Help.... — The Bump
Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months


I have an 18 month old who barely eats dinner. I try making her like 3 different things from, say buttered noodles to chicken fingers to pb&j, I also toss in some different fruits, since veggies are not a favorite. I'm just getting frustrated on what to do sometimes she's a really good eater and I feel like a bad mother. I could really use some guidance. Thanks.

Re: Help....

  • I struggle with this as well and I know it's frustrating.

    I give my kids 2 different options for breakfast and lunch and I make one dinner for the family. I make sure to put at least one item on the kid's plates that I KNOW they like (grapes, cheese, cracker, etc) but the rest is not negotiable. I'm not making separate meals for them, I'm not a short order cook. If they don't want to eat the meal then they don't get anything else. You have to stick to this or it will just get worse.

  • Totally agree with @Bigboobsmcgee kids will eat when they are hungry. My children don't have an option (4 & 18m) but to eat what's on their plate.
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  • 18 month olds don't need that much to get by. Just a few green beans for instance is enough to qualify as a serving of veggies. Try giving veggies earlier in the day too if LO is more finicky at night. Also make sure you're not giving too much of a snack before dinner. I usually try to give a banana around 4 PM since it's a more healthy option if she decides not to eat her dinner around 6-6:30. Just keep offering the good stuff, keep things as fresh as possible. Don't be afraid to put a little seasoning on the food either.
  • Some days my 23 month old will eat all of my homemade meals; chicken soup, sheppards pie, lasagna.. And other days all he will eat is a banana and some cracker for supper. I found around 18-19 months my son went through a fussy stage then he was fine for abit. Again I'm struggling with being fussy. Like above comments offer something she likes and go from there. Eventually she will outgrow this fussy stage, good luck! 
  • jackieoicklejackieoickle member
    edited February 2016
    .. Oh and somethings it's all in how you present it. My son tends to like finger foods and likes to eat things off his tray vs his plate if the meal allows it. We had chicken and sweet potatoes for supper tonight, he would t touch anything and said he was done. So I just put a few pieces of the chicken and aweet potato fries on the tray and he did eat a few of the pieces 
  • I agree with other posters. My twins are 18 months old and they are generally good eaters. Here are some tricks we have found:
    -They do not eat between meals. Ever. If it's not mealtime and we are out running errands, I don't bring snacks with us unless it will be their scheduled snack time. It's ok for them to be a little hungry for their next meal. 
    -all of their meals (snack included) are 4 hours apart. 
    -we give them their veggies first. And they usually eat them! But once something else is on their plate, the veggies get ignored. So they get "courses": Veggie first, then protein, then carb, then fruit.  If they eat well, I give them a small dessert like a vanilla wafer or a bit of ice cream. If they don't, then we try again next meal. 
    -if they don't eat it how you cooked it this time, try cooking it differently next time. Example: Mash the cauliflower instead of steaming it. It's weird but the texture is sometimes the issue rather than the taste. 
    -let them use silverware. My son hates having dirty hands so he will eat more if I let him use a fork. It's messy, but it gets the job done! 
    -Don't take it personally. They're not not eating because you did something wrong. If they're not eating, they're not hungry. This was hard for me to figure out but it's ok!! 
    Good luck!
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