much” – that’s my motto. In fact, I prefer parents skip those spouted sippy cups altogether. BUT…

🤔If you want to save just one spill-proof spout for those very rare occasions when you absolutely need spill-proof because “Grandma’s white carpet”…ok. But promise me you’ll use it only then.

🍼Spouted sippy cups (yes, soft ones too) are just bottles in disguise. They cause a child’s tongue to move forward and back UNDER the spout/nipple and that’s really hard to give up – it’s a movement that kids learn in infancy and when it persists into the toddler years, it can impact feeding development and more.

🍼Feeding milestones indicate that kids develop a more mature pattern (tongue rises UP, not forward like suckling a bottle) gradually between 6 and 12 months of age and it’s perfected shortly thereafter.

🍼That’s why developing a plan for weaning from the bottle by the first birthday is so important to help baby learn to safely eat more advanced foods.

🍼If you’ve got a baby starting solids, take my bottle weaning course to get a plan in place for weaning over the next 6 months. If you’ve got an older toddler, my bottle weaning course will help your kiddo too – don’t stress, but don’t wait. See video courses via links in my bio or mymunchbug.com/course-library
(DM me if you can’t find anything, happy to help!)

💥And try to skip the sippy cups – they are sooo hard to give up and can hinder feeding development if used too frequently. Kids vary on how hard they suck on spouts like that, but using a straw cup to keep spills to a minimum is ideal for oral development. You’ll find my favorite straw cups on my Amazon shop (link in bio or amazon.com/shop/mymunchbug )

Questions for me? Drop them in the comments, happy to help!


#bottleweaning #weaning #mytoddler #toddlermomlife #toddlermomma #slpmom #slplife #feedingtherapy #myfirstbaby #blw6months #blw12months #responsivefeeding #raisehealthyeaters #momproblems #toddlertroubles #kidscup #ashaigers #sippycups

🍝Your picky eater only eats plain or buttered noodles? Use my step-by-step solution to gradually introduce the sauce of your choice!

✨Start with the tiniest bit of sauce at the bottom of a bowl. Kids can participate in these steps if it’s not too stressful for them. For kids who are very anxious, you might start with their favorite plain pasta in one bowl and the final product from this reel in a bowl set next to it. Every kid is different… But let’s keep going here with the final steps:

✨Add pasta and stir well.

✨Here’s the most important part: add more pasta and stir again. Why? Because that pasta will be lighter in color and hold less sauce then the pasta you first stirred in… And now your child has options to pick the lightest (least saucy!) pasta from the bowl.

✨Bonus tip: Add two or three plain noodles to the top of the pile for those kids who are very hesitant about sauce. If they just fork those three noodles that’s awesome! This technique takes time and breaking it down into even smaller steps maybe the magic for your child.
#melaniepotock #originalidea
#pickyeater #feedinglittles
#pastaforkids #feedingtherapy

✨Giveaway time!✨ When a copy of my most recent book, RESPONSIVE FEEDING! 

I’ll announce the winner in the comments on Sunday. One comment per person, please. Giveaway ends as soon as 50 people comment. What could be easier?😉

✨We reached 50 comments and thank you so much for participating! 👉🏼If you’d like a copy but missed the giveaway, go to mymunchbug.com/books/ for all my books!🥰

✨This giveaway is not associated with Instagram/Facebook/Meta and it’s only open to individuals over the age of 18 in the USA. Good luck! ❤️

👍🏼Here’s what to do when baby starts to suck their thumb or fingers while awake…

✨Offer a favorite teether that has sensory bumps on it. Those little bumps are magical – they satisfy baby by stimulating nerve endings in the gums, lips and tongue that are alerting. 

👉🏼There’s more to know…

👋🏼We want babies exploring their mouth with their little fingers, thumbs, fists and wrists! We want to see mouthing, gentle biting, etc. But it’s oh-so-easy for this exploration phase to turn into thumb or finger sucking for prolonged periods of time. Depending on the intensity, duration and frequency of the digit sucking, it may change the shape of baby’s plate and mouth structures.

❓Why is that important? 👉🏼Because unintended changes in facial growth due to thumb/finger sucking may be related to speech, feeding and airway issues as baby grows.

🤔Wait – so they SHOULD chew/mouth fingers, but not suck on them? YEP.

💜THUS, if baby sucks while awake, offer a teether with sensory bumps.

😴BUT, if baby begins to suck while falling asleep, it’s ok to let them suck for a few minutes to calm and regulate their body for sleep. But once they are drowsy, gently pop out that thumb whenever possible. 

✨AND…discouraging it during the daytime will help tremendously, in my experience with babies and toddlers. They are less likely to make it a habit if we find other ways to address their need for oral stimulation with fun teethers, like this one from ezpzfun.com . Be sure to use my affiliate code MELANIE10 for 10% any purchase at ezpz – this teether is also an oral development tool from the set of 3 “Oral Development Tools” at ezpzfun.com. You can read all about the advantages of the 3 tools on their site – or just DM me for more info, and I’ll send you the direct link!

#melaniepotock #thumbsucking #babythumb #ashaigers #slpfeeding

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
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
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
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