16 answers

My Two Year Old Daughter Only Drinks Milk and Barely Eats.....

My daughter is two and a half yrs old. She barely eats any food. It doesn't matter what I make or buy or put in front of her. She will nibble at a couple of pieces of strawberries or grapes and some cheese. For the most part though, she drinks milk and juice. She still wakes up at least twice a night asking for milk. I have taken the milk away, but she will basically just wait till night time bc she knows she will get milk then. How can I get her to start filling her belly with actual food instead of milk all the time???

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

This is an article that I found to be very helpful. http://www.parentkidsright.com/pt-toddlerwonteat.html

1 mom found this helpful

It's hard to believe but: don't worry! My daughters barely ate anything when they were two, and I finally heeded the advice to just keep serving three (small but nutritious) meals a day and two healthy snacks a day... and eventually they got the hang of it. Serve milk with her little dinners. She only needs 1200 calories a day-- an easy number to reach. Now my tiny bird-eaters are active, hungry and 7 and 10 years old. They love eating and cooking and can put away three bowls of cereal before school!

More Answers

Hi M.,
First, I would take away the milk at night. By giving in at night you are only reenforcing her behavior. Calmly and firmly explain that there will be no more milk at night, no matter how much she cries. You can try explaining how terrible this is for her teeth and she is too big to need milk at night. Go cold turkey and be firm! Expect some crying for up to a week. At her age, she is more than able to understand what you are telling her and what is expected of her. If responding to her at night without milk makes it worse, don't respond at all. When you put her to bed, tell her you will NOT be coming back until it is time to get up.Then explain that she needs to eat her meals before she will get milk during the day. Try making her food bland, some kids have more sensitive taste buds than others. As the parent, you need to take control of this situation. As it is now, it sounds like your daughter is running the food show! Also, teaching her to go back to sleep on her own at night is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give her. If you have questions or need an ear, email me.

3 moms found this helpful

I also have a 2 1/2 year old daughter, and I know how stubborn she can be! I feel your pain! Mine always wants junk food. Last night we had brownies for dessert and she didn't eat dinner, so no brownies for her. After 5 attempts at throwing a fit (screaming, crying, throwing herself on the floor, sweetly asking Daddy and then proceeding to cry, etc) she finally went back to the table and ate her dinner. She knows (as your daughter does) just how to "work" the situation. As long as you don't give in, you should be able to change her habits. I read the "What to Expect" toddler's book, which suggested measuring out how much milk your kid needs in a day, then pouring from that container. Their advice was for making sure your child gets enough milk, but you could use it to limit her amount. Tell her when that special pitcher is empty, that's it. And I think, until she starts eating, limiting or eliminating juice all together would be a good idea. If there is a favorite food she has, you might try serving that on the first day of your "new life". I wish you luck and patience in abundance!


PS Makle sure her Daddy and caregivers also stick to the program!

2 moms found this helpful

Hi M.,
I'm not sure how much this will help, but my thoughts are about if you are concerned with her nutrition intake while you try to turn this situation around (with some of that other good advice you got already). When my son went through his refusal-to-eat stage, I used to make him very nutritious smoothies. He liked them, and I could feel like he had some decent nutrition. I would use all organic ingredients, and the secret was spirulina powder. It's a powder made from an algae that you can get at organic-type stores like Whole Foods. I don't remember the exact statistic, but something like one tablespoon of it has the same sort of green plant nutrition you'd find in a whole head of broccoli. The main ingredients for the smoothie were frozen strawberries and blueberries (the blueberries are super important, so the smoothie doesn't turn brown! It will be a pleasant purple), apple juice, yogurt, and sometimes protein powder. You could also throw in any other fruit or juice, or sometimes milk. It only takes a few minutes to make in the blender, and it was like a special breakfast thing. I would even freeze it into popsicles in the summer, and he loved it. So for this period of time while we worked with him to help him eat better, I knew he was getting a great blast of nutrition.
I hope that helps, and good luck!
Warmly, G.

1 mom found this helpful

This is an article that I found to be very helpful. http://www.parentkidsright.com/pt-toddlerwonteat.html

1 mom found this helpful

Wow you've gotten some great advice! I just wanted to chime in that I agree with Love that it is time to stop the night time feeds. Your daughter using them to manipulate. You say she will just wait because she knows she can have some milk at night. At this point you need to let her know she can no longer have milk at night. Besides the manipulation, she should be getting a full nights sleep at this age. Waking up at least twice a night is not good for her (or you, I imagine!).

Minta also made an excellent point to stay calm. Really this can't be overstated. Make your decision about how you are going to change this situation, then just do it calmly with the knowledge that you are doing what is best for your child. Stick with the plan for as long as it takes to work, and just keep it matter of fact when speaking with your daughter about it. She will see that you are serious, but that you are not flustered or bothered, just being the mom in charge. She may fight the new deal, but she won't starve. :o)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi M.,

When my daughter was that age she did the exact same thing and ended up constipated really bad that I had to call the doctor. I told them about only having milk and not much food. They only suggested inserting a suppository for that. When I actually spoke with the dr. he suggested diluting the milk with water and boy did she notice that. Before that, for her constipation, we added karol syrup for about a week and that helped, but she still only wanted milk until we started adding water. She would even catch us putting water in her milk and then we told her that she needs to eat more food and then we won't add water and she did it.

She also woke up in the middle of the night for milk. I got so tired of it, before she went to bed I told her that milk was ready in the fridge if she woke up, that way she doesn't have to wake me up. I know it was wrong, and I knew that milk at night was bad for their teeth. When we went to the dentist, he found 7 cavities, I told her no more milk at night from now on you have a cup before bed, during reading time or something and then brush and straight to bed. NOw I will put a water bottle next to her bed and she likes that. Now she is 7 and kind of stopped drinking milk as much because she no longer has her "milk cup". So now I'm forcing her to drink at least 1 cup a day. She does have some at school, but I know she is not finishing all of it. Hope this helps and good luck.


3 ideas:

1) Switch to a lower percentage fat milk. It won't be as filling and she might be interested in food.

2) Get her involved in more physical activity. Swimming will stimulate her appetite!

3) Put yummy healthy food on your plate and hold her in your lap as you eat. Don't encourage her, just show that you are enjoying the food. Try it for about a week, and she may start taking from your plate. If that works, she may be willing to eat from her own plate.

If she is healthy and has energy, then you don't need to be worried. It may just be that she doesn't need a lot of food and that you will just wear both of you out by forcing the issue.

Hi M.,

I would also get her to drink water. Good clean water that has been filtered. Too much juice is not good as it is linked to Diabetes 2.

My granddaughter was a picky eater and I added wholefood supplements to her applesauce and milk and juice to make sure she was receiving all the nutrients she needed.

If you are interested let me know and I will share with you.

Have a great day.

N. Marie

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