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How do I get my child to eat?

Everyone says to make it fun, so I make it fun. Then people say MAKE him eat, so I try, and he cries. I set the food out for him to just take when he wants it, but he won't! Some others say don't give him snack foods and then when he's finally hungry he'll eat real food--but he will seriously go a day or more without eating anything and only drinking juice, formula or water. HOW DO I GET THIS CHILD TO EAT!? He will literally say to me "No food mommy!" He's Vegetarian but wants nothing to do with his veggie's anymore! This has been going on now for 3 or more months, I've tried everything PLEASE HELP!

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Asked by Bettye at 3:18 PM on Jan. 18, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (5)
  • Are there any weight gain issues? Any reason to be concerned that he isn't eating? If your doctor hasn't expressed any concerns to you, if he is growing fine, then let him decide if he wants to eat.

    Toddlers are trying to figure out where your power over them ends and their own power to control their lives starts. Eating is one of the things he can control. So he will refuse to eat to see what you do - will you start a fight over it (trying to gain control over him) or will you shrug your shoulders and let him be (letting him control something). Unless you are willing to pin him down, force the food past his clenched teeth, force him to swallow, you can NOT win this fight. So don't fight.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 3:47 PM on Jan. 18, 2009

  • Some general rules:
    Only put a tiny bit of each food on his plate. If there is too much food, he may feel overwhelmed and refuse to eat. You'll also feel better about throwing out just a tiny bit of uneaten food.
    Let him ask for seconds if he wants them.
    Have at least one food at each meal that you are fairly confident he will eat.
    Don't make any comments about his eating. Don't say "Try it, you'll like it" or even "See, I told you you'd like it!". That's a sure way to get him to stop eating.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 3:57 PM on Jan. 18, 2009

  • Offer him a healthy breakfast. Set a timer for 20 mintues (or whatever you choose). When the timer goes off, the meal is done. Pick up his plate and throw it out. Aren't you glad there isn't much on the plate?
    Repeat at snack time, lunch time, afternoon snack time, and dinner time.
    If he complains about being hungry, just remind him that snack time (or lunch or whatever) is coming.

    Limit milk or formula to between 16 and 24 ounces a day. More than that will fill him up and he won't want to eat.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 4:00 PM on Jan. 18, 2009

  • get him involved in the prep. Kids love to help make food and my personal experience are more likely to eat it if they help. if you have a plastic knife let him cut up soft food like bread and bananas, ham. dont over discuss the food issue around him or at him like "you must eat" If he senses you stressing over it then he will think there is sonething to be stressed about.

    by 2yrs my son acted up when I put him in his highchair so I bought him a little table and chairs from IKEA and new plates (he picked out) and left him to it.


    Answer by notquiteMartha at 4:37 PM on Jan. 18, 2009

  • I'd cut out the juice...Maybe eat the food your self commenting on how good it is. I agree with the above getting him involved with the prep.

    Answer by Farrahann at 4:40 PM on Jan. 18, 2009

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