18 month old not eating..

  • My oldest son is 18 months old and nearly every meal refuses to eat. I encourage him to eat but he shakes his head no and turns away after just a few bites. Since he hasn't really been eating I'll keep a bowl of dry cereal or something wherever he's playing so he'll at least eat something but the last couple days he doesn't even snack. He hasn't been drinking as much milk as he had been either. It seems like he's more interested in playing, even if I have him in his high chair and he's nowhere near a TV we have this problem. I feel like he's not getting the proper nutrition he needs but I can't force him to eat, any advice? And he's not by any means a picky eater, he'll eat just about anything.

  • This is a pretty common phase for many kids. They are simply too busy to eat. That being said, most children will not starve themselves, so don't worry--when he is hungry he will eat. Just be sure you are not giving him non-nutritious items instead and make every bite count. Try to have a plate of cut up grapes or small cheese bites handy so he can snack on them. If he isn't hungry, don't push it. He will be and when he is hungry, make sure you are offering him nutritious dinners or lunches. Most kids get pretty good about not eating until there are McDonald's french fries around! LOL! Good luck and if you are worried about his weight gain or if he seems lethargic be sure to take him to your doctor. Otherwise, just make sure you have healthy items around!

  • I agree with MommyRN4...when babies are young they eat so much because they are growing so fast. It's pretty common for toddlers to really not eat much because they are sometimes slowing down their growth pace and just don't need as much food. They key thing, like MommyRN4 said, is to make what he eats count. So instead of having just carbs or something at each meal, consistently offer good sources of protein, dairy, fruits,  and veggies. If he only takes a few bites of it, don't stress and just offer snacks frequently. As long as he is not losing too much weight and behaving normally, I wouldn't worry. Good luck! 

  • As the last two gals posted decreased intake, and often slowed weight gain, is common between 18-24 months.  I find this is often a result of the fact that our toddlers start walking at this age and so there are so many more fun things to do than eat.  However, if you are concerned I'd have your child's doc take a look at things.  You do want to make sure his growth in height is not slowing, and that there isn't any reason that he isn't eating other than desire to play and explore the world.  I think that offering small frequent meals can help with this, and as the other gal said getting high nutrient foods in is important if your not getting a lot in him.  I think the other thing is getting him on a schedule so that he knows that regardless of what else is going on he has to stop and eat at certain times throughout the day.  Then having some rules around having him stay in his highchair for so long at each meal-eating or not.  A kitchen timer can help with this.  That way he will learn that even if he isn't eating he still has to hang out in his highchair-so might as well eat while he is there.

    Good luck and let us know how things are going,

    Jess