Baby wanting to snack only and not eat proper meals

Bridget - posted on 08/18/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )

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Hi Ladies, my 14 month old used to be a very good routine eater - he would have breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and then dinner. He goes to daycare 2 to 4 days a week (depending on if I pick up extra work) so has a routine there which is the same but on days off or when I pick him up from daycare all he wants to do is eat, eat, eat. He then won't however eat dinner - justs throws it away and will only eat on the go not in his chair. Anyone experiencing this? I have tried distracting him etc when he asks for food but now that he is walking he just walks to the cupboard or kitchen and persists asking until he cries so he is genuinely hungry! Not sure what i can do to get him onto just regular meals instead of snacking - any suggestions? Thanks

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Elizabeth - posted on 08/19/2010

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Catelynn, my almost 15 month old, has days where she only wants to snack, and it usually coincides with growing or teething. They only want to eat snacks when they are growing because they are hungry all day long. Teething, she just can't chew for very long before it bothers her.

As long as you don't give up on offering him food at meal times, and only giving snacks when it's clear he is hungry, not bored, I'm sure he will be fine. :)

They can be so confusing at this age because one day is different from the next. We're going round and round about naps at the moment. She's trying hard to drop one, though she really needs the sleep.

Elizabeth - posted on 08/18/2010

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Do you eat meals with him? Our little one is doing much better now that we all eat at the same time. We also had to give her a fork or a spoon (toddler ones). She uses them as much as she can, though sometimes only holds it while she eats with her fingers. He could also be teething or growing.

Just keep offering him healthy snacks Mommy and it will be okay. :)

Mazy - posted on 09/09/2010

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Put "snack foods" in a cupboard out of reach & give them "snackable" but "real" foods in lue of a snack. I put whole wheat crackers & peanut butter, cooled tortallini/palmeni, halfed grapes or other fruit, sandwhiches cut into bite-sized cubes, etc (really anything that isn't sloppy, goopey or too messy will work) out for my son on a low table in a bowl & he "snacks" on them over the course of an hour or so, but doesn't know that it's what's really for lunch!

Ashley - posted on 08/19/2010

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From what I've read and am now experiencing usually between 9 and 16 months LOs becomes much less interested in food. Often times they are now, walking and discovering. I guess, sitting and eating for a significant amount of time is not their idea of a good time, lol! Especially once they get back to their own little environments!
My daughter (13 mos.) also loves to eat all day. So we go ahead and give her healthy snacks before/after her 3 main meals. We feed her dinner as soon as we get home, between 4:45 and 5pm. Most often we have dinner after she goes to bed, at 7pm. However, if dinner is ready before her bed time then we put her in her high chair and give her milk and fruit or graham/goldfish crackers. She’s used to a pre-bed snack anyway, so sitting in the high chair, as opposed to standing at her snack table, doesn’t bother her. So even though she doesn’t usually eat dinner with us, she does have a structured dinner time and eats all of her food.

Good luck!

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Megan - posted on 09/08/2010

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My son started doing this about 2 weeks ago. He went from eating anything and everything all the time to not wanting anything but snack food. He is teething and on top of that he has a cold now so I try not to push it too much, but it's driving me crazy!! I fixed him 3 things for lunch and he screamed like I was hurting him. He also does the same thing with the cupboard, he gets his snacks and brings them to me to open. I wish I had suggestions, but I am looking for some as well.

Mazy - posted on 08/30/2010

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It is very normal & very healthy for your little one to want to snack. I myself am not a meal eater, and naturally, neither is my son (14months). He has been out of his high chair since his first birthday & that has helped him eat more. He has a small table (really an end table from WalMart) in the kitchen that he eats his day meals on. Usually he just eats a bit then runs off to play & comes back in 15 mins for another little bit. He does follow the rules of NO FOOD outside of the kitchen though, which is nice. I sit on the floor with him or in a chair next to him & eat breakfast/lunch/snacks with him. Then for dinner we all sit on the floor around what is actually a coffee table. (Our dining room table is a high top table & he's still too short to sit at it, which is why we all sit on the floor). Once he's big enough to sit at the real table, we will all sit there. I feel that eating together is key, as is letting them eat when they want to eat. Human beings really shouldn't be eating three big meals, but a bunch of small meals for optimal health & weight control.

Kristin - posted on 08/30/2010

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My friend's toddler was doing this too. She used my recipe on cuisinedekristin.blogspot.com for banana bread (use the search tool on the left side). She put crushed walnuts in it too. That way, even though it was a "snacky" food he was still getting protein, fruit and whole wheat fiber. You could also just break up his meals into smaller portions such as 1/2 a pb&j at one sitting, some chopped apple and string cheese later. Just make sure that his whole day adds up correctly. I usually feed my son a small meal a snack around 5, another at 6 and then he eats a small portion of whatever we're eating when we sit down to dinner as a family around 7. Then he goes straight in the tub for bedtime routine. He cluster fed at night when I nursed him too so it didn't surprise me that it continued on later.

Angy - posted on 08/30/2010

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my 14 month old son doesnt want to eat anything that does not have some sweet taste. he only likes desserts and i end up forcing him to eat a proper meal and he will be crying the whole time until he finishes. he was a good eater before but now its totally different.

Denise - posted on 08/29/2010

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my son used to eat anything i put in front of him.. and used to eat 3 meals/ 2 snacks.. now i am lucky to get 2 full meals out of him. but he does get healthy snacks during the day. I let him eat breakfast and lunch on the go since we eat at different times but dinner i eat with him and usually it doesnt work unless it is grilled cheese of something with cheese on it. I found putting cheese on things gets him to eat most of it... you just have to figure out what works for your little one

Larissa - posted on 08/27/2010

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Hi Bridget,

From what I read, it is normal for babies to eat small amounts sometimes. Their stomachs are small, so it's normal for him to snack and eat small meals. My son does the same thing. He's also growing and teething so I do believe it has something to do with it. I read that as long as they're eating/snacking on (healthy food) they get what they need throughout the day.

Sheetal - posted on 08/27/2010

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I am also experiencing the same with my 14 month daughter. She was a good eater 1 month back but lately isvery picky and is not ready to eat dinner. I realized lately that she doesn't like her high chair anymore. In daycare she sits on her table and chair so doesn't like getting strapped in the high chair anymore. Also I have to keep her entertained during dinner. I think he is either teething or maybe try sitting outdoors for meals. Good Luck

Jess - posted on 08/25/2010

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i have a grazer too! my 14 month old snacks alot throughout the day, i know she is getting enough but frustrating all the same, she used to eat 3 meals and snacks in between but now just grazes,im not really concerned as i know she will eventually change her eating habbits... its hard finding out what works for you but goodluck!

Kat - posted on 08/19/2010

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this is my son exactly. i cant get him to eat a meal for anything.

i just make him a grilled cheese or something like that and set it on the couch. he comes over and takes bites as he's playing. when i make him mashed potatoes, i make them extra thick and put spoonfuls on a plate on the couch and he comes by, picks up a piece of mashed potato/grilled cheese/etc and pops it in his mouth. i cant get him to sit and eat, whether with us or without us. it takes him like an hour to eat, but he gets his food

Bridget - posted on 08/18/2010

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Thanks Elizabeth, yep we eat at the same time for dinner but he just throws the food on the floor. He does feed himself - I fill the spoon he then puts it in his mouth - I get quite a lot of vegies in that way (he will only eat them mushed), but all up he would only have about 5 tablespoons of vegies for tea and that is it! I thought teething but he will snack on anything and everything but then just doesn't want anything else for tea! I thought it might be a growth spurt but shouldn't he be eating more - he is eating about the same amount he would normally eat for tea but it is over 2-3 hours rather than in one sitting.
Puzzling?? He used to stick to meal times but now it's all over the place!

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