Baby Hints & Tips

Toddler not eating

toddler not eatingWe’re having real trouble feeding our 20 month old. He just says ‘down’ or gives the ‘finished’ signal almost immediately after he’s started to eat. It’s really stressing me out because he’s already so little for his age. We’ve tried playing with meal times, mixing up the food we offer, eating as a family, no snacks before meals and he only has a small amount of milk before bed these days….. Looking for any other tips or would love to hear from others that this is just a toddler not eating phase they all go through….

  • my sons now 3 and has been like that since 1. however its his tonsils that are the problem, he will be getting them removed soon! May
  • My just turned 2 year old is exactly the same. Issues with eating starting at 8mths and because my son was full of beans I was constantly fobbed off by health care professionals. It’s gotten so bad that he will go over a week without eating a thing! The hospital have reintroduced formula bottles just to maintain weight. The only other option is tube feeding. In our case it’s purely behavioural. He is now seeing a child psychologist (which I don’t think is going to fix the issue). It’s heartbreaking. And super super stressful. Have you been to a speech pathologist? Naomi
  • I’d let him eat on the go if he will. Lots of healthy snack foods and just let him graze. When you add up everything he ate that day you may be surprised. Emma
  • My 27 mth old is the same. Started around 2. Won’t eat anything for dinner at all. Lunch is sometimes a struggle. I give him what ever we are having. And he just plays in it. So I give him a plate of fruit which is his favourite so he at least has had something. Just try and stick to foods he happily snacks on and serve them up for main meals too. My older kids did it too and they are 13 and 14 now and love all foods. So no worry about them turning into fussy eaters. Kelly
  • Our eldest (not 2.5) was like this. So stressful. Turned out he had enlarged tonsils. Other side of the op now by three months and we haven’t looked back- he’s a different boy! Hez
  • Maybe try very small snacks more often. They still have little tummies at this age anyway. Keep a food/drink diary too so when u seek professional advice u have it on hand. If u r stressing out he may b picking up on that too. Is he uncomfortable sitting in his high chair/booster seat? Is he distracted while eating? Is he drinking too much water/juice? Are u feeding him or is he feeding himself? He may like u to feed him instead. Kate
  • Both mine did this and turns out our issues were just teething related. Hope things get better. Tammy
  • Have you tried giving him the remaining food while he’s in the bath? If my son doesn’t eat much tea I get his bath ready and just hand him 1 piece at a time (carrot, fish finger etc) and he usually puts it straight in this mouth so he can free his hands up to play… Kirsten
  • My daughter went though a phase where I would just let her graze. I’d leave the food somewhere she could reach it and she’d eat as she played. She doesnt really do it much anymore though and shes 21 months. Could he just be saying he’s finished because he’d like to play? It could be more serious though so definitely see a professional about it Annie
  • I would suggest seeing an ent. My son was like this from age 1. He had to have sustegen because his weight was dropping. He is now 4 and just 11 kgs. 2 weeks ago he had his tonsils removed. (Due to finding out they were very large and also recurrent tonsillitis.) I already see the difference. He now eats in half the amount of time he used to and eats what I put In Front of him. Danielle
  • A speech path hopefully could help, could be texture sensitivity Mal
  • My daughter is only 14 months but I have read that children under the age of 3 have such short attention spans that sitting and eating for longer than a few minutes is very difficult for them. So now and then when my daughter starts to get restless I pull her out of her high chair and let her walk around whilst continuing to eat. It means I have to chase her a bit but at least she eats a full meal. I figure that as she gets older I will teach her to sit down for an entire meal but atm this is a good system for us. The raising children network has more info about this. Hope it helps! Sherree
  • There’s a stage where kids are more concerned about playing then eating. My 24 month old will run back and forth between food and His toys so I just leave out his plate for awhile. If your not willing to do that which I understand try giving him a daily vitamin or something like pediasure to make sure he gets all his vitamins and such daily Lysha
  • Put little bowls of finger food snacks (chopped up apple, carrots cheese etc… Whatever he likes) around the house in areas he plays that way he can grab on the go… That way he doesn’t feel like he’s being stopped from playing… Still offer meal times but make food accessible so he eats when he’s hungry Sarah
  • I just follow my 1.5 year old all day with food lol. Always giving something different and I sometimes follow her with her dinner while its afternoon play time and give her her spoonfuls as she plays. Elle
  • I think thats a pretty normal phase. I found making my daughter’s dinner time much earlier did help (5pm ish) and she ate more, limit distractions and make it fun. Katie
  • my 3yr old was like this and it was very frustrating. We ended up starting him on multivitamin tablets and his eating habits have improved. He stilll snacks throughout the day but will eat a full meal at nightime. Unfortunately my 15 month old has now become extremely fussy and rarely eats. So we just give small snacks throughout the day so he at least something in his stomach. Hailey
  • I’m reading a book called more peas please. It’s solutions for fussy eaters. A speech therapist gave it to read. Not to far in to it as. Yet but what I have read seems helpful. Might help you if you can get hold of a copy? Stephanie
  • Been through this & still going through it & my son is 2yrs 3 months, also very little & lean, about 6 months ago I put him on a morning & night formula bottle. I can now know he getting goodness from the bottles & his eating is slowly improving however is picky & fussy compared to most kids his age. I would try not to waste your energy stressing about it, they’ll eat when they are hungry. I’m amazed at how little my pocket rockets lives on ! Jana

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