33 answers

HELP! My 18 Month Old Will Not Eat Breakfast

I am at my wits end. I have ended up throwing so much food. No matter what it is, my 18-month old won't eat breakfast. She might possibly have a bite or two, but that's it. We have to get out the door and get things done in the morning, including swimming lessons for my 4-year old. Our whole world cannot revolve around attempting to feed the little one. She is absolutely horrible when she is hungry, and is a complete brat until lunch time. For some reason, she'll eat then. Of course, after she eats, she's a nice little girl again. Does anyone have any ideas? I am desperate. I don't know what to do.

3 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

First of all thank you!!! Every one of you who responded. It helped a ton to just know I wasn't alone. Then I took bits and pieces of all your advice. I also removed the bottle from the equation. The result is she now eats a little bit for breakfast, and now as many of you suggested, I pack a sippy cup and a healthy snack in the car. Usually by the time we get to our destination, she is finished eating. Other times, she finishes a bit later. All in all, I am so grateful for the good advice. Thanks!!!!!!!

Featured Answers

My daughter is the same way she wakes around 6-7 and is not intersted in food...what I found that works great is that I give her milk to drink for breakfast and a little piece of cheese. Then at around 9:00 I feed her breakfast. If we are out and about I just pack her lunchbox with a pbj or something like that. She does great this way and then usually eats lunch as well.

1 mom found this helpful

Some people aren't wired to eat breakfast right when they get up. Pack something to go. Also, don't think you have to give her breakfast foods. It's okay to give her more traditional lunch/dinner foods for breakfast.

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds like you got a lot of great advice. I would also say offer her something small and easy in the morning. Something that could be put away if she doesn't want it. And then pack breakfast/snack to go. You can do that the night before so you're not in a rush.

Hope all goes well.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Hello,
Let's start with what you know - She's just not that hungry in the morning so give her LESS food (so you won't throw it away). Since you know she only eats 2 bites, give her enough for 3 bites.

And since you know she's going to be hungry before lunch, bring a small snack like 1/2 a banana in a baggie - so perfect for hungry toddlers and it shouldn't ruin her lunch appetite. This will hold off the hunger pangs and will keep her more stable emotionally. I always bring a snack for my toddler just in case - noone wants to endure a hungry, tantrum throwing toddler!

This stage won't last forever. Toddlers don't eat much anyways - a few tablespoons (or more if they wish) of food every couple of hours is all they need. And they won't eat if they're not hungry so don't force it! It will only make for a painful and negative experience. There are other things you can spend your precious energy on!
I'm not saying you should just stop your whole world and feed you child on demand, but be wise. As she isn't hungry right away in the morning, give her 1/4c milk (protein!)and a bite or two of food. That's all she really needs. Also you're not changing your schedule (or rearranging your whole world) to provide a snack between breakfast and lunchtime. It's beneficial to her (and you)to keep the blood sugar levels from swinging high to low - just give her a snack and it will keep her stable.

Hope it works for you!

2 moms found this helpful

Judy's right on. A nourishing snack later in the morning will probably do the trick. Experiment with foods she likes; cheese and fruit are good. A small, firm omelet carried in a lidded dish was a favorite of my daughter's one year.

Not only are some kids simply not interested in food early in the day, but pressure to eat can actually work against the ability to eat. Feeling rushed and feeling hungry are mutually exclusive for lots of people, little and big. (I never was able to eat early, still can't.)

I notice that I feel alarm when I hear people characterize their children as brats (or monsters, etc.). I can sure relate to the adult frustration of having our little ones thwart our plans, but I don't think most of us, when deciding to have a child, say "Let's have a baby that we can fit into our schedule!" Of course, it's easy to forget in the busyness of life that they have their perfectly valid set of needs and personal preferences, and that to some extent we do, indeed, need to revolve around them.

And that's one of the gifts young children give us, right? They help us get over ourselves, and rediscover the joy of being right here in this moment.

2 moms found this helpful

My daughter is the same way she wakes around 6-7 and is not intersted in food...what I found that works great is that I give her milk to drink for breakfast and a little piece of cheese. Then at around 9:00 I feed her breakfast. If we are out and about I just pack her lunchbox with a pbj or something like that. She does great this way and then usually eats lunch as well.

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds like you got a lot of great advice. I would also say offer her something small and easy in the morning. Something that could be put away if she doesn't want it. And then pack breakfast/snack to go. You can do that the night before so you're not in a rush.

Hope all goes well.

1 mom found this helpful

Maybe get up a little earlier so it's not such a stressful time? My daughter normally is up for about an hour before she wants to eat. Also, portable breakfast might help. Think: cheerios, frozen waffles (blueberry is a hit at our house), cooled chicken nuggets/sausage patties, sliced grapes, tofu spears, frozen peas/corn. Then she's still getting nutrition, but you're not having to spend so much time trying to get her to eat at home. Your older one can help the younger eat in the car even maybe.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,

Well, I can certainly feel your stress. Take a deep breath and try to relax. It could be any number of things (as previously mentioned, your daughter might not be hungry first thing in the morning, she might be picking up on the frenetic energy of the household as you're getting ready to go and that might be stressing her out to the point she can't eat, etc.). First off, is she still gaining weight and is her doctor concerned? If not, she's probably fine. This, of course, does not help when mid morning hits and she gets a little cranky. Earth's Best makes some good breakfast bars that are easy to pack. Also, fruit in a cup can do wonders. I do remember reading (I have a son with eating issues) that it is hard for infant bodies to process complex sugars so cereal bars, cereal, etc. might not be the way to go. Try scrambling some eggs, a piece of buttered toast cut into small pieces, and if necessary look beyond normal breakfast foods to see if you can find something that appeals to her. We pack-to-go a lot of foods since whether or not our kid eats in the morning is up for grabs. His favorites are the cereal bars, Nairn's crackers (I know New Seasons carries these), cheese (string and medium cheddar), organic fruit straps, yogurt, fresh fruit, breakfast sausages, and pb&j sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Also, is your daughter talking a lot or does she sign? If she's got some good communication skills, you might try offering her a choice between two things. She might be entering that independent phase and electing not to eat because she isn't consulted. (Worth a shot, right?)

Good luck. And remember you're doing a great job!

1 mom found this helpful

I see a morning snack in your childs' future. ( two of my children were not morning eaters - they were simply not hungry until they'd been up about 2 hours.) So, I took peanut butter sandwiches - or string cheese - or crackers and a jar of peanut butter - or bread and butter or an apple and a hard boiled egg--- you get the idea --- find as many ways as you can to get nutricion into her when she's hungry- and the ''brat behaviour'' will possibly just plain disappear -- . No 18 month old can wait until 12 noon to eat - it just doesn't happen- so work on the snack - and good luck.

Blessings,
Old Mom- aka- J.

1 mom found this helpful

Feed her while you are waiting at swimming lessons. Take a peanut butter toast(or french toast)sandwich cut into bit size bites and a cup of milk, or string cheese and raisens, or cheerios and cheese, or cream cheese on a cut up bagel and milk - just get her enough protein to keep her on an even keel until her appetite wakes up.

1 mom found this helpful

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