Used to be a great eater...now only wants snack foods...meltsdown at each meal....pediatrician says to offer one thing and then offer again 30 minutes later otherwise making a million things will only create a picky eater...lost a few ounces from 15-18month visit. Has anyone expereiced this?
I think this is a pretty common time for kids to go through this. If I remember right it was also aout the same time I started making my kids snack trays. I would take a small tray or divided plate & place a small amount of a few different nutritious foods on it. Things like cheese cubes, fruit, avocado chunks, whole beans, pb&j strips... This allows them to graze as they are hungry & still get a variety of good healthy food. They don't really need alot at this age.
When I saw the title, a weight loss concerned me. However, if it was really only a few ounces (are we talking 3 oz or 15 oz?), I would say that it could very well be weighing @ a different time of day, different clothing, etc. If he is growing in height and on track developmentally, I don't think it's a crisis. It does sound like it's becoming an emotionally charged struggle, though, which I would try to de-escalate, but not necessarily by letting him decide the menu at every snack or meal.
I'm in your pediatrician's camp, more or less. By 18 months, I would serve my kids whatever we were having. They could eat or not eat, but I didn't negotiate or argue or make alternatives. So long as it was something they had enough teeth for, that was the option. I also never gave my kids much cow's milk, so they weren't filling up on that (they nursed and ate other dairy). At snack time, I give one or two choices of a healthy snack (olives, cheese, nuts, fruit or veggies), but I do keep it to snack portions. I know that a lot of people think I'm very strict and that it's not fair, but I don't think that kids (or adults) need to love every meal they eat. They can eat less of it, or even skip a meal all together, that's ok, but they know I'm not making an alternative. I don't "make" them eat things. For instance, my DD (5 yo now) does not like pasta carbonara. Everyone else does, and I make it occasionally - perhaps every 6-8 weeks. If she's really hungry for dinner, she'll eat a little, but if she's not terribly hungry, she'll just skip dinner. She did that last week. That's fine. And she eats a big breakfast the next day.
I did the same as the PP. A suggestion I read was to use a muffin pan and fill the cups with different snacks. My son started the grazing thing around then, and still eats that way now (that's how everyone in our house eats...we don't have scheduled meal times, that's just how we are). I have an eating disorder, so I am really, really careful to let my son guide how he eats and not mess up his body's natural hunger cues, providing him lots of healthy options to choose from when he wants something. He's at a healthy weight for his body, lots of energy, is in great health so I feel like this "intuitive" (I guess this is a good word for it) way of eating works really well for us.