My daughter won't eat meat. Any ideas?

Rachel - posted on 01/11/2010 ( 101 moms have responded )

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My 2 year old daughter refuses to eat meat. She just won't. Is that normal? Any ideas of how I could get her to? She won't eat any kind of meat (chicken, beef, turkey, pork chops) I have tried everything I know to try. Any ideas?

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Julie L - posted on 05/26/2013

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You could grind or chop meat into a favorite food. Or the vegan alternative of Quinoa a lovely grain and I believe a complete protein. You can make it savory or sweet in 15 minutes.

User - posted on 06/29/2012

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I am a vegan mother and I will tell you that my 18 month old is VERY healthy despite some of the comments I have read on here regarding the whole "protein debate". I worked in the medical field before I became a stay at home mother and I will tell you, from my training, the average American eats more protein than the recommended daily allowance so it should never be an issue! Also, there have NEVER been any reports to date of any person having a true protein deficiency. Usually, in order to become truly "protein deficient" you must be severely starving and malnourished, lacking in other nutrients. In most medical cases, those people are simply classified as "malnourished".

Also, I think this is a good time to introduce your child to fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and beans. All of which have more bang for your buck when it comes to vitamins and minerals- and even protein! The one thing my daughter loves is when I make her a green smoothie that has greens, fresh fruit, and sometimes we will add a nut or seed butter for a little bulk. It only takes seconds to make and you won't feel like you are spending a lot of time in the kitchen. I really hope you find ways to open up your child's options as you want her to have a healthy relationship with food...So what if she doesn't want to eat meat??? Give her a black bean burger and see how it goes :)

Jamie - posted on 05/26/2013

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We are having some eating troubles with our son as well. He is 26 mos and at his 2 yr Well Baby Visit they were wondering about his speech because he didn't say many words. I wasn't really concerned because both of my neices didn't start becoming real vocal til they were over 2 1/2-3. They however thought it would be a good idea to meet with an EI-Early Intervention team to see what the issue was. So far, we have met with them for about a month or so 1X/wk. We have worked on jaw strengthening because they believe he may not have the jaw strength to actually chew the food, plus he was not moving food to his teeth to actually chew it. They also noticed right off that he didn't stick his tongue out past his lower lip which was where they thought it might be a jaw strength issue (he is not tongue-tied). Things he was trying to eat, he would pretty much let it get soggy and then swallow it or things like raisens I was finding whole in his diaper! In this the only way I've been able to even get vegetables into him is by getting the pureed baby food pouches and those he's turning his nose up at now. I made all his food when he was an infant so i thought about going back to it so he was at least getting fresh veggies, but that's just regressing backwards which we are trying to get away from! He will eat snacky/bitesize foods, noodles, some fruits, and flavors he likes in a near liquid/smoothie/pureed format. I think he's actually gonna turn into yogurt! But yep, no meat (which doesn't upset me for the obvious reasons! We're not big meat eaters either.) no real "meals" so-to-speak. I've given him Kid Boost which I dilute with milk just to give him extra vitamins and nutrients that he may be lacking and he LOVES it! He has improved in vocabulary a little, is moving his tongue more, and is moving the food to the side to chew. He's tried a few new foods, but I am overall not happy with most of what he will eat. Hopefully the fussy-phase will pass once his jaw is stronger, but here's a few things to look at anyway! Hope it helps :)

Raquel - posted on 09/24/2012

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My kids are 9,8 and 4 and they have never eaten meat. They are all totally healthy and very active. This is no big deal, just research vegetarian/vegan diet and make sure that she receives all her nutritional requirements.

Bridget - posted on 08/22/2012

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Have you thought about just not feeding her meat? I hated milk as a child and still do.. Now they say it really isn't that important. I feel the same way about meat. There are other options like tofu, beans, and a lot of veggies have protein. Just a thought.

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Amy - posted on 12/17/2013

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My daughter and I decided to become vegetarians 3 years ago. There are lots meat alternatives in the market (Fry's is my favorite) to substitute protein. We actually feel healthier than before! For info on Fry's, visit www.frysfamily.com

Jeri - posted on 12/17/2013

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My daughter was the same way. Most kids find meat to chewy but its just a faze she will out grow. Just keep trying to give it to her, you may just cut it into the smallest pieces you can....

[deleted account]

Mine is the same way, she's 18 months. She doesn't like meat, fish chicken, I think it's a texture thing because Dad can shred and grind it up into potatoes or something and she'll eat that but if it's too big she won't.

Kathleen - posted on 06/14/2013

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tell her that meat comes from a tree, so she doesnt know that it is an animal...

Gemma - posted on 06/01/2013

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my daughter used to be the same she wouldnt eat cooked meat only the stuff you put in sandwiches until i gave her some seperate before everyone else made her feel speacial no turning back have you tried lamb bit expensive but easier to chew x

Alicia - posted on 05/28/2013

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you could also involve her in making the meal 2 yr olds are not to young to lean how to stir meat in a pan on the stove make things that you can freeze then tell everyone when you eat it that she made it this will make her proud and maybe want to try what she's made. i use to teach childrens cooking classes and lots of parents would tell me that their kid doesnt eat this or that but i was always happy to tell the parent that their kid ate ... that they made and it was what the parent had warned me they didnt eat but because they made it they wanted to try their 'creation'

hope this helps

ps there is a saying that i never forget.

it is the parents job to decide what healthy choices are offered when and where they are offered
it is the childs job to decide what of the choices are offered and how much if at all they are going to eat.

Monica - posted on 05/21/2013

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don't force her to eat meat. she does not have to. I am a vegetarian and did not eat meat when I was pregnant nor do I eat meat with my baby now. I do eat eggs and fish. you can see if she is interested in eating that. if not don't force her. Chia seed is higher in protein that salmon is and excellent for the digestive system and makes you feel full so don't give her to much of it as she needs to grow. chia seed is helpful with losing weight because it makes you feel full. chia seed is also full of the Omega's which is great for brain development. give her veggies, flax seed, beans, nuts, alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts. you can see if she like goats milk and goat cheese, feed her multigrain breads, etc

Patti Jo - posted on 05/14/2013

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She doesn't have to eat meat she can get her protein from plant sources and it is normal. My niece still doesn't touch meat really. Some kids are just born natural vegetarians and it my change later. Don't worry as long as she eats her veggies she is getting plenty of nutrients. If you think she isn't start getting her pediasure or gummy vitamins.

Patricia - posted on 05/08/2013

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Maybe meat is difficult for her to eat and chew. She just may like softer foods because they are easier to eat. Have you tried making stews/soups and chopping up the meat/chicken in tiny little pieces. When my kids have issues with a certain vegetable or type of food, I just chop it up small or blend into the food so that they don't even notice it. You may just have to sneek the protein into the meals she does like.

Conniemarie - posted on 05/07/2013

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there are several reasons this may be. It can be a texture issue she dosent like. Or even, but much more rare, she may not have the ability to digest or swallow it properly. so she avolis it because its uncomfortable,

I wanted to make sure my son didnt become a picky eater, so I developed a "pot luck" style feeding. I often mix fruit and vegtables together, and with that, I some times add meat too. he is almost four, and will eat nearly ANYTHING!!! lol.

try cooking the meat a different way, mix with other fav foods, and have a type of sauce or dressing with it. if that dosent work, Id maybe ask ur doc for their ideas :)

good luck!!!

Diann - posted on 05/07/2013

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Whn my daughter was two, She ate NOTHING and I mean NOTHING but bread for about 6 months. My Doctor said that this is normal. As they get used to what they think tastes good to them and what doesn't. Personally with the junk that is our meat these days, she MAY be ON to something there!

Chasmodai - posted on 05/06/2013

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Chia pudding is rich in iron. Beans and lentils are rich in protein. Try watching the documentary "Forks Over Knives." Another good one is "Vegucated."

Alicia - posted on 05/02/2013

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i use to teach childrens cooking classes and i would see things like that occasionally and what i found was that at the end of class i could say to the parent that soandso ate this and the parent was astonished but i think that cause the kids made it themselfs that they took a little pride in that fact and they wanted to try what they made.

Kiera - posted on 05/02/2013

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Hi!

I don't mean any offense but your belief that meat is required for a healthy diet is quite discouraging. I know you are looking for the best in your child, but if you did a little research you would find that a meat-free diet is far healthier!
Protein can be obtained from pulses, nuts and vegetables. There are countless studies proving that vegetarians live longer, have a better heart condition and are overall healthier in every aspect!
So, please, if your child is not interested in meat, do not force it upon them. You will be doing more harm than good.
Hope this was helpful!

Linda - posted on 04/21/2013

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If you research factory farming and learn about all the harmful things in meat,you will be glad your kids don't eat meat!

Jo - posted on 03/12/2013

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I thought I had the only child that did not like meat. She will not eat fish either, I have been able to get her to eat bacon (pork) and an occassional hamburger if it has all the fixin's on it. Oh by the way, she is now 14 and nothing has changed, it has been a struggle since day 1.

Clare - posted on 10/13/2012

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I haven't read the other posts but my daughter struggles with this too.

She is 4 so she can voice her argument about it.

She said she struggles to chew it. I have found that the one meat I can get her to eat though is Lamb cutlets. I cut off all the fat and strip the bone clean. I call it meat on a handle and she thinks it is the best thing ever. Call it whatever works for you but she has less trouble chewing lamb and she likes that it has it's own handle. She will order it herself from the butcher shop by the name we call it.

Courtney - posted on 10/08/2012

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does she like ketchup or ranch? my two year old daughter likes to dip her chicken nuggets in ketchup, maybe that might spark some interest. I am still trying to get her to eat hamburger. Also not sure if you want to use it but tofu can be meat flavored to get her used to liking meat. I havent cooked it myself but i know textures can be a big thing and that might help.

Hopefully my suggestions might help. I know its a challenge and it is with my daughter, but i also giver her peanut butter for protein too.

Good luck with this and hope its helpful.

Nperodin77 - posted on 10/06/2012

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Hi Rachel, my 2 yr old is the same way. I was told that as long as she is getting the protein she needed she is ok. Try giving peanut butter, eggs, etc. To get her to east some type of meat I had to let her see me east it. Chicken breast chopped in small pieces, she eats liver, and she likes fish. So just keep trying until she gets use to it, but substitute for the time.

Kim - posted on 09/25/2012

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Mine wouldnt even eat the meatballs in spaghettios. But he would eat hot dogs, then eventually chicken nuggets, now pizza sausage. He loves breakfast sausage and mcdonalds hamburgers.



Keep trying different meats. Dont rely on home cooked meals. Once he eats meat, then u can convert him to healthy alternatives.

Krista - posted on 09/17/2012

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Totally normal! :) My daughter was the same way. She is three now and has started to eat hamburger and some chicken. I really think that the meat gets too dry in their mouths cause it takes them so long to chew it.

Claudia - posted on 09/12/2012

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Dear Rachel,



hw r ? i feel ur pain, cause i 2 went thru the vry same stage w my daughter, he's nw 10 y.o., but acts as if she ws 20, lol



here's my suggestion: have ur child sit n her chair, and tell her that ur gonna play a game called: "YUM o YUK". and that she is to wear a blindfold so he/she can't see what she's eat'ng.



Here is hw it works:



1) Child sits n their chair/table. Blindfold ur child's eyes

2) Start by giv'g her any food that she eats n the size of ur thumb nail, (easy to swollow bites).

3) Use the A-Z method,

4) Have notebook w u to wrie down the "YUM" o "YUK" foods.

5) Oncc done w game, take blindfold off the child, but DO NOT SHOW tem the list.



hope it works. And good luck.

Diann - posted on 09/10/2012

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With all of the growth hormones in the meat today... I would not be at ALL surprised if at 2 years of age she has very sensitive taste buds and the chemical TASTE is coming through. If she does not eat meat, look for vegetarian alternatives to meat for her protein intake. Beans come to mind as do nuts or peanut butter... (Providing she is not allergic.)

When my daughter was 2 all she eat for about 6 months was bread. I COULD not get her to eat anything else I mean ANYTHING! Then she started wanting stuff on the bread. Then it was over and she started eating normally again. My doctor told me that a lot of kids go through strange eating phases. Though personally I do not think not liking meat is that strange. I eat meat, but not very often. As some posters have said, they went through this too and this went away. I suspect that she will be the same. She is just being a vegetarian right now.

Taliea - posted on 09/01/2012

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That's fine as long as she is getting her proteins from another source. My daughter didn't was like that for years. She is 15 now and still doesn't eat much meat.

Catherine - posted on 08/25/2012

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Go vegan. You should not force your kids to eat meat. It's damaging to your health, the environment, and is inherently cruel. Look up great recipes on www.vegweb.com =)

Ami - posted on 08/21/2012

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My daughter wouldn't eat meat or beans either (and we are a soy-free house).. I should say "won't" because she is now 13 and will only eat a bite or two of a chicken nugget. She is not unhealthy at all and in fact is rarely sick. I fix her pasta cooked in chicken stock, natural peanut butter on waffles or with apples. yougurt, baked potatoes with cheese, pizza, homemade mac and cheese, etc. She has grown up fine despite my worries but she has never grown out of her dislike of meat and beans and that is hard on the family since I have to be grain free and the other child is gluten intolerant (and whe won't touch the gluten-free alternatives).

Richelle - posted on 07/21/2012

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Have you tried tofu? It might be the texture of meat that she doesn't like. My daughter was the same way, but she would eat tofu. Look for alternative ways for her to get her protein.

Jaye (Josephine) - posted on 07/02/2012

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YYes - normal here LOL we only eat chicken :) white chicken (chicken or fish) and brown chicken (lamb) - we have recently graduated to fish and chicken LOL Sometimes they even eat it (I know it is not funny but if i do not laugh i will cry :) )

Melissa - posted on 06/30/2012

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i asked the doctor about this same question. I told her that i was giving my daughter pediasure to get my daughter all nutrients. It was 1 bottle only at the end of the day. Just a little to add all of the nutrients at the end of the day. My doctor told me to stop doing that! I was worried about my daughter not getting a balanced diet because she has been such a fussy eatter. She won't eat a balance of much. Lately she has been doing awesome on everything but meat. However, she does good on milk, i give homo milk which helps her weight gain and it's healthier than giving her junk because she didn't gain weight for almost a year. She is 22 months and gained nothing from 9 months to 18 or 20 months. She gets protein from her milk too, some from cheese too. She gets some from ogurt. She is starting to eat ground beef too. I tried black bean burgers, i tried cutting meats in a variety of shapes. Cooking it with sauces like plum sauce. I tried putting ketchup, salad dressing on meat because she loved that, and she licked that off. She was too smart for that! Tried even cooking it onto the meat! I tried making meals like putting beans into meals. She started eatting brown beans more regular too. I didn't mind if she won't eat meat, my thing is the iron and protein she gets from the meat. I don't want her to lack it! So I am monitoring her growth to see and if it doesn't continue to grow i will ask to be sent to a nutritionist to see if they can give me child friendly recipes. I don't know if any of the things i have done will also help you out. Depending on the child and their like depends on whether they will accept the alternatives!

Hope - posted on 06/30/2012

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My 2 year old son is not a big meat eater, loves his veges though so I'm not too worried. We have found that he prefers to eat meat off my plate for some reason, especially with things he hasn't tried before. He also plays a kind of game with my husband where if Daddy puts something in his mouth and says 'yum!' he will copy with the same food - a good way to get him to eat a bit more if he doesn't seem in the mood. I guess we just try not to make a big deal out of it and a bit of fun at the table can make it more enjoyable.

Sally - posted on 06/30/2012

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Make sure she's getting her protein, iron, and vitamin B vitamins elsewhere and stop worrying about it. Different kids have different tastes. Don't make a special meal for her, but don't try to starve her into eating it by only cooking things she doesn't like either.
My oldest likes veggies, but not meat; my youngest likes meat, but not veggies. At dinnertime, they eat the parts they like and swap plates. I just make dishes where the meat and veggies are touching so some of the "good stuff" from each can get stuck to the other. I also occasionally cook the meat in a veggie sauce or make a protein-y vegetable dish.
At 2 3/4 and almost 8 they're healthier than a lot of their peers whose moms try to force or hide unliked foods.

[deleted account]

I think I love you, Robin Fetter! My son has been a vegetarian his whole life, was breastfed until his 4th birthday and at 13, is 5' 11" and not cursed with the allergies his meat eating sister and father have, like me! People are so protein fixed and not healthy diet fixated, it is good that we are out there, being an example of healthy vegetarian eating!

Elizabeth - posted on 06/29/2012

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As long as she is not starving her self she is fine. She doesn't have to eat meat. just make sure she gets enough of everything else and isn't under weight.

[deleted account]

There is protein in all foods that are healthy. Most people in the developed world do not suffer from protein deficiency. Give her eggs and dairy, beans, grains, nuts and seeds. She will get enough protein and more fiber than her meat eating peers. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and she will be the healthiest kid on the block!

Claudia - posted on 03/14/2012

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Hola Rachel, my name is claudia, i'm a culinary student, and i'm not a doctor/nutritionist, but check w them first. but n the mean time, u can use beans o even tofu as ur alternate, which just works as well as meat =).



good luck.

Jenn - posted on 03/13/2012

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My 17mnth old will not eat meat either and is allergic to milk, eggs & peanuts. I'm nervous about him not getting the protein he needs...

Livia - posted on 03/07/2011

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my 6yr old daughter is the same she'll eat almost anything but meat has anyone found the key to this ive tryed everything else aswell .... it seems as i read on i am finding alternative foods thanks heaps :)

Julie - posted on 03/06/2011

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My youngest is 9 and doesn't have to have meat as part of her meal and I am the same way but we always have meat with our meals. It is truly a hit or miss with her. She's pretty picky in general. We use to cut up meat and hide it in her other food but that only worked when she was younger. Now she can pretty much spot it and pick it out. I really don't have any advice except to just keep adding small portions to her plate. Maybe try food coloring as a way to disguise the meat. Pink or red always looks like some kind of candy.

Amanda - posted on 03/04/2011

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My son spits it out if he doesn't like the texture. I now cool th meat down an put it in the chopper :) it's incognito now lol

Melissa - posted on 02/21/2011

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try yogurt, milks, cheeses and maybe look into a vegetarian diet and how they get their proteins. It's not necessary to eat meat, as long as she gets enough protein through dairy, peanut butter, nuts, or other way vegetarians get their protein, oh and eggs

[deleted account]

Also, for most kids it is a phase and they will grow out of it. However, there are some that won't and you will just need to find alternate things for them to eat to get those vitamins and nutrients. good luck and know you are not alone.

[deleted account]

My 4 yr old won't eat meat most of the time either. Relax. She may just not like it or want to eat meat and that should be just fine. You can give her alternate protein sources. i.e. beans, peanuts, humis, eggs (if she will eat those my 4 yr old does sometimes but not always so I just ask)

Talea - posted on 02/13/2011

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it's normal, in fact we have vegetarian days here at our house and one of our kids is a pescatarian - I personally wouldn't sweat it, as long as she's eating healthy otherwise it's not a big deal if you are worried about protein try beans, my kids always loved baked beans (BBQ sauce is always a win), and peanut butter is also a good source. I do know there is a reason they are called terrible two's. She may be going through a control phase where this is one of the few area's that she can control herself. Just go with it. Offer it to her but don't make a big deal out of it or it may become a battle of wills. One of the most common things my mom would do was reverse psychology. She would tell me I shouldn't eat something or do something and that generally got my attention. She may be a little small for that yet, but it worked for me from the earliest ages. (Sometimes still does according to her and I have 4 of my own kids 18-1 yr. and am in my late 30's lol). All kids have phases, my oldest hated veggies until he learned that chicken actually came from chickens like Gramma's - he ate only fruit and veggies for about a year (from 4-5 or so) but now he's one of the few teen boys I know that is willing to eat salads and loves vegetables. My second hated veggies and wouldn't eat them unless I hid them in food until he saw his Daddy owning up and tasting new foods - now his favorite corndog is a vegetarian variety. DS #3 is mildly lactose intolerant but loves yogurt (and it doesn't bother him) we add some wheat germ for a nutty flavor and it doesn't block him up. He doesn't like beef much at all but can kill some seafood and loves chicken. My baby girl (1 year) now refuses and has refused to eat anything that even remotely resembles baby food. It has to be something she can eat on her own and she's been this way for about 4 months now. So all kids are different and go through different stages, eating is one of the earliest things they learn to do and so they experiment with what they can and can't control with it right off the bat sometimes. :) No biggie. Hope this helps.

April - posted on 02/11/2011

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and i would say to give her pediasure if you dont have any luck it gives her the nutrients she would be lacking

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