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

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