41 answers

2 Year Old Will Not Gain Weight

Ok everyone, I have a 2year old that in august 08 weighted 24lbs and I took her to the dr. on friday with pink eye and she weights 25lbs. She is not gaining any weight but eats anywhere from 5-6 small meals a day. We do not give her large meals because she has a tendency to get constipated and will throw up with a large meal. I need some suggestion on what I need to feed her or maybe another idea of how to get her to gain weight. please any suggestions will help

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you everyone who has responded. We have tried many of your suggestions in the past. She has been on Miralax for over a year now as needed, She gets carnation instant breakfast twice a week, she eats when she wants never does she cry or complain that she is hungry. Now I am not pushing the weight issue as much as the concern of her seeming it get constipated. If she does not have a bm one day she will throw everything up the next. She also tends to have several small hard pepple looking bm on most days. Never a complete bm at one time and she struggles to do the small ones. I have called the dr. and have asked for a refural to a gastro dr in our area. I am hoping this will put us at ease. I too think this is an absorbtion issue. Again Thank you so much for your insites and I am glad I am not the only one with a little child. As for my husband and I were not small children and are not small adults although we are working on that.

Featured Answers

Hi...I work for a Chiropractor and we do lots of testing and supplements for young children and adults having all types of nutritional problems. My number is ###-###-#### thanks...M.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter is 5 and weighs 32 pounds. She has always been in the 5th percentile, but the doctor has said as long as she gains at least 2 lbs a year, there's no reason to be concerned. She just has fast metabolism- she eats throughout the day as well.

My son has been going throught a kind of picky stage.I was worried he wasnt getting enough to eat so I started giving him carnation insant breakfast everytime he just eats a small meal I supplement with that.You can get it a walmart and it just mixes with their milk it says that it has as much nutrion as a complete breafast and my son loves it.You can get vanilla or choclate.It cost a lot less than pedilite

More Answers

She seems to have something digestive going on---vomiting with large meals, constipation, lack of weight gain.

First, I would make sure she is getting enough water---1/2 her body weight in ounces of water for a minimum---12 ounces if she weighs 24 pounds.

Then I would get her eating only healthy foods. I do not follow the crowd that says "more calories". I don't think she is appropriately absorbing what she is eating and that is the problem that needs attention. A healthy system will absorb nutrients and calories from healthy food.

So I would eliminate anything processed. I would make sure she is getting protein at every meal, including breakfast. I would make protein and vegetables the big part of her diet. Some oil/butter on the vegetables is fine.

I would give her cod liver oil every day for essential fatty acids and vitamins D & A. (Nordic Naturals or Carlsons are the best brands). They do have flavored ones for children. Use the dosages recommended on the label.

Limit milk for her---dairy can be very binding and some children don't eat well when they drink dairy. Make sure she is getting her calcium through food or a supplement.

This is how I would begin. If you try these things consistently, it should at least begin to help with the constipation.

If this does not solve it, then I think a consultation with Andrea Stevens, a nutritionist, would be necessary.
She can work wonders! Email ____@____.com

The digestive system is considered the second brain, so it is really important to make sure this is working well!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi...I work for a Chiropractor and we do lots of testing and supplements for young children and adults having all types of nutritional problems. My number is ###-###-#### thanks...M.

1 mom found this helpful

I wouldn't worry about her weight if she is eating. My daughter is 3 and weighs 27 pounds. When she went to for her 3 yr check up the dr was not concerned. HE said it is better to have a healthy eater than to have a 3 yr old who is overweight. Good Luck.

Unless your dr said that she needs to gain weight I wouldn't worry about it. I have a 30lb 4yr old and my dr. says she is fine, healthy and happy, Addy eats about 6 meals a day as well.

My mother is ia dietition and I remember her doing consults on kiddos that were not gaining weight. It always surprized me that she told the parrents to put tons of butter in mashed potatoes, add cheetos to a samdwitch meal and her favorite was ice cream after every meal. At the end of the day it is really about just getting them more calories.

I wouldn't worry about the scale at all. If she's eating good and is content with her food, she is A-Okay! Now if she was crying of hunger or something, then yeah, maybe you would need to be concerned, but if she is content, I wouldn't give it a second thought at all. Take Care!

Morning L.,

Question for ya. Did the Doctor say anything about her weight? or is it that you are just concern?

My son was the same way when he was little he could put the kitch table away at meal time and make himself sick so he got to where he was eating smaller meals but more ofter cause his tummy was just so small. But as far as his weight he was alway thin til this day he is still thin he is 14 yr old and weights 108 and is 5'3. I ask the doctor about it and they told me that as long as he is eating good and NOT losing he is good. It was more me than him I was a worry wart. If you are concern to teh point to where you worry about her you need to ask the doctor more questions. The Doctor told me some people are just prone to be small. Hope I help settle your thoughts.

Good Luck,

I think average children only gain 2-3 pounds between age 2 and 3. I remember my mom (mother of 7) saying that 3 year olds are the least expensive children because they can wear the same clothes two seasons in a row and they don't eat much. We are all healthy adults, so I wouldn't worry. My daughter weighs the same now as she did 4 months ago at her 2 year check-up too.


L., if you are still reading responses, here is one from me.

Don't worry about the lack of weight gain. I'm not sure how tall your daughter is, but I just took my 3 year old to the doctor and she weighs 28.6 lbs and is 38 inches tall. She's always been in the 25th percentile in weight. She's got her daddy's metabolism (thank goodness) and she's 75th in height. She eats very well and from all food groups. She just burns it off and is very active.

I would be more concerned with the vomiting. I hope you get that figured out with the doctor soon. As far as helpiing with BM's, I had this difficulty with my daughter. She'd go three or more days without having one. I started giving her those Yoplait yogurt drinks every morning. It takes a couple weeks, but she is like clockwork now and much happier. If your daughter tolerates lactose, these would work. Otherwise, you may have to find one that is lactose free. I always thought that yogurt would have the opposite effect, but it really does work.

Good luck!

Hi L.,
The same thing has happened to my son, Connor. He weighed between 20 and 21 lbs for THREE well-baby visits in a row (12, 15, and 18 months). His regular pediatrician at the time told us not to worry about his weight right now. He said that as long as he is holding steady or slightly gaining, and not LOSING weight, then the leveling out of his weight gain was just because he was being a more active toddler.

Now that our family just moved to another area, I've been able to ask his new doctor about the topic and she said the SAME THING.

Turn out that I was being an over-worried mother! He is now 21 months old and weighs 23 lbs---It took him 8 months, but he finally put on a couple of pounds!! yeah!

So, I wouldn't react too rashly and start loading on calories for the sake of calories. All you may be doing is creating very bad habits (cheetoes?!)

Just check with your doctor during her next visit. If he/she is unconcerned, I would not worry about it. If several more months go by and she is STILL at the same weight, then I might become concerned again and go get a second opinion and perhaps see a nutritionist that can look at your daughter and come up with an action plan tailored just to her.

I hope this helps!


Your 2 year old sounds very normal. Toddlers are notorious for getting skinnier at this time.

My son turned two in Sept, and he only weighs 25lbs just now this month. So I wouldn't worry as long as she eats well and is just active and the dr doesn't see anything physically wrong. My husband and I were string beans growing up also, its just how God makes some of us!

My son has been going throught a kind of picky stage.I was worried he wasnt getting enough to eat so I started giving him carnation insant breakfast everytime he just eats a small meal I supplement with that.You can get it a walmart and it just mixes with their milk it says that it has as much nutrion as a complete breafast and my son loves it.You can get vanilla or choclate.It cost a lot less than pedilite

Hi L., unless your doctor seems concerned I would not worry about it. All three of my children were considered lowest on the growth percentile chart. My 2.5 year old only weighs 25 lbs. right now. Her father and I are also "small" built people, so it easy to see where she gets it. My pedi says as long as they are gaining "some" weight, and they are eating a well balanced diet, hitting milestones, and healthy otherwise, then he is not concerned. I think it has something to do with me breastfeeding until they are a year old, also. The processed formulas have alot more calories I think.
As for the constipation that could be part of her eating issues. If you notice that she is constipated try giving her prune juice, or feeding her pureed prunes(baby food). Usually cleans them out pretty good LOL. If your daughter feels full because she is constipated she may not want to eat. My children did that, also. Don't worry too much. Good luck!
Oh one more idea, maybe you could try PediAssure (sp?). I have never used it, and it does seem a little pricey, but I believe it has alot of minerals and vitamins, as well as calories. I usually give my children a multi vitamin.

I don't think I would worry too much. As long as she's eating. It sounds like she's eating well. I have a 2 year old also (she turned 2 in Sept.) and was right around 22-23 pounds then (naked). She is now at 25 (with clothes on, we went in for an ear infection last time they weighed her). She still wears mostly 18mo. clothes, although she is just now starting to fit into some 24 mo. clothes. The doctors say as long as she's gaining not to worry, she's just little for her age and probably will be. As long as she doesn't loose weight or fall off her growth chart, they aren't going to worry about her. So, I say keep doind what you're doing, sounds like she's healthy so I wouldn't worry, the weight will come!

Do give her supplements that will make a big difference. I have information on great safe supplement for children under 12, let me know if you would like more info.

I am a mom of 2 and work from home.


Why are you trying to force weight gain? If she is otherwise healthy, eating and meeting the appropriate age related milestones, there is no reason she HAS to weigh more.

I would work on the other digestive issues - maybe its a food allergy, etc.

My daughter was always at the low end of the scale, falling with each well visit until she "bottomed" out at - 3-5% (as in negative). She didn't hit 20 lbs until 1 1/2. She turned 3 in Nov and weighs 28 lbs and that is considered the 20% for her age.

To the person who suggested adding cheetos and butter - GEEZE what are you trying to do - clog a toddlers artiers?????

Hey L. just wanted you to know you are not alone my 2yr. old son weighs 27lbs. and his dr. told me he was too small. He eats as often as he likes but since he is so active food never has a chance to settle and for him to put on weight. Don't worry she will have a growth spurt and grow up fine. I have a 8 yr. old that was around the same weight at 2 and now she weighs 91 pounds!

It was many years ago, but when my now 16 yr old would not eat at age 2 - we gave him pedisure shakes 2 to 3 times per day. He loved them and would drink them w/o any problems. Good Luck....

Yes I am wondering why you are worried about weight. My daughter weighted close to that at 2 yrs. Now she is 3 years about 33 pounds. She is not overly skinny and actually tall so I can't think that 24 pounds is not unnormal.

Now obviously constipation and the throw up is a a warning sign of something not normal. I would not take everyone's recommendation but talk to a doctor exclusively.

As long as she is active and healthy, I would say she is fine. My daughter just turned 5 and she is only two pounds heavier than she was at her 3 year check up. She was 32 pounds at her 3 year check up and 34 at her 5 year. She is beautiful and healthy and growing taller but just not heavier.

Would she like the Carnation Instant breakfast in her milk? We do that. It has alot of protein and calcium and other good vitamins and minerals in it. We just put in a spoonful or two, not the recommended half cup or whatever. It does have some sugar in it, but not alot. It's not worse than juice, so you could cut juice out of her day and then it would be the same amount of sugar in a day.

Also, from what I understand after they are 2, this is pretty normal for them to only gain a pound or so every 3-4 months. Roughly. I think sometimes even less.

Also, I add heavy cream to mac n cheese or soups. I put a little extra virgin olive oil in her spaghetti, that sort of a thing.

First I would talk to your doctor about it. If they arent worried right now then I wouldnt worry, but the throwing up/constipation could be a sign of an allergy or gastro problems. One of my sons had a weight gain issue and after testing we found out he had some food allergies that was causing some of the constipation issues (and when he's constipated he tends not to eat as much causing the issue not gaining weight). Usually around two kids start being so active and loosing the 'baby fat' so it could just be that, but if the constipation/throwing up continues I would take her to see a pediatric gastro doctor. Good luck!

I was just reading an article in the Dec 2008 issue of Parent magazine. its on page 44 and is about celiac disease...basically an intolerance to gluten....some of the "symtoms" you mntioend like not gaining weight and throwing up with meals are mentioned. it said that the disorder is often not considered so it's worth asking your doctor about. it is basically (from a layman's words) where, when someone eats gluten (and that type of substance) the intestine starts to attack itself...i really don't really know how to explain it. look it up and see if it sounds relavent. sounds like a change in diet is the remedy. But your 2 year old probably doesn't even have it. i was just struck by the coincidence that i'd just read the article and then saw your post with similar concerns. Good luck.

Both my sons gained very little weight between ages 2 and 3. My oldest weighed 23 pounds at 2 years old and only 24 pounds a year later at his 3 year check up. The doctor did a bunch of tests but in the end they just decided he is a small kid. He is 7 now and continues to gain very slowly. He is always below the 5% in weight. We just make sure he eats and try to get him to eat as healthy as possible. We did try Pediasure shakes for awhile last year because he was losing weight and that seemed to help a little. You could also try a gastro doctor to make sure there is nothing else going on. Dr. Jack Ahn is wonderful!

Was your Dr. concerned? If not, I don't think I'd worry about it. This is the way I think about it...kids grow SOOOOO much during their first year and into their second, but there comes a time when they start growing less...look at the size difference between a 2 and 3 year old, you're talking inches. So, we get used to them eating a lot and gaining weight at each visit, but as they quit that rapid growing, they start to gain less and less and aren't growing as rapidly. If she's eating 5-6 meals a day, I wouldn't worry about it unless the ped. is concerned. Also, look at her activity level. Some kids are less active, but if your daughter is a fire cracker and very active, she may burn off a lot of the calories she takes in.

I did not read the many other responses you got but just wanted to say that my 2 youngest just turned 3 and 4 and weigh 28 and 29 pounds. It has been mentioned by doctors over the years but not always as a problem. They mostly just want to know about their eating habits. Which in my opinion are better than average in amount and quality. They eat several meals and snacks a day which includes a healthy love for fruits and vegetables. And they are healthy. That always seems like the big concern. Better to be small then overweight, IMO. Just keep her active and eating healthy and maybe supplement with vitamins. That's what I do to make sure they are getting enough of those. (Gosh... I would even guess my 6 year old is only 40 something pounds!) Don't worry too much unless your doctor is.

she will eat when she is hungry. Take a look at yourself and your husband, were you both skinny as children?

We went thru the same thing with our daughter who is now 5yrs. She was always in the lower percentile in the weight. She ate all the time but was also very active. Our pediatrician recommended that I give her Carnation Instant Breakfast mixed with her whole milk. I sneak it in whenever I can. It gives her the extra calories to help her put on the weight. This last check-up she was finally almost to the middle range for her weight! I am not worried, because as I told the Dr. when I was her age I was under weight too and I started to gain weight around the age of 7 yrs.

SAHM of two;18 and 5. Home baker and candy maker. Married to the same wonderful man for almost 12 yrs.

Is your doctor concerned? My son had weight issues at the same age but accually lost a few ounces and then only gained a little less than a pound in one year. My doctor told me to add calories to everything he ate. If he ate toast, he told me to add butter. If he drank milk, then add Carnation instant breakfast to it. I made him lots of milk shakes, and he stayed on whole milk for an extra year. He stayed small until he was four when he then caught up with his age.

If your doctor is not concerned, then I would not worry. If your doctor is really concerned like ours became, then we went for tests at Children's to rule out any medical issues.

My son will be 5 in March and only weighs 10 lbs. more than your daughter. The doctor has always said he will probably end up being a tall, slim adult which is great-no weight issues. I wouldn't worry if the doctor isn't concerned. My son, also, eats a lot of little meals throughout the day instead of 3 meals and a snack or two. It is just the way he is and we don't fight it. Everyone is different. By the way, my 17 month old weighs 34 lbs. and the doctor has always been concerned about him. He has been huge since birth.

Try treating the constipation with OTC miralax or similar laxative and her appetite will probably pick up. You can't put food in if the plumbing is sluggish or stopped up all the time. I would think that her appetitie is poor if she is always full and nauseated from clogged up bowels. I would start with about 1tbs of miralax and add 1tbs until you get her stools soft and more than one a day. I would also think that as long as she is growing not necessarily gaining weight than that is what is important. I have a slow weight gainer myself and is in the lower 25% for his weight in his age group. But he consistently has a good appetite and does progress in his growth chart. He just gets taller without gaining much weight. He is 14 and still doesn't weigh over 100 pounds, but is almost 5 feet and is in a mens 10 shoe. So don't despair. She will catch up, but definately get those bowels moving!!!
Good luck,
L., RN for 15 yrs

It sounds like she has food allegies.

We have struggles with my son's weight for a while. He was diagnosed as "failure to thrive" around 9 months of age or so. He went from the 95th percentile to the 5th percentile for weight in a short amount of time. We had tests run to rule out metabolic disorders and cystic fibrosis. When those came back negative, I said no to anymore testing. My son had no other symptoms that concerned me and I did not want to subject him to any more testing. I opted to wait it out and give him some time. He is still a light weight (he was 30lbs and 38 inches high at his three year old checkup), but his doctor is no longer concerned. Some suggestions our doctor gave that helped him gain weight were to add butter to everything including his veggies - real butter no substitutes. We were told to offer him sausage and hot dogs often - cut up teeny tiny of course. My son has always been a good eater and never picky - -but he would much rather eat broccoli than meat any day. It was also suggested that we give him pediasure with his morning and afternoon snack. I took it a step further and started making pediasure milkshakes for his morning snack - I just took a scoop of ice cream and mixed it in a blender with strawberries and strawberry pediasure. This milkshake seemed to cause the most improvement. We stopped all these tactics around two - when the doctor was finally ok with his weight(I would guess he was probably also around 24 lbs at this check up as well) and we could stop coming in for weight check ups. If your doctor does not share your concerns, I wouldn't stress to badly either. But if your gut is telling you something is wrong I would press to have it looked into further.

My daughter is 5 and weighs 32 pounds. She has always been in the 5th percentile, but the doctor has said as long as she gains at least 2 lbs a year, there's no reason to be concerned. She just has fast metabolism- she eats throughout the day as well.

Is your doctor worried about it? If not don't worry either. Our first weighed 18 at a year and 24 at 2, she was small boned and everything else developed as normal. At 18 she only weighed 97 and didn't really fill out until she was 22. If she's healthy and developing normally, the doctor's not worried, then don't worry. I wish I had the same problem.

Have you asked the doctor about an "Absorption" disorder? I myself weighed 40lbs when I was 11 years old and now that I am 28 (with a 1 yr old daughter) only weigh 80lbs. I, like your daughter, have never had an eating disorder and eat quite a lot. But just can never gain weight. I was on RX weight gainers as a child for almost 3 years and never gained.
There is nothing wrong with me, it's just me, but I am thinking about the constipation issues you mention and it seems like her digestions is slowed by something. Perhaps she isn't absorbing everything from her food?


Also, I had severe constipation as a child and young adult until when I was 16, when I stopped eating meat (I still eat fish). I have never had constipation since and have seen a great improvement in my health.
In any case, I am 5'4" and weight 80 pounds although people guess I weigh 90-100. So if all is well, then all is well and she is just light like me. Good luck!

my son was "failure to thrive" when he was 1 (which means he was not matching the national weight for his height), our pediatrician told us to put him on pediasure instead of milk and it worked. We did it for 6 months.

Hello L.,

If she's growing and healthy, I would not worry about the weight gain. so she gained about 5% of weight in about 5 months. I would concentrate in figuring out why she gets constipated and is throws up. my daughter gets constipated with milk. if she doesn't have any allergies, would you try soy, rice, oat milk for a couple of weeks and see how her body reacts when you re-introduce milk products? I used to sneak baby pear (1 tbsp) in my kids soy milk to help w/ the any constipation issues. good luck! ~C.~

I don't think you have anything to worry about unless your pediatrician is concerned. My little on is a petite little thing too and she eats small meals as well with healthy snacks throughout the day. In fact she was probably the same weight as your little one at age 2. She gained weight and heigth as she got older but is still tiny but she's healthy.


In the second year of life kids just don't gain weight as quickly as they did earlier. My 6 year old has been the same weight for 2 years - she is 100% healthy and has grown in height, and is developmentally ahead of the curve - she eats super! The doctor is not worried, and neither am I.

We had this problem with my daughter when she was about 18 months. Dr. recommended healthy fatty foods like avocado, banana,olive oil, etc. We ate out every Sunday after church and took her to our favorite Tex-Mex place and fed her guacamole and beans. It worked!

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.