How Do I Get My 16 Month Old to Take Vitamins? Please Read Entire Post

Updated on May 20, 2010
K.J. asks from Manassas, VA
18 answers

Thanks so much in advance, I know this post is long, I am so sorry! My 16 month old is an extreme poor eater. And sometimes he gags and throws up with certain foods. He was on infant formula all this time (per dr's suggestion) but now we (dr's approval) are going to try to switch him to milk. (We tried the toddler version similac but ds wouldn't take that either. It's powder and he even had a problem with powder formula when he was a month old, so we put him on ready to feed which is the only thing he will take.

Because he is a poor eater, he needs a vitamin. Dr suggested Poly Vi Sol but I compared it to Baby Plex Animal Parade infant vitamins, and the Baby Plex has way more multi vitamins in it where Poly Vi Sol only has 9. The benefit to the Poly Vi Sol is that it has iron where as the Baby Plex does not. I bought the baby plex and as usual, he threw up. I tasted a little of it (it says it's a natural orange flavor) and oh gosh it is nasty. I still have an after taste in my mouth 3 hrs later. I put a half dropper mixed in oatmeal and he coughed and gaged. Then he refused to take more. He won't drink water and he won't drink juice so I can't mix it in that.

My son only will eat pasta with sauce, potato, cheese. He will eat Gerber oatmeal, Gerber pears, Gerber banana, and Gerber green beans. As you can see, as far as adult food, he is extremely limited. Sometimes he will gag and throw up when I give him a different food. Maybe he has a texture issue, I don't know. I will have to bring it up at his well visit.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thanks everyone! I tried giving him about .02 mixed into his bottle and that worked. I also but .02 in his gerber banana but he knew it was there. I definately have to take him to a specialest because I tried to give him green beans (french cut style, the thin style) and he gagged on it and threw up all the formula he had prior. Thanks for the suggestions!

Featured Answers



answers from Dallas on

My kids love the Gummie Vitamins. They taste just like Gummy Bears. They do not have iron - but it's a multivitamin that even my 15 month old has no problem eating.

We buy the generic brand from Kroger's and they taste great - I even steal two myself. ;)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

A late response, but I hope it helps - but my daughter would always spit out her liquid vitamins. Hers were prescription so I couldn't go to another brand. At around 14 months what we did do was try chewable vitamins (also prescription) and that worked. I would give her a choice the drops or the chewable and she would go for the chewable every time.

Good luck

More Answers



answers from Cincinnati on

I’m sorry – you must be very stressed! Please know that you are NOT alone. There are MANY children who have feeding difficulties. I have worked with children who have feeding difficulties for close to 10 years. Some of my main questions to think about are:
• has there been any testing for GI issues?
• Reflux?
• Have food allergies been ruled out?
• Was the “ready to feed” formula milk protein free formula (e.g. alimentum)
• Since this appears to be a long standing issue has the doctor made a referral out to other disciplines or just told you to “wait and see. When he is hungry he’ll eat”
• Are the gerber foods pureed or cubed (e.g. cubed pear or pureed pear)

I have seen kids who are 4 YEAR OLD and 7 YEARS OLD who only eat pureed foods and others who at 8 years old and ONLY eat peanut butter sandwiches! When the child is older it is MUCH harder and takes MUCH longer to work through feeding issues. The earlier the better!

I would strongly recommend that you take your child to a pediatric feeding clinic/ "Feeding Team" (doctor, speech therapist, occupational therapist, feeding psychologist, dietician/nutritionist) – there is one in Buffalo NY

“Feeding Disorders Clinic
The purpose of the feeding clinic is to enhance and monitor health, nutrition and oral motor functioning for children and young adults who have feeding problems. This is done by providing interdisciplinary diagnostic, treatment and consultative services for children and young adults with feeding and swallowing disorders. Patients to be served include: children with bottling problems, chewing, swallowing, gagging, coughing or trouble breathing during feedings; children with delayed development or specific disabilities associated with poor growth; children with behavior problems during feeding; children with genetic conditions impairing oral motor functions. A physician's referral is requested.”

The team will be able to tell you if your child needs any further testing (e.g. swallow study, upper GI, etc), offer suggestions, recommend therapy or just home program ideas.

If this is not an option then I’d encourage you to talk to your pediatrician for a referral to a pediatric speech therapist or pediatric occupational therapist for feeding therapy (either discipline can work on feeding but it depends on the area you live in - sometimes speech works on feeding, sometimes occupational therapy works on feeding). The therapist should be able to give you suggestions to assist you with transitioning to other foods/increasing amount and types of foods eaten.

As far as vitamins – I am guessing from the list of foods you gave (all soft foods) that he would not eat a chewable. If one of your main concerns in Vit D you can try (provides same amount of vit D as milk but it is potato based and is supposed to be good – I think they have premixed and powder mix). I would be careful about hiding a vitamin in a food that he eats (since his diet is so limited) – you don’t want to have him refuse that food. Here is a previous mamapedia post with responses to good tasting children liquid vitamins

If there is a Whole Foods near you, you can buy the vitamin there and then return them if your child doesn’t like it (yes you can return it even if you used a dose!) :)

I hope that helps! Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I think I would be concerned. I just met a woman (our children were in Cardinal Glennon Childrens Hospital together). Her son is 15 months old and has been throwing up almost since birth. She got tired of the doctors brushing it off and demanded an upper GI for her son. Turns out his esophagus was severly inflammed. They did test and he is allergic to almost all types of food.

I don't say this to alarm you. I simply want to encourage you to stay on top of this issue and let the pediatrician know you are concerned and you want answers now!

Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I give my son the Target brand liquid vitamins and it tastes ok. He actually likes getting it. He would probably take the regular vitamins for toddlers but this is easier and it doesnt depend on his mood. I give it too him straight. If I were you though, I would call Early Intervention, this is not just a picky eater it sounds like. At least speak to you doctor.

Also, add baby cereal to his purees. I like Beechnut since it has the most vitamins.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would suggest putting the drops in his Gerber fruits , is there anyway you could give the daily dose in 2 parts so it does not over power the taste of the Gerber fruit? If he has the fruits twice per day then give half the dose wit the first lot and the rest of the dose with the second lot. Other than that I have no suggestions , if he would drink juice then that would be an option also. What else are the doctors doing? Are they looking into this further? Your right he could have some kind of sensory issue , if he has then it sounds like quite a severe one , an OT could help with this.

Good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hi K. J:

Children learn from examples. How is the diet of everyone else in the family? How was your diet when pregnant with him? This may be an opportunity to create a healthy dietary lifestyle for everyone in the house. There are other minimally fruit sweetened liquid vitamins that you can try. It may require trying different types.

Be patient with the changes.

All the best,
Founder/Organic Mommy & Baby Healthcare Solutions



answers from Santa Barbara on

Hi Sweetie-
Oh how this must be stressful. I am just suggesting with no actual experience, my son was and is an excellent eater, but had many other challenges. No mom gets off easy! Maybe you can take the dropper, hold your son's mouth open (kind of like with a dog--no offense intended) then you drop it on the back of his tongue (less taste receptors there) and he should automatically swallow (and hopefully not gag it all up).

I know that the mass produced vitamins aren't as healthful, but what about a chewie vitamin? That's got to be better than nothing. I saw several types posted previously.

Let us know what you decide.



answers from New York on

The pediatrician wanted to keep my son on the liquid vitamins when he was 2 but he hated the taste and now loves the kids chewables. Flinstones makes ones for 2-3 year olds and now my son is 4 he likes the gummies.

You might want to research feeding and sensory processing disorders and see what a specialist has to say.



answers from Tampa on

When I was giving my son Poly-vi-sol with Iron, I'd mix it in his cup of milk and he had no clue. He couldn't taste it. It was 1ml (1 dropper) in about 8oz. You could try that with his formula too.
I would also suggest seeing a pediatric GI doctor (if you already aren't) to see if there is a reason for all his feeding issues. You could also look into a feeding therapy program if it is not GI related. The hospital I work at has a great one, but that is in FL, so a little far to go to. But check out your local childrens hospitals to see if they have one. I know our feeding therapy program would sometimes see kids everyday, sometimes more than once a day initially. You can check it out online (I think). The hospitals website is Good luck with everything!



answers from Joplin on

I always treated liquid vitamins as well...medicine, I was warned by the Ped that the vitamins tasted nasty and not to try and mix them.



answers from New York on

Hi K.,

My daughter is two, and her doctor also suggested the Poly Vi Sol...she REFUSES to eat it. Like you, I tasted it and completely understand...I wouldn't eat it either. It is disgusting.

We opted for the more toddler friendly chewables. Not sure how your son is with gummy things, but my daughter LOVES her gummy vitamins - the version we have is called Calcium Gummy Bears with Vitamin D. (vit D as suggested by doc) by L'il Critters. There is a little bit of sugar, but like Mary Poppins said, "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down."

There might be a version with iron - many to choose from - do not remember them all. We got them at Costco.

Good luck with everything,



answers from New York on

My daughter is now six but I've had her taking a high quality chewable multi vitamin since she was 2. We use the Pioneer high quality children's multi (and it takes good). Also, last year I started her on Juice Plus in addition to the multi. It comes in gummy form but no sugar added. Good luck!



answers from San Francisco on

you might want to try a chewable that dissolves easily. I began giving my daughter her acid medicine as a chewable when she was about 12 months. If he has some molars he might enjoy the control of putting it in his own mouth and they usually taste way better.
good luck



answers from Sacramento on

My 14th month old is also a gagger...has been since day one. Texture is a huge issue & I have created some recipes that seem to agree with her. I am no help with the vitamin issue but would be happy to email you my recipes. Just message me with your email address. Maybe your son will like these!



answers from Orlando on

Have you tried the Flintstone chewable toddler vitamin??



answers from Albany on

It sounds as if he did not go through his suck and swallow reflex stage well. I would recommend that you seek out the advice of an Occupational Therapist who is well versed in this area, who can evaluate him, and offer therapy or suggestions as needed. Good luck!


answers from San Francisco on

I would try putting it in his Gerber fruit, like the pears and banana's you mentioned. When giving him a new food, you have to try it for about a wk. before introducing another form of food. I know you are in Albany,NY and I am in Ontario, but try and get Trivisol. It doesn't have any nasty taste to it and thats what I gave all of my children. It has iron it as well. Trivisol has been around for years and is an excellent source of vitamins. I do hope that you can find it. I know you mentioned Polyvisol. We don't have that here. I would even try Flinstone vitamins. He may like to chew on them. I'm sure he has quite a few of his teeth. Give it a try and see how it works for him.
I wish you the best of luck and like I said Trivisol or the Flinstone vitamins.
Each have iron. If he likes sweet stuff he will definetly like either or.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions