How to get 2 year old to eat food????-Help - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 04-24-2006, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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My daughter will be 2 next month. She is only 22 pounds and hardly eats a thing. How can I get her to eat more? She loves her bottle and still drinks whole milk. I tried taking the bottle away and she lost weight.

What do you do to encourage them to eat?
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#2 of 11 Old 04-24-2006, 11:52 AM
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My dd still gets most of her nutrition from nursing, but we have found a few things that seem to up her intake of solid food:

Let her graze on snack portions. Her tummy is still too small to fill up on a few major meals, so letting her keep it balanced by snacking throughout the day is good. We offer fun stuff like dipping apple slices in yogurt. She also loves salads. Finally, rather than stressing about a 'balanced diet' each meal, we look at days or weeks. Somedays, she'll only want one or two foods at a meal, but over the course of a day or two she winds up choosing a healthy variety of nutrients.

Do unto children as you would have them do unto you ::
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#3 of 11 Old 04-24-2006, 11:57 AM
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I pop food in ds's mouth all day. He isn't much to sit at the table, or not for long. I put in pieces of cheese or fruit. Peanut butter on banana disks is good. I can get a bit of yougart in if he's really hungry.
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#4 of 11 Old 04-24-2006, 12:06 PM
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Offering a variety of healthy high calorie sancks can help. Lots of toddlers prefer to graze, so it can help to leave the food available on a toddler level table while she plays nearby. Nut butter on ww crackers; fruit smoothies made with whole milk yogurt; cheese cubes; cubed fruit with yogurt dip. Also, she might just be naturally on the small side. Have lots of healthy foods available, and then don't stress about it too much.
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#5 of 11 Old 04-24-2006, 01:05 PM
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although we are still having probs with eating i do find that ds eats more at snacks if he can graze. i only put him in the highchair 1-2 times a day for the messy foods. other than that he gets lots of healthy crackers, cheese, raisins, or dried fruit if he will eat it. Its not much but its better than being worried about it. Well i still worry and wonder and watch but i don't stress it in front of him. That seems to make it worse (and the book i am reading says to not show it to the kids as they can turn it into a power struggle).
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#6 of 11 Old 04-24-2006, 02:21 PM
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We have a skinny kid who won't eat as well. We found the magic bullet for her is popcorn drowning in olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. She never ate food from a spoon, and turns her nose up at most high calorie foods. We sit her in the high chair and just hand her the oily popcorn one after the other.

Another one that always works is frozen blueberries. I know it's still low cal, but at least she eats it.

I understand how frustrated you are, especially when doctors start wagging their fingers at you. Good luck!
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#7 of 11 Old 04-24-2006, 02:24 PM
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Toddlers are designed to still get most of their nutrition from nursing.

Also- just a heads up- popcorn is one of the top choking hazards.

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#8 of 11 Old 04-24-2006, 02:33 PM
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Prepare simple foods, some seasoned, some not, from each food group, and offer them ALL at the same time at each meal. Do not offer foods combined with each other, and do not require her to eat. If she eats, great, if she doesn't, great. Toddlers will typically eat as much as they need, of the foods that they need when offered the opportunity to do so. She will pick up on your stress if you are anxious about her eating. Some ideas are:
cooked pinto/black/kidney beans
small squares of cheese
half a toasted multi-grain bagel with cream cheese or jam
cooked cubed sweet potato
sliced banana

If you put all of these things on a plate in seperate piles, and offer them together, you might just be surprised to see that she picks one of them and starts to chow down. You can continue to offer more of whatever food she's gobbling up, and remember to offer that food at most meals for the next several days. Another idea is to ditch the highchair if you haven't already. My ds is 16 months, and stopped eating..... as soon as I put him in a chair at the table, he started chowing right down again. He wants to be just like his sisters!
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#9 of 11 Old 05-07-2006, 03:58 PM
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have you read, "My Child Won't Eat" by Gonzalez (sp?). LLL puts it out. He is an MD and gives some good suggestions.
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#10 of 11 Old 05-07-2006, 05:38 PM
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For those who want to try the regular-table over highchair, DS has always had the fisher price booster seat with the tray, but I took the tray away at a bit over a year permanently. He eats with us at the table in his booster seat.

He's a good eater, I just offer whatever we're having. Spicy, mixed, nothing bothers this child--in fact, he eats veggies MUCH better as part of another dish, soup or curry than plain.
I say offer whatever you are eating in a TINY amount and give her more if she wants it. JMO. (unless of course it's a food she can't chew.) Don't put any expectation that she won't like DS eats sardines with my DH...I REALLY have to work to not show my disgust at this...they STINK to me!

There are meals where he eats next to nothing, then he'll have one where it seems like he will NEVER STOP all balances. One trick that has NEVER failed me yet is to have a plate or a cup with something in it, obviously MINE and him not sitting in highchair to eat...he ALWAYS wants some! lol

Mine is really into dips. Any dip. He also will *always* eat fruit of any type pretty much and tomatoes and cucumbers cut up. I would've never thought of giving a baby cucumber till I talked to a homeopath...when he was probably 9 months old I let him start sucking on big chunks he couldn't get anything off of and he's loved it ever since.

lovin DH since 1/04, best mom for my 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), one 13 wk (10/13) and 5/15 just your average multigenerational living family!!
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#11 of 11 Old 05-07-2006, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by emilys_mom1
How can I get her to eat more? She loves her bottle and still drinks whole milk. I tried taking the bottle away and she lost weight.

What do you do to encourage them to eat?
You need to bottle-wean her, even if it means that she eats less in the short term. Forget about all of the ideas posted above unless and until she is drinking all milk from a cup (or from breast of course, but I am assuming from your post that she has been weaned from the breast).

Babies of 12 months should be getting no more than 16 ounces a day of cow's milk or other dairy equivalent (e.g. three small containers of yogurt is equal to 16 oz of milk for this purpose). You need to count all dairy products that the baby is consuming in making this evaluation (milk, cheese, cottage cheese...) and not just cow's milk (please note that I am not counting breastmilk in this).

Too much dairy can lead to anemia because of insufficient variety in the diet and consequent lack of iron. Keep in mind that a child between one and three years of age needs much more iron than a baby - about 7 mg per day - and therefore more variety in food than a baby gets.

Most American doctors recommend that bottle weaning begin at 12 months in order to prevent over-consumption of milk. This is easily done for all bottles during the day (including breakfast - just give yogurt instead). The one before bed is the hardest but also the least important to wean a toddler off of.

The bottle is not a natural way of consuming milk. The volume and speed at which a toddler consumes milk through a bottle are much much more important than from the breast or from a cup and result in toddlers consuming way more than they should, making them too full to consume other foods. This might not be a big deal while a baby is still a "baby" but when she becomes a real toddler, it can be nutritionally disastrous.

Here is a link to the most recent study on the link between prolonged bottle feeding and anemia.

Roman Goddess, mom to J (August 2004) and J (April 2009).    h20homebirth.gif signcirc1.gif
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