17 answers

Can Toddlers Have Low Blood Sugar?

My son is 2.5 yrs old. I think he has something wrong, but am not sure what. When he doesn't eat, he becomes completely unhinged, screaming, throwing fits, hitting, etc. It is next to impossible to calm him down at this point. However, if he eats, then there is a complete turn around, it's like a night and day difference about 5 minutes after he eats, as long as it has a little substance to it. I usually mix baby food cereal with baby food fruit and that seems to work. However, things like Cheerios, Corn Chex, and fruit don't really work to keep him happy, and sugar is awful! He can have a very little bit if he has eaten a meal and be okay, but if he has it before a meal it makes things 10 times worse, thus have have been severely limiting his sugar intake. I am wondering if he could have low blood sugar or something like that. My sister has the exact same symptoms and has been to an endocrinologist who said he couldn't do anything for her because her tests didn't show any problems. My problem is we are barely making it financially. Our copay for a regular visit is $25 and for a specialist is $40. There is no way we can afford to start going to a bunch of different doctors appointments right now because we aren't sure when we will get paychecks. Also, I really don't want to pay a doctor to tell me that there is nothing wrong with my son. Do any of you have experience with anything like this?

As a side note, I have tried numerous other items to feed him to try to help with this, but unfortunately, he is beyond picky. He will eat fruit/veggie smoothies each morning, and I mix them with baby food cereal, and he is good for about 3 hours. The rest of the day is a challenge. He won't eat anything but the smoothies on a consistent basis. One day, he will eat grapes and then he won't eat them for a week. He won't eat any kind of meat, bread or anything that I make for dinner. He will sometimes taste it, but won't eat more than a bite or two. I have had to start putting him in his room if he won't eat because I can't handle the fits, but I know this is not developing healthy eating habits and it is not his fault that he is having these issues, so I feel so bad for him. He is a very normal toddler when he eats and is such a sweetheart. Please help!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

E., it sounds like perhaps he has hypoglycemia. It's a real trial to deal with this when you have the terrible two eating pickiness to deal with.

Keep offering regular food. If he eats a few bites, that's something. Don't cater to his every whim, because that will just make his pickiness and control issue work against both of you for the long term. If he isn't eating meat, you MUST find an alternative for the protein, even if you are putting protein in his smoothies. Peanut butter has protein in it, so you could try that.

Good luck,

1 mom found this helpful

You shouldn't hesitate in taking him to the doctor. If you have tried to keep him on a steady eating schedule and this still happens, something isnt right. Perhaps diabetes? I know symptoms of autism are similar...just a thought. My 2 step sons both have autism and this is something we deal with regularly along with other behaviors. Good luck

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It sounds like he is very sensitive to what he eats and that as well as being a picky eater is hard to manage. Some children with sensory processing issues are picky about food textures. If you suspect that is part of the problem try callin Early Intervention before he turns 3. If you think it is because he is sensitive to low blood sugar try to include protein and whole grains in each snack/meal since they take longer to digest. (Look up the glycemic index and try for higher glycemic index, slower to digest foods). Do as best you can to get him at least a snack every 2-3 hours to head off meltdowns (my son is a horror if gets too hungry or overtired and it is so hard to get back on track). My kids are not that fond of meat but will happily eat cheese, yogurt, nuts, and beans.

If you think the picky eating is the main problem then explain he needs to eat different kinds of foods for his body to grow and be healthy. Tell him the basic food groups and explain he needs to eat a little bit from all of them. help him make a list of a few things he likes in each group. If you want to get fancy use a piece of colored paper for each group and glue cut out pictures of different foods on. I have been talking to my son about this since he was around 2 and now at 4 he knows he has to eat his food groups at meals (not that he doesn't argue and beg for junk food!). Bread and butter, a pickle and a handful of nuts may not seem like a great meal but it covers the bases at least. There are also Sneaky Chef type cookbooks for hiding more nutritious/less popular foods in kid friendly things. Another stratagy for improving the diet of a picky eater is trying to add foods similar in texture and flavor to ones he will eat.

I know what you mean about the health insurance expenses...but a basic visit to the pediatrician is really a good idea as soon as you can manage.

2 moms found this helpful

E., it sounds like perhaps he has hypoglycemia. It's a real trial to deal with this when you have the terrible two eating pickiness to deal with.

Keep offering regular food. If he eats a few bites, that's something. Don't cater to his every whim, because that will just make his pickiness and control issue work against both of you for the long term. If he isn't eating meat, you MUST find an alternative for the protein, even if you are putting protein in his smoothies. Peanut butter has protein in it, so you could try that.

Good luck,

1 mom found this helpful

Definitely take him to the doctor. Sounds like he's possibly hypoglycemic. My son was only 18 months old when he was diagnosed with diabetes. I thought it was impossible, but I took him in anyway and sure enough his blood sugar was over 800. (He should be under 200.) The doctor was amazed he hadn't had seizures or gone into a coma. My point is, your kid's health and life are worth the financial sacrifice. Believe me, I hate paying so much money to doctors and I know how hard it is to come up with the money, but your child is worth it - always. Better safe than sorry! Good luck and let us know how it turns out. :)

1 mom found this helpful

just another nut butter idea - make smoothies with frozen banana, nut butter of any kind and milk (of any kind). very refreshing and nutritious. another snack idea could be oatmeal pancakes - i have a recipe with just a little sugar, lots of oats (soaked overnight in buttermilk), just a touch of flour, eggs, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and oil. they are great cold with a little jam (or nut butter again:) and you can bake and freeze them.

as for juvenile diabetes, the signs of that are not so much low blood sugar reactions, but actually becoming sick with fever, vomiting, excessive thirst and urination, weight loss - this is all because a low functioning pancreas will mean there is too much sugar in the blood, not too little. (My brother was diagnosed at age 10 in this way).

I think of myself as someone who is prone to low blood sugar as well - it's not necessarily something that needs to be addressed medically; regular nutritious meals usually do the trick for me. also eating before i get shaky, because then it takes too long to recover. i do notice that when i am anxious/stressed my blood sugar drops more quickly...so maybe this is a factor with your son if he is other wise a sensitive guy?

okay good luck!!!

1 mom found this helpful

Children can have juvenile diabetes. He needs more food, baby food has little nutritional value since it is to teach babies to chew and swallow while they are transitioning from formula to table food and milk. This baby is in desperate need of protein and nutritional food. If he doesn't start getting the nutrition he needs you may end up having to feed him through a feeding tube, he may have some digestive issues so take him to the doc. Call your insurance provider and ask them about taking him to a stomach doc and a nutritionist.

1 mom found this helpful

All three of my kids go through the weird eating/not eating stage that drives me crazy!!! They all freak out when they are hungry then won't eat anything at dinner. My youngest is the worst! She just turned 2 a month ago and is being a nightmare just like the other two, and yes, the only thing any of them wanted to eat or would eat is sweet tasting stuff. I am a very healthy eater and have not been big on anything sugary but do have fruit and such around. The bad news is, smoothies, fruit, pasta, rice, cereal, etc. are all heavy in sugar and too much of that too can create crabby kids.

What I started to do with my first was feed him as much as I could that was not sugar rich, like eggs for breakfast, lunch meat and veggies at lunch, and well rounded meals for dinner that did not entail pasta or rice but once or twice a week. I also know that kids do need fruits and carbs, just not in the mass quantities we normally tend to do, so for snacks I do the fruit and fun stuff then but still kept it to a minimum. Just so you know, they only ever ate 2 to 3 bites at their meals. I kept wondering how thy sustained life. I just stuck with it, let them throw their fits, did not alter the eating plan because it was for their own good.

Although I am in my eating torture with my daughter right now, my two boys outgrew this stage by around 3 and they both eat what is in front of them and typically lean towards the veggies and healthier choices. I also to this day never pressure them to clean their plates or hound them to eat. They know that what is in front of them is their meal, take it or leave it. Kids have a way of eating what their bodies need.

In short, this is short lived so not to worry. Your son will come around and quit torturing you but only if you do not play into it.

If around 3 1/2 if you are still having excessive problems check into it further. You can also check it out at the 3 year check up.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

It's hard to say from your post if your son has low blood sugar. It could be high blood sugar. It could be that he has ADHD or other mood issues with food and/or artificial additives in processed food. The first thing you absolutely need to do is to address his picky eating. Not much will change until he eats whole foods, including veggies.

I would also put him on a couple of supplements: cod liver oil (lemon flavored), vitamin D (have his level checked on your next Dr.visit...it should be above 50), a multi-vitamin without artificial colors or flavors and a child's probiotic purchased at a whole foods store in the refrigerator section. For more family health info and how to transform your picky eater, to to www.BabyBites.info

Definitely low blood sugar but probably not "disease" related. he could also just be flat out hungry. start getting some higher calorie foods into him. Since money is tight, try your own experiment.
Start with getting him onto REAL food. if he won't take the texture, put his dinner through the blender.
the other thing is you've got to get more fat and protein into him. Fat is important for growth and brain development. Plus both fat and protein stabilize blood sugar levels. my youngest needed healthy oils (olive, canola) poured into almost everything to keep her weight on because she wouldn't eat enough.
After a week of real food, no baby food (other than what you put through the blender), see how his moods are. My guess is they will have stabilized a lot.
My oldest is VERY sensitive to what he eats in the morning. By 18 months we figured out he has to have protein, fat, and fiber in the morning or it's dinner time before his personality is normal again. The Dr said its just his system, although we did check for diabetes. He's now almost 9, and its still the routine. funny story - my m-i-l was insistent that it was her right to spoil him w/sugared cereals. I finally caved one day when he was 2 1/2, but left before she fed him Captain Crunch for breakfast. I came home about 2 pm - she has NEVER again asked to do that. she believes me now about his need for protein, fat, and fiber first thing in the morning!
if after a week or two of loading him up on real food, things haven't improved, then take him in to the doctor.
good luck.

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