J.W. asks from Lynn Haven, FL on April 17, 2008
Toddler Always Wants to Eat
I have a 21 month old daughter that loves to eat. She has been this way since birth. She was 3 weeks early and only weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces but she quickly put on the weight. At 21 months, she now weighs 30 pounds! She is constantly asking to eat even 10 minutes after her last meal. At mealtimes, she eats more than I do and asks for more. We try to redirect her and tell her that it isn't time to eat and that we are going to color or go outside or do something else. She doesn't get upset when we tell her it isn't time to eat but she continues to ask! I don’t know why she continues to ask because we eat at roughly the same time each day and she always eats 3 meals and 2 snacks. It isn’t like we give into her when she asks. We don't know what to do at this point because she is definitely not underfed and we don't see how she can be hungry continuously all day. Her father has always been trim and I am a little on the small side and we are an active family so this isn't genetic or an environment issue and we worry about her being overweight and her obsession with food. Her dr. says that she is in the 95% percentile and not technically overweight but that we should keep a watch on it. We are just baffled by this because all of our friends seem to have kids that they have to force to eat. We don't know if something may be wrong with her or if she just really likes to eat and has a big appetite. She is completely normal in every other way – she is very active and loves to play, especially outside. She is just a really big eater and is constantly asking us for something to eat. Just wondering if anyone has gone through this and what you did?
So What Happened?™
Thanks for all the responses! I did want to point out that she always asks for specific things like cheese, fruit, a cookie, chips, crackers, yogurt, cherrios, waffles - you get the point. And sometimes when I tell her no to the first item - she will go through a whole list of foods. I have tried giving her green beans or carrots instead of what she asks for (she never asks for veggie's) but she will not eat them and tells me she wants down from the table so that tells me that she isn't really hungry. Although, she will eat veggie's at mealtime. We also have to still cut all of her food into very small pieces because she shoves food into her mouth and will not take bites so she was constantly choking. It seems like she just really likes to eat. She drinks about 15 - 18 oz. of milk a day and 4 - 6 oz. of juice. Everything else is water. And she is healthy and eats a very balanced diet. I will try some of the advice I received and hopefully see a change! The only other thing I can think may be going on is that her dad is very tall (6'5") and has always been very slim and eats a lot. He has a very fast metabolism. Maybe she has inherited that and her body is burning off the food and she really does feel a little hungry through out the day.
S.S. answers from Jacksonville on April 18, 2008
To make you feel a little better, I have a 13 month old who weighs almost 30 lbs! She also loves to eat. She hasn't had baby food since she was 8 months old and barely has any teeth! My son is almost 3 and I have to force him to eat so I am in the same boat as you. If you find any answers to this, let me know. :-) Thanks!
M.H. answers from Fort Walton Beach on April 17, 2008
Your little one has either gotten into a habit or there is a nutritional deficiency she is trying to satisfy. I can't help you with a habit but I do have suggestions for the other.
Has you seen any signs of Candida? In little ones it's known as thrush (visible on the tongue as a white coating) and it is simply a yeast infection. Yeast is a VERY common problem in our society today, in men, women and children, because of all the sugars in our diet. Not just processed sugars but white potatoes, breads and fruits. If there is a yeast issue, it is causing continual cravings. (Sugar feeds yeast just like you add sugar to a bread starter to keep it alive) Once yeast is visible on the tongue or their bottom as a diaper rash in a little one, or you know where in a woman, the entire body is already eaten up with it and it needs to be removed. Simple yeast creams just handle the outward symptoms and not the inward ones. It is possible to have yeast without any visible signs.
I use a product called Florify for my kids and myself if we have an issue. It is a probiotic/prebiotic and contains acidophilus. Acidophilus in yogurt is good because it somewhat neutralizes the yeast in the yogurt; however, there is not enough in yogurt to take care of an existing problem.
You may also want a to get a good, ABSORBABLE, chewable multivitamin also. As she gets the vitamins and minerals she needs, it will "snuff out" the cravings for other stuff.
I hope I helped some. If you would like more specific information, please let me know. I would love to help.
1 mom found this helpful
M.E. answers from Jacksonville on April 18, 2008
Is she drinking milk and getting enough of it? I realize that alot of doctors say that milk isn't important but after talking w/ my doctor who just gave me a bone density test at age 56, it is. Milk helps fill them up and the calcium and protein in milk gives nourishment, therefore a full feeling. Then you might want to look at the types of food. If when she wants more food she has something with just a little bit of salt or sweetener in it, that enhances the appetite. If when she's hungry still you give her veggies than she probably is hungry and needing it. I realize that this sounds a little picky but I found it makes things easier, plus your child will stay healthy.
A.R. answers from Jacksonville on April 19, 2008
Most children take spells on eating. Your child is not satisfied with a taste or just something she is needing in her system. Try vitamins. Shaklee has a wonderful childrens vitamin and its all natural. I keep honeynut cheerios and goldfish for my greatgranddaughter and if she feels a little hungry that seems to help, but she gets irritable when hungry and I feed her. It doesn't take much to satisfy her. Try the vitamins and keep a small snack around to help her. Balanced diet is great but sometimes there is something the body needs to satisfy it.
A.M. answers from Daytona Beach on April 18, 2008
My son was born 2 weeks late but has always been a good eater. He eats 3 meals a day plus 4-5 snacks a day. At the table he can sometimes rival the same portion I'm eating.
My best advice is to let her eat HEALTHY snacks. There are times that my son will tell me he is hungry, if I hand him a snack bag of something healthy he may tell me he doesn't want that. I explain that if he is hungry he will eat the snack I'm providing otherwise he can wait.
People who have the best metabolism are those who constantly eat. The more often you eat the better your metabolism is. So, I wouldn't worry about how often she is eating instead focus on what she is eating and see how healthy you can make her snacks and meals. In addition, fruits and veggies have more protein in them which is also what makes you feel more full so don't be suprised if in a few weeks you see her appetite go down.
Kids also go through growth spurts which can have an effect on their appetite ~ For most kids I know they get hungrier. My son's appetite deminishes and he needs more sleep.
T.J. answers from Jacksonville on April 18, 2008
My son is the same way. He's 27 mths and weighs 36 lbs. He was also born early (5 weeks) and was only 6 lbs. He was almost 9 lbs by 6 weeks and has been gain weight since. He eats all the time and is active. Sometimes I wounder where he gets all the engery and even ask him if I can have some. In the past couple of months he's been thining out a bit. He's always had a budda belly. So I'm sure your daughter will do the same. I wouldn't worry yourself to much. Just be gratefully that she's not a picky eater. My step-daughter is that way and it's so hard to get her to eat. My son and daughter are about the same hieght and wieght and their 2 years apart. Just keep up what your doing and things will be fine.
T.Q. answers from Orlando on April 17, 2008
My little boy was the same way at that age. He always wanted to eat. But he was constantly growing. He has always been off the charts, but at a proportionate rate. Basically, he's 2 and a half and he's the size of a three and a half year old. He is by no means fat and he is incredibly active. At 21 months we were a little concerned because he would eat more than me at meals and still want to eat all the time. We offered him healthier choices and absolutely no processed foods or major sugars. Long story short, he eventually evened out. It was just a growth spurt. He needed that food because his body was growing in leaps and bounds. Now sometimes we have to beg him to take a bite of his dinner. And otehr days he's ravenous. We just let his body tell him what it needs and continue to provide teh right kinds of nutrition for him.
C.A. answers from Jacksonville on April 18, 2008
I have a 6 and 3 year old that are the same way! I have been told that because we eat and live healthy, our kid's digestive systems are working at peek performance and don't struggle with issues that children who are eating and living unhealthy run into.
It's been said that before there were grocery stores and such planned daily schedules in society, food was eaten when it was found. Now, food is so readily available, it's way too easy to overeat! To me, it seems as though what you stated, "It isn’t like we give into her when she asks." is one of the keys. Good going. Keep up the great work in redirecting her and match your determination with hers!
I'd like to add that many of the situations that I know, when one has to 'force-feed' a child, he/she has been enabled to be a picky eater. It can be a battleground or be used by the kid to manipulate the parent/s. When my children ask for more I just say, "Yes you may, at the next meal/next snack time"
I also try to keep in mind, by observing and knowing the general growth charts, when my kids are have growth spurts. I always allow for more during these times. There are so many differing views out there, but I hope that something I may have said could be of some help!
R.C. answers from Orlando on April 17, 2008
"Prader-Willi Syndrome is a rare, hereditary condition where the sufferer has an uncontrollable urge to eat. A 3 year old was diagnosed with the disease after initially being misdiagnosed with cerebral palsy due to poor muscle tone, however after the age of 2 she began to eat excessively and became obese. "
have her tested for illness, deficiencies etc.