40 answers

Toddler's Too Skinny!

My daughter just had her 18 month checkup. Her doctor is concerned about her weight. She is 32 inches tall and only weighs 21 pounds. She has always been small like that. Anyway, her doctor wants us to give her more proteins and complex carbohydrates to help put meat on her bones. We operate on a fairly limited budget and I just can't afford to buy a ton of special food. Does anybody have any recommendations on what would be good things to feed her? I should mention that she's a pretty picky eater and doesn't have a lot of teeth (only 9 at last count). I can't get her to eat any vegetable except for peas and corn, which the doctor tells me are full of sugar.

Our schedule is: Wake up at 8:00, breakfast, nap at 11:00-2:00, lunch (2:30), dinner at 6:30, bed at 8:30. She never really seems hungry for a snack. She may take a few bites, but that's it. I know she needs a snack and she needs to eat more, I just have NO clue how to make that happen.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your advice. For those that suggested feeding her before nap, that's a no go. She won't eat if she's tired. Someone suggested shortening her nap, that's a no go too. She only has one nap and she desperately needs it or else she is a gian crab. We do all sit down to dinner together and she gets whatever we're eating. I have come to the realization that she's a healthy happy toddler and not to be so worried. She'll eat when she's hungry. I will add the Carnation Instant breakfast, so thank you to all of you who recommended that. I've also added cheese to her meals and snacktimes. Thanks to whomever mentioned the whole wheat crackers, I never thought of those! She eats cold cereal with whole grain, so we're good there. I'll just gradually add in a snack here and there and hope she beefs up some. Thanks again! :D

Featured Answers

A friend of mine had a similar problem with her son. Her doctor suggested she try Carnation instant breakfast once a day to add calories. As I recall it can be used as a meal replacement, and has lots of vitamins, calories, protein, etc. in it. I think she gave it to him before bed and the chocolate milk flavor of it was always a hit (and thought to be a special treat). You might also think about doing 4 smaller meals rather than 3 traditional ones, and feed her something small before her nap, and then something else again after. Maybe her stomach just can't hold that much at once?

Good Luck!

The nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic had us start adding Carnation Instant Breakfast to my son's whole milk. It adds 130 extra calories, plus vitamins. He's gained about 4 pounds in 3 months. He actually has chubby legs for the 1st time! He's 16 months old now.

Good luck,

Dear S.,
My daughter had always been thin and small but the Dr didn't seem to worry about it. She started to gain weight after 18 mon and had fat on her until 3 years old and now she is thin again at 16 yaers old.
Cheese is a good protein, but I would stay away from the processed kind. (American Cheese Squares etc..) That is always convenient and not that expensive. You could cut it up in cubes for her little fingers. L. J

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Hey, I know this is from a while ago, but just wanted to tell you that my neighbor girl is also really small. She's four now, but she probably still only weighs about 30 pounds. She's healthy though. Some kids are just smaller than others, I wouldn't worry much as long as she's eating and playing normally

The nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic had us start adding Carnation Instant Breakfast to my son's whole milk. It adds 130 extra calories, plus vitamins. He's gained about 4 pounds in 3 months. He actually has chubby legs for the 1st time! He's 16 months old now.

Good luck,

i'm in the same boat with my daughter. she's almost 10mo. old and weighs 15 lbs 6 oz. her doctor said she's in the 1th percentile, which is really good because 4 weeks earlier she was way below the scale. the only foods i can give her at the momment are jar foods because of her bowels(she get extremely constipated very easily), i give her a cereal bottle in the morning when she gets up, then she naps for about an hour, when she wakes i give her 4 oz. of pediasure mixed with 4 oz of formula in her sippy cup, at lunch i give her gerber vegitable chicken;turkey;or beef(160 cal.), then as much fruit as she'll eat usually 2 oz, then more formula, after her nap i give her another 4 oz of pediasure/formula in sippy cup, then supper i give her lasagna/spegetti in meat sauce & a jar of beechnut mixed fruit yogart(helps with her bowels) and more formula, before bedtime she gets another cereal bottle. we've wentthrough lots of testing and after her sleep study tests the results had shown that she wasn't falling into a deep enough sleep & she was trying to make up for it in the amount of hours she slept. he said babies do most of their growing while they sleep. she also has a tumor on her bottom and he thinks that has to do with her weight as well. she sees an oncologist tues. for a surgery date & a developmental specialist next month for additional help with her weight. if you want to talk email me anytime, i hope this helps in any way. goodluck & God bless.

Part of the reason our toddler is so skinny is because she's SOOOOOO active running around all the time!

Peas and Corn have a lot of starch in them, so I'm confused why the dr. wasn't real keen on it if wanting the your toddler to have more carb's. Yes, sugar, but at least the corn has fiber too. Oh well.

Our toddler is quite picky as well. She'll eat chicken nuggets (we get the tyson kind and put them in the toaster oven), pizza, we still get her the cereal in the jars because it's ocnvenient, and she can "do it herself" pretty easily. She also has started liking cheese. Yogurt is good (make sure it has a logo with LAC (for Live and Active Cultures))- and you can buy a big tub of it and just portion it out.

Gerber has a "Apple and CHicken" dinner type thing that we recently tried with her, and she liked it. If we get it again, I'm going to add cereal to it to thicken it up some.

She's also had chicken from a barbeque place and liked that.

Pop-tarts - she likes those too. Mac and Cheese.

Just a few thoughts.

My son is very thin too. Our doctor told us to put Carnation Instant Breakfast in his milk twice a day. I use about two tablespoons or so. It’s not too bad cost wise. We have gotten the large box of 20 packets at Sam’s Club for around $7. Then I use 1/3 to ½ of a packet in his milk each day. So with each packet adding a few calories and lasting 2-3 days. It’s not bad. I also haven’t had any trouble with him wanting his “flavored” milk more than once a day. We ALWAYS do it at the same meal and explain this is when we have it.

My daughter is thin, very active, and I'm thin too.

These are her favorite proteins and complex carbs:
Refried beans spread onto wholegrain bread,
smoothies with whole milk yogurt, frozen banana, fruit
mac and cheese
nutbutters on wholegrain bread (sunflower butter esp.)
edamame (soybeans, frozen)

beans are good-- my kids like quesadillas with beans.

my kids are skinny too. we don't stress about it, they are healthy and they are growing... they eat when they are hungry... we have very skinny genes in our family so i think it's just the way we are.

you know my daughter who is 2 1/2 went through this whole not wanting to eat anything faze as well so i made one night for dinner just some biscuits and she loved them she ate 2 plain nothing on them and i know that with the biscuits they are full of tons of carbs...because a lot of times kids dont eat things with any flavor well that is my experience well the biscuits was perfect because they were plain jane so you might want to try to get her a biscuit as a snack or include it into dinner
well good luck

For her age, height, and weight, I don't think she is far out of line at all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My daughter at 18 months was 23# and still is. Now at age 2 she is 34" tall and still only 23#.
As long as she seems proportioned ok, and eats fairly well, dont' worry about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I wouldn't be pushing complex carbs or anything like that. Just eat your normal healthy way and she will be fine.

Has your dr ever reccommeded Pedia Sure? It is a bit pricey, however, it is full of calories. A lot of kids who need to gain weight at a small age drink it. I would talk to the dr first to make sure he/she is okay with that.
Good Luck

Hi S.,
I know you are trying your best to take good care of
your daughter by following your dr's advice, but what he may
not be thinking about is that every child is different and
some are just not going to get very big. When my daughter was born she weighed 4lb 13oz 18 1/2" long. one dr that she had
kept saying she wasn't gaining weight like he thought she
should, her ped dr told me that since I was small and her dad
was small, as he put it, she just was not going to set the
world on fire with her weight, that she was doing fine, and
not to worry about it. So I stopped worrying. Your daughter's body will know when she needs to eat and when not
to. I know people say we should force our children to eat
but if they are not hungry, is it really worth the fight trying to get them to eat if they don't want to. For protein
peanut butter is good for that.
Back to my daughter for a moment until she turned 10
she was on her own growth scale, so she was growing, but
she was on her own scale and no one elses.
I wouldn't worry about your daughter to much, nature
has a way of taking care of things that we have no control
Remember the saying you can lead a horse to water,but
you can't make him drink, sometimes this goes for us
humans also. I know that you as a mother really care
about your daughter and that you only want the best for her,
so if you pray, ask God to help you do the right thing.
I'll be praying for you.


Sounds similar to our little girl. She is going to be five in February and is 32lbs on a good day. She now eats pretty well, she is just very lean/thin. For a bit our peditrician had us try the Pediasure, which was not easy to get her to drink, she hated that stuff. Now, our pediatrician is fine with her size as long as she continues to grow on her own curve, which she has. Her appetite has improved alot, she loves salads and steaks, Italian and Mexican foods. She would be happy to have a salad everyday! Best of luck to you and your little one!

Hi Shaun,
My daughter's a little one too. At her 18 month appointment she weight 23.8 and was 33 inches. She had just gained 4 oz since her 15 month appointment. The doctor told me she was just going to be tall and skinny and not to worry. She told me to give her Carnation instant breakfast milk once or twice a day to add calories to her diet.

Does your daughter like mashed potatoes? That is how i get her to eat other veggies. I will mix them with the mashed potatoes. I also give her peanut butter and jelly sandwiches which she loves. Good luck to you. A picky eater can be frustrating.

I was wondering about the schedule...you note that lunch is at 2:30. That is a 6 hr. time gap between eating...that is a long time for a little one, especially right after a full nights rest without food. Could you try to squeeze lunch time in before you set her down for a nap? Maybe just a few nibbles of something; peanut butter on bread cut into cubes, fruit, chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, or plain noodles...then when she wakes up from nap, she will have had time to digest the lunch and possibly be ready for a healthy snack. Let her graze through out the day, too. Even if she just eats a liitle here and a little there. At least she is getting something!

My daughter, too, is a bean pole! I just let her graze!

I had the same problem when my 2 year old was 18 months. She was not even on the chart for weight. I found the pediasure drinks, one a day, mixed in with her milk helped. It took some time for her to get used to the taste but she grew to love it. Also, any yogurt or yogurt drink. My daughter likes Dora/Diego brand. I have also found the snack bars, NutriPals are good as well. My doctor told me milkshakes are good at gaining weight as well.

My 28 month old son is like your daughter. He's 23 lbs. and 31 inches tall. He's on 3 pediasure's a day. Now we can't afford it, but we qualify for WIC and WIC pays for every bit of it. So you may want to run that idea past your pediatrician. They'll have to write a script for it, to give to WIC, if you qualify. It adds an extra 300 calories, per bottle, and ample protein, along with what he eats during the day.

Hi Shaun.

I’m confused as to why the doctor is protesting giving your daughter peas and corn if he wants her to eat more complex carbohydrates. There are two types of carbohydrates. They are simple carbohydrates (sugars) and complex carbohydrates (starches.) Each of the two types of carbohydrates can further be divided into two forms, natural and refined. Peas and corn are both natural starches.

When the body digests food, all carbohydrates are converted into glucose, a type of sugar that the body can use as energy. Natural carbohydrates provide the longest source of energy because the glucose is released into the bloodstream slowly. Vitamin, mineral and fiber retention is also better with natural carbohydrates. Fresh fruits and fruit juices are examples of natural sugars (simple carbs). Some good sources for natural starches (complex carbs) include the following: whole-grain breakfast cereals, whole-wheat bread, brown rice, potatoes, oatmeal, barley, lentils, bananas, peas, corn, beans, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash, and root vegetables.

Proteins are building blocks for the body and aid in growth. Complete proteins are found in meat, poultry, and fish. Beans, eggs, nuts (generally not to be given to children under the age of 6, but if there isn’t any allergy creamy peanut butter is a good source), and tofu are also good sources of protein. If your daughter is picky about eating meat, the body is capable of making complete proteins by combining certain types of foods. This is how vegetarians get enough protein. Non-animal forms of protein are divided into 4 categories, dairy, nuts and seeds, pulses (peas, beans, lentils, and soy products), and grains. Some examples of combining proteins:

1. *Peanut butter sandwiches (using whole wheat bread is best) *only serve peanut butter if you know that your child doesn’t have a peanut allergy. Then, only serve the creamy variety of peanut butter. I’ve heard that nuts are usually not advised until after age 6.
2. Beans on rice (any kind of bean would work, black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans just to name a few)
3. Pea soup with toast
4.Cheese and Rice
5. Tofu and green peas (I pureed the peas and mixed with pieces of tofu. My son loves it!)
6. Pasta and cheese
7. Beans and vegetables
8. Tofu with fruit puree
9. Oatmeal and green peas
10. Yogurt and Oatmeal
11. Barley Cereal with milk
12. Cheese on rolled bread

I can certainly understand having to stick to a tight budget. Food is so expensive these days. I hope you can find some good ideas that will fit in with what you normally buy. Good luck! -D.

My son has been 0.5 percentile for months now. He just had his 15 month check up, and he actually made it to 0.8 percentile now. By the way, 0.8 percentile isn't even on one of the curves on the chart. He was average when born...7 lbs. 5 oz. He is just a little thing now. At 15 months he weighs 18 lbs. 15 oz. Ever since he was put on table food, his doctor has been telling me to put butter, yes butter, on EVERYTHING. The butter helps give him the extra calories he needs. Also, in his whole milk, he told me to mix in some Carnation Instant Breakfast. My son loves it!!! Also, you may want to try to give a before bedtime snack. My son, because we are trying to put on the pounds, has ice cream for his before bedtime snack. I know you said that you are on a tight budget, but butter, Carnation Instant Breakfast, and icecream are all pretty reasonable items to buy. Hope this helps!

We have the same problem with our daughter. She is now 4, but is still tall and thin. We increased her calories without her necessarily knowing that we did. Try adding a Tbl. whipping cream, powdered milk, butter, or wheat germ to the things she already eats. We just mixed them right in. That alone will add 25-50 more calories. Does she like cheese? Cheese is 100 calories per ounce. Peanut butter has 100 calories per tablespoon. Some other calorie boosters are egg yolks and avocados. If a doctor writes you a script you could possibly get your insurance to cover nutritional supplements like Pedia Sure. A nurse once told me to try the adult drinks though because they provide more calories. We just leaned towards boosting the calories which did help. Beware though that her bowel movements might change a little at first because you are adding fat that her body isn't used to. Hope this helps. Good luck!


Try using one of those straw sippy cups instead....kids drink more milk that way (are you using whole milk?).

Also, my DD loves turkey sausage. You can buy it in the box, already cooked....we give it to her cold.

Also, try some high calorie yogurt too. Have you tried things like muffins? Maybe some blueberry ones.

Just a thought. Best of luck. I have a skinny/picky eater too! :)


Hello S., I wouldn't worry about her weight if she is not sickly. She is probably getting a lot of exercise which keeps her weight down. My kids were all chunky and the Dr's growled because they were to fat. If she were fat the Dr would say cut her back on her food. Enjoy every second with her and don't worry if she is 'skinny'. Good luck and God Bless your family. K.

I feel for you. My daughter has been skinny since birth (5lbs 15oz 18in)! I come from a family where all the babies resemble the "Michelin Tire Man" with all the loveable baby fat. My gramma constantly told me how "tiny" my baby was. It took me a while to feel comfortable with the fact that my dtr. just got some good skinny genes. I felt like people must think I am doing something wrong that my dtr. never had baby fat. She too was 32in and 20lb 15oz at her 18 mo. appt. and only had 6 teeth - two bottom and four top. Her pediatrician, however, has NEVER made me feel self conscious for her weight. He is always encouraging and tells me he is not worried because although her growth seems minimal, it has been steady.
He also encouraged me to not give in to her picky-ness. She generally eats a good breakfast (cream of wheat with smashed banana, regular cold cereal, eggs with lots of cheese (you can sneak extra protien in here with cottage cheese and regular cheese) whole wheat pancakes with no syrup but lots of real unsalted butter) and I give her whatever she wants for lunch (grilled chz on wheat bread, spaghetios, potato soup, meatballs, you know, kid food). For dinner,at the advice of her doctor, I give her what I prepare for my husband and I. Sometimes she doesn't eat a good dinner, but I reassure myself that she will make up for it at another time. She also drinks about 15-20oz of whole milk a day and I do give her watered down juice in the afternoons.
I have heard and read that with toddlers you don't really look at their daily intake, but rather their intake over several days.
For snacks I look for things like peanut butter crackers (a little more protien) and fruit. My little lady is not a fan of veggies either, so she gets lots of in season fresh fruit (this can be strenuos on the budget, but she is worth this one) and we just continue to put veggies on her plate at dinner time.
Another comment, do you and your husband have the opportunity to eat all together as a family? My husband was out of town for about a year and now that he is home, we make a point of eating together every night and that has made a great difference in the way my dtr eats. There have been many times I thought she would never try a certain food, but once she sees us eat it she wants to at least try it. She has become hooked on salmon of all things this way!
I hope you find some peace with this. It took me a while, but I am learning to trust that my daughter is not going to let herself go hungry and some kids are just petite.

My daughter is 21 months and the exact same height and weight!! My daughter drinks pediasure (actually the generic from Wal-mart). Our pediatrician told us to "butter her bread" so to speak. Everything she eats, put butter on it to get her extra calories. My daughter is very picky also and she is just too busy to eat. She doesn't like to sit in her booster seat at the table. She will eat a bite or two and want down to go play. We are in the process of trying to get our insurance to pay for the pediasure b/c it is a nutritional supplement. Good Luck!


She is not too skinny! My 5 year old weighs 34 pounds! At 1 yr she was 15 pounds, 2 yrs 18 pounds, 3yrs, 24 pounds 4 yrs 29 pounds, and at 5 she is 34 pounds. I have always had to buy her the adjustable waist band and now that she is older I buy her 5 slim and adjustable waist. She is perfectly healthy. There are absolutely no health concerns. As long as your daughter is gaining on her own curve she is fine. I am a former pediatric nurse and this is what I would tell the parents. The one concern that Dr.s have is that if a child has a problem gaining weight it may be linked to a heart problem, that is it. Don't let them pressure you into putting her on a special diet. Bananas, potatos, and milkshakes, and/or pediasure will all add some extra calories. Try to relax and breathe, you are doing a good job and your daughter is fine!

This probably won't help too much. But I would probably get a new doctor. Unless you and your daughter Really like him/her. Everyone is different. I had a similar thing going on with my now 7 year old daughter. Her original doctor wanted me to beaf her up with cows milk. But one day when that doctor was gone we saw another and he just said that she would be short and petite. There is nothing wrong with that.

Dear S.,
My daughter had always been thin and small but the Dr didn't seem to worry about it. She started to gain weight after 18 mon and had fat on her until 3 years old and now she is thin again at 16 yaers old.
Cheese is a good protein, but I would stay away from the processed kind. (American Cheese Squares etc..) That is always convenient and not that expensive. You could cut it up in cubes for her little fingers. L. J

Peanut butter!:) pb & jelly, pb & crackers, pb & celery, pb & apples etc. It is a great source of protein and will not only make a inexpensive breakfast but will help her gain wait, stay calm, and kids love it! Our doctor says even if a kid wants to eat it by itself that is perfectly fine for a meal. Not that you should let her it a jar a day, but first thing in the morning should be the best time to get her to really eat. Good luck! :)

S. - step mom of 2; mom of 2 1/2 y/o & 1 on the way!

I must let you know first of all that my son is not a picky eater, so I can only hope my tips help!
Your Dr. recommended more proteins and complex carbs? thats not nearly as hard as it seems, we too are on a very tight budget so I can understand worrying about having to buy anything special. You said she has 9 teeth which means that nuts are out, but you could try giving her peanut butter. Foods that are high in protein that are easy to eat ... beans (except green beans), cheeses, dairy foods, eggs, mushrooms and meats (particularly red meats, though they are harder to digest). Beans are also loaded with complex carbs and are extremely cheap if you buy the dried ones. Do you have a baby food mill? If she is unwilling to eat her veggies you could grind them up and mix them with something like mashed potatoes. Broccoli, spinach and asparagus are great for that, so are carrots. Do you steam your vegetables instead of boiling them? My son wouldn't touch salad until I took a tip from the lady at the homemakers extension, now I give him a leaf of Romaine with a bit of cream cheese spread on it with a bit of other vegetables (such as carrots or sweet pepper) finely chopped and pressed into the cream cheese. Make sure with your vegetables you go for fresh and dark/bright colours. You know the rule they always give, the more colour the better! Whole grains are really good too, have you tried getting whole wheat crackers for her to eat? Something my mom used to make to get my little sister to eat was 'Apple pizza' Use a whole wheat pie crust (or if you're in a hurry, its a bit more expense, but a whole grain tortilla works great) spread lightly with butter and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon sugar place sliced apples on and cover (like a pizza, so don't go nuts) with cheddar cheese. I wish you well!

I assume you live in the Akron area? If your daughter's physician has diagnosed her with "failure to thrive," you would probably qualify for Pediasure from Mobile Meals (they serve Summit and Portage Counties. They bring the supplements to you at little or reduced cost - the grocery store is way too expensive. They also have lots of other nutritional supplements that are designed for low-weight children.

If you don't have that diagnosis, I would talk to the physician and ask them. A prescription from them is all you need.

Good Luck

S., I can relate to your situation. We were in the same with our then 15 month old daughter, where she wasn't gaining weight. We were told to give our daughter Pediasure, cheese, and higher fat content food. Well, the Pediasure was too expensive, so I asked for an alternative. Our doctor told us that Carnation Instant Breakfast was good substitute and doesn't cost near as much. So try that. It comes in powder form, and you mix it in with milk. Make sure that you're using whole milk, full-fat cheese, and no low-fat products in your daughters diet.

Oh, and just so you know that this does work, our daughter is now 11 and in the 50th percentile for her weight!

i have 18 m/o twins and the older one has always been smaller about 30 percentile. here's what i'm doing to bulk her up, it's to me the easiest and cheapest: always keep potatoes on hand. i use whole potatoes not instant flakes. peel, dice, boil, add butter or margarine, she loves picking up the little bites. or always keep some mashed in the fridge add some to every thing she eats like pureed fruits or veg, anything and everything. also, continually try to give her new things, they say a child may refuse a new food more than a dozen times before they get used to it. the potatoes are helping her gain, + my sister and my husband are both nurses (geratric care) and said that this is also something they do for their residents when they need a quick weight gain.

My son was the same size at her age. He's almost 4 and weighs 31 lbs. He's extremely intelligent, active and NORMAL!!! Who cares if they are in the "normal" range for their weight and height? As long as everything else is on track and she's not malnourished, there's nothing to worry about. She'll eat when she's hungry just like everyone else in this world. Why force feed her because she's a little skinny? The way our kids look physically is based on what we look like. My son's father and I are both thin and tall and that's what I expect my son to look too. Just quit worrying about what she eats and enjoy your blessing!

OK this might sound wierd, but my son loves this. He doesn't like to eat meat (texture thing I'm sure) but he loves noodles. So I bought those wagon wheel noodle (because they look like food can get stuck in the spokes. Then I fried up some ground chicken. Boiled some broccoli. Pureed those 2 things together and actually cooked the noodles in the pureed meat and veggies. And a little velveeta at the end and you have filling protien packed yummy cheesy noodley dish. He LOVES them. I even add a little chicken bouillon in it to add a little more flavor. I dunno. I had to get creative but he loves rice and noodle so I just cook everything into those. When you actually boil the noodles into anything all the starches get released from the noodles into the puree which makes it stick to the noodles really good. Good luck.

Toddlers are grazers. They like to eat a few bites here and there throughout the day. Allow her to eat any time she wants. You could save an old egg carton and fill each cup with something different, including the vegetables she doesn't yet like. Steam the hard ones to make sure she can chew them. My kids love tofu too, which is packed with protein. Foods need to be offered at least 9 or 10 times for some kids to try them. If you keep offering , she'll get the idea that they are "normal" to eat and that they aren't going away. Also try dips--cottage cheese blended in the blender to make it smooth; plain yogurt; my son loves peanut butter dip--peanut butter with yogurt to thin it out a little and a dab of honey to sweeten the yogurt.

There are probably many more recipes online too.

Hope this helps.

I guess I'm surprised that she sleeps 12 hours and is ready for a nap at 11. My second son is 20 months and he has been napping from 1:30-3:30 4 for over a year now. He sleeps 8-8, breakfast, lunch at 12 then his nap, small snack is he wakes up fussy, dinner at 5, bath and bed at 8. If your daughter eats at 2:30 and dinner at 6:30 she probably isn't that hungry. If she isn't expending a lot of calories (and she wouldn't be if she is sleeping so much) she won't be that hungry. My recommendation would be to let her stay up longer and push her nap back to get her outside playing more...maybe she would work up an appetite. Running around in the sprinkler makes my kids hungry. I have found that even if my kids don't want to eat a particular food you have to keep trying and not just write it off. Experts say you have to expose a child to a food 10-20 times before they will accept it sometimes...I would put a small amount of corn on her plate and another vegetable that she needs to take a least one bite of. If you do this consistently she will eat it. As far as a limited budget/dietary concerns, complex carbohydrates can be some of the least expensive things to buy. Pasta, macaroni, spaghetti, brown rice, potatoes, root vegetables, whole grain breads, bagels, whole grain cereals, high fiber breakfast cereals, shredded wheat, beans, etc. I don't know where you live but you can find bread outlets and get great deals. I happened to be by the Schwebel's outlet on Tussing road last week and got whole grain bread for 88 cents a loaf. It's a lot of work but the fact that you are making the effort is great. Good luck!

my daughter is 19 months and tall she is a lil over 20 pounds too and is a pickey eater she wasnt always thin she was chunky until she started walking but i give her whatever we eat and pediasure you can find it at wal mart in the formula section i get the wal mart brand its cheaper but it makes sure they get the nutrition they need and its flavored like straberry choc or vanilla you should give it a try.

I don't think she's hungry inbetween lunch and supper, it's only 4 hours. Shorten her nap by an hour and feed her lunch earlier. 3 hours is quite a nap. Chicken is a great protein and cheaper than hamburger. Beans are full of protein and dirt cheap. Peanut butter is great for protein and calories. Also, buy a block of cheese and cut it into the number of oz it is. (8 oz...8 pieces) That way you can add a quick 100 cals to her diet as a snack or on her plate. Whole wheat pastas are available now and similar in price to the bleached out white pastas that are no good for you. What about protein powder in her drinks? (might ask the dr)

Good luck, I too have a skinny kid (2 yrs old and 25lbs) Dr says let him eat anything and anytime he wants, and try to get him to drink Pedisure. It's expensive and he's so picky, I'm sure he will not like it. I'm gonna buy an offbrand and see.

A friend of mine had a similar problem with her son. Her doctor suggested she try Carnation instant breakfast once a day to add calories. As I recall it can be used as a meal replacement, and has lots of vitamins, calories, protein, etc. in it. I think she gave it to him before bed and the chocolate milk flavor of it was always a hit (and thought to be a special treat). You might also think about doing 4 smaller meals rather than 3 traditional ones, and feed her something small before her nap, and then something else again after. Maybe her stomach just can't hold that much at once?

Good Luck!

At my daughter 18mt check up she was 33 ins and weighted 22 lbs. The dr said she was fine. Not to worry about her weight or size. Actually she was in the 50th percent tile. As long as she is eating dont worry. Good luck

Mom of a 19mth old baby girl

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