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How can I get my toddler to eat?

My daughter is 22 months old and has recently lost 5 lbs. in one month because she is refusing to eat. There are no other physical symptoms and the Dr. is watching her. Mealtimes are very stressful and the more you try to get her to eat the more she refuses even her favorite foods. I watch the amounts of all liquids and offer high caloric foods and those that are vitamin rich, she used to eat anything. Does anyone have any advice on how to get my daughter to eat?

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Asked by sososmommie at 2:25 PM on Oct. 21, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (5)
  • leave her alone. Put the food on her plate and leave it be. if she doesn't eat don't force it. she isn't going to starve herself. she'll eat something eventually. she displaying any other worrisome behaviors? such as lack of verbal skills or eye contact? does she sleep well?

    What about the stress level in your home? are you under a lot of stress due to other things in your life right now?

    ...There are lots of reasons why shy might not be eating ...and if you want her to really get back to eating you have to first figure out why she stopped.

    Answer by outstandingLove at 2:30 PM on Oct. 21, 2009

  • I agree with outstanding love! also, maybe offer some pediasure/kid essentials ?

    Answer by Owl_Feather at 2:35 PM on Oct. 21, 2009

  • It could be a control issue-- she knows it is the one thing in her life she can control. Have there been any changes in her life lately? Maybe that triggered this behavior. I agree with the previous poster-- offer her foods she likes, put it in front of her and then let her alone. The more you push, ask, beg her to eat the more she may dig in her heels and not eat. You may want to buy some nutritional drinks (pedisure, and such) and offer that as well.
    When my oldest was a toddler he was a very picky eater and some days it seemed like he did not eat anything at all. I gave him was carnation instant breakfast- mixed it in his milk and offered him 'chocolate milk' to drink. He really liked that and would drink it. (he hated pedisure and would not touch it). Eventually he did start eating. He is 13 now, has a good appetite, loves fruits, vegetables and loves to try new foods.
    Good luck

    Answer by MizLee at 2:40 PM on Oct. 21, 2009

  • OL is right. also, she should be old enough to tell you what she wants. I would just ask her what she wants to eat when she gets hungry (not "if" she wants to eat, just in case it is a control issue) and see what happens. the more pressure, the less she'll eat for sure, though. If it isn't anything I or OL said, I would let the doctor run through some options because it could indiate a medical issue. hopefully its just a phase though!

    Answer by mrs_pulley at 4:04 PM on Oct. 21, 2009

  • I agree with outstandingLove and MizLee. I would run through all those questions first. If none of those apply, it could be a medical issue (like mrs_pulley mentioned). In the meantime, while you are trying to figure out what is causing the behavior, you could try making the food as fun as possible. Use cookie cutters to cut sandwiches, meat, etc, into fun shapes. Maybe try allowing her to snack while she's mobile (maybe she hates sitting in a chair?) - I wouldn't keep this up forever, but you could try it to see if she's more willing to eat. You could even try leaving out some yummy snack within her reach and telling her not to eat it...I know my son (2) would then eat it first thing, because I told him not to! Or leave out yummy foods within her reach and don't say anything about it one way or the other.

    Answer by ratviolin at 6:13 PM on Oct. 21, 2009

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