15 Month Old Not Eating

Updated on July 31, 2009
A.C. asks from Rockwell, NC
9 answers

Okay, I have an 8 year old so I've been through the picky eating and control issues with him when it comes to eating. But I have to say with my 15 month old his eating over the past 5 days has been very concerning. Up until last Friday he ate pretty typical for his age. He eats breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner. Right before bed he usually has a cup of milk. He only drinks, water, whole milk, and some juice. On Saturday I couldn't get my little one to eat one ounce of food. I tried feeding him breakfast, he refused, tried snacks, he refused, tried lunch, refused again; and no supper or evening snack. He clamped his mouth completely shut. He did drink about 3 glasses of water and 2 cups of milk and a little juice but that's all he had all day. Then on Sunday, he ate about 4 bites of oatmeal, no snack, no lunch, and no supper or evening snack. He again drank just like he did on Saturday - a few cups of water, 2 cups of milk, and a little juice. Then Monday - he wouldn't eat any breakfast, he ate a few bites of chicken noodle soup for lunch, and nothing else the rest of the day. He drank very little Monday. He drank 2 cups of milk, and about 1 - 1 1/2 cups of water. He didn't have any juice. Then yesterday I tried to coax him to eat anything. I made eggs, I made cereal, I made oatmeal, I tried to give him crackers, dry cereal, and yogurt throughout the day but nothing. He clamped his mouth shut and refused to eat. For supper I made spaghetti and he ate exactly 2 bites. I leave snacks out so he can have them should he get hungry and he hasn't touched them. He is drinking and has had wet diapers. I've even tried to entice him to eat m&m's candy just to get some calories in his body. I'm very concerned because he was born very small (3 lbs and 10 oz) and has stayed small. His weight isn't even in the 5th percentile. He is teething but he's teethed before and it never affected his eating. I've given him baby orajel and motrin to help with the discomfort thinking that will help in case it was his teething that was keeping him from eating. But that didn't solve the problem. I'm at a loss and almost ready to run to the doctor's office because I'm so worried. He has not been sick with vomiting or diarrhea either so I don't think it's a tummy ache. Has anyone else had this happen with their children and if so is it a phase, will it pass or should I take him to the pediatrician?

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answers from Lexington on

I don't want to scare you, some children develop sensory issues and will only eat foods that are a certain texture or taste. Since your son is only 15 months old you could talk to your pediatrition and see if they will refer him to First Steps (A Federally Funded program that provides evaluation and therapy for children birth to 3 years of age). The therapists work with children who have developmental delays and sensory issues. Cardinal Hill - (A rehabilitation hospital located in Lexington, KY) has a program for picky eaters. You might find information on the computer. I have a couple of friends who are parents of picky eaters. One of my friends has a child that refused to eat anything except chicken nuggets for about three years. It nearly drove her insane.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

I would defiantely call your ped and see if there should be any concern. Children can go a while with not eating but his fluid intake is too low.

Trust your instinct on this. If you think you need to take him to the doctor, don't hesistate especially with his low weight issues.

Things to think about:
Has his energy level changed?
Has his temperment changed?

Has he had a poopy diaper? If he hasn't, 10 to 1 he's constipated and that is why he isn't eating. There is a supository you can get that's great. I can't remember what the name is but it does work charmly well. :) Once he poops, he may eat.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

Hi A.,

This sounds EXACTLY like what my daughter, also 15 months, did a couple of weeks ago! In her case, she did eat a couple bites of food at each meal, but completely refused to take anything other than liquids after the initial bites. After a few days of this (during which I was also very worried and contemplating a trip to the pediatrician) she started eating normally again. A couple of days later, we discovered that 2 new molars (her first) and 1 new canine tooth were poking through. So, I'm guessing that in her case, it was pain from teething that caused the food strike. I've heard that getting molars can be really rough on these little ones, and before the food strike, she'd been exhibiting signs of teething for a month with no progress that I could see. Maybe when the teeth actually poke through it hurts them to eat?

During this stage, we did find that she would eat soft, cold foods - so we gave her a lot of yogurt, and I made fruit smoothies with fresh fruit/milk/ice that she loved. Maybe that would work for your little guy?

All of that being said, it certainly could be something other than teething, and it looks like the replies to your question are all over the place, so if you're worried, a call to your pediatrician's office to check it out is certainly never the wrong thing to do! Does your pedi have a nurse call line? Ours has helped me many times when something has seemed "off" but I wasn't sure if was normal for a particular stage or something that warranted bringing her in. Good luck!



answers from Wheeling on

He could have a sore throat.

My basic guideline is: As long as any child is peeing, pooping, sleeping regularly, having energy, interest, jolliness, and alertness -- they're OK. They WILL eat when they're hungry. If he's cranky, listless, not peeing/pooping or acts sick, take him to the doctor.

Just look around at all the overweight people in America (including me) and say to yourself, "Do I want to contribute to the nation's number one health problem?" Teach your child to eat as much as he wants of what he wants (of what's offered at each meal -- NOT special stuff made just for him), and to stop when he's comfortably full, and you'll pat yourself on the back when he's a non-overweight adolescent and adult!! I have 4 adult children -- only one of which is somewhat overweight, and he's been big from day one (8 lbs. 13 oz. and 22.75" long). He's built like my grandfather was who lived to be almost 87 (and died in 1963. They probably would've kept him healthy even longer nowadays!)



answers from Huntington on

Hi A., My first thought is that maybe he has sore throat? Maybe the liquid is soothing and the food hurts? That is really odd. Since he has had weight issues I think that I would make him an appointment with the pediatrition. Good luck and God Bless!



answers from Nashville on

Hi A.,
While uncommon in toddlers, your 15 month old may have thrush. My son around that age didn't want to eat or drink much lasting for a couple of days when I decided to take him to the doctor. After examination the doctor stated that he had thrush and the culprit was his pacifier. He would walk around with it, dropping it and of course picking up all types of germs. The doctor prescribed Nystatin and it went away very quickly and my son began eating and drinking normally again within a day or so. Popsicles helped until his mouth felt better. Thrush is like yeast and will not go away on its own. Look in his mouth to see if there is anything that looks unusual like white patches or redness, if so take him to the doctor.


answers from Memphis on

Do you see any other issues? Is he able to tell you if his tummy hurts? How are his bowel movements? The reason I ask is because it could be that food is making him feel badly so he now refuses to eat it. Food allergies might make him feel badly but not badly enough to throw up.

My oldest son only ate breakfast and nothing else all day when he was that age, but for him not to eat at all is a bit concerning. I would watch him, keep a food diary and if it continues (not much longer) go see his pediatrician with the diary & find out what's going on. Did he have a choking incident lately? I had a friend whose son got a bit dehydrated, then choked on some food and he stopped eating everything. It took telling him what would happen in the hospital should he not eat/drink. Course he's 8 so it was easier to talk to him about it.

Sometimes in warmer weather people eat less but keep him hydrated and just watch him. And as always, if in doubt check it out, never hurts to ask a doctor.



answers from Nashville on

My son just did the same thing last month, and he was 15 months as well. Freaky!
The only difference is that he developed a fever, so we took him in. He had herpangina, which is a virus where they develop an ulcer on their throat or tonsils. It is very painful, hence, they don't eat. You should also check him for hand, foot, and mouth disease. They get blisters on the bottom of their feet, in their palms, and in their mouths. Since he will drink, I suggest giving him some PediaSure or something like that, so that he can get some kind of nourishment.



answers from Louisville on

could be an ear infection its funny how they manifest. take him to your ped let them give him the once over. good luck

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