How can I get my 4 year old to eat ANYTHING?

Sarah - posted on 08/06/2012 ( 6 moms have responded )

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Not kidding, she won't eat anything. She MIGHT eat 3 or 4 bites of her meals but that's it. The only thing she likes is Ovaltine (I mix it with whole milk so she can get the fat) and chocolate Fiber One bars, but she's only allowed to eat 1/2 of a bar a day (for obvious reasons). Even the bars she will only eat MAYBE a couple times a week, but she will go a whole week without eating breakfast, then just a few bites at meal times. Then when she 'returns' to eating, it's just the couple bites again.

I've tried making her food fun, making meal times a fun atmosphere, being stern, not being stern, letting her get up from the table when she says she is done and then not letting her have a snack later, everything. I am at the end of my rope - she just won't eat. It's getting to the point where she isn't even eating her snacks (when she is allowed to) carrots, peanut butter, apple slices, string cheese and crackers. I've also tried adding these to her meals, but she IF she eats at all, she will just eat her 'snack' foods and not touch anything else without a huge struggle.

I just don't know what to do, she has always been small, but now she's really getting underweight. I just don't know what to do.

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Dove - posted on 08/07/2012

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My 5 year old nephew weighs about 30 pounds (maybe more NOW, but he was 29 pounds for over a year and a half). He does eat though.

If she will drink... you can pack a lot of nutrients and calories into smoothies and 'milkshakes'.

If she's not losing weight and is active and healthy... I would just continue along calmly as if it doesn't bother you that she doesn't eat. Keep offering her healthy meals, snacks, and smoothies at regular intervals throughout the day (at least 4-5 times/day) and try not to worry. October will come soon. ;)

Holly - posted on 08/06/2012

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Aww I know how you feel, my 2 year old doesn't eat either. He is a healthy weight but is very picky and can go days without anything but milk. When he does eat its just fruits and veggies so I make sure he get a vitamin and I try to sneak pedisure drinks instead of milk. Will she drink those? My doctor said it is normal for them to go through eating phases but because your daughter is underweight I would diffidently see my doctor.

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Sarah - posted on 08/07/2012

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No, she doesn't have any delays, in fact, she is very advanced for her age. Physically and especially mentally. I'll check out that book Cherish, thank you for suggesting it! Have any of you heard of Juice Plus +? I've heard that they are amazing vitamins and even increase the appetites of kiddos who have issues with eating. I want to try them, but they are crazy expensive and I'd like to know if they actually work before freaking my husband out with the bill! :-)
Ladies, thank you so much - you have no idea how nice it is to get some support!

Cherish - posted on 08/07/2012

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Does she have any developmental delays?My son has always had feeding issues.I HATE when people would tell me "if he gets hungry he will eat"...the thing is,he was never hungry.You said she is small,but if her height/weight % are ok I would not worry too much.(easier to say than to do right?)
I took my son to a feeding therapist and she said the reason he was not eating/swallowing is b/c 1-his soft palette and tongue touched so when he would swallow it made him feel like he could not breathe.2-b/c of his low muscle tone eating was a lot of work for him.
He also had chronic strep and sinus infections.But he has other developmental /medical issues
He is 10 and weighs 60 pounds
If she does have developmental issues then the book "just take a bite" might be helpful,it was for me.

Holly - posted on 08/07/2012

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I know sometimes i feel the same husbands job keeps him gone most of the day, and then he comes home and plays video games but that's a different story lol. Just remember if she is hungry she will eat=) I'm sure it will get better soon.

Sarah - posted on 08/07/2012

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Thank you for responding Holly! I have tried pediasure, but she wasn't a huge fan and they are SO expensive. My MIL who works with early childhood recommended carnation instant breakfast because of all of the vitamins and we use that to. She does take a Flinstones everyday, and will actually eat that! My pediatrician told me the same thing, but now instead of going through phases where she will eat a lot and then no hardly eat anything, she just won't eat. I've even tried her old favorite - Happy Meals - but she won't eat those either. She is a month away from turning 4 and weighs, on a good day, 30 lbs. Both my husband and I are small and were small babies/kids but that just seems excessive. Can't get into the doctor until October, we live in a rural area and there are only so many doctors and they are booked up tight for school physicals and shots. It's not exactly an emergency room kind of thing so I'm just trying to find a 'band aide' until we can see her doctor.
My MIL also suggested sneaking real butter into her food for the fat content - but that will only work if she will actually eat the food! :-)
Thanks for your response, I'm a stay-at-home farmer's wife so I'm basically on my own with my kids and I've been running myself ragged trying to figure something out.

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