My 2 Year Old Won't Eat...

Updated on June 21, 2008
M.D. asks from Dickinson, TX
16 answers

Okay, I am trying to get some advice on 2 year old toddlers eating habits. My son won't eat. He will ask for cookies all day long and milk all day long, but he won't eat a real meal. (I don't give them to him, he just asks for them...all day long.) Even when we don't give him a snack or milk until dinner is ready. He ate great until about two months ago, he would eat bananas, carrots, any veggies, and pasta all day long, but now he won't. He loves pasta and when I made some last night he wouldn't eat it. I am at a loss and can't seem to find anything he will eat a quantity of that would be healthful.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the advice, I will try a little of all and see what works best. I will keep my fingers crossed!

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answers from Austin on

They will eat when they get hungry. Just don't let it be something unhealthy he eats when that happens. Try letting him help you do something to get ready for dinner, kids love to cook no matter the age!

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answers from Houston on

Hi Ladies :)

I am with the other multiple moms here, He will eat when he is hungry mom. As long as you keep him hydrated and dont give him the sugar, eventually he will eat. My pediatrician said that children go through growing phases, when they are not in a growth spurt, they sometimes fast. The worst thing you can do is feed sugars to give them nurishment. Just wait it out, and remember as a country we way tend to over eat anyway. At 2 years old his lil tummy is no bigger than a chicken nugget or 4 or 5 grapes :) and thats all he needs. As long as his weight holds, and he is active, he is fine I promise, when he is like 8 you will wonder if he is making up for this time lol..


Good luck and relax mommy, good job



answers from San Antonio on

As a mother of 5, all of which are grown and healthy, I can tell you that most toddlers go through this stage of not eating. They will eat when they are hungry, just make sure he gets plenty of liquids and he will be eating like a horse soon enough.



answers from Corpus Christi on

Im in the same boat right now, but some days are good....he seems to love his vitamins...they are gummy and would have more if I let him..he loves raisins and slices cheese..he has started to really like salad and I think because of the dressing..(ranch)...anyhow...just have to keep trying and hope for the best...we give sqaure meal at night, protein, green, starch and whole grain....sometimes he eats a little of green or starch..but will not touch protien or whole grain...he loves pizza, but not mac and cheese anymore...He eats breakfast sometimes, fruit and snacks, but sometimes doesnot eat all says to just keep offering and he will eat what his body craves...plenty of water is good...g;



answers from Longview on

If I were you I would cut the cookies and the milk. I would tell him that if he wants cookies and milk, he will have to be a big boy and eat his dinner first. You may have to prove that you mean business, and if you have to quit giving him other comfort foods that aren't nutritious for a while it would probably be worth the lesson.



answers from Odessa on

At two he is old enough for you to sit down and tell him that he will not be getting ANYTHING until he eats his food for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Do not give in and give him anything, nor allow him access to any of it. He will eat if he is hungry. If he does not, then cover it up, and you can reheat it when he does say he is hungry.

That is what I had to do with my daughter when she was younger...and it worked pretty quick as she did finally get hungry. :o)

Good luck!



answers from San Antonio on

my daughter is the same way, you are not alone. she goes through 3 gallons of milk a week, but cannot sit still long enough to eat a meal. some days she only eats a pb&j sandwhich for lunch and then picks at dinner, or eats off my plate. i feel like she will eat when and if she is hungry. i always offer yogurt or a fruit cup first and that usally works. when it doesn't, i fix myself a little something i think she will eat and let her try it first, she usally wants some of her own after that. hope i could help, good luck




answers from Beaumont on

My little boy, who is 3 now, had the same problem when he was 2. I ask his doctor about it and he says it is normal they go in and out of phases of eating. My little boy went through it for about 3 months then out of the blue picked right on up and started eating EVERYTHING in



answers from Houston on

My son does the same thing right now. He's 2 1/2 and used to be a good eater. Now he won't eat a meal. He asks for snacks all day which I do not give him. I don't know if you give in on the milk with him, but milk is a tummy filler too! I had to cut back on that with him as he asked all day long for it! If you are giving him milk, cut back before meals.

Have a great day!



answers from College Station on

Your 2 yr. old is not the boss here. He will eat if he is hungry.
Your kitchen is not Luby's or Burger King where you can have it your way.
My daughter (now 19) was a finicky eater at 3 yrs.
Even if they only eat a few bites of something. It's enough. Her pediatrician said so.
Think about big is his stomach? Pretty small. It doesn't take a plate full of food to fill him up.

Children learn by example and you just need to stick to your guns and be consistant.

Try cutting out all the snacks for awhile. Mine didn't know what a cookie or candy was until she was 4!!

Hope this helps!



answers from Houston on

I have 7 kids and they all tried this. It is a power play. After changing my behavior, their behavior changed. They eat anything now AND I MEAN ANYTHING. What worked for us was hard and a bsttle of wills but my chilren, even my 1 & 2 yr olds will eat anything you put in front of them.

We cook what we want for dinner and it is put on the table, We all sit at the table and eat as a fmily at evety meal. You either eat what is on the table or you get no smackss and no dessert until the next meal. A child will NOT starve theirself when food in in fromt of them. I will take A LONG LONG TIME to accomplish your goal but you will win in the end and your kids will even be more obedient and heathly.

Good luck it is not a fun battle but it is one that you MUST win.



answers from Austin on

Don't worry yourself too much about it.
Kids will eat when they get hungry and they will make sure they get enough. They cycle thru eating a lot and very little, usually associated with growth spurt and in-between spurts.

Doctors say their bodies will dictate to them what they need and they will at it. If you harp on food they can turn it into a power struggle or eating disorder.

My son went thru a period of only wanting oatmeal and cereal. I added protein powder to the oatmeal and he loves it. I also got boiled eggs as a protein source and keep them always on hand. As far as fruits and vegatables he goes hot on cold on those, but they are around.
i also offer a set routine of breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack, with me deciding what is in each of those, and if he misses one, he has to wait for the next time and what i offer. So remove the cookies or at least replace them with some that are healthier, e.g. oatmeal cookies instead of oreos.



answers from Victoria on

If you do give him milk or cookies will he eat them? If not he might be having tummy troubles. Good luck.



answers from Houston on

Just continue to offer wide variety of healthy foods and plenty of healthy snacks throughout the day and he will eat enough to get what he needs. Toddlers often become very finicky eaters and parents worry that they will starve to death, but even if he only eats a few bites of this and a few of that it will add up to what he needs. Making meal time into a battle of wills only make it worse.



answers from Killeen on

I also have a picky eater. She would eat anything as a baby but but at 2 it was hit and miss on what she would eat. When she was refusing to eat anything I put in front of her I would give her a pedisure. It is rich in nutrients and she thinks she is getting a treat. They are meant as meal replacements for cases like these. She now eats a variety and is almost 4. HEB makes an off brand and so does Walmart. They have the same nutrients and she likes them so I do not have to spend the money on the name brand. This is just a phase and he will get past it by next year. Just try to find something that he likes right now other than cookies and just keep giving it to him. He won't mind the repetitiveness of the same food over and over. I think my daughter ate the hotdogs every day for a year and still loves them! I hope this helps!



answers from Sherman on

kids are smart little boogers...they will eat when they're hungry and will not let themselves starve. Just keep offering him healthy choices and model eating those healthy foods with him. When he is hungry he will eat.

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