3 year old that won't eat/grow properly - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 25 Old 06-02-2014, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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3 year old that won't eat/grow properly

Hello everyone!

This is one thing that has been weighing on my mind for … let's see … too long now.

We had a very very rough start with solid foods with my daughter. And it just continued and continues … it's never really gotten good, just slightly better. At this point, she eats all meals a day, just usually very tiny portions and only specific things (you won't see her eating any veggies or meat - she's only into carbs and some fruit, and she loves yogurt, but doesn't really drink much milk).

On top of that, she started falling from one growth curve to another and now is at about 3% growth wise and 4% weight wise.

We've been to specialists, but the specialists fail at finding anything or finding a solution for us. Our gastroenterologist pretty much just shrugged (after a few visits and tests) and said that she will simply just be a small girl (which doesn't worry me, it's just the fact she's so darn tiny now and looks about 1-1.5 years younger than kids her age - she even hardly has any hair, still and is very pale).

I've seen two different nutritionists and those basically just told me everything I already knew and none of it helped me. In the end they prescribed my daughter some 'nutritional drinks,' which my daughter unfortunately won't drink, plus she doesn't drink smoothies, so we can't even mix it into anything.

I've been at the end of my rope with her non eating and non-growing already several times and have posted in many places, but nobody seems to have an answer for us … so I'm thinking of trying one more time here …

I wonder if any of you are struggling with a similar problem and whether you've found something that helped?

My daughter is 3 years old now (just turned) and weighs 12kg (26lbs and 7 oz) and measures only 87.5cm (c/a 2 feet and 10 inches, like an average two year old). When she was born - all the way until she was about 1 year old, she was on the 50% percentile, now she's barely on a 3rd one … I breastfed her until she was 14 months old. Exclusively only until about 10 months, then I got literally yelled at by her doctor telling me she *HAS* to eat solids now (that's pretty much when our troubles started - with stressed out me).

Any advice will be deeply appreciated.

Btw, I'm 5'3" and my husband is 6'1", so we're not exactly tiny either of us.

Proud mommy to our stellar Stella (3/2011). 

Last edited by Wilhelmina; 06-03-2014 at 02:02 AM.
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#2 of 25 Old 06-02-2014, 05:56 PM
 
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This may or may not help but my friend and her DH have a 2.5yo who is what you describe your DD being like. My friend is 5'10" and her husband is something like 5'6".So they are not small people either. Yet their son is in the 5th percentile for weight. He is a very healthy and happy kid and met all of his milestones. I'm assuming your daughter is also meeting all her milestones? Anyway, what they did is their doctor put him on a medication that supposedly enhances his appetite. He is on it for two weeks then takes two weeks off. My friend told me that it has helped his appetite somewhat although he is still a small kid. So that may be an option for you. Good luck!
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#3 of 25 Old 06-02-2014, 05:57 PM
 
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If you need it I can find out the name of the medication.
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#4 of 25 Old 06-02-2014, 06:32 PM
 
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Hi! I'm so sorry for your DD's troubles. I'm following along, as my 15 month old DD doesn't eat much and has slipped in recent months from 50th percentile weight to 16th. I'm not terribly concerned, per se. She hits all her milestones just fine and luckily I'm still breastfeeding her, almost exclusively some days.

She has one confirmed allergy and a few suspected intolerances, which makes me think perhaps she's wary of food because of discomfort food causes her. But who knows if I'll ever know. Peds and specialists have been pretty unhelpful so far, and as I committed to full term breastfeeding, at least I'll rely on that for the time being.

Anyway, you're not alone. I hope you find some answers!!
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#5 of 25 Old 06-02-2014, 07:09 PM
 
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Have you heard of Ellen Satyr, the author of "Child of Mine: Feeding With Love and Good"?

She has a good website that has some basic information about feeding and eating. Here's a couple of good pages to start with:

"11 to 36 Months: Feeding Your Toddler"
http://ellynsatterinstitute.org/htf/11to36months.php

"Ellyn Satter's Division of Responsibility in Feeding"
http://ellynsatterinstitute.org/dor/...yinfeeding.php

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#6 of 25 Old 06-03-2014, 02:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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If you need it I can find out the name of the medication.
I would love to know the name of that medication, however, I'm not sure how much good would it do us as she won't take any medication or anything, really, that she doesn't know what it is. Or even when she does know what it is - she just won't take or eat anything she hasn't eaten before. There is no reasoning with her and no forcing her. Fortunately, she has never been seriously sick and never had to take antibiotics because I don't know what we would do ...

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#7 of 25 Old 06-03-2014, 02:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi! I'm so sorry for your DD's troubles. I'm following along, as my 15 month old DD doesn't eat much and has slipped in recent months from 50th percentile weight to 16th. I'm not terribly concerned, per se. She hits all her milestones just fine and luckily I'm still breastfeeding her, almost exclusively some days.

She has one confirmed allergy and a few suspected intolerances, which makes me think perhaps she's wary of food because of discomfort food causes her. But who knows if I'll ever know. Peds and specialists have been pretty unhelpful so far, and as I committed to full term breastfeeding, at least I'll rely on that for the time being.

Anyway, you're not alone. I hope you find some answers!!
How I wish I had breastfed at least until she was 2 years old. The main reason why I stopped is because I hoped she would start eating more solids .. that was a huge mistake as it really didn't make her eat much better … Sometimes I wonder if I should try to restart - somehow - my milk production and start breastfeeding her again. IF she'd want that now …

Milestones-wise she's fine. She's behind only physically - doesn't run very well - but I think it's because she's just not a physical kind of kid. She's much happier just sitting in a corner with a book.

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#8 of 25 Old 06-03-2014, 02:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Chicharronita View Post
Have you heard of Ellen Satyr, the author of "Child of Mine: Feeding With Love and Good"?

She has a good website that has some basic information about feeding and eating. Here's a couple of good pages to start with:

"11 to 36 Months: Feeding Your Toddler"
http://ellynsatterinstitute.org/htf/11to36months.php

"Ellyn Satter's Division of Responsibility in Feeding"
http://ellynsatterinstitute.org/dor/...yinfeeding.php

Thank you for trying to help me out, but it really seems like a typical run-of-the-mill advice everyone gets about feeding a child, etc. I've read stuff like this about a million times over. None of the basic advice will help me because we do not have an average/normal child that has a normal relationship to food.

I'm actually considering a child psychologist …

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#9 of 25 Old 06-07-2014, 06:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Wilhelmina View Post
How I wish I had breastfed at least until she was 2 years old. The main reason why I stopped is because I hoped she would start eating more solids .. that was a huge mistake as it really didn't make her eat much better … Sometimes I wonder if I should try to restart - somehow - my milk production and start breastfeeding her again. IF she'd want that now …

Milestones-wise she's fine. She's behind only physically - doesn't run very well - but I think it's because she's just not a physical kind of kid. She's much happier just sitting in a corner with a book.
Oh gosh, yes- I totally understand your reasoning behind weaning.

In fact, I've started fibbing to the doctors about how well (poorly) my DD is eating, because I know they'll pressure me to wean- I wouldn't be able to stand up to that "expert" pressure. And I'm terrified of cutting off DD's sole source of nutrition without being CERTAIN she'll actually start eating more. So, here I am, glad in a way that I'm still nursing and able to give DD at least a bit of nutrition.... but wondering if/when she'll become interested in solids. And worrying a whole bunch, too.

Sigh.

Thinking of you and your LO. I hope you find answers soon. Til then, :

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#10 of 25 Old 06-07-2014, 08:09 PM
 
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Our daughter was behind the growth curve for the entire time, and kept dropping steadily, so no sudden drop. You might expect some drop with any transition. I think yours is pretty big.

Our daughter visited an eating therapist, which is essentially an occupational therapist for physical eating difficulties. It was enlightening, and helped me relax about her eating.

I would be looking for signs of allergies or intolerances, though I wouldn't be too concerned if nothing's been obvious yet. However, I often realized I was overlooking a key sign as a normal occurrence.

If you are not doing it already, do not limit her food intake in any way, and do not push it in any way. She might not be motivated by hunger (mine actually did not recognize signs of hunger for what they were) and avoiding or limiting some foods because of discomfort or sensory distaste.

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#11 of 25 Old 06-08-2014, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh gosh, yes- I totally understand your reasoning behind weaning.

In fact, I've started fibbing to the doctors about how well (poorly) my DD is eating, because I know they'll pressure me to wean- I wouldn't be able to stand up to that "expert" pressure. And I'm terrified of cutting off DD's sole source of nutrition without being CERTAIN she'll actually start eating more. So, here I am, glad in a way that I'm still nursing and able to give DD at least a bit of nutrition.... but wondering if/when she'll become interested in solids. And worrying a whole bunch, too.

Sigh.

Thinking of you and your LO. I hope you find answers soon. Til then, :
Oh please don't stop if your DD is having issues with solids … I actually stopped also because DD's pediatrician pressured me to. She told me that breastfeeding at that age wasn't any better than 'giving her water'. Yes, a DOCTOR said that. I am filing a complaint against her once I find out what her name is … I so WISH I didn't give in to the pressure … World is full of total idiots and tools and many of those are actually studied doctors … Grr. I get so angry just thinking back about it.

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#12 of 25 Old 06-08-2014, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Our daughter was behind the growth curve for the entire time, and kept dropping steadily, so no sudden drop. You might expect some drop with any transition. I think yours is pretty big.

Our daughter visited an eating therapist, which is essentially an occupational therapist for physical eating difficulties. It was enlightening, and helped me relax about her eating.

I would be looking for signs of allergies or intolerances, though I wouldn't be too concerned if nothing's been obvious yet. However, I often realized I was overlooking a key sign as a normal occurrence.

If you are not doing it already, do not limit her food intake in any way, and do not push it in any way. She might not be motivated by hunger (mine actually did not recognize signs of hunger for what they were) and avoiding or limiting some foods because of discomfort or sensory distaste.
There was no sudden drop with us either … it all happened gradually.

We're seeing the nutrition specialist again on the 27th, so we'll see if we can come up with anything. I'll ask her about a child psychologist/therapist and will try to pick her brain about maybe some healthy super foods to somehow hide in her diet. Oh dear God how I wish my daughter ate smoothies and didn't notice color changes/etc. in her meals! That way I could hide so many things in her favorite foods! But alas, no such luck … yet.

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#13 of 25 Old 06-08-2014, 05:10 PM
 
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Good luck with the nutrition specialist!

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#14 of 25 Old 06-09-2014, 03:41 PM
 
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My middle son is a tiny guy too, small mouth, skinny, hates to eat at mealtimes, won't finish drinks either. I let him graze on yogurt and fruit and nuts as snacks, all his favorites, and insist he try and eat some of his veg and meat at meal times. I serve ice cream and such, sometimes as a reward for finishing some food. If he gets too much grains he gets migraines and passes out so we recently learned to limit those, though he would gorge on them if he could. He's 5 and my 16 month old eats as much as him plus breastmilk too.

Besides encouraging him to eat nutritious foods, letting him have what he likes that's almost healthy, and avoiding what he doesn't tolerate, I try to be relaxed about it, some people are just small. His dad was kind of small for age when he was younger and is now 5'8 and heavy.
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#15 of 25 Old 06-11-2014, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just found out yesterday, that she's actually lost half a kilo (I think about 4-5 lbs) since like 3-4 months ago and grew only a couple of millimeters in a month. How can that be? I'm seriously at a loss … I don't know what to do. We're seeing the nutritionist on the 27th so I really hope we come up with something because I really can't handle this situation levelheadedly anymore … I try to act totally fine around her, I even repeat to her that she doesn't *have* to eat what she doesn't like and try to give her incentives to try new things and even give her something she loves after eating (in her case only somewhat) well, but it just isn't doing anything.

Her grandfather sometimes has a lot of success by feeding her with a spoon. But it's one of those things she won't let just anyone do and it also takes lots of patience and she has to be in the right kind of mood for it … so it's not really a solution. But even then it has to be something she likes (like yogurt with raisins).

I'm hormonal now and a little 'high' on caffeine, so I'm in a bit of a freak out zone … even though I know there is no miracle solution, I'm really really hoping that there is one and we'll find it soon.

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#16 of 25 Old 06-11-2014, 03:12 PM
 
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This is a good overview of which kids might need eating therapy. At young ages, it isn't so much the psychology that teen food disorders entail. It is a physical assessment of what might be preventing proper eating and techniques to help the child overcome them.

When weight/growth is becoming an extreme issue due to these (I didn't see pain associated with eating on the list specifically, which is what we went through) you start taking steps to make positive associations with eating, even at the temporary expense of strict nutrition. That's right, taste and texture come first, even if it means loading up on sweets.

When this happens, and if it gets food in her, let her eat sweetened yogurt all day, or smoothies all day. Don't sabotage the positive associations by doing anything that will alter taste and texture.

I wouldn't recommend it for just any picky eating, but when weight threatens to fall off the charts (as it did with my oldest) you start rethinking what's most important right now.

My youngest, who turned out to be the pickiest eater, still never dropped more than a little in her growth curve, so I've been able to feel comfortable sticking to relatively normal parental control over the quality of her food (admittedly weakened by my struggles with dd1).
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#17 of 25 Old 06-11-2014, 03:16 PM
 
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Also, this overview of feeding therapy.

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#18 of 25 Old 06-17-2014, 05:37 PM
 
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I read thru some of these... but, I can relate.

My soon to be 4 years old weighs less than 30 lbs... and is tiny. She is about the height of a 2 year old. DH is 6' and I am 5'2". But DD is smart. She is keeping up with her milestones. Pediatrician/NP was concerned with her growth, but she had a small spurt at 3.5 years old. That's when they stopped worrying. She is off the charts growth wise and has been for a long time. She eats well, though.

However, my 18 month old is a horrible eater, only eating 5 different things and organic formula. (I have IGT, can't breastfeed like a normal mother.) But, he is growing... I am concerned it will slow down so I kept him on formula.

My nephew was a poor eater. Now 4 years old. But, he is tall for his age. And, he is thin/normal build. He had a pale complexion... not hungry, not eating. My sister (per the recommendation of someone) gave him a raw-egg-drink mixed with other things and he started eating! He was getting hungry. He got his color back. I can ask for what drink that is. Does your daughter take bottle? Maybe she will take something in there if she doesn't drink smoothies. Maybe put it in something interesting.

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#19 of 25 Old 06-17-2014, 07:15 PM
 
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I know it's hard but try not to worry. My 3 year old daughter is only 24lbs and 36". We went to so many specialists. What finally helped her gain weight was fruit smoothies with full fat coconut milk. The kind that come in a can. Her GI doc said to add that to them. 4oz is like 24oz cows milk. We added about 1/4 of a cup per smoothie. As long as your daughter is following a curve she should be ok. My dd isn't on charts for weight at all. But us for height. We monitor weight but she is really healthy and active. Good luck!
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#20 of 25 Old 06-18-2014, 12:27 PM
 
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I would definitely look into food intolerances, if you haven't already. Be wary of anything she craves, it's actually quite common for people to crave the very food that's causing them problems, especially if the craving is a constant thing, especially if that craving dominates her diet and she refuses to eat much else (one day/week craving a food is an indication that she's got a gap in her diet, an entire year craving a food is a red flag). Food intolerances can cause a lot of problems, it can cause people to severely limit the number of foods they're willing to eat because your digestive system is so upset that it just can't handle many foods. I've seen a lot of cases (myself and our baby included) when cutting out the problem food made it easier to expand diet.

You might want her to get tested specifically for Celiac's if she's eating gluten grains (wheat is a big one, but not the only one). Loss of appetite, poor weight loss/growth, and upset digestive system (limiting what she can handle eating) are all signs of it. A lot of other food intolerances/allergies can cause the same problem, though, so it may be something else.

I haven't read all of it, but what I've read of
Cure Your Child With Food Cure Your Child With Food
I liked. It talks about, among other things, recognizing problem foods in your child's diet.

Kiddo was never great with solids, back and forth, and tended to eat WAY too much gluten. We kept trying to cut it out, but we relied on my dad for childcare and he'd practically force white bread on kiddo (he'd have a bite of chicken, a bite of vegetables, then dad would give him an entire SLICE of bread!). Since cutting out gluten, he's done a lot better all over the board- his sleep has improved, his digestive system has improved, and he's eating a much more rounded diet.

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#21 of 25 Old 06-28-2014, 06:33 AM
 
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I just wanted to start following this as this is the same issue (seriously, I could have written this post word-for-word) I'm having with my son who will be 3 in early October. I suspect in part our issue began because my husband is at home with him during the day and is a non-cooking carb junkie . But he literally eats the exact same foods you listed and won't eat the ones you listed . Just keeping an eye on this!

EDIT:
I've read the comments now and see that there are multiple who mention not worrying if they're hitting milestones. I'm not sure about the OP, but my personal main concern is the inadequate level of nutrition my child is receiving. His diet is far far from balanced and doesn't level itself off over the course of the week -- he's missing some nutrients and I can't even get him to chew a multi.
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#22 of 25 Old 06-28-2014, 01:10 PM
 
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I agree, just because a kid's hitting milestones doesn't mean there are no causes for concern. Malnutrition can cause a lot of problems, and if a kid isn't willing to eat a rounded diet or isn't growing, and both is worse, there's likely something very wrong. I know first-hand that you can't always realize just how much damage has been done to your health until you start fixing it and look back. There were a lot of things that we thought was just the way our baby was that turns out to have been caused by gluten. I'm darn well going to be worried about something that makes my baby suffer so much!

Your kid won't chew a multi- have you tried a liquid one? I'm lucky that kiddo has so far been willing to drink any supplement when I put it in milk, it's worth a try.

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#23 of 25 Old 06-28-2014, 08:46 PM
 
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I really hesitate to post this because it's so unusual and I don't want to cause fear, but my god-daughter had unexplained weight loss, refusal of food, vomiting/reflux and it turned out she had a brain tumor. The diagnoses was completely missed, because everyone was focusing on the GI issues and she was hitting milestone. A complete neuro work up and a CT scan would have caught it much earlier. Incredibly rare, but important to know about just in case.
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#24 of 25 Old 07-07-2014, 06:56 PM
 
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Hello everyone!

This is one thing that has been weighing on my mind for … let's see … too long now.

We had a very very rough start with solid foods with my daughter. And it just continued and continues … it's never really gotten good, just slightly better. At this point, she eats all meals a day, just usually very tiny portions and only specific things (you won't see her eating any veggies or meat - she's only into carbs and some fruit, and she loves yogurt, but doesn't really drink much milk).

On top of that, she started falling from one growth curve to another and now is at about 3% growth wise and 4% weight wise.

We've been to specialists, but the specialists fail at finding anything or finding a solution for us. Our gastroenterologist pretty much just shrugged (after a few visits and tests) and said that she will simply just be a small girl (which doesn't worry me, it's just the fact she's so darn tiny now and looks about 1-1.5 years younger than kids her age - she even hardly has any hair, still and is very pale).

I've seen two different nutritionists and those basically just told me everything I already knew and none of it helped me. In the end they prescribed my daughter some 'nutritional drinks,' which my daughter unfortunately won't drink, plus she doesn't drink smoothies, so we can't even mix it into anything.

I've been at the end of my rope with her non eating and non-growing already several times and have posted in many places, but nobody seems to have an answer for us … so I'm thinking of trying one more time here …

I wonder if any of you are struggling with a similar problem and whether you've found something that helped?

My daughter is 3 years old now (just turned) and weighs 12kg (26lbs and 7 oz) and measures only 87.5cm (c/a 2 feet and 10 inches, like an average two year old). When she was born - all the way until she was about 1 year old, she was on the 50% percentile, now she's barely on a 3rd one … I breastfed her until she was 14 months old. Exclusively only until about 10 months, then I got literally yelled at by her doctor telling me she *HAS* to eat solids now (that's pretty much when our troubles started - with stressed out me).

Any advice will be deeply appreciated.

Btw, I'm 5'3" and my husband is 6'1", so we're not exactly tiny either of us.
My 19 month old weighs around 24-25 lbs, hardly eats anything. He was 9 lbs at birth, and ever since then he has not gained too much. He is so so picky. Doesn't want meat , veggies, mainly only will eat pasta, breadsticks,cheese/ chesse sticks, some fruit( apples, sometimes cantaloupe and sonetimes banana) he likes yogurt and applesauce. Very very picky, so I feel ya. He will drink one pediasure a day, and occasionally a smoothie I make with peanut butter, banana and yogurt. I know it's frustrating. Bi make so many meals a day trying to get my little guy to eat. And I pray and pray. But he is full of energy and happy and healthy.
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#25 of 25 Old 07-07-2014, 06:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MammaAZ View Post
My 19 month old weighs around 24-25 lbs, hardly eats anything. He was 9 lbs at birth, and ever since then he has not gained too much. He is so so picky. Doesn't want meat , veggies, mainly only will eat pasta, breadsticks,cheese/ chesse sticks, some fruit( apples, sometimes cantaloupe and sonetimes banana) he likes yogurt and applesauce. Very very picky, so I feel ya. He will drink one pediasure a day, and occasionally a smoothie I make with peanut butter, banana and yogurt. I know it's frustrating. Bi make so many meals a day trying to get my little guy to eat. And I pray and pray. But he is full of energy and happy and healthy.
Oh and I bfed until he was 17 months. Now he chugs whole milk.
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