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My two & a half year old boy will not eat

He is two and a half and ever since he was 15 months old he has been a very picky eater. His doctor tells us that he is in a normal phase but now I can count on two hands the foods that he will eat (very little of) and now it's getting worse. We have tried waiting until he is hungry but he doesn't seem to get hungry. His dad has tried bribing him with his favorite toys and he has tried harsh discipline like making him sit at the table until he eats but it seems as if he knows that this something that we cannot control and he refuses. I am changing doctors so hopefully we can get him some kind of appetite enhancer but until then, he needs to eat and he wont. Please help.

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Asked by Anonymous at 7:05 PM on Jan. 7, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

Answers (9)
  • My son won't eat sometimes either. He is very picky. I just make him go with out. We tend to forget how tiny their little tummies are. I would not think that an appetite enhancer would be the way to go, they eat when they are hungry. I agree with the doctor, it is a phase.

    Granted I tend to sick to foods he will eat, but he gets a lot of veggies and fruits with his dishes.

    I know I am not much help, but I think that you are over analyzing the situation.

    Answer by dakotaNrye at 7:12 PM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • He will eat when he gets hungry. Dont give him the choice, you eat what I give you or you go to bed. I have put my godson down once without dinner and that is all it took. He would only eat mac and cheese, waffels, and green beans and was very similar to your son, never wanted to eat and was never hungry. We got him to eat chicken and all sorts of stuff, his Mom finally caught on and now he is a great eater.

    Answer by Shannon0622 at 7:29 PM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • (continued from above)
    I have also done this with my 18 month old and after a fit he went to bed once without dinner and that was the only time. My son sits at the dinner table every night with my husband and I and we all eat dinner as a family. We all eat the same thing, what I make. If he eats his dinner he gets dessert. If he doesn't eat then, he goes to bed. I try and always give my son at least one thing that i know he likes and will eat. As long as he tries everything, which he does then that is fine. He doesnt necessarily have to eat everything. We have never had a problem with it. It sounds like your son has too many options. Dont put too much emphasis on it and dont let him think that he has control.

    Answer by Shannon0622 at 7:31 PM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • He does know that this something you cannot control. This is battle you can't win. So don't fight.
    He does not need as much food as he did just 6 months ago. If his doctor is not concerned, if he is not losing weight, don't worry.
    Have 3 set meal times and two snack times.
    Offer him something he does like at each meal. If he will eat mashed potatoes and corn then have one of them (but not both) at each dinner. Put a little bit of everything on his plate and tell him to let you know if he wants more of something.
    Then ignore him. Don't comment on what he does eat or doesn't eat. If you see him sneaking in a carrot, don't ask if he likes it... he'll say "no" and refuse to eat any more of it.
    Set a timer and when it goes off, the meal is over. Pick everything up, even his.
    If he gets hungry and wants a snack, wait until the next scheduled snack or meal.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 7:32 PM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • All you can do is offer good foods in small quantities. He will eat when he is hungry. Keep the milk and juice down to a minimum, because he may be getting his calories from there. Water should be available all of the time, though. Be patient and don't show any anxiety. If you notice a large weight loss, more than like 2-3 lbs, get him into the doctor to discuss. Try not to allow this to be an advantage point for him, and don't punish him either. You don't want to encourage food issues in the future. I have 4 kids, it will be ok. Good luck.

    Answer by Scimecamommy at 7:34 PM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • I agree with Scimecamommy. My two year old twins are the same way: in a picky phase. I just offer them three meals, a small snack in between meals, plenty of water to drink (although with one I do try to sort of limit his liquid in-take because some days he'd just drink his calories). They eventually get hungry and eat what I put in front of them. We've also started giving them a multivitamin. Good luck.

    Answer by twinclubmom at 8:32 PM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • My baby is 16 yrs old and still won't eat. He is the pickiest eater I have ever had and I have 8.. But he is strong and healthy an awesome wrestler and State Champ in Freestyle and Greco Wrestling. So I would"nt worry to much.

    Answer by 40yrmom at 9:54 PM on Jan. 7, 2009

  • Your doctor is right, this is normal. Unless your child is losing weight and is falling below the 5th prectile in growth, I would not worry to much. I tend to recommend to my clients that offer caloric dense food, so when he does eat, it will be more bang for the buck. Take a look at one days intake, with all of his intake combined did he take in what would be one complete meal? like some milk, cheese/dairy, some meat, fruit, veggies?? if so then he is probly getting enough. If things get real bad, try pediasure supplements, its like a milkshake, if he likes icecream, you can blend that up with it. it is worth a try. If I can be of any help PM me!

    Answer by DIETITIANMAMA at 10:59 AM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • it seems to be normal, my friend went through his with her son and it lasted about a year then one day he started eating more, she is now going through it with her 2yr little girl. Just do your best to offer the food to him at meal times only. Don't be harsh with him don't brib him either all that is extra atention. Just act normal give him a normal amount of food and time to eat it. Make sure he is getting alot of fluid each day. It will take time but he'll come around. g/l

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:49 PM on Jan. 9, 2009

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