22 answers

Very Thirsty Toddler

My 2 year old asks for drinks ALL day long, starting immediately when she gets up until she's getting into bed at night. When I mentioned this to the ped., she had her do a glucose tolerance test, but it came back normal. So, I'm wondering if she's actually really thirsty? or is it a habit? for comfort? When I give her a drink, she sucks the whole thing down very quickly. The problem is, she mainly wants juice and it's very difficult to get her to drink plain water. I mostly give her water with a splash of juice for color and flavor, and she gulps it all down, but now I keep hearing about "NO JUICE", and I'm worried. She also likes milk, but I don't want to overdo that either. The other problem is that she is TINY, I can't keep pants up around her little bitty waist. I think all of the drinking decreases her appetite. She used to be a good eater but is now picky and says "I can't" when I tell her to eat. So, should there be a "liquid limit" for the day? How much juice? milk? Is OJ part of the "No Juice" campaign? Both of my girls drink OJ every morning (diluted for the toddler). Any other suggestions for making water more appealing to her?

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for the great advice!!! I have gotten her to eat a better breakfast and lunch today by not giving her a drink until she was almost finished eating. I think part of her drinking is a habit, and part of it is actually hunger, so I am going to offer food first before drinks. I LOVED the suggestions on flavoring water with fruit slices. I tried orange slices today, and she wasn't a huge fan, but we'll keep working on it. I also plan to start a "drink schedule", so we know exactly what she gets and when (like only milk with certain meals, ect.) Thanks again, you all gave me a lot to think about!

Featured Answers

A juice alternative is to put a wedge or slice of lemon, lime, or orange in water. Or let her pick out a special cup that she only gets to use if it's filled with water. My 3 y/o son won't drink water unless there's ice in it.

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I would definitely limit her liquid intake. Especially when it's meal time. Give her half a glass of milk or diluted juice. And when she askes for more, tell her once she eats half of her food, she can have the other half of her drink. My niece does the same thing. If it were up to her, she would drink all of her meals. And then if she tells me she's thirsty when she's eating and she already drank her half of cup, I will give her water. If she's really thirsty, she'll drink that. But she never does. She's just trying to get more juice and/or milk.

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Yes, the drinking deceases her appetite, especially if given before a meal. The way to solve the juice problem, is to not buy it anymore. It really is just junk anyways. I say this because if it isn't in the house, she will give up the fight for it and you can maintain a better drinking pattern.

Maybe the water has a metallic taste for her. Use a purifier if you must, or ice. My kids only like water if it is cold from a pitcher in the fridge or has ice in it.

OJ is okay, so long as it isn't the sugary stuff like Sunny Delight. Milk would be a much healthier option. Whole milk is best for her size, then as she grows, then go to 2%.

During meal time for my boys, I can't give them drinks with their food, because they will just drink the whole thing and beg for more without touching the food. So, I bring their cups out towards the middle of the meal once they have established that they are going to eat.

When went through tons of milk as kids. My parents limited what we drank... only 2 gallons a week and that was it because we could drink an entire gallon a day.

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Hi J. -- I've been going through something similar with my son and I can't figure out what exactly is going on. So I've started buying fruit that has a higher water content than others. My kids eat fresh fruit at the three main meals and I've been giving them watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew instead of our usual bananas, apples & pears. These water-packed fruits really seem to be helping his thirst issues. Good luck.

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first yes, OJ is a juice and is counted in the total 4 oz a child that age should have maximum in a day.
second - max milk per day for her age is 16 to 20 oz.

third - my older daughter was failure to thrive. She had no appetite, no hunger mechanism. So, I took all the things you do to diet and reversed them - one of those things is to drink water as it "fills" you up so you aren't hungry. So I limited her liquids because of that reason. I made every bite and every sip count.

I have a Picky Eater Plan that should help you out. I have a feeling that she is drinking out of habit, I have had kids do that in my daycare. Since you already tested for diabetes you know it's not that... so ... try the picky eater plan

There is a great book by William G Wilkoff, MD called Coping with a Picky Eater that every parent or provider of kids should read and have a copy of. http://www.amazon.com/Coping-Picky-Eater-Perplexed-Parent...

This book has what I call the Picky Eater Plan. I have used this plan with kids that literally threw up at the sight of food and within 2 weeks they were eating normal amounts of everything and trying every food.

First you need to get everyone who deals with the child on board. If you are a provider it's ok to make this the rule at your house and not have the parents follow through but you wont' see as good results as what I described up above.

The plan is to limit the quantities of food you give the kid. When I first start with a child I give them literally ONE bite worth of each food I am serving. The book suggests that every time you feed the kids (breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner) you give all 4 food groups. So, for lunch today I would have given the child one tiny piece of strawberry, one spoonful of applesauce, 3 macaroni noodles with cheese on them, and 2 oz of milk. Only after they ate ALL of what was on their plate would you give them anything else. They can have the same amounts for seconds. If they only want more mac and cheese, they only get 3 noodles then they would have to have more of all the other foods in order to get more than that. If they don't eat, fine. If they don't finish, fine. Don't make a big deal out of it, just make them stay at the table until everyone else is done eating. They don't get more food until they are sat at the next meal and they only get what you serve. When I first do this with a child I don't serve sweets at all. So no animal crackers for snack but rather a carrot for snack. Or one of each of those. I don't make it easy for them to gorge on bad foods in other words. Now if they had a meal where they ate great then I might make the snack be a yummy one cause I know they filled up on good foods.

Even at snacks you have to limit quantities of the good stuff or else they will hold out for snack and just eat those snacky foods. I never give a picky eater the reward of a yummy snack unless they had that great lunch prior to it.

It really is that easy.

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Hi J.,

Just another idea is that she may be craving the sugar in the juice. Sugar cravings can be a sign of candida (yeast). Is she itching in her private area any? What does her tongue look like? If it's pink, that's good. If it's white or has a coating on it then her little body is eaten up with yeast. If it doesn't show white, that doesn't necessarily mean she doesn't have it, just that it hasn't exhibited itself yet.

Sugar feeds the yeast and when the yeast starts to die, it craves more. Juice is almost pure sugar. Candida is a major concern today because of all the sugars in our diet. The last figures I read were about 85% of the American public have it and don't even know. Candida will break down the immune system slowly and other conditions can arise.

A low glycemic diet (just like what a diabetic should eat) and avoiding processed foods will help. A probiotic/prebiotic will get rid of it if you limit her sugar intake so it can do it's job efficiently that includes white breads, white potatoes and white rice.

God bless,


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Funny, I went through this too with my toddler about a year ago when she was two. She was drinking all day and night. I was so convinced that she was diabetic that I was even pricking her finger myself and checked her blood sugar levels for a week.

As for the juice, I limit as well though I no longer dilute it. However, she should be drinking more water than juice. If she is thirsty enough, she'll drink plain water. I go head to head with my three year old occasionally still, but she knows that she has to drink a cup or two of water between every cup of juice or milk.

It could be interferring with her appetite. You might try restricting liquids an hour or so before meal times--try re-directing her attention during that time if she says she is thirsty. My daughter will chunk up a bit and then shoot up.

No juice is no juice. However, I believe "they" are extreme about it because they know most parents aren't going to follow it strictly. I agree that juices have little nutritional value, but not EVERYTHING we eat has to serve some supreme purpose. Juice can be an important source of Vitamin C and everything in moderation. It just isn't a NECESSARY part of the diet.

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I buy lemons limes and tangerines, slice them thinly and put them in a pitcher of water. They give a nice colour, some flavour, and no added sweeteners. With decorative shaped ice cubes(many cute ice trays can be bought around now), it's a refreshing change up from juice. While I don't have a problem with my son like this, the kids I watch are heavy Kool-Aid and pop drinkers, so I make this for them. If they have to have sweet, I add a packet or two of stevia powder into the pitcher before chilling.

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A juice alternative is to put a wedge or slice of lemon, lime, or orange in water. Or let her pick out a special cup that she only gets to use if it's filled with water. My 3 y/o son won't drink water unless there's ice in it.

1 mom found this helpful

The I can't may have to do with more than fullness from liquids. However the sweetness of the liquids (carbohydrates) she is drinking can suppress the appetite as well as any hidden caffeine in some products. Check contents and nutrition. How are her bowel movements? If too watery or hard may be an indication of her hydration needs, too.
What kind of water is she drinking? Some bottled waters have minerals not helpful for proper hydration for a child. Try finding water with a 7 Ph, this is the normal Ph, use a purifying system that puts O2 back into the water greatly improves the taste and the "feel" of the water on your child's palate.
I hope some of what I have suggested works for your toddler because of various growth spurts, my Pediatrician suggested....two tablespoons of each food group for each year of age is enough to sustain the health of a child, so don't judge on meals, supply healthy offers throughout the day rather than limiting to a sit down meal.

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