32 answers

My 16 Month Old Not Wanting to Eat and Is Losing Weight. Help!

My 16 month old daughter has lost about two pounds and we can not get her to really eat. She is my third daughter and I have never had this happen and I just don't know what to do. The nurse at my doctors office said she needs to still be eating baby cereal, but we can't get her to do it. She closes her mouth tight and then once we get the food in she spits it out. I told her this and all she said was, "you have to make her eat it." How am I suppose to do this when I can't even get her to keep it in her mouth. I have even tried feeding her off my plate, but she won't do that. It seems that everything we try to feed her ends up all over the floor or the highchair. She does drink milk, juice, and pedisure but we try to spread it out far enough so she is not filling up on liquids. Today for instance we only gave her a sippy cup of pediasure in the morning, water with her lunch, and then milk with her dinner. She only ate few cheerios for breakfast, a few bites at lunch, and she only took one bite of dinner before she started throwing it on the floor. I am very concerned since she is losing weight and she now only weighs about 17.5 lbs.

She has been off cereal for a long time, and we do feed her what the rest of the family is eating. We have tried letting her feed herself, us feeding her, and her big sisters feeding her, but nothing is working!!! She no longer takes a bottle either and she won't drink baby formula.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I have a 18 month old who doesnt really eat that much at all. My doctor told me that as long as he is drinking his milk not to worry too much about it. He drinks more milk and juice than he eats food and he is as healthy as they come...he has just recently wanted to eat off of my plate and try different foods. I say give her as much milk as she wants...at least that will keep her from loosing weight and keep her tummy full!

1 mom found this helpful

There's a bad virus going around including a sore throat. You might give her some formula at each meal So she gets the nutrients and calories .

My daughter went through a stage at around 16 months where she would not let anyone feed her. We started giving her pasta, cut up meat and cheese that she could feed herself and she started eating again. My best friend has a two year old that refuses to eat anything but crackers so she started dehydrating vegetables so they were crunchy; it worked and tricked her daughter into eating veggies.

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My daughter was in the hospital for a burn and when this injury occurs they don't want to eat. I was skeptical that my girl who LOVES food would have this problem but, sure enough, we were in the same situation as you. They said I had to make her eat and she had to consume so much protien. I couldn't get her to eat anything. I could get her to drink a little. They wanted her to have no water because it will fill her stomach and offer her no nutrients, calories or protein. They said no juices because they were empty calories. They had an Insure drink that had extra protein and vitamins that she would drink. The hospital also made a protein shake for her. They were all water based so she was getting hydrated too. Getting her to drink was way easier then getting her to eat. Unless your doctor has said otherwise, I would let her drink her calories while still trying to get he to eat. You might also see if your doctor could recommend a protien powder for her or call Children's Mercy and see what they use in their "burn shakes". This way you know the amounts that she is getting is appropriate for her size. At some point "make her eat" is not a solution to the problem and your not getting any more help, advice or more of a solution I would ask to talk to the doctor and if that doesn't work, call Children's Mercy.

I read a few resonses and I would agree with the nurse. If there are tactile issues, children can be very stuburn about those things. But there are alot of fun activities to tackle them. Someone else mentioned a dietician and there is no reason why you couldn't request a referal or be denied the refural. I also agree that 16 mo is really old to be eating baby cereal. Did your other children still like baby cereal at that age? I know mine would have been spitting it out at that age, too. Have you every tried that stuff? And if she is seeing your other girls eating something else. Have you tried having your older girls try and feed her. If she is highly motivated by them then this may work.

1 mom found this helpful

If she has started losing weight you have to change your tactics. When someone goes on a diet their body begins to require less and less in order to feel full. By cutting back on her liquids she is requiring less and less to feel full.

I would start by giving her all of the liquids that she can drink. The pediasure is a great way to get the nutrition back into her body. Since she has gone on a food strike dont push it. Allow her to get her nutrition from her liquids for now.

By increasing the amount that she drinks and her calorie intake you will create a need for her to keep her tummy full. If it isnt full she will feel hungry. Right now her calorie intake is so low that she her tummy does not that much of a difference and it may take a while to get her back to where she was.

Sugar is something that also stimulates the appetite. Under normal circumstances I probably would not recommend this but try milk shakes. Make them yourself using a small amount icecream, yogurt and a fuit baby food added to her milk. By keeping it on the sweet side you begin to stimulate her appetite.

I would also say that her age there is a lot of psychology that you can play with her. At meal times you may not want to put her in her high chair. As the whole family sits down to eat, you may choose to just ignore that she is even in the room. This usually creates a need to be with the family and do what they are doing. Do not get upset or act like it bothers you if she does not want to join the family the first time. You may be surprised that by the end of 2 or 3 meals that she wants to sit and laugh and eat with every one else. Do not give her one bite until she asks for it. Make her idea, this way she is less likely to spit it out.

I know how concerned you must be, I would be as well. Dont worry about getting her to eat right now. Worry more about getting her back to nutrition and if that has to come in liquid form for right now, then so be it.

1 mom found this helpful

Im not trying to scare you but my baby is almost five months and weighs over 16 lbs. Yes hes big, hes in the 75% for his weight so thats not ridiculously big. But I would try to get to the bottom of it right away. Maybe she is sick? I wouldnt be happy with the answer that nurse gave you. I would hound them until they can give you real advice on how to handle it. I mean this isnt just picky eater, she doesnt want to eat at all it sounds like. I remember my daughter going through phases when she just wasnt eating enough, one week I thought she would starve and the next week she would eat like a grown man. But she never lost 2 pounds. Thats a lot when you are talking baby. How long has this been going on? Hopefully you can get some real answers and help from her doctors office. I dont think they have heard the last of you on this one! Good luck, its probably just a phase, but I would be stressed too!

1 mom found this helpful

I have a 18 month old who doesnt really eat that much at all. My doctor told me that as long as he is drinking his milk not to worry too much about it. He drinks more milk and juice than he eats food and he is as healthy as they come...he has just recently wanted to eat off of my plate and try different foods. I say give her as much milk as she wants...at least that will keep her from loosing weight and keep her tummy full!

1 mom found this helpful

Just wanted to let you know my niece, 17 mos, doesn't eat whenever she is teething. She is also small, and a very picky eater. She is getting lots of her molars right now and went from 19.8 lbs to 17.5 lbs at her last visit since she was not eating. The pediasure is a good idea. Can you start her on a multi-vitamin?

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.:

I haven't gotten a chance to read the other posts so I apologize in advance if this is a repeat. My daughter went thru something similar to this when she was teething. Also, she also does not like to eat if I feed her. She will eat if I give her the spoon to feed herself. This is very messy as she turns the spoon upside down before it goes into her mouth. So applesauce ends up on her but pudding does stay on the spoon! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I don't have any great insight into your issue. But, you may want to try putting more into drinks. You may want to try smoothies with yogurt and banana in them for example. You could put a bit of baby cereal in them also. Don't put in so much that you can't liquify it.

I also know that "fighting' about eating is a bad idea. You could try different, calorie/nutrient foods. Her tastes may be changing. She may have developed a distaste for certain textures. This may be a "stage' she will move out of. In the meantime, "beef" up her drinks.

1 mom found this helpful

I know that if they are constipated they won't want to eat. The little guy I watch loves homemade oatmeal (2.5 min in microwave) mixed with yogurt (full fat Yo-baby). He wouldnt' take the baby stuff anymore and I switched to this and he loves it. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

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