What can I do about my 18 month old not eating?

Finding a balance between what children want to eat with what children need nutritionally can be a struggle. But what do you do when your child does not want to eat at all?

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29  Answers

4 20

Well, what I did with my son, who is now almost 3, I let him eat whenever he wanted and whatever he wanted. Your child will not starve he will eat when he/she is hungry. I gave my son vitamins as well just to make sure he was getting all the nutrients he needed. Also I noticed that when my son was going into a growth spurt that he would eat alot before the spurt and not really eat at all during it. Its a hit and miss situation sometimes they will eat sometimes not. My son still to this day still hardly eats anything.

26 24

My son goes through phases like this...sometimes he'll go two or three days eating everything in sight, then for a week or more he won't eat enough to keep a bird alive! I was very stressed about it at first, but after talking to a few other moms more seasoned than myself, I realized this was not all that unusual, and he would eat when he gets hungry. If there's anything your child WILL eat, even if it's pretzel sticks or crackers, just keep those on hand and let him/her eat at will. In the meantime, I would suggest talking to your pediatrician about getting recommendations on supplemental vitamins, beverages, etc. I know there are drinks available that are formulated for children and provide all the nutrition they need. Then anything they eat on top of that is just gravy...so to speak. Good luck!

28 0

I have the same problem with my son, who just turned 2, now and then. It worried me at first. but from what I've been told by our doctor, it's completely normal. The doctor said toddlers need 2000-3000 calories a week (and as adults we need that much per day!). And if they get all those calories by eating really well for like 2 days, and doesn't eat well the rest of the week, its totally normal. Most toddlers go through it. Just like us, they know to eat when they are hungry, and don't eat when they are not!!

5 19

My son turns three in August and he does this mostly during dinner time, thus we started having breakfast for dinner! It may sound weird but at least I knew he was eating something. Some little ones are just stubborn (I think he gets that from me though) Hope it helps!

0 0

i have a problem with my baby she is 1year and 7months now she doesn't want to eat the food only she like to drink in her milk pls help me im worried for her

0 0

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2 18

My daughter is 18months but she does not eat much. I tried giving her healthy stuffs like fruits , veggies meat.But she throws everything out & refuses to even open to have a taste.She just eats Cheerios oatmeal some days only 2 spoons.I am so worried and tried. Please give me some tips ..

2 0

Hi I'm going through the same problem I know u posted this in DEC..BUT I WAS WONDERFUL IF IT'S GETTING BETTER

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0 0

my son is now 2 year old but he is very wea
k and eat noting every time hi vomet i am werry about my son wath can i do plz ans me wath is best for my son

21 9

What I did for my #2 son who was a picky eater we gave him lots of crackers and breads and whatever he wanted to eat like baby carrots ect. He is 23 now and still thin! LOL but he's healthy so don't worry too much about it. He will eat when he gets hungry as long as there is food available. Good luck!

9 0

A good rule of thumb is a tablespoon of each food per meal per year of age. ie: 1 Tb fruit or veg, 1Tb protein, 1Tb carbs for a 1 year old. They have little tummies. So even if it looks like they aren't eating enough, they probable are.

4 78

My daughter did the same thing at 18 months. Her nutritionist told us to let her eat what ever she wants but to try to still introduce her to new foods. For a while all my daughter would eat was apples, banana, and oranges once in a while eat mac-n-cheese. She loved her pizza. Have you ever watch Yo Gabba Gabba? They have shows the children to eat new foods and try new things. So now that my daughter is 2 1/2 she says all the time that she likes it she tried it. It will be frustrating, hard. But they are at the age were they are learning to eat what they want. It took my daughter 4months before she started to really eat again. You got to have the patience to wait on your child. Every child goes throw this and there is nothing that anyone can do about it. Just keep giving your child what he or she will eat. Also make sure that you cut back on there amount of milk. If they are thirsty give them half water and half juice. They also had told me about that too.

0 0

i m much worried about my child health he is 18 months old and very weak plz suggest me

0 0

My daughter just turned 2 in June and some dayz i could pull my hair out trying to get her to eat. She loves breakfast tho a big bowl of cereal (special K or cherrios) but the rest of the day it's difficult. So i've decided to experiment with foods. For lunch i've been trying smoothies. @ first i was unsure of a smoothie as a meal but if i put a whole banana, a yogurt, juice and more friut in it what more could u ask for, and she loves them. I'm also gonna get brave in the next couple of dayz and try putting in carrots and spinach, but put it in with blueberries that way he/she doesn't see the icky green color. I always have some kind of crackers out for her, gold fish, special K crackers, mini rice snacks and things of the sort. I've just started doing this the last couple of dayz and find that by supper she is hungry. But hang in there, i know i'll still have dayz that by the time my hubby comes home i've given up and told him it's his turn, lol. She loves french toast, egos, pb&j sandwiches, yogurt, fruit but veggies is a hard one so i try to sneek them in food when i can. Good luck to all those mama and dada's struggling with this! ;D

12 19

First, talk to your paediatrician. They will have some advice.

Secondly, do not make the table a battle ground. The more you push and force the more they will fight back.

Limit snacks and have structure meal times. Do not negotiate with treats. Let your child play with their food and squish it, smash it, spread it around. Let them laugh about it. Make eating a positive experience.

If they take a bite of an apple - say "whoo-hooo, good for you. can you take another?".

If your child doesn't eat their meal - don't give dessert or treats. If they are hungry they will eat.

Also, be sure that you are not filling them up with milk or fluid before meals. If they are drinking a lot they will feel full.

Don't make your child sit until they are finished every bite. This will just make meal time a battle ground and they will win.

If there are serious problems, there are eating clinics and special dr. to help with food and eating issues. Don't be afraid to ask your Dr. if you are truly concerned.

0 0

thank u

9 21

my boy is 20 mth and doesnt like to eat most food though he will have 3 weetbix !!!!for breakie .he will eat apple and yoghurt ,sausages and CANNED spaghetti!!!! i always put new and foods he doesnt like on his plate but when i sit down with my steak and big salad i sit close to him (and while i HATE people touching my food ) have found he loves certain veges !!!!

9 21

mind you it has only been in the last month that he will eat bread!!! thankfully

19 7

Don't put too much food on his plate at one time, have small portions on a small plate as it might seem overwhelming to him and then rather than try anything he won't eat at all.
I always offered healthy snacks (fruit, veggies, cheese etc) if my chilkdren were hungry between meals and at least if they didn't eat a lot at the next meal I knew they had had something. If he is snacking he may not be hungry enough to eat when meal time comes.
If you think he has had enough at lunch for example don't offer snacks unless he asks and then he should be hungry for supper.
I found having supper at 5 or 5:30pm was best any later and my children were past being hungry and then didn't want to eat.
A variety of foods is always good to have for a meal and if food can be eaten cooked or raw offer it a different way at different meals. Having said that one of my children wouldn't eat anything else for breakfast except a bacon sandwich and a glass of orange juice for almost a year. (he had protein, carbs and fruit so wasn't too bad) Boy did I get flack from the grandmothers about not having a variety of foods. One day I gave him the usual and he refused and wanted cereal instead. When one of my daughter's was in JK she wouldn't eat anything for lunch but homemade chicken noodle soup, 4 crackers, milk and 2 chocolate chip cookies. After eating this for months one day she came home from school and nothing had been touched and she was complaining she didn;t know why I had given her that for lunch as she hated chicken noodle soup and she didn't touch it again for several years.
I know it can be frustrating especially when it seems as if your child isn't eating anything and other children are shovelling food into their mouths, I know it is hard but try not to compare your child with others or get drawn into the trap with other moms as to how much their child eats and yours doesn't. it will only make you frustrated and upset. As long as your child is healthy and the dr can do some tests if you are concerned about iron, mineral and vitamin, calcuim absorbance etc. Giving a good multi-vitamin such as Koala Pals and a good nutritious shake if he hasn't eaten much during the day will help.
Hope this helps, sometimes by the time you have figured out the solution the concern has disappeared. Take care Susan Roper

55 59

My son goes through phases where he doesn't want to eat so I give him Carnation Instant Breakfast shakes. That way I know he is getting nutrients, protein, & calcium and he thinks its just a yummy milkshake!

1 68

When my 18mos doesn't eat well, ta take him to Jamba Juice. This really helps to fill his tummy with fresh fruit and yogurt! It also sometimes give him an appetite once he is done! That's my trick, I'd you try I hope it work for you!

42 9

My son, now two and half years old is just the same. he was becoming very weak bcz he was not eating well. around 18 months age I started working on how to make him eat, and eat healthy. Thats what I found. There is almost every time a reason due to which he is refusing food.
- weather, if weather is very hot he does not like eating, what I do is offer him frozen or chilled fruits (cut fresh fruit into small pieces and freeze for few hours), fruit milkshakes made at home. Fruits also increase his appetite.
- he is digesting slow may be constipated a bit, again fresh fruits are my best bet
- he does not like the taste of the food I am offering, he generally eats all food groups but his objections are mostly on the seasoning of the meal:) e.g salt is more than he likes. He was unable to tell the reason so he just used to reject the meal and I took it as he is not hungry. When I realized that problem I just change his meal now to his taste.
- he is too busy playing and eating seems a boring task. I let him skip him meal once a while when he playing and he will get back to food when he feels like. but if I feel it is going too far and he may get overtired and sleep without eating, I took his meal to play area and feed him when playing. I dont recommend it as general practice but I think sometimes it is needed. My son was really underweight and all the advice saying "he wont starve himself" was not proving correct. He is so stubborn that he can starve him to illness.
- I noticed there are some good times of the day and some bad ones. In our case he eats more at breakfast so i manage good special breakfast. he wants something to drink after playing in afternoon so I plan milk or fruit shake at that time. At dinner he is mostly not hungry so I dont put that much effort in his dinner, he may manage with leftovers of previous meals.

I tried to put all the points which worked for us. I hope it is helpful.

3 24

Have you checked for things like Hand, Foot,& Mouth Disease? It's a very common virus for kids to get & it causes pain in the mouth from the sores. It could even be a sore throat from sinus drainage. Or like all the other moms have suggested it could just be a tiny phase. As long as your toddler is drinking fluids & taking vitamins he/she should be fine. But if it is a medical issue, babies have a strange way of dealing with pain & not letting us know all of the time when something is wrong. I will also add that too much fluid could be the appetite suppressant if your child constantly has a zippy it bottle available. You will both be fine. Follow your instinct.

5 24

I just giver her the formula (which has all the major nutrients). After one day of liquid diet, Laura goes back to being hungry and she eats everything I give her, or almost everything.

The doc always says, she'll eat when she is hungry, but don't give in to the temptation of giving her anything (even junk food) for the sake of having her eat something.

Most of all, try not to get frustrated... these little creatures manage to get just what they need.

11 50

my girl is almost 2 and most days she doesnt eat much. at this age they are still teething( two year molars) and it plays a big part in their appetite. i give her a variety of snacks through out the day, small amounts so she can pick and choose. a children's multi-vitamin once a day. if your child wont eat anything give them plenty of fluids, nesquick (iron enriched) is a wonder, and toddler formula is always a healthy choice. someday's i notice my daughter eats better after a nap. even late at night she'll wake up and have a snack cuddled up on the couch( no cartoons), then straight back to bed. they wont starve themselves, they will eat when they are hungry.

5 17

My daughter, who will be 3 in a week has had this ongoing issue since she stopped breastfeeding at 2 years old. I know it's frustrating because you sit at the table (or where ever) and look at your little one and wish they would just eat already! I agree with many of the moms here, I let her eat what she wanted, but gave her choices. So, if we were having meat loaf with rice and veggies and she only wanted the rice, I let her eat that, kept her plate available in case she was hungry later. Sometimes, she would go back to it, sometimes not. it's an option. I also I made sure i kept her favorites on hand and revert to that when she rejected everything. For example, I always kept cheese, cracker, and fruit in the fridge ready for her. She knew to go to the fridge and get what she wanted when she wanted. I give her a probiotic multivitamin, plenty of her favorite milk and yogurt around. I completely eliminated all sweet beverages and that helped with her appetite, no sweet snacks. If I HAD to give her juice, I stuck with honest kids juice which has less sugar per serving. My daughter and I still struggle, but it's improving to the point where we can sit at the table and go through our meals without her getting up after 2 minutes. Hang in there!

1 26

If you are worried that your child is not getting the vitamins and nutrients that he needs try giving him some Carnation Instant Breakfast. I will give my daughter one after dinner if I feel like she has not eaten much throughout the day.

67 12

make sure your child is not drinking milk too close to meal times. milk can be very filling, and children will tend to drink more than they need when drinking out of a bottle or sippy cup.

5 23

we were told in nursing school to give them food they can carry around, but that's tough when you're wanting to teach manners or go out to eat. I asked my dr about it and he said that kids this age usually have one good meal a day, so utilize it for good. Also he said that sometimes you have to get protein one meal, fruit another, and veggies another. You can't always be well balanced at every meal. This from a pediatrician with 4 kiddos of his own.

12 46

Wow...I think you and the other moms need to relax and think about the big picture. Maybe keep a log for a week of what your child is eating. You'll be surprised. From about 1 to 3, most kids are out of growth spurts and eat like birds. Their stomachs are small. Serving sizes are a tablespoon per food per year. I don't agree with any of the moms saying "let them eat whatever whenever ". I serve my kids a small portion of what we are eating with a cup of water or milk. If they choose not to eat it, they can have some instant oatmeal or wait for breakfast the next day. It's always the same options. Sometimes they don't eat anything, whine all night and eat just fine the next day. My daughter ate very little at this age and didn't gain an ounce for two years. I worried every day but the Dr assured me she was fine. And she's now 10 and wonderful. My son is 22 months and I'm dealing with the same problems. I'm taking my own advice knowing that this will get better. Also, I'm trying to use his crazy independence to help the situation. He eats happier and almost twice as much when he can make a mess.

5 3

Letting the kids have choices in what they eat can also help. Instead of "what would you like to eat?" for my son, I use "would you like crackers or apples?" so that it's less a question of if he will eat, but more what he eats, that he's controlling. Also, I have discovered the joy of eating with a straw. He loves smoothies (and you can throw all kinds of good things in those) and soups that can go through a straw. Dips are another delight - fish sticks, chicken nuggets, even burritos and eggrolls all have dipping possibilities. Letting my son help me make things sometimes gets him interested in eating the results - he's 2, but he can dump a cup of flour, etc. Things you can poke with a toothpick or skewer (and there's more than you'd think), odd things made bite size (sandwiches, fruit/veg), and turning almost anything into a sandwich (we have lots of cracker and cream cheese based sandwiches).

You might also see if there is a place he will eat more at - my son eats well in his car seat, but much less so with a table and chairs. I made food and we go for very little drives sometimes just so I can get him to eat. Other than that, as other moms have said, feed as much as they will eat, vitamins (including fiber if necessary), stay hydrated and as long as the kid is acting well, don't worry about it.

2 62

dont stress too much they all do it!! My daugter is a HUGE eater but then goes through no eating stages she has vitamins and I give her 'up and go' breakfast drinks when i think she hasnt eaten enough, good luck :)

5 18

i thought it was just my son. he is twenty months now and there are days he can eat and eat and then just stop. his doctor said it is simple ´´mamma decides what he will eat and he decides how much´´ plus some milk with every meal or snack. however little it counts and some water and thats it. am in sweden and we dont have vitamins for kids under three. so it all goes into what he eats. and when he looks and acts okay then there is nothing to worry about. keeping him dehydrated is very important. i hope this helps!

15 20

Our now 21 month old son has always been a light eater/nurser. He has never been above the 10th percentile for weight. Putting him in his high chair routinely with a variety of foods has helped along with always making sure he has a sippy of fresh milk handy. I, like some of the others on the site, will let him eat whatever/whenever I.e. he took me to the fridge one time, pointed to the freezer side; I opened it & he pointed & got all excited about a box of lo mein noodles w/ meatballs (20 min prep time); well, at 10pm, I wasn't too excited about cooking up some lo mein; but he ate & it did make me feel better.
I also agree w/ giving a vitamin supplement... Good luck!!!


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