Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

How do I get my child to eat?!

It makes me insane that I have a picky eater. He's ok weight/weight-wise according to the ped but I hate that I can't get him to eat anything. We fight this everyday when we get home and he gets in his highchair. He just shakes his head "no" at everything I put in front of him.

I'm not going to be that mom that makes special meals just for him but when he refuses dinner almost every night what am I to do? I end up getting so frustrated that it ruins my entire evening and DS is frustrated too. Help!

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Re: How do I get my child to eat?!

  • KC_13KC_13
    10000 Comments 250 Answers 500 Love Its Fifth Anniversary
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    If he's ok weight wise, have you just thought of ignoring him? If he says no, leave him in his high chair and let him fuss. If he starts throwing his food, remove him from the situation. Let him fuss it out for a while, and try again.

    If he knows you will give him something different if he fusses enough, he will continue to do so.

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  • That's a tough one! Luckily DD eats most anything and eats quite a bit but sometimes if she has an off day and doesn't want to eat something that I know she likes, I try to put it in her mouth so she can get a taste of it and then she will usually take it herself and eat. I don't "force" it in there though! lol
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  • DS will refuse to eat from time to time, or will only eat a few bites.  At first it drove me NUTS.  Then I just had to accept what my pediatrician told us - a toddler will not starve himself, and that they need surprisingly little food.  He said that there may be days where we can only get one meal into him, and to not worry.  If he needs the food, he'll eat it.

    So now I put food in front of DS, and he eats what he eats.  If he picks at the food, that is fine, and I just put the leftovers away (or feed it to the dogs if he just played with it and made a mess).  

    At first, I also worried that if DS didn't eat much dinner, that he'd wake up in the middle of the night hungry.  This hasn't happened yet. 

  • How quickly do you let him up/switch out the food for something else?  I'd probably leave him there for a bit or make sure to offer a meal where he definitely likes one thing and leave him sit there for a bit to see if he eats some of the other stuff.  There are some nights where I swear Aiden will wake up overnight because I can't see how he ate enough to stay full.  But some nights he's just not that hungry.

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  • hocushocus
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its Combo Breaker
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    Is he waking up hungry and demanding food? If this isn't impacting his growth or sleep I'd simply let him not eat.

    We have a lot of food issues here and the only reason we fight with her is because she wakes up at 3 AM starving if we don't. If she STTN and skipped dinner I'd be happy to let her skip dinner every night.

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  • Im right there with you.  L was in the 25% at his 18 month visit which is fine....but he never eats for me!  The thing that drives me crazy is that he will eat literally anything my mom puts in front of him.  So I think he's doing it to drive me crazy!!
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  • image sophiet496:
    Im right there with you.  L was in the 25% at his 18 month visit which is fine....but he never eats for me!  The thing that drives me crazy is that he will eat literally anything my mom puts in front of him.  So I think he's doing it to drive me crazy!!

    Holy crap! I thought I was the only one who had a kid who does this! My mother can get Tegan to eat things that I've never been able to get her to eat and it drives me crazy! We were just with my mom for a week and during that time, Tegan ate 5-6 different foods that she's never eaten for me.

    The crazy thing is, my mother is more accomodating with DD than I am. If she offers her something and Tegan refuses, my mother will make multiple other things until she finds something that Tegan likes. Typically, if Tegan doesn't eat enough of what I've originally made, then I just try to make up the calories in her snacks (think yogurt, cheese, etc.).

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  • We are having this same issue, but my little one is only in the 5th percentile for weight. A little scary to me. One thing that we're going to try, and I've run this by the doctor, is giving him less milk. He LOVES milk, but he drinks so much that he's not hungry...so he's naturally uninterested in food. The doctor said if he's actually hungry by the time we put him in the high chair for meals, he's more likely to try new things and eat more...

    Good luck. It's SO frustrating!

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  • I am dealing with the same thing. It is so frustrating! My son will only eat baby puffs, crunchies, chips, cheerios, and milk. Sometimes he will try something new but when i try to give it to him again...forget about it! He will not even open his mouth and both of us end up getting frustrated. I was thinking about getting pediasure for some peace of mind. I will still continue to give him meals even if he does not eat them...but pediasure has tons of vitamins and minerals that LO's need to grow big and strong! Some days all he drinks is whole milk and I really worry about him not growing properly.

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