37 answers

2 Year Old Refuses to Eat

Hi Moms,

I need help! My son decided 2 weeks ago that he no longer wants to eat. He has always been a great eater. Up until now he could eat half a chicken breast for dinner along with a little bit of the sides. He loves pizza and usually eats 2-3 slices. All of a sudden though he no longer wants to eat. He tells me "no like to eat." This has turned into quite the battle at mealtime. I have him sit at the table with us and he just screams. My husband and I are very frustrated because 1) we are concerned about his him getting enough to eat and 2) he has always been well behaved and now we feel like we are constantly disciplining him. Our last big battle was 2 nights ago and he ended up in his room with my husband and he screamed for 20 minutes before calming . The only thing he wants is juice or milk. I am at a complete loss as to what to do. Have any of you experienced something like this?

Oh yes, I know he is not teething. That was my first thought, but his two year molars came in about 3 months ago. He also turned 2 last week. It is like a switch flipped on his birthday and he decided he no longer has to listen or obey the rules.

Thanks so much for your help!


What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Hi Everyone!

Thanks for all of the great advice! I want to clear one thing up though a couple of people said that we should not be yelling or screaming at our son. We do not yell at him. When I said that he ended up in his room with my husband I meant that my son screamed for 20 minutes, not my husband. The only time I have yelled was to get his attention when he is about to do something that will get him hurt (like running out into a busy street) and I want to get his attention quickly.

I love all the advice though! Yesterday I tried to not make eating a big deal and he ate breakfast and lunch with no problem! At dinner I had him sit at the table, but didn't say anything about eating. He refused the food so I just left it near him and he ended up taking 3 bites! I am going to continue to try to have him at least sit with us at the table so that he doesn't think he can just play during meal times. I am also going to try out many of the other great ideas and will let you know how it goes. We are also going to see the doctor for his 2 year check up on Monday so I am going to check with doctor about maybe starting vitamins.

Thanks again!


Featured Answers

If he is hungry he will eat. Don't give in. Give his small drink and his food. If he doesn't eat then take it away. That will teach him that his food is there but when dinner is over its gone. You can save the dinner so if he asks for food you can pull it out. He is trying to have control of something.

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Well.....I'm not a big eater. Try smoothies. You can add green cabbage, fish oil, wheat germ, protein powder, powdered milk.....etc. etc. to bananas and strawberries etc. etc. I own a vita mix. I can make soups too. A regular blender will work too. don't worry too much!!

Been there! 2 year olde are a battle of wills and they pick and choose their fights. My daughter says ' it's not fun to eat'...try to let it go, have him sit at the table but don't push. The more you tell him to the more he'll refuse. Also much as you might be worried, cut the juice and milk and just give him water. They use this as a crutch to get by without food. Eventually he'll get hungry, and he'll eat. Simple as that. If it sounds harsh just try it for a week or 3 days even and see what happens. Good luck!
-mother of a fellow non eater.

More Answers

Hi A.~

Welcome to the twos! There might be a few different things going on here besides the twos though. First I would stick to half a child's sized cup of juice with breakfast and then switch to water. Milk at meals only. I would also cut out the snacks. My daughters both did the same thing about this age and I made it a rule that we no longer snack because I'd prefer they eat the balanced meals. I would serve a reasonable amount of food for each meal. If you pile on the food on a massive plate it might seem like an impossible task to finish it all and they could feel defeated before they even start and then the battle begins. I use kid sized plates and give small portions. Then I don't make it a battle. We sit down to eat and I remind them every few minutes to keep on eating. Take another bite. Don't forget to eat, etc. It sounds a little annoying, but 2-4 year olds get very distracted and can easily forget about the task at hand. Gentle, non-combative reminders help to keep them on track.

I also serve dessert every night. It's not elaborate. Right now, we're still working through Easter candy and Jelly Belly's from a trip to the factory. The rule is - if they eat three meals a day w/out fuss then they can have dessert after dinner. I keep it small, but it's something they look forward to. And unless they go the a party or something special, I don't let them eat sweets at will during the day. Dessert is a privilege and they love it. I started that very young with both kids and they get it. Even if they can't stand what I've served, they gag it down because they can't stand not being included for dessert. I occasionally get an" I don't like this" or "I don't want to eat this" and my response is always the same, "You don't have to like it and you don't have to eat it, but if you want more of something or if you want dessert, then you have to eat what I've served... it's completely up to you, but it would be a huge bummer to miss dessert tonight because I'm serving ice cream." It may not work for all kids, but it works well for us.

So, very little juice, milk only at meals (and not excess amounts), water the rest of the time, no snacking, no sweets, 3 reasonably portioned and well balanced meals a day w/out a fuss, no fighting to get him to eat, and dessert as a reward.

If he still doesn't eat, then take him to the dr.

Best of luck!

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Give him a few days of being hungry if he chooses not to eat. Put his filled plate and cup out in front of him at meal time, but then go about eating your meal without any pressure on him to eat. Help him eat ONLY if he asks. (Yes, this WILL be tough.) He may have been eating a ton to compensate for a growth spurt that has now ended for a bit. Totally limit junk snacks (crackers, cookies, jelly shapes that say they vitamin fortafied) and juice. Milk or water with a healthy snack morning and afternoon. Always have water available in a place he can reach himself.

If he goes more than 3 days without eating something significant, call his doctor. There may be something going on in his gut that is undiscovered. Does he have any problems passing pee or poop?

This may also be a sign of increasing independence. There is so little that they can control at age 2 that the things they figure out they can control they sometimes take to extreme. Have you tried giving him limited choices? "Do you want the red cup or the blue cup?" "You get to choose what we eat tonight! Do you want Potato or Rice?" "Do you want your meat sliced or cubed? Here, I'll show you what they look like so you can decide."
Notice that there are no "Yes/No" questions here.

In addition, let him "help" you cook. Yes, it will take longer to cook, but they get more excited about food they have cooked.

2 moms found this helpful

Sounds like a two year old! As long as he has food in front of him at regular intervals (meals and snacks), you just leave it up to him to eat or not. Don't push him (MUCH easier said than done) and he'll eat when he's hungry. We went through the same thing when my son was about 2 and a half, and this is the advice from our ped. that we followed. He still eats a variety of food now: and the not eating thing comes and goes still. Sometimes I think he's living on air, and other days I wonder if I have enough for dinner! He's a healthy 4 and a half year old now, and his 2 year old sister is starting to do the same thing from time to time now. Weird as it is to us, it is normal!

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I have a little non-eater too and I feel your frustration. He basiclly gave up on food around 18 months and has been that way since (he is now 3).

I agree with Thea S, it is a control issue. All I can advise is follow these basic rules.
1. cook one meal for the family
2. put it on a plate for your son
3. have him sit at the table/high chair for 5 minutes even if he says he doesn't want to eat
4. if he has one mouthful, fine, if he finshes the plate, great, if he eats nothing, put the food away and say there is nothing until the next snack/meal in 3 hours.

What not to do
1. fill him up on milk/juice/other food between meals/snacks
2. ask him to take a bite/mouthful
3. produce the meal later when he decides he wants it
4. stress out

It took me a while to realize that I do my job -- decide when, where and what-- and that the rest is up to him -- whether or not, and how much. My son often goes to bed without as much as a mouthful and he is sleeping and growing just fine.

Once you accept that it is his choice to go hungry, meal times will be enjoyable, rather than a battle ground. And eating is a battle you will not win... ever.

And my last comments to this lengthy response are; trust him to managing how much he needs to eat each day and imagine if someone pressured you into eating your meal when you didn't want any more... it wouldn't make you want to sit at the table the next time, would it!

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He's 2... I'd stop the juice and milk, just give him water, and he'll be hungry soon enough. If he's not, I'd go to the doctor and see if something is going on. But it sounds like he may fill up on juice & milk and then not feel hungry. I'd also say, you don't have to eat but you do have to be nice at dinner, this is when we all sit down and talk about our day. Of course, being 2, this may be impossible. So if that doesn't work, what I used to do with my daughter was just leave her "snack" (whatever she didn't want at lunch) on a table where she could reach it and she would wander over and eat some throughout the day without really thinking about it. Just take the power struggle out of it. Good luck! C.

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I think that Shane B's response was right on. I have 5 kids, my first three all did this at some point in time. In fact, our 3 year old is going through this right now. (my last two are only 9 months, yet to get to this fun stage). I learned not to worry, not to cater or give in just so they'll eat something, to offer nutritious meals & snacks and let them go at their own pace. I really agree with her PS of not going out of your way to make special meals as I know a couple who did that for both kids and the mother would go to two different restaurants or fast food places to placate the appetite of the indulged. They complained about it, but never took responsibility. The rule is, 'this is dinner, you can eat it, but if you don't no dessert or no other food will be given tonight'. Also they have to remain at the table with the family - I found this rule, they wanted to go play and eat later, so they have to sit and now they normally will eat something while sitting there. But it does take persistence! You can do it! Bravo to mom's of the world who battle these things daily! Glad to know we aren't alone.

1 mom found this helpful

2 year olds have so little control over their own lives, that sometimes they do things like this just to take a stand (watch out if he's potty trained, cause that might be the next thing he refuses) you can't physically make him chew and swallow so this is one area where he is really in charge.

My advice is to do what you can to honor his budding independance without letting him run your house. At dinner time, explain what is being served and ask if he would like some. You might let him dish his own plate with some help. If he doesn't want to eat tell him, "okay, just sit here with us while we eat and you may drink your milk."

He may also be more interested in food at this age if you involve him in the food preparation process. My 2 year old and I frequently "cook" together and he loves it. Let him help you get items out of the fridge or pantry; have him count out two tomatoes or whatever; standing at the sink and washing salad vegies is always fun.

I think you will find that if allowed to feel more in control and involved in his own life, he will stop refusing to listen when you really need him to.

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Don't turn eating into a power struggle. Your son can indeed go without food for a while. However, I would not offer him milk or juice, that can fill him up and cause him to not want to eat. Offer him water only. At each meal, offer him what you are eating. If he chooses not to eat, don't fight it. With my son, I usually say, "Take two bites and you don't have to eat any more, but Mommy and Daddy are still eating and we would like to have you sit here with us." Often times when he realizes he can't go play again, he'll start eating.

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When my son went through this, I started making him smoothies because, like your son, he would still drink.

I put either V-8 Splash or Bolthouse Farms C-Boost (has, some enormous amount of vitamin C in it) for the base liquid. Then I add bananas, and whatever frozen fruit I have. I but them in the bags, usually mixed berry, peaches etc. I also add Nancy's Plain or vanilla yogurt to give it texture.

During the worst of it with my son, I added green beans and protein powder. I still make this for an afternoon snack.

1 mom found this helpful

If he is hungry he will eat. Don't give in. Give his small drink and his food. If he doesn't eat then take it away. That will teach him that his food is there but when dinner is over its gone. You can save the dinner so if he asks for food you can pull it out. He is trying to have control of something.

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Is he not eating meals but still snacking, or is he not eating anything at all? After age 2 kids growth slows down incredibly so they no longer have as high a caloric need as they did in the first 1-2 years of life. If he is filling up on milk/juice and snacks throughout the day then he probably just isn't hungry at mealtime. You also have to remember he is 2 now and is trying to assert his newfound independence, and controlling what he eats is one of the few things he can actually control. If he is still snacking but not eating meals, back off on the pressure to eat dinner so this doesn't turn into a power struggle. Offer up the meal, but if he doesn't eat it, don't react. Make sure all snacks or super healthy (fruits and veggies etc) and try to only offer one morning snack and one afternoon snack at set times. Also, save milk for mealtime only and cut out the juice. If he won't eat anything at all other than liquids, you need to take him to the doctor to make sure there isn't a medical problem that needs addressing. It is very rare a kid will let themselves starve, but if he has a blockage that makes it uncomfortable to eat etc or something else going on medically you will want to rule that out before you blame it on him just being a stubborn toddler. Best of luck to you. Having a two year old is about 50/50 fun/frustrating!

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Dear A.,
I can understand your frustration. Eating is the one thing we would like our kids to do, without a fuss hopefully, because it makes us feel better to know that our kids are getting proper nutrition. However, I have lots of experience with children and they all go through this stage at one time or another, often frequently throughout childhood. I can time a growth spurt by my son's appetite every single time. In fact, he just turned 13 and said yesterday, "Uh oh, Mom, I think I'm gonna grow again. This dinner is really good, I just don't feel like I can eat it." I'm 5'8" and he's almost as tall as I am. Not only that, but he'll go for a few days without hardly eating anything at all and then he makes up for it, triple time.
Both of my kids have always been very good eaters, and they both went through that. It does get easier somewhat when they can vocalize and say that they just aren't feeling hungry. Very small children can't express those things as well, and probably don't even know why they just don't feel like eating. Offer food, of course, but don't be too upset about the lack of appetite, barring any other symptoms of illness, etc. Your son will be hungry again before you know it. Don't feel as though he's going to starve and offer foods throughout the day, only at regular meal and healthy snack times. Even if my children were going through their phase, we still made them sit at the table with everyone else. They didn't have to eat if they didn't want to, and they understood there would be nothing else offered after the table was cleared.
Try not to fight too much about eating/mealtimes. I've seen families where it turns into a battle of wills and all that is accomplished is that everyone becomes upset and then the whole thing is dreaded the next day and the next.
As for acting out in other ways, not obeying rules, etc, remember that he just turned 2 and he is figuring out that he can assert himself. They don't call it the "Terrible Two's" for nothing. It's a process, but without battling, you can let him know who is in charge and what behaviors are expected of him. He's not too young for a time-out chair or mat....2 minutes.
Just remember you cannot force him to eat so don't even try. This will blow over if you don't make too big a fuss about it. I'll bet you anything, he'll take off growing and things will be back to normal in that department. You'll see it coming next time, and he'll know the rules about sitting at the table anyway, even if he's not hungry.

Best of wishes!

p.s. - I know my response was already long. Sorry. But after reading some of the others, I wanted to add something. NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES make the mistake of worrying that your child will starve and offer an alternate meal choice. Please trust me on this! My dearest friends have a 13 year old son who will literally throw a fit and refuse to eat anything they cook, so, mom got in the habit of making something "special" just for him, or letting him have pb&j, or would literally drive to get a pizza while everyone else ate because he insisted that's the only thing he would eat. They know now that they have created a monster. Mom and Dad don't see eye to eye on the catering to the kid thing and it's caused problems for them. I babysat an 11 year old girl for a while. Her dad dropped her off and I told him we would be having sloppy joe's, applesauce and corn on the cob for dinner. He informed me that I was going to need to go to the store because his daughter would only eat chicken nuggets dipped in bbp sauce. No fruit, no veggies, no potatoes or pasta. Only chicken nuggets....breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sure enough, she wouldn't eat what the other kids ate and I didn't keep her very long.
Just don't make that mistake. It's impossible to un-do it.

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What I have found with children in my daycare is that we have them sit at the table with us whether they think they want to eat or not. We are teaching them that meal times are not just for eating, but are social times as well where we can talk with each other in a quiet way, and we have them sit for about 15 minutes before excusing them from the table. We have one little boy who comes to us from a Head Start program. He arrives at lunch time, but has already had his lunch at Head Start. He still sits with us and has a plate in front of him. We allow him to chose to eat or not, and often he likes what he sees and surprises us with the amount he chooses to eat.
Oh! Another thing we do is to serve family style. We adults actually put most of the food onto the children's plates, but ask them first what they want so they have a choice in the matter. We give adequate portions, but not so much as to be intimidating to a child's appetite. The only time we put something on the plate that the child has said 'no' to is if it's a new item, and we ask them to try one bite to be sure they know whether they like it or not. Our meals have variety... usually a choice of two vegetables at least (and we often try to make that one hot and one cold/raw vegetable. We also serve at least one fruit. By doing this, we give the children more opportunity to say they don't like something - and refuse to eat it - without worry that they are not getting the nutrition they need.
Someone suggested leaving out your son's snacks. I don't recommend that, but have a scheduled snack time mid-morning and another mid-afternoon. Those should be the ONLY time he can get a snack... no on demand snacks. Make those nutritious just like you would the meal. Have items from at least two food groups... ex: a fruit and a cracker ... and give something to drink with it (Milk, water or juice). BTW, keep juice to a minimum as it tends to be filling and also often sugar loaded. It's even a good idea at age two to serve juices that have been diluted with water (1/3 to 1/2 of the amount is water)... and be sure to serve only real juice. You have to read labels carefully to be sure it's not mixed with a lot of sugar loaded additives that have negative nutritional value.

Mostly relax and know your child is most likely going through a very natural stage ... and he'll go through this type of stage several more times during his life.

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Hi A.,

This all sounds very familiar, and I don't think you need to be too worried.

Behavior - My oldest turned two in June, and I felt the same as you - it's like a switch flipped on his brithday and he was a completely different (defiant) little person. It's normal. Hence the term "terrible two's."

Diet - My 2yo has never been a good eater, so you and I have different experiences there. We used to really have to fight with him to get him to consume just about anything besides milk (which he always loved). Our pediatrician always told us not to worry too much as long as he mainained his weight and stayed on the same track on the growth chart. We had to sneak vanilla pediasure in with his milk just to ensure he was getting enough nutrients. It's scary as a parent, but...

A few things to ease your worries...

One, I was always told a child will not starve himself. They will eat if they are hungry. They know when they are full and will stop if they are no longer hungry. So, if he is not eating maybe he really isn't hungry. The other thing to keep in mind is that toddlers grow at a much slower rate than babies. For that reason, it is common for toddlers appetites to decrease dramatically. Basically, they aren't as hungry and don't need as many calories because they are not growing as much. Makes sense.

One thing I have noticed with my 2yo is that sometimes, if he is constipated, he will not eat as much. So, maybe your little guy is plugged up for some reason, and he's uncomfortable. That could be why he doesn't want to eat. Just something to keep in mind.

Another thing I noticed is that the more we pushed our son to eat, the more he resisted. Seriously. It became really obvious because my in-laws would just constantly be pushing the issue, as they were worried and wanted him to eat more. And he always refused. Then, my parents wouldn't push it and he always ate like a champ when they were around. Now that your son is two, he is really testing and defying. It might help him to eat more if you push it a little less. Also, try to have snacks around and maybe he'll much and get some calories that way, instead of all the focus at mealtime.

Also, I noticed my 2yo would eat better if the rest of us were eating the same thing as him. If he was having cereal for breakfast, I'd have cereal, too. If he had pasta for lunch, so would I. I'm not sure if that made a difference or if it was coincidental, but when I started eating what he was eating his appetite seemed to improve.

I hope at least somthing I've written is helpful. I've spent a lot of time evaluating this issue with my little guy, so I have several thoughts and theories... :)

Good luck. :)

He is testing his boundries. You just need to discipline the behavior that is not exceptable and be consist about it. Remember he will not starve himself. Food is a powerful thing that he can control but he won't go hungry so stay strong and he'll stop.

Hi A.: I have a 3 year old daughter who never wanted to eat and would only drink her Pediasure. We did everything you did and eventually we took the position that she will come around at her own pace...and she has. She's still not eating at the level, we want, but she eats some. Alot of this is control and exerting her own will. I believe your son has realized that he can say "no" and is testing you and his new found "independence". This can be an extended phase but will pass. Keep modeling and encouraging eating at home. I found my daughter improved her eating at daycare - peer pressure helps. It continues to be a challenge for us even now because she prefers doing anything but eat but at least she's eating some and is healthy. Hope this helps. T.

I haven't read all of your responses in depth but yelling at your child because he is not wanting to eat is not going to change his mind. He is getting attention and now it's just negative attention. Believe me the more we fought with our daughter the more she refused to eat. As soon as we left her alone and said that's fine, we're eating...she started eating. We didn't cater to her and provide her with lots of choices but we didn't yell at her and send her to her room.
Good luck and yes, it's all a part of the "Terrible Two's" but it also depends on how you handle things as to how long this stage will last.

He is learninG he is own person and is a separate person from you. Once you accept his new perspective it will help a bit. Don't argue with him, don't tell him too eat. Put the food infront of him and remind him calmly that whether he is hungry or not the family sits together and enjoys each other for this time. He will nibble if you ignore the food.

If you are worried about nutrician but some fruits and yogurt in a blender with a little milk or OJ - bananas. Berries and oranges are good. Or make some veggies shakes/ carrot/tomatoe juice and serve that instead of apple juice.

He won't starve himself and he will eat again... Get your sanity back and don't fight with him :)

Hi A.,

When my youngest was about 2 (now 19) we went through sort of the same thing. The only thing she would eat was oatmeal or malt-o-meal. She did this for over a year.

I too was concerned at the onset of this behavior and so talked to her pediatrician who's advice made a great deal of sense. She said that children's taste buds are very different than adults and some of the foods we as adults find delicious, kids find yucky!!! (Think about it....were there foods you didn't like as a child but eat as an adult?) As one of the other moms mentioned, children will not starve themselves and so you should not be worried. So long as he is eating something and is not loosing weight there is no cause for alarm. I would suggest providing vitamin supplements to ensure he's getting what he needs if it's not being provided by the foods he will eat.

Watch out though.....you may have a finicky eater on your hands. It was years before we could get my daughter to eat and/or try new foods; some we're still working on. She didn't (still doesn't) even like McDonalds....what kid doesn't like Micky D's???

Try adding a dipping sauce (watch the sugar content) on the side of his plate. Kids love to dip and this might help mask the taste of the foods that may seem foreign to his tongue.

Good Luck!!!

can you leave him without eating for a couple of days? if he is getting juice and milk that is enough until he gets hungry... im sure he will come back to eating.

I know that it is very frustrating when they don't want to eat. My son has grown to be a picky eater. Its more of a power struggle. One thing that I have learned is that they won't ever starve themselves. During dinner have your child make a choice between 2 things that your 2 year old needs to eat.
Sooner or later they will come around and eat.

Good luck!

Ps how do you go about in teaching online? What school did you go through? What requiements

Well.....I'm not a big eater. Try smoothies. You can add green cabbage, fish oil, wheat germ, protein powder, powdered milk.....etc. etc. to bananas and strawberries etc. etc. I own a vita mix. I can make soups too. A regular blender will work too. don't worry too much!!

My son did a similiar thing around 2yrs. He didn't refuse to eat altogether. However, he wanted to be the "boss" of his meals. I just try to cook at least one thing that he likes with each meal. I also give him fruit. If he doesn't eat, he just has to wait for the next meal. I refuse to make more then one meal at dinner time. He is now about 2 1/2 and started eating again. So, give it a little time. I think he is just trying to show his independence. This is all part of the "Terrible Twos".

He will eat when he is hungry. My daughter kicked and screamed when she was two, so we put her in her room during meal time only after we tried to let her eat at the table. I told her the rest of the family wanted a peaceful dinner so she would have to wait until we were done to come out. She went to bed hungry many nights. At dinner, we only serve water too. She would wake up really hungry and eat her breakfast. Then the same thing would happen at dinner. So back in her room she went. She eventually grew out of it and was able to eat with the rest of the family. Remember this is only a phase and it will pass. I also once fed her her dinner for breakfast and she ate it, every bit of it because she was so hungry. It's not that they don't like food or don't want to eat, they are testing you. Also cut down on the juice and milk you're giving. Eat food first then drink. My kids don't get a drink until they show me they've eaten some food. Hang in there.

I think Nerissa's advice is great- I would add that he has to sit through the family meal time until everyone is done and have pleasant talking about the day, bonding time as well. That also prevents you from having to worry about watching him when you need to be eating also.
I would also make a doctor appointment, while it probably is just a power struggle you want to make sure that there isn't something really wrong as well.
Hope he outgrows it soon!

Welcome to the terrible twos!
I had the most perfect baby until he was close to his second birthday. Their personalities are coming through and now child rearing really begins.
Believe me, he will not starve and they go through different phases. My four year old still does, sometimes he barely eats (and the only things he wants is junk) and others (like now) he eats like a cute little pig. When hunger really strikes and as long as you hold your ground and not give in to his commands (only eating junk or only wanting milk and juice), he will eat.
You should see your pediatrician if the problem gets worse but usually they snap out of it themselves. He is just testing his boundaries and this is only the beginning.

Good Luck!

Take him to a doctor.

Been there! 2 year olde are a battle of wills and they pick and choose their fights. My daughter says ' it's not fun to eat'...try to let it go, have him sit at the table but don't push. The more you tell him to the more he'll refuse. Also much as you might be worried, cut the juice and milk and just give him water. They use this as a crutch to get by without food. Eventually he'll get hungry, and he'll eat. Simple as that. If it sounds harsh just try it for a week or 3 days even and see what happens. Good luck!
-mother of a fellow non eater.

My thought process is he may be developing reflux from the spicy foods and items he is eating. Try to limit the spices and see if that helps. Check with your doctor for reflux symptoms and I also have documents on types of foods to try out if you are interested.
It just sounds like he doesn't like the feeling after eating so he is averting to it.
Let me know how it turns out.

My son did the same thing, only he would only eat certain things and even than not a lot. The dr. told me it's normal, that this is the stage when children start to "test" their parents and try to control what they can, the easiest is what they eat. She recomended that I keep offering him food, and let him eat whatever he "would" eat within reason. My son would only eat yogurt for a while, so I made it fun for him by making a smoothy and adding a little protein powder, I even let him pour in the blender to make it fun. He than would only eat hotdogs, LITERALLY for a week he ate 3 hot dogs a day (I had to switch to the turkey ones to try and make that healthy for him). Now he will sit at the table and pick the things he wants off of his plate, but will eat a FULL meal at daycare.

I think it's normal, so unless he starts to loose weight, I wouldn't worry about it, but hold true to your own boundries and rules. 1- he must sit at the table at meal times, 2-he must eat something...etc. etc. Figure out what feels good to you.

Good luck, I'm THICK in the "two's", and it's VERY challenging, but very fun to watch him become a "kid" as well.


His stomach is only about as big as his fist so he really doesn't need to eat that much. It sounds like he just came out of a growth spurt. Just give him water to drink instead of milk or juice. If you give him any milk at meal times make sure it is only a little bit. When he finishes it tell him he can have more after he eats some of his food. Also if you put less food on his plate he will be more likely to eat. Put like 5 green beans, 5 small cubes of chicken, and 1/4 piece of bread on his plate. When he finishes give him another ounce of milk. If he doesn't eat it don't react. Give him a reasonable amount of time to eat. Expect him to sit with you while everyone else is eating regardless of whether he wants to eat. Offer less snacks during the day so he doesn't fill up before mealtime. We do breakfast at 8, lunch at 11:30, snack at 3 (snacks are not meals so just a little something like a slice of cheese and two crackers with a cup of water), and dinner at 6:30ish. Hope this helps! Sorry for the late reply.

My son is 15 and was the exact same way. I took him to the Dr. and worried, etc. The Dr. said to RELAX and not worry about it. My friend is a nutritionist and she said don't push it, but just keep offering the good veggies, food, etc. They were both correct.......... my 15 year old is a healthy water polo player and a great eater! No more screaming...... just enjoy your dinner!

I love that stage where you dont want people thinking just cause you eat good you dont feed your kid. hahaha...sorry but its funny and sorta true. Just dont force'em if they eat they eat otherwise make sure they have fluids and still pee.

I only scanned the responses and didn't see this suggestion that worked for us. If my son eats a certain number of bites of dinner he gets dessert. We entice him with things he normally doesn't get to eat, like ice-cream. He really likes this Lu brand chocolate covered cookie, so I put it on the table and move it a little closer to him with each bite. When he sees it there, moving closer with each bite, he goes to town. Then, we all cheer and clap when he finishes. I should say that this went hand-in-hand with an awful terrible twos phase with lots of frustration and discipline. It was awful. I'm happy to say he's out of that phase, but we still use the dessert tactic to get him to eat when he's not feeling like sitting through dinner. I'm careful not to give him any treats like that during the day, so they stay special in his mind. We let him have dessert every night and it works like a charm. I wish I had thought of it sooner.

He may be testing you, but he's probably just going through a period where he's not really growing and doesn't require as much food. Kids apetites come and go. It sounds like he's not a finicky eater, so I wouldn't really worry about it. When he needs to eat, he will. There are so many battles parents will have with their children over the years, and trust me, this is not one worth fighting. If he's not hungry for dinner, maybe give him just a small bit of something and be happy with that. If he refuses to eat anything, fine, but nothing else later. You don't want him to get into the habit of turning down dinner at mealtime and then expecting something later, but if he's truly not hungry, let it be. Have a quiet dinner with your husband and let the little one play in his room. No fuss, no muss!

I think you have hit the two's. My daughter did the same thing. There were times where she would eat pretty good and there were other times where she didn't want to eat at all. What everyone told me was you can't force them to eat. They WILL eat when they are hungry. My kids (who are 3 1/2 yrs old and 20 months) still go through that. Sometimes they eat really well and other times they barely eat at all. Don't give him juice or milk right before you guys are going to eat. That will fill him up. At dinner, we have them eat before we give them their milk. They HAVE to finish ALL of their veggies before they get a drink.

The acting up, I think, is completely normal. He is testing you guys to see what he can get away with. My kids are doing them same thing. Just be consistant with your discipline. We have time outs here and they seem to work pretty well.
I tell them what they did wrong and why they are there and how long they will be there for. SOmetimes, they will scream and cry and get up. Just keep putting them back WITHOUT talking to them. As soon as they calm down, start their time. When I first started this with my 3 year old, it took me 1 1/2 hours but she finally got it. She understand now that she isn't getting up until she is calm and does her time out. It is VERY frusterating at first but stick to it! Hope that helps you.

It is at this age that they don't want to stop playing or whatever they are doing to eat. He will eat when he gets hungry so dont worry.

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