18 answers

My 18 Month Old Does Not Want to Eat.

My son just truned 18months old yesterday. For the past month or so, he will not eat anything I give him. Maybe a cracker here and there, but I fight him to eat at all. Ive tried different types of food, and went back to stage 3 food and he still doesnt want it. He feeds himself and I have to feed him to. He drinks milk and alot of liquids, but not all day long. There are times that he takes two bites of something and then he is done. He was teething a few weeks back, his back molars came in on one side, but now he is ok. I am getting extremely frustrated. HELP..... ElaineR.

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So What Happened?™

First off I would like to thank everyone who responded to my request. This is my first child and I have not a clue at what to expect. I didnt think that Mamasourse would be so helpful. Thank you to all, I deeply appreciate your advice. And I will let you know what happens with this situation. E. R.

Well today he ate a little. I put out some graham crackers, a peanut butter sandwich, cheerios, and raisins. He picked at them all day long. I made an egg for him, he had like 4 bites. But when we all sat down for dinner, he got curious. He never cares about what we eat, but today he jumped up on my lap and took over my fork. I made steak with noodles and vegetables. He seemed to enjoy it and he ate more than I expected. So today was a good day. Thank you all so much for putting my mind at ease.

Featured Answers

Hi.

It's hard not to be frustrated by his lack of eating. But one of my friends told me this one... Children are not machines and they don't always want to eat. She also shared that they eat what they need. He might be nervous about eating stuff since he was teething. Have you tried asking him what he wants to eat and then making that.

I have 3.5 year old twins... and I find that when they don't want to eat... I don't "make" them eat the whole serving... I just require them to eat three bites (one for each year they are - something I read in a book about kids getting enough nutients) other times I ask them to eat one for me... one for their father and a few of their favorite people and that works sometimes.

GOOD LUCK...KEEP THE FAITH... HE'LL EAT...

I'm with you on this. My son is 19 mths and his eating has dropped significantly in the last two months (which at this age is normal). I also have a 3 1/2 year old and found that if I put finger foods, fruit, craisins, granola, vegetables on a table in the den he will "graze" and eat what is there. HE still must sit at the table with us at meal times but at least he is getting something healthy throught the day. Don't forget to limit the amt of liquids which may be hindering his hunger. He will eat...just be patient.

More Answers

Hi E., is he getting enough liquids? Is he drinking water? Most importantly - did he lose weight? If he did then it's the pediatrician's advice that you need right now. Does he have bowel movements regularly?
If his weight is stable (meaning he remained at the same percentile) then DO NOT WORRY. Apparently he is getting what he needs. He will not starve himself. There are some things you can try to work on though. - How much milk do you give him? At this age the max. amount of milk they should have is 18 oz since if they get more, their hunger is satisfied and they don't eat other foods that they need.
1. Not more than 18 oz of milk a day, or you can try to cut it even more if he is drinking water to make sure he is well hydrated. Then throughout the day try to give him cottage cheese, natural yoghurt, yellow cheese to give him enough calcium.
2. Don't give him any juices (if he won't drink plain water just add a few drops of juice to change the taste of water) remember juice has a lot of sugars - it might make him not hungry as well. Just make sure that he gets plenty of water to be well hydrated (especially when it;s warm outside).
3. Make sure you are giving him vitamins and iron.
4. You can switch back to the formula stage 2 (for toddlers) of simply add some powder formula to his milk.
5. Try giving him baby cereal (from the box) in a straw cup (Target and Pottery Barn have great straw mugs that have straws big enough for cereal to go through). That worked very well for me.
6. You didn't mention wheteher you are feeding him or whether he is feeding himself. Whichever the case - try the other one. My son (15 months) refuses to be fed. He needs to feed himself (since he is not good with a spoon - eveyrthing needs to be solid and cut into tiny pieces so that he can fingerfeed himself.
7. Try to eat with him and hopefully he will be interested in what you are having on your plate and then let him have it.
Hope some of it will be helpful. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi E.,

I'm not sure if this will help, but I recently heard of a book called The Sneaky Chef in Parents magazine. I ordered it myself but I haven't used it yet. It will help you come up with things your son wants to eat while you make sure that he getst the right foods. The chef hides nutritious things in just about everything for those times when you're toddler gives you problems eating. I hope this helps!

E.,

A few things that may explain what's going on:

1. A child's eating habits decrease naturally around this age, because growth slows down. Since they're not growing and gaining at as fast a rate, they don't require as much fuel.

2. Your son has figured out that you will feed him again and again throughout the day. A baby doesn't get this, and so approaches every meal as if it might be the last. The urgency isgone.

3. With newfound mobility and interests, eating just isn't as exciting as it used to be, when there wasn't a whole lot else to do.

4. Toddlerhood. Your son has figured out that what he eats is important to you. He's also figured out that he has ultimate control over that department. You can argue, beg, bribe, and nag, but you can't MAKE him eat. And he sure can get a rise out of you when he doesn't do what you want him to. This is one of very very few things in his life where he's got any kind of power, and he will wield it at nearly all times.

Your son will not starve himself to death. I swear it. He will eat enough to give him what he needs. Your job is to give him healthy and nutritious food options, and let him do with them what he will. Sit him for meals and snacks at appropriate times during the day. Give him what you want him to eat. And then back off. Either he will eat, or he won't. If he doesn't, then take it away with absolutely no response. Don't beg, don't yell, don't try the "one more bite" trick. All of that lets him know that he has control over you with his decisions on what to eat. When he's hungry, he'll eat. I promise.

Jess

Hi.

It's hard not to be frustrated by his lack of eating. But one of my friends told me this one... Children are not machines and they don't always want to eat. She also shared that they eat what they need. He might be nervous about eating stuff since he was teething. Have you tried asking him what he wants to eat and then making that.

I have 3.5 year old twins... and I find that when they don't want to eat... I don't "make" them eat the whole serving... I just require them to eat three bites (one for each year they are - something I read in a book about kids getting enough nutients) other times I ask them to eat one for me... one for their father and a few of their favorite people and that works sometimes.

GOOD LUCK...KEEP THE FAITH... HE'LL EAT...

My daughter did the same thing around that age too. She just turned 2 on April 28th. It's basically because at that age they aren't going thru as many growth spurts as they were, and they just don't require all that much food. My daughter used to eat anything I put in front of her. I literally could have put poopy on her plate and she would have eaten it! We would go out to a restaurant and she used to eat a whole grilled cheese and some fries or broccolli and now I'm lucky if I can get her to eat half her sandwich. Just try to keep stuff out for him all day. Little stuff like vegetable or fruit pieces, cereal, crackers. He'll end up picking at stuff all day and they always let you know when they're hungry. Good luck!

Don't fight him. If he doesn't want to eat what you are offering then put it away and offer him something else an hour or two later. He will not starve himself. He just wants to know that he has control sometimes. Just keep on offering him a variety of foods and eventually he will eat something. But don't stress over it because he will sense that and also feel distressed. Just calm offer it and/ or put it away when/if he refuses it. You may also want to offer him a buffet of things at one time, so he can choose. Like blueberries, strawberries, squares of cheese, gold fish crackers, cheerios, beans, pieces of meat, pasta, peas, summer squash, avocado. I suggest these things because that what my son, who is 18 months enjoys. Best wishes.

Don't worry! I have a 28 month old who won't eat much either! Just keep trying. Give new things, and don't get frustrated when you will most likely end up throwing half of it out!
Babies/kids will eat when they are hungry, and they say as long as they eat at least one good meal a day, they'll be ok. Just make sure he drinks his milk.

Hi E.:
My grand daughter is 17 months & she is just now starting that with me. I watch her during the day while my daughter works. The baby isn't interested in too much in one sitting all of a sudden.

I give her healthy foods and snacks. She loves Kashi cereal in the morning with blueberries. Most of the finger foods she enjoys very much. Loves fruit. I don't push her, I let her decide when she has enough. We have lots of outside time and after her nap, she wants to eat more than breakfast, which is nice.

Don't worry if he doesn't eat too much. He will eat when he is hungry. The Dr's will tell you the same thing. And don't forget, the do go thru growing spurts. When the spurts are in...they can't get enough food.

Good luck

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