My 16 month old will not eat What should I do?

Michelle - posted on 12/20/2008 ( 22 moms have responded )

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but bread and drink only milk and water. The Dr.'s told me to give him the food we are eating and no other options. Then when he is really hungry he will eat. He is already so small 1% for his age I am afraid that he will get even smaller! What should I do?

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Avis - posted on 12/22/2008

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When my daughter was about 12 months old she wouldn't eat either all she wanted was milk.The doctor told me as long as she got a few bites of every meal a day she was getting enough. If she got a couple of bites of her egg and toast and then some cheese or lunch meat or potatoes and green beans at dinner that that was all she needed. She was very small and the doctor said when she got hungry she would eat more. My family was driving me nuts about it because they thought she was not getting enough to eat. She is now grown and is a beautiful young women.

Rachel - posted on 12/22/2008

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Perhaps putting the food in something it wouldn't normally come in could be fun for him...for instance, pees in a small coffee cup?



Giving the food fun names could help too? I wish I could help more, but I kind of have a little eating monster...good luck.

Connie - posted on 12/22/2008

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Finger foods are really best at this age. Keep foods as simple as possible. A friend of mine was a hovering mother with her son because he was preemie and always little and she was focused on getting him to eat. When he came to me for daycare, she was obsessed with what he ate each day. I told her that he got what he got and he either ate it or not. NO CHILD WILL STARVE THEMSELF. Within a couple weeks, he was eating seconds at daycare and still not eating at home. I told her to lay off, because he felt her anxiety at mealtimes and wasn't eating because of her emotional and badgering. I told her to let him play with his food, as this is a huge textural experience for both hands and mouth, and relax. Now he's doing fine at home as well. Always offer a healthy variety. Have him sit at meal with the family with what the family is eating, and if he doesn't eat, put him down. Bring him back and offer the same food about 15 min later. Try at least a couple times before giving him something you know he will eat. Don't provide juice or snack supplements between scheduled meals and snacks, and he may be hungry enough to try at least one thing. Remember that it takes on average 10-12 tastings over a period of time before many children can gain a liking for a food. Your child may just be the one who ups the average.

Paulette - posted on 12/22/2008

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Did your son ever eat anything else besides bread, milk and water? Like the jar foods and then regular food like you eat. Is this a more recent development? Has he always been in the low percentage range? Has he cut his molar teeth yet? They are the hardest teeth to cut due to the layers of gum tissue they go through. If it has been more recent then this could explain why.

Eva-jo - posted on 12/20/2008

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Don't worry! sounds easy i know but i have been there and what i was told was to have pleanty of fruits and veggies and crackers around the house so if your child gets a little hungry and it isn't meal time then he/she can have some, and not to worry if he/she won't sit down at meal time and have what you are having because he/she will learn that when they are ready to eat with mommy and daddy they will get more then what they have to pick at around the house. When i was told this i thought that the dr's were full of it and she would lose weight and get sick but it really worked. once she started picking at the things around (NO JUNK!!!) the house she started coming around the table and asking for bites and before we knew it she was sitting at the table with us again. I found out that getting mad and raising voices at them doesn't work and neither does letting them see you upset about it because then they will keep doing it just because they can.(now she won't stop eating)

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Kathy - posted on 12/22/2008

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my 21 month old is very picky as well. On days she hardly eats I give her nutritional suppliments like Pediasure and Enfagrow.

Stephanie - posted on 12/22/2008

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With my girls I make them a plate and if they do not want to eat it I leave it out and no matter how much they don't want it the eventually get hungry and will eat it. You just can't give in with other foods. I think your DR is right both of my girls are very small in 10th percentiles but now my older is in 50th so it can work out just fine

Michelle - posted on 12/22/2008

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Thank you everyone you have given me tons of ideas that I am starting to try!

Tina - posted on 12/21/2008

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Well at least he drinks the milk which is a bonus...does he drink Chocolate milk...will he eat any cereals at all...I am stumped on this one I must say. I know that some kids have texture issues. My dad for example loves the taste of onions, but will not put an onion cooked or raw in to his mouth. lol...Will he eat grilled cheese sandwiches..or cheese whiz or anything on it...I feel bad for you and him as I love to eat and so do my kids..there isnt much they dont eat actually...(( alot like mom)..I hope that he comes out of this soon for his healths sake

Carolyn - posted on 12/20/2008

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Don't stress about it, especially in front of him, and no fuss. Kids won't starve themselves to death, that's for sure. My first two would eat anything and everything I put in front of them and them my third came along that ate like a "bird". He still managed to thrive and now is actually a little chubby. And always remember, milk is a whole food, so that's great that he's drinking that :) Good luck

Terri - posted on 12/20/2008

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My son's weight is in the 0 percentile and he only eats a handful of things, most are not too fattening, but the dr said to just keep trying. Just try to offer him something every few hours. I got to the point where I was trying to give him something every hour and he got frustrated. He loves fruits, veggies and string cheese. I just recently found out he loves hamburgers. Just keep trying, this is the stage where they start to get pickey. My son also loves sausage links, mac and cheese, turkey dogs, meatballs, grilled cheeses and chicken nuggets and that is about it. I'm sure you have tried most of that, but just keep trying. My son seems to eat a lot one day and hardly anything the next. I also give him carnation instant breakfast in his milk. My friend also makes smoothies and frozen popsicles with a ton of veggies in them and some strawberries to mask the taste and the kids love them, just a good way to get their veggies and fruits. Hope this helps. I know it is frustrating, I have learned to not let it upset me too much, he does eat when he gets hungry. Talk to your friends about different foods, that is how I got ideas on new things to give him.

Katrina - posted on 12/20/2008

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Someone has to be 1%! My husband was really small, so it can be genetic - don't beat yourself too much over it.



You might want to find out about testing for a deficiency in human growth hormones around the age of 2. It could be a deficiency. Even if our daughter has one though, we will probbaly not seek treatment - although I might feel differently if she were a boy!

Katrina - posted on 12/20/2008

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my daughter is at 3% and also 16 months, and we've had a lot of issues, too. She's totally healthy - just really small and doesn't eat much! She likes almost everything we give her - but she eats like 3 bites an dshe's done. Here are some ideas...



green beans from a can

cheese

hot dogs

bananas

waffles

kidney beans...



our daughter liked things that she could pick up and hold herself, so that she is self feeding. And I gave up on worrying about messes, because I'm just happy if she eats! The doctor is right, though - he'll eat if he's hungry! ANd I wouldn't start catering to him - just keep offereing what you have. My sister has such picky eaters, and I don't want that!



The other thing I do is give her lots of little meals. So for example, while I am getting our dinner ready, I may put her in her high chair, and give her some green beans. Then when we are ready to sit down, I put her back in again, and give her something else. Little portions seem to do better.



I also try and give her things separately, but in the order of least liked to most liked. So if she is getting chicken and green beans, I will give her the chicken first - because I know if I put the green beans on the plate with the chicken, she will only eat the green beans. And fruit is always last because she devours it!!

Michelle - posted on 12/20/2008

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We have been failure to thrive since he was taken off of nursing. And we go to the Dr. every month. I am getting to the point that I am going to go crazy if I can not get him to gain weight! And I think his Dr. feels like I am not feeding him or something.

Stephanie - posted on 12/20/2008

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My son still will not eat fresh or canned fruits - including applesauce. He just recently started eating yogurt and pudding - the first "baby food" like consistency thing ever (and he's going to be 4 in April).

Does he like crunchy things? Have you tried freeze dried fruit?

From camping places, you can get freeze dried green beans too - that was a new flavor that my son enjoyed for a time and led us to other green veggies. Veggie booty is another way to introduce "green tastes" to little guys and then expand from there.

If he does bagels, will he do muffins? You can mix all kinds of things in muffins.

I guess I shouldn't assume... Are his growth charts showing stagnation (soon moving into failure to thrive?), or is it more that he's trying to assert his independence through eating only what he wants? I don't mean to worry you. I immediately jumped to the assumption that you were on the road to "failure to thrive" like my little guy was. Maybe you're not there yet.

Michelle - posted on 12/20/2008

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That is so cool. I am going to get on the Library's website and look that up right now! That might be a really big help. Maybe if he eats the bread that tastes like the veggy or fruit then after some time he will eat the real thing. Well and I know if it is bread he will eat it and maybe we can get his Dr. off our back and get him to gain so weight.

Carrie - posted on 12/20/2008

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perhaps it is time to become the master of baking banana muffins, zucchini bread, etc? Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook is a good one. It's called deceptively delicious. Basically she puts fruit and veggie purees in everything she cooks, so the nutrients are hidden.

Michelle - posted on 12/20/2008

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He will eat only bread and bread-like products. He will NOT eat any fruit. I have been doing the diet that his Dr. gave him to the tee. It has been about 3 months now and the only thing keeping his weight up is the Carnation instant breakfast that I put in his milk. We are giving his 3 or 4 options at Evey meal and putting dip and butter on his food to help him gain weight. I have been trying to give him other types of bread and he loves that I gave him bagels and put apple sauce on them. He scraped off the apple sauce and ate the bagel. It just seems like the things other than the breads he will not eat.

Julia - posted on 12/20/2008

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I am not a doctor, but I don't agree. I think a lot of kids this age stop eating. During their first year they are growing a lot, and then after that they slow down and grow more in spurts. You should offer your child anything and everything that you are willing to. The fact that he's drinking milk is good. My oldest who is now almost 8 at 16 months only ate bananas and drank Pediasure (he was allergic to milk) - 8 bananas a day no matter what I offered him to eat. The pediatrician we were seeing at that time told me just to offer everything and let him try whatever he showed interest in. My 17 month old eats very little now - she drinks Pediasure (also allergic to milk) but just has tiny amounts of other food offered. Hopefully your son will hit a growth spurt soon and then you won't be able to give him enough food. Good luck!

Stephanie - posted on 12/20/2008

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Carrie is right - do have other things available on his plate - but too many may be overwhelming. Use your best judgement.

Stephanie - posted on 12/20/2008

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Find things he will eat and work from there. My son would not eat baby food at all. - only crunchy things - which is hard at 13 months. My son went from 50% on the charts to falling off of them (about -3%) - he actually lost weight over a six month period. He had texture issues.

Bread is a great texture to work with... Will he let you spread anything on it? Toasted, or just as bread? Other types of breads? You can start making your own with additional nutrients/flavors mixed in to expand the tastes he will eat. Read about food chaining online.

You want to get more calories in him and more nutrients. It's time to get creative. For drinks, start mixing in ensure or something like that into his milk - slowly, slowly. Like a tablespoon per week. If he balks, be sure to back it down - you don't want to accidentally remove something from his menu by changing it too much.

The best food we found that allowed us to get over the hump was Peanut Butter Bamba. I found them in Schnuck's in St. Louis, but they didn't have them closer to home except for in an international store. I found them online as well. Think baked cheese puffs, only no cheese - peanut butter instead. They are fortified with vitamins, have fat and protein. They were a really blessing for getting my son's weight up and helped us food chain to other items.

Get early intervention involved - you can possibly get a speech therapist come to your house for feeding issues to work on the food chaining and maybe also a nutrition therapist. Check into it! They're only available until he turns three years old.

Best of luck!

Carrie - posted on 12/20/2008

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I think as long as you're offering several different options at each meal (like a meat, a veggie, and a bread) then for the most part your doctor is right. I always try to offer my little one at least one thing i KNOW he will eat, and if I'm lucky he'll try the others. Supposedly as they get more familiar with the other foods you're putting on their tray they'll become more willing to try it. Also, I've found that dips make mealtime more interesting for him, so I do offer something to dip, often ketchup, but with breakfast it might be yogurt for dipping fruit or toast, etc.



Good luck!

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