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Toddler refusing to eat

  1. #1
    bbvv is offline Registered User
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    Toddler refusing to eat

    I have a 21mth old toddler whose eating habit has changed since 2 months ago. I cook new food for him and he takes a few spoonfuls and turns his head when we want to feed him more. For him to eat we have to distract him with things to do which I know is incorrect. He used to drink 8oz (220ml) but recently only half of that.

    The only fruit he eats is banana and I hide all his vegetables in his meals. He is on the small size so I don't want him to miss out on his meals.

    Is this just a phase as he used to be a very good eater and drinker. Any advice will be appreciated.

  2. #2
    jools is offline Registered User
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    Lots of children seem to go through this phase. I remember someone saying to me that it's their way of asserting their independence. That maybe as well, but as a parent it can be very frustrating.

    My husband and I ended up deciding that they would eat when they were hungry, and in fact, as humans we are meant to be grazers and not sit down to three huge meals a day; so toddlers are just following what they have been programmed to do through evolution, rather than what we have been programmed to do through society. As an adult you know that when you're not very hungry it can be hard to eat; toddlers are exactly the same, they just can't verbalise it and say 'I'm not hungry right now.'

    Please don't feel there is a correct way to feed your child. If distractions work and get more food into them then carry on. That's you ultimate aim. My theory is, they won't need those distractions when they're sixteen. The techniques you use now, are exactly that, just for now, to get you through this phase.

    You might want to try giving him little and often. So cook him his normal food and when he gives up after a few mouthfuls, take it away, carry on with what you were doing and come back to it in say half an hour, or less if you can. It can be time consuming, but I believe that your son is going through a phase, so you won't have to do it for long.

    What you want to avoid is making meal times into a battle zone, so when he refuses, be very matter of fact, take the food away and try again later.

    Hiding vegetables is not unusual, there are several books out there, with authors making a fortune, on how to hide veggies in kids food.

    There may also be a reason for his food refusal, I know if mine were coming down with something or they had some teeth coming through then they would go off there food. Whatever the reason, I'm sure it's a phase.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    cyuen2020 is offline Registered User
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    I have a son in 15-mth, he started to refuse milk from his 5th month and never get back to the track that other baby does. I think the 220ml that your baby drank is in a meal, not a day. I have never came across other babies worsen than my son's situation, so you need not to be too worry. My son on average take only 10 - 13oz daily, plus 2 solid food (rice, not congee). Overall he is not a great eater, but he is doing fine, active and healthy even though his percentile is always at the bottom of the growth chart. As long as there is no drastic drop, doctor said it will be fine.

    There is a chinese tradiitional practice that we can consider using rice water to mix the milk, so I used the boiled red rice water to mix the milk for feeding him and it seems working well so far recently. Red rice has more minerals and make him more filling. So, we also give him red rice water for drinking to replace for plain water too. Dietitian said to us giving juice is better than plain water, because it contains sugar while plain water has no nutritient value.

  4. #4
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    cyuen...why is he having 2 meals not 3? is there a reason for that?

    to the OP, i second completely what jools says. she is usually spot on with her advice.

  5. #5
    cyuen2020 is offline Registered User
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    We used to feed him 3 solid in terms of cereal when he was 8-10mth old. Now he don't like cereal anymore, so we feed him milk as the 1st meal of the day, after a while yogurt (6 tbsp) in morning and sometimes egg custard in the afternoon.

  6. #6
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    maybe you should try to liven up your offerings.

    my girl (also 15 months) eats everything we eat: pizza, curry, beef stew, thai noodles, mac & cheese, peanut butter sandwiches, fish n chips, as well as all the chinese food that we eat (hubby is chinese).

    why not try some dry cereal (cheerios or something like it) or fruit for breakfast? or a cheese sandwich cut into little pieces that he can feed himself? or yoghurt? or eggs? or a little cooked ham cut up to feed himself? or sausages cut up to feed himself?

    for lunch try some mac & cheese. this he can feed himself. it makes a mess but it isn't too bad. you can also buy some of the frozen mixed veg. add a little water and cook in the microwave for less than a minute (until it is warm, not hot), then drain the water and serve to the baby? he can feed himself with the small pieces. or you can make some home-made chicken nuggets, fish fingers etc.

    buy some cookie cutters and cut the sandwiches or slices of cheese with them. or cut them into long strips.


    i had one picky eater and one that eats anything and everything we put in front of her.

  7. #7
    aussiegal is offline Registered User
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    My 2 year old has been a picky eater from day dot but lately it has gotten worse. I'm trying to cut as many snacks between meals as I can and have cut his two bottles right down in size. It seems to be working as the last few days he has eaten better. He still needs to be distracted to eat but I'll do whatever it takes to get food into him because when he is hungry he's not very nice to be around :) Just like me actually, if i'm hungry stand clear!

  8. #8
    aussiegal is offline Registered User
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    cyuen2020 I agree with Carang, you really need to liven up your offerings and introduce a proper diet to your 15 month old. Toddlers need to get adequate vitamins and minerals to grow up strong and healthy physically and mentally. Their brains are still growing and developing and they need fish etc.

    A 15 month old should also have learnt to chew by now but i don't see how it can happen if you don't feed him lumpy food.

    If he's not interested in cereal it's probably because he is craving real food.

    I've also read that often a child/toddler needs to see a food 10 times before they eat it. It has often turned out to be the case for us.

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