My 18 month old will not eat meals!! Suggestions?

Laura - posted on 04/06/2010 ( 17 moms have responded )

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Hi everyone! I need help! My 18 month old Caden will not eat his lunch or supper!!! He does eat breakfast, but most of his breakfasts are cereal, muffins, pancakes..(stuff he likes and is familiar with). And he also eats his snacks. But when lunch time comes, if he doesn't have fish sticks or pizza, he will not eat! Just the other day we had hot dogs and macaroni and cheese and he wouldn't try one single bite. Just sits there and cries refusing to eat! This has been going on for awhile and it's very stressful b/c I don't want him to go hungry. So of course when he was younger I would give it to him and give him something else or just give him his fruit! Then supper came around and we had spaghetti....again not one single bite! I just don't know what to do! Do I not give in...let him cry and go hungry for the night? Let him down, keep him in the booster seat at the table??? Just don't knwo what to do! Anyone else have this problem???

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Rachael - posted on 04/09/2010

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They won't starve themselves. As long as you are sure there isn't something medical going on like the reflux that was suggested earlier, then I wouldn't stress it. My 18 month old eats really well sometimes and other times won't touch anything. She enjoys feeding herself sometimes and other times nothing will do but for me to feed her. At any rate, they will eat when they get hungry enough. Even if they go a whole day with little more than milk, one day is not going to cause malnutrition, and I can pretty much guarantee you they will eat well the next day! I generally do not allow anything else until they've eaten what has been given to them. Sit him at the table with the family, give him his plate, and let him decide what to do with it. If he eats, wonderful! If he pitches a fit, ignore it. If he plays with it, fine. But he gets nothing else before bed and pretty soon he'll learn to eat what the family's eating. They are learning their boundaries right now. They WILL push to see just what they can get away with. And sometimes it may be nothing more than a battle of the wills. Stay calm, caring, but firm and he'll learn what to do. Good luck!

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Lisa - posted on 12/04/2012

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I have the same exact problem but mine sounds even pickier all he wants is pizza and mcds chicken and fries and snacks so any help out there

Rajni - posted on 09/10/2012

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if your baby take feed then no problem i think because nutrition is available in your food ........so slowly slowly you can give fruites and then solid food.......

Sunrise - posted on 04/12/2010

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I often keep the mantra "this to shall pass" for things like this. He'll eat when he's good and ready, just know you are doing the best you can and keep on doing it!

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YAY Laura! Wish you the best of luck! The phase will pass, or maybe it won't but at least you won't be contributing to the problem.....

Take care

Laura - posted on 04/12/2010

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Wow, thank you guys for all the great advice! I will definitely be using it! I do stress out when he doesnt eat, and I know this stresses him out too! I really never thought about that, and he probably does feel like I'm punishing him for not eating, so that will be stopping now! And like many of you said, he does have his good days! I think I just need to relax and his little phase will pass! He's a very stubborn little guy with a huge temper! I think this has lots to do with him not eating, he wants what he wants and that's it!! I will def. be evaluating his snacks and drinks too! Again, THANK YOU for the advice!!! :)

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You need to offer him several different healthy choices and let him decide! If you present him with option A, B and C and he chooses D. None of the above then ya, I guess he's SOL! He'll figure it out after a while but there worse thing you can do is try and force something down his throat or punish him for not eating.......I'm not saying that's what ur doing of course! Dr. Phil had a show all about ' kids who are picky eaters ' and I found it very helpful!



Good luck!

Bri - posted on 04/10/2010

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I was struggling to get my daughter to eat for awhile recently because she doesn't have many teeth. She still eats the baby food fruits and veggies-so one day I made something I figured she could eat with me and I sat down and let her come to me when she was ready. It worked and she's consistently eating what we eat. We also bought a booster seat so she can sit right at the table with us. There are days when she's fussy and I let her down if she's crying. Other days I've had to feed her in my lap. I've heard from many people if they have one good meal every few days they'll be fine. Some days I let her just eat crackers or dry cereal if she's not in the mood to eat. I don't like to do this because like you I worry she'll be hungry. Good luck.

Sunrise - posted on 04/09/2010

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This is very common at this age and I wouldn't worry about it. If you feel like he is in need of some extra nutrients try adding a scoop of a toddler formula(IE Enfagrow) to his milk. Otherwise, like the others mentions he'll eat when he's ready just dont make habbit of giving in and giving him only the items he'll eat. It's hard but if that means he goes without a meal he'll eat the next or when he's desparate enough to try what your serving. When cooking a meal I always try to make sure it includes something I know my LO will eat but I serve that after she's tried the other things I know she'll likely fuss over. I also agree not to let him fill up on snacks or drinks (milk can fill a little tummy quickly). Below is a link to a website that I frequent. Their sister site wholesomebabyfood.com is just as helpful. The link will take you to a page that outlines a toddlers nutritional needs. Check the site out for awesome ideas and recipes!

http://wholesometoddlerfood.com/Toddlers...

Amber - posted on 04/09/2010

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my older sister kinda went threw this and no i am.. we learned that.. you give them food and they dont eat they dont get snack or dessert.. they will eat when there hungry and at this age they are learning that they can choose when they wanna and when they dont.. i read that when this starts to happen you must cut out the snack so they learn they must eat when we eat and not just when ever in the crap they wanna.. and soon they will learn oohh no if i dont eat this im going to be hungry later and mom wont give me anything so i better get to eatn

Elyssa - posted on 04/09/2010

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My 18 mo old dd refuses to eat when her gums bother her. Maybe Caden is teething.

Dana - posted on 04/09/2010

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We just asked our Ped about this and he said to offer her food and leave it. If she wants it she will eat it. And he said not to make it stressful for you or the child. One of my DD problems was to many snacks and her mealtimes her not on a schedule. She still has days where she does not eat well but if we feed her breakfast at 8:30, lunch at 12 and dinner at 5p with small snack in between she eats a lot better.

And another thing to do is write down all he eats for a week and see if he is getting all of the nutrition he needs. Maybe he is having too much milk or juice. But it may just be that he is not hungry that day. Do not feel like you are starving him though. Make sure he has enough water and you are offering him food at meal times. Good Luck!

Regina - posted on 04/08/2010

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my daughter also has the same problem, she will not put any food in her mouth,as for fluids she's just taking small sips of milk and that's it! am worried
P.S i have cut back on her snacks,but that hasn't made her appetite better

Marie - posted on 04/08/2010

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i had the problem with my son at around 2yrs old. he wouldn't eat anything other than junk bc that's what his dad fed him (fast food, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets). finally i decided there were no special meals being made. period. point blank. he ate what i put in front of him and had to sit until we were all finished eating. how close to meals is your child having a snack? afternoon snack cut off at our house is 2:30pm for both my 4yr old and my 18month old bc we eat supper at about 5:30-6pm most nights. if they eat after 3pm, they usually won't eat what's for supper. i never have a problem with lunch. we usually have some sort of sandwich (pb and j, pb and banana, and grilled cheese are the faves), fruit/veggies and milk. occasionally we'll do things like mac n cheese or even spaghetti o's (yuck..lol but they love the stuff), but i try not to do that often.
after a while, your child will just get used to having to eat what's put in front of them. at supper, i put the bowl or plate in front of my kids and they either eat or they don't and either way they know what comes next... bath time, story time, and then bedtime. there are no after supper snacks unless for some reason we had a very early supper.

good luck!

Marissa - posted on 04/06/2010

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My daughter went through a stage where she would eat nothing but bananas. I freaked out everytime I tried to get her to eat something new.. in the end i mentioned it at a clinical nurse visit and she told me not to stress.. this week it is bananas, next week it will be something else! I think it lasted three weeks, and then she went on and got bored of them, so it will pass.

However, just on a side bar, I did read about a baby not long ago that was suffering major reflux, and as a result, would refuse to eat anything unless it was ice cream, because everything else just made him feel sick and in pain, so maybe if you think your son has some form of reflux, that too might influence his choices?

Karin - posted on 04/06/2010

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Hi i have the same problem with my son. He is a very picky eater. He normally cant eat everything at one sitting. I try to give him snacks during the day and lots of juice/milk. He is on the smaller side but i know hes growing as well. Hes always on the move and never stops running around. When it comes to dinner i noticed he doesnt like his high chair at all and ill let him sit at the table with us. He likes to eat when hes doing it like mommy or daddy. We have a low coffee table and ill give him a very small baby chair so he can sit with us without risk of falling and hurting himself. All babies or kids are different just try and be patient. If they are hungry they will eat. hope this helps!

April - posted on 04/06/2010

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I wish I had some help for you here.. Try maybe rewarding with a small yummy dessert if he finishes his meals? I have done that a couple of times with my daughter.. But I have a friend who gave in, and her six year old eats very little that's not chicken nuggets or something like that.. Now is the time to get them used to eating a variety of different things.

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