35 answers

2 Year Old Doesn't Eat

Come meal time, my two year old son won't eat. He'll take a bite or two then declares himself finished. He won't eat breakfast and loves to drink liquids. My husband and I have tried what seems like everything to find something he will eat. The only thing that keeps him going is milk supplemented with Pediasure, vitamins, fruit/vegetable juice and water.

Our doctor isn't concerned as our son is gaining weight just at a slower pace. Do you have some suggestions that will encourage him to want to eat? Our doctor isn't concerned as our son is gaining weight just at a slower pace.

What can I do next?

More Answers

Hey K., I know youve gotten tons of advise on this, but whats one more? LOL. Ashylnn just turned 2 Jan.30, and had the same prob. She just wanted to drink milk, or grape juice all day and would not eat any meals of the day, except for a couple of snacky items througout the day. She wouldnt want to eat anything for breakfast but waffels w/ syrup on it, which I hated but figured it was better than nothing, till I realized all I was doing was feeding he sugar, and empty callories/no nutrients whatso ever in it. I decded to stop giving her milk in the morning untill after she eats breakfast, and wouldnt give her milk untill she ate.

The first 3 days, she would ask for her milk, and I'd explain she has to eat breakfast first, then milk. She DID NOT like that at all! LOL. She would thow herself on the ground and cry and refuse to eat. At first I'd try to give her 5 dif. things after another, but then I decided that she needs to eat what I give her when I give it to her, and not make me a short order cook.

SO I would make her oatmeal, which she looked at and would not eat cuz it looked "eww" LOL, so I kept resauring her that it was good, and it was yummy, and even showed her that I was eating a bowl myself. She still wouldn't even take a bite untill 12:00 in the afternoon, then of course loved it. But She had to eat it cold. LOL. I wouldn't give her anything not e=ven a drip of anything till she ate. She was just being persnickety, and she couldn't live on liquids alone. Then I gave her only 4 ounces of milk in her cup instead of 9, cuz I found out is better to give them small quantities throughout the day instead of at once.

I made it like a big reward for eating, and made a big deal out of it. Then I gave her a slice of apple, and a wheat cracker for snack, then If she wanted juice, I'd give her only an ounce of white grape juice, then put 4 ounces of water and give that to her but not let her have anymore untill she ate a meal, then if she gave me any trouble I'd say ok no juice, or snack untill you eat, and I wouldnt give her anything untill she ate. If she threw herself on the ground, I would walk away and do domething else, and not give in to her.

It sounds harsh, but she has to eat food, not just juice all day. Its not like I starved her or wouldnt let her eat. If she wanted to eat, she would eat what was infront of her, other wise I look at it as she must not be that hungary. Now she eats what I give her, and knows when shes done, she can ask for her juice whenver she wants it. I wont let her hav more than one thing of juice between meals, and only give her one small snack between meals. Otherwise she wont eat the ood stuf. She cant et all her nutrients form milk, or juice. Shes old enough to where she needs whole foods.

1 mom found this helpful

My 2 1/2 year old is pretty much the same way. I notice on days where he doesn't have a whole lot to drink he eats better.
In my family, everyone is on different schedules so we all eat at different times. I do try and sit and eat at the same time as my son as often as I can, and this does help him eat more.
I also let him decide what he wants to eat.

I let him help me make whatever it is I am fixing him as well. Something my son has a lot of fun making is French Toast and its super easy for him. I crack the eggs and do the actual cooking of it. M son mixes the batter, puts the bread in it, turns the bread over, and places it on the cold pan. When all the pieces are on the pan he steps away and I cook them for him. He will eat every last bite of his french toast when he makes it.

If your son doesn't want to eat a meal, try healthy snakes. My son nibbles on fruit and granola bars all day.

I hope some of what I wrote helps you. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Have you tried cutting back on the liquids? My son is a pretty picky eater and would love to fill up on juice and milk sometimes. He will also take a bite and say he's done, though he has got a little better. I now tell him he has to eat some before he gets his drink back. He might be filling up on the liquid and getting all his nutrients from the supplement so he doesn't feel the need or desire to eat. I'd try cutting back on the liquids and being consistent with it. It's tough, but when I showed that I was serious to my son, he now understands.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi Sweetie,

My only advice is to stop trying to cater to him and giving him supplemental high calorie drinks. Save this for just before brushing teeth at night if you are concerned about his weight. It is normal for a 2 yr old not to want to eat. They will use this as a manipulation tool to get what they want. They are smart little rug rats even at this age. He will eat when he gets hungry. When he wants a snack give him his plate from the previous meal. As long as he is healthy and not losing weight he will get the message. Hope this helps some. I know I went through this with all 3 of my sons.

R. 53 yr old 3 grn sons

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.!

My first thought before I finished reading was does your son drink juice and then I saw that he does. Juice is a filler and most babies/toddlers who are big juice drinkers are usually not big eaters. I would start watering down the juice until it's just water and offer it less throughout the day. I think you will find that once he's not getting as much juice that he will be hungrier for food. He's going to hate not having his juice at first though now that he's used to it. Most people aren't aware of this but a child's serving size of juice should only be 4 oz. per day (8 oz per day for an adult). It's full of sugar and water is a much better way to hydrate yourself and still leave room in your belly for healthy foods. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My son went through that too. And still is to some degree. Like you, his doc was not concerned AT ALL. What helped me was to make a list of what he would eat (which was not a lot). When I did that I realized that he was getting enough protein, calories, fruits, etc. He is still a very picky eater, or as his doc likes to say, he has narrow pallet, but at least know he's get healthy well balanced meals. I don't if that helps or not, but at least you know you're not alone :)

Good luck and just keeping offering him healthy foods.

1 mom found this helpful

Our son, who will be 3 in June, does the same thing. After reading some responses, I realized he does drink quite a bit of juice & I'm going to cut back on that. So I'm getting some advice while offering some. What we've started doing is the second he starts to leave the table, we remind him if he wants to eat, then he has to stay at the table. Once he leaves the table, we tell him dinner is over & take away his food. So, most nights, he eats only a few bites. He eats great at breakfast & lunch & healthy snacks so come dinner, if he doens't eat much, I'm not too worried. I also think it's a control thing for him so we're not going to force him to stay & eat one more bite or it will become a big battle. I suggest you do the same thing. Food is one area kids have a lot of control over so he's probably exerting some of that control. Don't make a big deal of it, unless he's losing weight. Just be consistent about dinner at the table & that it's gone once he leaves & he'll start to get the picture. Hope this helps & good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Try giving him something he likes like carrots, grapes, crackers, etc. Carry those with you so he can eat when he gets hungry.


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