Getting 1 Year Old to Eat

Updated on March 27, 2009
A.M. asks from Santa Ana, CA
6 answers

Hi Mommies,

I have a beautiful one year old who has decided that she doesn't want to eat anymore. She would let me feed her and she would feed herself. Now if I try to feed her she screams and throws her food and she just plays when given a spoon. She might take 2-3 bites and then just plays. The doctor told me to start weaning her off the bottle but that is the only way that she will take milk or formula. I'm worried that she isn't getting enough to eat. Any suggestions would be welcomed. I'm at my wits end!

Thank you!!!

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answers from Los Angeles on


Okay, going to be totally honest...I let my son have a bottle until he lost interest. Pedi's ALL tell us to take them off the bottle and it's mostly for the teeth, but if you clean her teeth and worries. I would work on the food first and then, sweat the bottle issue. My son was 18 months when he was off the bottle for formula/juice. I was more worried about nutrition and health than whether or not he was 'on time'. But, I did start offering milk/formula in a sippy cup at mealtime and this (I think) helped him associate it with food and not comfort.

Also, this stage is normal! Food is interesting and new, especially ALL the new colors, textures and shapes/sizes of everything she sees. My son hated being fed in a high chair after he was a year old, so I bought a booster with a belt thingy that attached to the chair and kept him secure. This sort of gave him the same feeling of being at the table for meals. And, as an alternative I'd have him sit with me while I ate, either in his seat or on my lap. He would eat off my plate, and I'd pretend to eat off of was fun. When he was on my lap he could see me eating, and would want to eat too.

Let her make a mess. Let her discover and if she only eats a little bit, then it's okay. Make sure you give her a mutlivitamin, like Enfamil's Polyvisol and let her have fun. Eating is strange for babies, the food is great...but, it ends up being about discovery and learning. If she freaks out at you feeding her then, just let it be and let her do her thing. Clean her up and try again at the next meal. You can also offer finger foods at this stage like Gerber puffs, Cheerios or cut up smooshy pieces of bagel, bread or panckes.

During nice days, I would sit outside with my son and eat on the ground picnic style. At this age, it doesn't really have to be about eating at the table. Although, I did try to get everyone at the table with my son for dinner.

Don't sweat it! You're doing everything you can. And, you don't want to make it something that is stressful for both of you. Find creative times/ways to offer and teach her about eating food and you'll be fine.

Check out for ideas on meals, recipes and feeding amounts. I loved it and still use it sometimes. Just keep in mind that she's learning and this means we as Mommy's get to learn too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

A great book is "Your 1 Year old"... "Your 2 Year Old", which you can get from
It just describes what a child is like at each age-stage... so that WE can understand them. It's really a great quick fast read. But very helpful. Even if written years ago, it is STILL a very useful book.

1 years old, is a BIG time of changes developmentally. Help her through it. They are beginning to have a sense of self.
This is important... you want a child to blossom.

Do not turn 'eating' into a battle/war. It won't work. It will then just be about "control" per you and her. Not good. Not worth it.

Food "phases" & food strikes, are just beginning at this age. It WILL continue at each age juncture. So, keep that in mind. Even teens and adults have food 'issues.' So you either create more food issues for the child, or you don't.

In time, as she gets older, you want her to learn that 'eating' and meal-time is fun and and enjoyable... NOT a miserable cantankerous impatient battle of wills.

About the bottle... like Deanna Leigh, I LET my son wean off it at HIS pace. No big deal. Just because you stop the bottle, does NOT mean that your child will then eat great and without fuss. SOME children fill up too much on milk/formula, thus they are too full to eat. THAT is what your Doctor may mean. But, it does not mean that stopping milk/formula will then magically MAKE your child eat more and more pleasantly.

YOu have to work with your child, NOT FORCING them to eat. PLUS, some kids are just "grazers." Meaning, they eat LITTLE BY LITTLE throughout the day... NOT all at one sitting. My son is like that. But my daughter is not. So you NEED TO TAKE THE CUES of the child. AND, their appetites fluctuate day to day, hour by hour. This is normal. Just because the "clock" says it's time to eat... does not mean the child is going to be hungry much less chow down a whole meal. So what if she just takes 2-3 bites. The fact that she is just playing with her spoon afterward, means SHE IS NOT HUNGRY. So stop. No biggie. Let a child indicate when they are "full." So that they learn about their body's cues. Otherwise if you force-feed they will lose that sense... and perhaps over-eat and not be in touch with their body. Thus, some people over eat and get unhealthy weight problems in the future.

This is a PHASE. Let it go. Let it ride. ALL throughout childhood, they will have food phases. It's okay. She will not starve. Give her kid vitamins. My son is a picky eater... so what. He was on a mixture of whole milk/formula from 1 years old until he was about 2 years old. Per our Pediatrician, this was fine. He is healthy, grows like a weed, and hardly gets sick. BUT he is a picky eater. BUT it's NOT a "problem." I don't 'make' it a problem. He is a grazer, and only eats if he is hungry. As a Mom, I had to learn this about HIM, and what floats his boat. He does not have to eat to 'please' me.
Eating/appetites will ebb and flow. It is never constant. Even as an adult.

Or maybe she is teething.

Good luck,



answers from Las Vegas on


Congratulations on the baby and great husband! As to her not eating, relax! It is a rare baby that will starve themselves! If she has no other options besides the choices you give her, she will eat!

I'm not certain why the doc said to begin weaning her yet. Many moms nurse or bottle feed well beyond 13 months! If she isn't eating from a spoon, for whatever reason, maybe you could add cereal to her formula for extra nutrition while she goes through this phase. It won't last forever, probably a week or two.

Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

Have you tried using sippy cups at all? My son at first didn't like to take them, but he didn't realize that there was liquid in them. Remove the stopper and let her suck on it to see what's in. Then replace the stopper so that no spills occur.
My son goes through hunger strikes as well. It's normal. Just be patient and try to find one or two things that she will eat and then stick with that until this hunger strike passes. You can keep offering other things on top of her one or two favorites, but make sure you always have those handy.



answers from Las Vegas on

Did she start with the not eating before you started trying to ween her? Try giving her a sippy cups with,formula or milk before you give her the bottle. If she is hungry she will probably eat from the spoon or drink from the cup,with less of a fight,then if she is full. And once she sees she is getting her hunger satisifed she will do it willingly. Even if you are feeding her the same things over & over so that you can get her to eat again. If you have to play a game with her to get her to open her mouth. Then get the food in, then offer her a drink from the cup.Just don't cave in & give her the bottle every time in order to get her to eat. If she won't take the cup try not giving her the bottle for once then a while later offer her the cup 1st again. She will eat & drink when she realizes that is how she is going to get fed.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hello! You are doing fine!

I would find out what the needed amount of milk is for a 13 month old and then limit the milk to only twice a day and at night.

Milk has a lot of calories and not enough nutrients for that age. It fills them up but does not supply what they need.

This is what I do:
I give milk at 10 and at 2 for calming and nap time. then offer food. if she doesn't want to eat let her go play. dnot substitute milk for a real meal. she is not going to starve to death if she waits for a hour to get more food. stick to somewhat of a schedule for feeding times, 10:00 1/2 a bottle of milk - 12:00 food - 2:00 1/2 a bottle of milk and 4:00 food. evening meals with us whatever we eat I have her sit and experiment with. milk at night time.

She is old enough to start on a sippy cup. If she refuses, take it away. Offer it again at a later time.

She will eat when she is hungry.

You could also try to make the food yourself. and add a bit of butter to the veggies. They taste much better that way!


good luck! -c

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