Help with a VERY picky eater - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 08-09-2007, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
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My son is 2 1/2 years old and he is beyond picky. I know that toddlers go through phases and that they really don't need to eat as much as most adults think they ought to, but my ds is far beyond this. There are no foods at all that I can count on him to always eat and many days, he refuses almost everything I offer him. How can I get him to eat more? He rarely eats 3 meals. I'll be taking him in the the pedi soon, but I'm almost certain that I'm going to be told to try giving him pediasure. We already do this but he won't drink it very often. I need some way to get some nutritious foods into him.

I guess my real questions are these:

How can I get him to eat more


Does anyone have some ideas for meals/snacks that are healthy but very kid friendly?
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#2 of 9 Old 08-09-2007, 05:33 PM
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Are you nursing? Nursing has definitely helped round out my kids nutrition. I know that they are at least getting something good then.

I don't think you can get them to eat more. Just offer healthy things and let him choose.

Its okay to see your ped to rule out any physical problems but beyond that just provide good choices and he will eat when he's hungry.

My friend's son was just like yours, he wasn't nursing at 2.5, and around 3.5 he just started eating. It just started one day and its been consistent ever since.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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#3 of 9 Old 08-09-2007, 05:54 PM
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First, I love your son's name. I would have liked a boy with that name (my partner rejected it though so it's just as well we have two girls)!

My daughter, Eleanor, is a reluctant eater. She takes a long time to eat and she wouldn't eat any vegetables, fruits or mixed texture things...ever. Then she turned 3, and viola she's doing much, much better. I attribute it to a few things:
  • we weaned
  • we started a sticker chart for trying new foods
  • she started attending a preschool that encourages whole foods and encourages kids to "take one bite" of each new thing

But, honestly, I believe nothing that we did had anything to do with it. In general I've just 'let go' and she can do whatever she feels like with regards to food choice. She is in control and we give her a variety of foods and let her decide what to eat and how much with a bit of encouragment and cheering from us if she tries something new. I admit that her favorite foods are served often. We have a junk-food-free house, so that helps. We've never given her Pediasure. (I am not wild about the empty calories and high vitamins - I would worry that it would prevent the development of a natural urge to eat.)

If there is no significant nutritional deficiency/weight issue, I would try to be as hands off as possible. I know other people have much more challenging feeding issues with thier children than I have had, so please take this as my take on my minor picky eater.
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#4 of 9 Old 08-09-2007, 05:59 PM
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If the pedi isn't worried about his weight, then I wouldn't worry, either. I know it's a pain to prepare food for him only to have him refuse it, but as the mom of a child who has had serious eating issues, lemme tell ya...trying to feed them when they don't want to eat will make you crazy.

That said, have you tried "fun foods?" You know, making faces on pancakes and such? Also, if you can find a copy, buy Feed Me, I'm Yours. It's loaded with ideas for feeding picky eaters.

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#5 of 9 Old 08-09-2007, 06:03 PM
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Often it's pushing toddlers to eat that causes them to resist more and more.

Assuming there is no medical problem for this, it sound as though your son is just going through a normal phase of not eating much. VERY concerning for parents, but not unhealthy for the child.

I've read that a child of 2 only eats one good meal every 48 hours, and between those meals will just kinda pick.

My only advice would be make sure he's not filling up on milk and juice and not too worry too much about it (as hard as that is), if he's hungry, he'll eat. Also, if you find a food that works (assuming it's not cookies, or cake, or things like that), let him go nuts. If all he'll eat are bananas, for example, let him eat as much as he wants. And just try not to force him if he's not co-operating, as that might make things even worse. Put him on a multi-vitamin supplement if you're really worried he's not getting enough nutrients.

Not the best advice, I know, but really all I know to do. My own DD (21 months) is very similiar - she'll go what seems like days without really eating, but is happy, healthy, and active, so she's certainly getting enough, even if it doesn't seem that way. The same may be true for your son.

SAH Mama of two intact kiddos: Kaitlyn (31 Oct '05) and Julian (7 July '09).  signcirc1.gif

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#6 of 9 Old 08-09-2007, 06:05 PM
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Stop fighting. Nurse if he's still nursing. Provide healthy foods. Step back.

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#7 of 9 Old 08-09-2007, 06:08 PM
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I saw this article recently, and the concept stuck with me. Maybe it will be of interest to you:

(discussion of how probiotics treatment helps some kids eat a wider variety of foods, in the event that the child is avoiding certain food categories or favoring certain others due to food intolerances)
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#8 of 9 Old 08-09-2007, 07:30 PM
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Just let it go. Trust me. My son has been eating the same foods for 2 years now. Just let it go, or youll go crazy. And he takes probiotics and vitamins. You can buy books to read or whatever, but at the end of the day, you cant make a child put something in his mouth if he doesnt want it there. Sometimes my son will surprise me and want something to eat, out of the blue, but it only lasts temporarily, then he is back on his foods. He is 3 1/2, 47 inches tall, and weighs 43 pounds, so he is growing.

Me and my wonderful husband serve God. Blessed with twin girls 2/11/11. <3

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#9 of 9 Old 08-09-2007, 10:26 PM
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lots of good advice (very interesting about the probiotics) DD is 21 months and very picky, too.

A couple things I've noticed--she tends to eat differently depending where we are. If I pack a meal or a snack for an outing, sometimes she'll eat the thing she's refused 20 times at home. Not sure why, but...

Also, can you get DS involved in preparing meals? DD loves whole eggs (she has wood toy eggs), so I let her help crack the real ones, mix and watch me scramble them. She ate 5 bites (huge for her!).

Maybe try the nibble tray idea....put a variety of finger foods in an ice-cube or muffin tray (or just put them on a plate) and let DS snack on them throughout the day. This works well for my DD, especially since she'd rather stand while eating (I put the plate on a low ottomon in the living room or in her Learning Tower).

We're eating lots of homemade popsicles right now. It's not the ideal food, but I can sneak in yogurt, coconut milk, flax, and other things she won't eat otherwise. I use the smallest amount of maple syrup I can get away with to sweeten them.

It's really hard not to worry. I swear, DD only eats corn, peas, pine nuts, cheese, and sunflower seeds on a regular basis. : It's tough, but I just keep offering and try to stay low-key about it all. to you.
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