25 answers

My 13 Month Old Won't Eat & Still Prefers a Bottle!!

My 13month old daughter eats like a bird! We offer her many variations of foods and she is either very picky or just gets really bored with what she eats. She also has to have something in her hand to munch on while we feed her her meal. However, even with that, I don't feel she has had enough to eat. She takes about 4-5 spoonfuls of her meal & she's done. (She will eat ALL her oatmeal & yogurt, though.) I want to make sure she has the proper nutrition she needs! She had a weight check up last week & is right on.
Also, she does not like any of the sippy cups I bought her (Advent & Nuby) and refuse to buy all of them just to find the right one. She does take a cup/straw, but tends to lift the straw/cup like a bottle. Of course gets frustrated because all the liquid drops to the bottom.
Need your feedback, please! Thanks!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Ladies! Thank you so much for all the wonderful feedback. So, here is where we are. Over the last week, I reintroduced jar food along with table food and what I realize is the reason why she was getting so angry and refusing the foods I was offering her was she wanted to feed herself!!! Duh? I started with giving her a spoon to hold while I fed her, that worked for a couple of feedings, then she expressed interest in feeding herself, so I gave her a bowl & a spoon.
Now, for the bottle, we are only offering it to her in the morning (milk) & the rest of the day it is water, fruit juice diluted in water, or milk in the sippy cup. Yes, she sign languages MILK in milk, but I have been consistent and just give her the sippy cup. She does get angry, but she gets over it :) Starting tomorrow, we will let her know that we are giving away her bottle to another baby that needs it more & have a 3rd party take it away. Love that idea! Thanks again for all the wonderful feedback!!

Featured Answers

My son was 15 months and still on a bottle. He was on chemo and I didn't want to take it away but he got to where he wouldn't eat and only wanted the bottle. His dr. said to start adding a little bit of water so he wouldn't like the milk as much. Over the next week add a little more water and keep going week by week till he got to where he didn't want it anymore. It worked great. He gave up his bottle on his own and wanted the sippy cup. Hope this helps.

Vikki

As far as her eating goes my oldest son was like that and his doctor said that as long as he's still growing and gaining weight not to push the issue. He will eat when he's hungry. My youngest son preferred to graze until he was about 3. We would just leave his plate at the table and he'd come take a bite here and there.

Have you tried sippy cups without a no leak seal first? There are some pretty cheap travel type ones at walmart. She may just need to get the hang of it before she tries the other ones. As far as the cup/straw goes keep offering her those. She'll get the hang of it. It takes time just like everything else she'll learn.

More Answers

hey- i did buy some of almost all of the sippy cups to find one that would work for us. PLAYTEX is the one... the valves are easy to wash and the same valves work with all of the playtex cups...stage 1-stage 3. my son hated the nuby cups, tolerated the advent cups, had the same problem your daughter has with the straws, but the playtex cups worked for us. try it!

Well the good news is that your daughters weight is right on target for her age. I remember worrying about nutrition when my girls were young too. Then my doctor told me that their taste buds are still developing and their stomachs are really quite small. He basically told me to serve them the foods they would eat and not to worry about how much they ate.

As far as the bottle goes, it sounds like it might be one of those times where you will need to endure some crying when you make the switch... One thing I did with my girls that really helped us was to talk about how they were growing up and that on Firday we would be packing up all the bottles to send to another little baby that needed them. We talked a little bit about the giving up bottle event coming up everyday (sort of a countdown to Friday) to help prepare them for the transition. Then we also talked about looking for a new cup for them to use once we sent the bottles off. When they have a love affair with the bottle, they never like any sippy cup you give them at first!

Good luck with whatever you choose to do.

I know you've gotten a ton of responses already, but my 2 1/2 year old has been going through this since she was 6 months old. We've been to monthly weight checks (she's not just tiny, she's bony) and to see specialists. The biggest help they've offered: Carnation Instant Breakfast. We call it her 'milkshake' and she loves it. We were using Pediasure, but apparently it's the same stuff, just a lot more expensive. And if she doesn't eat ... oh, well. But I feel better knowing that she's getting all her vitamins and such.
I reassure myself by remembering that it's my job to offer her the foods, and her job to eat them. Hope that helps.

Ok, I'm going to go one issue at a time.

Sippy cups-my son hated hard spout ones so I tried the Gerber trainers (silicone blue spouts) and he loved them!! After about a month of using thoses, he would use the Playtex ones no problem and that was at 12 months old. Now if you daughter is still using bottles, I'd start putting water in them and only putting milk and juice (or dulited juice) in the cups. Water in the bottles won't make it worth her time.

Eating-you didn't say what you were trying to get her to eat (baby food, regular table food, etc) so here is also what I did with my son. He at just about everything we at starting at 11 months. He didn't want baby food. I would take say chicken and the veggies I cooked for dinner and put it in the blender to chop it up for him and he loved it. Noodles you can cut up into small pieces. Also, Hormel makes these kids dinners that are really yummy too. Same size as Gerber grads just half the cost! You can find them over by the Chef Boyrd stuff. Same thing with fruit-buy the canned fruit that says no added sugar or light syrup. It is fruit and either pear or white grape juice-same thing as gerber but way cheaper and more fruit. All you have to do it cut it up into bite size pieces.

Good luck!! I hope you can find something to get her eating a little bit more!
~S.

When my son was a year old he went on a goldfish diet. He wouldn't eat anything but goldfish no matter what I did. I started getting creative and I started breading chicken with goldfish and he would eat it because it had goldfish. I asked the pediatrician and she said he will eat when he is hungry. He had goldfish 3 meals a day for two weeks and then he didn't want them anymore and he started eating anything you put in front of him. As far as the sippy cups give her the cups with the straw she will figure out how to use them. Put something in there that you can share and show her how to drink everytime she turns it up gently take it from her hands and say watch mommy. She will figure it out.

Good Luck

B. M.

My four-year-old, like your daughter, doesn't eat a lot in volume. I've voiced concern at the pediatrician's office many times and I always get the same answer, "She's growing, she's smart, she's thriving! Leave her alone!" So, I make sure to feed her healthy things when she does eat and nervously watch my little fuel efficient model of a child do just fine. She only gets milk once a day(because it's so filling) and I "spike" that with Ovaltine.

Recently, I asked the doctor about giving her Ensure or Pediasure and was given the nod.

Don't worry about the cup and straw thing. She'll get it. It's frustrating but it takes time. (Of course, you have two older kids and you already knew that...) Sounds like your daughter and mine are very much alike. I would ask the ped for advice or his/her thoughts, of course, but if she's doing fine, Yay!

As far as her eating goes my oldest son was like that and his doctor said that as long as he's still growing and gaining weight not to push the issue. He will eat when he's hungry. My youngest son preferred to graze until he was about 3. We would just leave his plate at the table and he'd come take a bite here and there.

Have you tried sippy cups without a no leak seal first? There are some pretty cheap travel type ones at walmart. She may just need to get the hang of it before she tries the other ones. As far as the cup/straw goes keep offering her those. She'll get the hang of it. It takes time just like everything else she'll learn.

hi, my name is A. Connell and as a mother of 2, one is 2 and one is 1, I am very concerned about my children and their health. I am not sure if this will help but my daughter wouldn't take a cup at first either, have you tried the gerber graduate cups? My daughter had an mri done and thats what they gave her when she woke up and hasn't had a bottle since. Also, I would love to tell you about a company I have started shopping with online that is safe for my family. Please visit my website and complete the learn more section so I may contact you and give you some great information on the toxins within your home.

A. Connell
workathomeunited.com/huntleigh

Children around 12 months old tend to decrease greatly in their appetiate and that is very normal. Their bodies know exactly what they need and how much they need. So dont stress it is a common concern of all us mothers, but just keep offering her a variety of nutritious foods and she will eat what she needs. Also if she doesnt like sippy cups, you can try giving her a small amount of juice or milk in a regular cup at meal times, just to get her use to drinking from a cup, or even offer her sips from your drink provided it is a beverage she can have, not tea, coke, coffee or etc. Sometime toddlers like to copy mommy and maybe this will help spark her interest in the cup. Hope this helps!

Proud mother of two wonderful, all boys!

We had this problem with our son at the same age. I hated taking his bottle away, part of me felt like I was "losing" my baby! I talked to our peditrician about it, and she said we just had to take the bottle away. I found a sippy cup that had a nipple like top, and just threw the bottles away one night, so I couldn't go back to them. It was a struggle for the first two days, he was MAD! He did come around however, and I haven't regretted it. Your daughter will drink when she is thirsty, and she will begin to eat when she gets hungry. She has a choice now, she can have a bottle and that fills her up.. you need to take that choice away from her. A few months later.. he is drinking from a regular sippy cup, and eats plenty. If her weight becomes an issue after, talk to your peditrician. My advice is to just make the decision and stick with it. It will be hard at first, but she will adjust!

I have a 15 month old who was doing the same thing at about a year. Wouldn't eat and wouldn't give up the bottle and very very picky eater. My pediatrician and friend gave me the advice to stop all in between meal snacks (including bottles) and to not stress out. She'll eat when she's hungry. And she did just that. I think you need to take comfort in the fact that your child is not underweight. If she was, I would be worried then. As far as the bottle . . . we stepped it down gradually. First, I gave her a bottle only in the morning (more out of convenience) and at night to make sure she slept well. Then, only at night before bed. Then, we just said at the New Year we weren't doing bottles any more. I think she had two bottles the first week because she was inconsolable (sp?) a couple of times. But when we ran out of our last can of formula that was it. Now she has totally given up the bottle and eats fairly well but is still picky. I wouldn't worry too much, especially if you were just at the doctor and he made no mention of a weight or malnutrition problem. I do hope things get better for you soon,though. Torie

Hi Diane-
I think you're doing just fine! I threw away ALL the bottles when my daughter turned one year old. That was the only way I would stick to my own plan! I'm bad at giving myself excuses... that's why I'm not that perfect size yet, LOL!!!! They are going to be picky and eventually they're going to be hungry enough to eat more. The bottle is filling her up enough so that she doesn't feel the need to eat as much. Maybe give her yogurt as a dessert ONLY if she eats what's on her plate but don't give her an amount you know she's not going to finish. My daughter learned about the cup with the straw and sometimes still forgets you can't tip the cup but hey, it's better than a bottle and it just means we have to pull the cup down and say keep it down a little bit more until they get it. If nothing else, Nuby has a sippy cup that has a soft top that is clear that has to be sucked almost like a bottle. It's a good transition between bottle and sippy. It worked for my daughter during the beginning but you can only go by what you're daughter likes. Either way, you're going to try a few different kinds whether you search on your own or take many different advices on which cup is the best. GOOD LUCK!!!

My 19 month old son has Celiac's disease (severe gluten intolerance) We just found out about 3 weeks ago. He has a terrible appetite. I figured that it is probably because eating made him tummy hurt. Since we've gone gluten-free eating, his appetite is increasing gradually. It's nice to see him eat!! Have you tested your little one for food allergies??? Also, many times, children won't actually have an allergy, but rather, food sensitivities. My oldest daughter has food sensitivities (they also happen to be the foods that she craves!!!!!). You might consider an elimination diet...beginning with gluten (wheat, oats, rye, barley--shop at your local health-food grocery for gluten-free items) and dairy. Those two seem to be the biggest offenders in the American diet. You can read up on elimination diets on the web. You can also try giving her some good digestive herbal teas in her bottle and a good acidopholus supplement. The best I've found is Super Pro-8 by Udo's Choice. Also, kids tend to be picky eaters when they've been fed candy and other snack items throughout the day. You may not think that it's much...but, it conditions small taste buds into thinking that everything should taste this "good"! Try replacing snack foods with carrot sticks, apple slices, chedder cheese, etc. You get the picture. Make sure that any juice that you give her is the real thing...no additives (sugar or otherwise). Do this for a couple of weeks and see if things have improved. I'm a mother of four and we've had all sorts of these types of issues. I don't think that God intended for us to be born picky eaters....how would babies ever have survived 100+ years ago, before food in this country was ever so abundant???? Good luck!!

Diane,

First off, I would not worry that she is not eating that much. Kids will eat when they are hungary. Keep offering her the food you are but if she only eats 4-5 bites that is okay. My oldest child went through this and I worried myself into a lot of sleepless nights. My pediatrician finally told me to chill out and he will eat when he is ready. He also said that kids go through inactive periods where their bodies do not need that much food. When they go through their growing spurts, that is when they will make up for it. I gave him healthy food and what he didn't eat I just saved until he wanted it. I would not be giving her the bottle any longer. She is old enough to drink from a sippy. Get rid of ALL your bottles and calmly tell her that the bottles needed to go to a home with a smaller baby in it. Tell her that since she is growing up, she needs a big girl cup now. Keep offering this cup to her and she will soon be drinking out of it. The key is to be consistant. She needs to know that you will not buckle and give the bottle back. Hope this helps.

I was talking to a lacation consultant/R.N. who said that her third child refused ALL solid food (even rice cereal) until after his first birthday. By that time, she was a more confident mother, (and obviously very knowledgable about breastfeeding) so she just said "OK, well that makes my job a lot easier" and went with the flow.

The baby turned out perfectly fine. Sometimes you gotta just trust that the kid knows what he/she needs.

(My baby, on the other hand, was grabbing my plate at four months, and by twelve months was going for my beer and coffee. They don't ALWAYS know...)

Oh, and even though he's 18 months, I'll still give him a bottle of warm cow's milk before nap or bedtime (though he usually pushes it away.) If I give him a sippy cup, he'll just take a sip or two - never drink down the whole thing like he will a bottle. So I wouldn't sweat it too much.

I wouldn't worry about her eating habits right now as long as she is on track physically with her growth/weight. Let her hold something to munch while she also eats her "meal" and if all she wants to eat is yogurt and oatmeal, let her have it. You might try sneaking some pureed fruits/veggies into the aforementioned foods or introducing one new food each week that she helps you pick at the store. As far as the bottle goes, I would wean her off of it slowly, such as only letting her have it at nap or bed times. Make a big deal of going to the store and letting her pick out her own "brand new big girl cup." Don't worry; I have taught toddlers/preschoolers for over 15 years and this is by far not a big problem. She sounds like she's fine and I'm sure you're doing a great job!

I have an 11 month old son who also prefers oatmeal and yogurt. I had a hard time getting him to eat other foods but realized that it was the texture that was most important to him. So I tried feeding him mashed potatoes to test my theory and he loved them! As a result, I began hiding his veggies in mashed yams and potatoes. Try it!! Good luck!

The first thing I would do is throw away all the bottles. Without the bottle her appetite will pick up and she will eat what she needs. By this age they should never be taking a bottle at bedtime as it will make their teeth decay and you will end up with caps on the baby teeth by 3 or 4 years old. Very expensive too as I've had to do this from allowing my youngest to keep the bottle until about 17 months of age. When she has to depend on a cup to get drinks she will learn to use it as she will be thirsty and have a reason to learn this. Give only small bits of fruit as snacks between meals. Tiny bites of banana or cantaloupe can work really well. Try to get her to take a sip of water after eating as that will help to get the sugar off her teeth.

Wow, my daugther is 13 mo old too! And the same way eats like a bird! Except for oatmeal and yogart! After reading this I had to check the name to make sure I didn't write this!

Don't worry! And for the sippy cup issue. My daughter won't either but loves a straw!

Get a sippy cup with a straw in it. They do not leak. YOu can buy them at Kroger for like $7.00.
But they work!

My son was 15 months and still on a bottle. He was on chemo and I didn't want to take it away but he got to where he wouldn't eat and only wanted the bottle. His dr. said to start adding a little bit of water so he wouldn't like the milk as much. Over the next week add a little more water and keep going week by week till he got to where he didn't want it anymore. It worked great. He gave up his bottle on his own and wanted the sippy cup. Hope this helps.

Vikki

Believe me, I know your concerns. My daughter has always eaten the same way. My mom and, at times, my husband is constantly worrying me about it. She'll only eat a few bites at best, but she will eat a PB sandwich or a hot dog every time. Here are some things we have tried successfully:
-put a chocolate kiss on the table and tell her she can only have it if she eats three bites of everything on her plate
-we bought a character cup with a lid that had to be turned up and sucked to get any liquid out
-throw away the bottles, and let her see that they are gone. We actually let a third party throw them away so that she would not be upset with us. She was also "cool" with the throwing away because she didn't want the third person to see her get upset.
-flat out ignore refusals or whining - this worked on our daughter because she failed to get the attention she thought she would get from it. "Discussing" the matter gives them the attention they are sometimes seeking. If we responded, it was with a flat "yes" or "no."
-be consistent in standing your ground
-but above all, don't worry about it too much. Teaching good eating habits is important, and these tips have helped us teach our daughter good eating habits, although she still eats "like a bird." Just make sure she's getting her vitamins and minerals some other way. There are several supplements available, but I recommend going to a health store. Sometimes the vitamins off the shelf at the supermarket are not formulated efficiently.
I hope this helps. My daughter is almost nine now, and, despite her minimal eating, she's in perfect health.

Diane,
My current 17m old was the same way. For 2mo all she ate was yogert and cheerios with milk. We would offer her other food but no intreast. We keept offering her food and now she eats more of whatever we give her. You are not alone in the picky stages. As far as the cup, try giving her a regular cup. you will have to hold it for her while she drinks. My older one refused all the different sippys i bought. My Aunt one day gave her a regular cup and she took to it. I had to help her with it for a few months until she could do it her self. good luck

I feel your pain. My daughter (now 22 months) has been a challenge with the picky eating too. They will go through periods of "bird-eating" and it's okay as long as her weight stays normal. Her eating habits will change back and forth depending on her body's needs. As far as nutrition, I give my daughter gummy bear vitamins and sneak veggies into her food. I'll puree some squash or carrots and add them to her grilled cheese and pasta/pizza sauce. She's been on kicks where all she'll eat is bananas for a few weeks and then she won't want to touch them for weeks. They are strange creatures when it comes to food. But trust me when I say, she will eat when she's hungry. About the straw cup, she'll figure it out. It took a while before my daughter caught on, and she liked the straw cups before the sippy cups too. Good luck!

Keep trying new things for feeding. If she likes cheese, make a grilled cheese sandwich. I have trouble getting my 15 month old to eat veggies. So I will take carrots from a can, mush them and spread it on the cheese sandwich before grilling it. I do that alot with his veggies. I also have started giving him vitamins to supplement the nutrition he is missing from being picky about veggies. They have infant and toddler vitamins by Enfamil at Babies R Us. Check with your pediatrician.

My son will take juice from a sippy cup but not the milk. He will only take milk from a bottle. So he still takes a bottle twice a day. There is a Nuby that is tall with a small silicone top that he's ok with, but won't drink all his milk. My pediatrician suggested I take a month break and try again. Or to quit cold turkey. The milk is more important than the cup it is coming in. Don't you agree?

With my son who was picky the dr said he will eat when he is hungry, just keep offering it. It was true, when he was hungry he eventually started eating more varieties of food in larger quantities, if you child's weight is normal, dont worry the eating will come, just keep offering different foods and fight that urge to fix what you know she will eat. He went on sippy cups at 12 months old and didnt even bat an eye however...
With my daughter she DID NOT want to give up the bottle but we just kept trying, giving her access to ONLY a cup during the day... and lo' and behold she tipped it up one day and drank out of it like she had been using one her whole life (I wanted to scream!) I think she was about 15 months at that time.

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