My 2yo does not eat! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 17 Old 08-20-2007, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS turns 2 on Friday, and he eats solid food like a 12mo, if that. He will eat plenty of fruit but never more than a bite of broccoli, and no good protein sources other than eggs and also dairy, which needs to stay limited. No lentils or beans. No meat. He looooves to nurse and could almost go the whole day without eating anything else sometimes.

I need ideas.

I want to follow his lead, but seriously. I'm worried about his protein and iron intake. We also have some family issues (that I have really no control over) which may keep him away from me for longer than he should be away. True, he probably eats a little more when I'm not around, but definitely not enough.

He won't drink more than a sip or two of smoothie a day. If I leave snack trays around, either the food becomes play and thus on the floor, or the dogs get to it. I've tried only offering veggies, cooked several different ways. I've tried several kinds of meat, cooked different ways. Nope.

What makes this even harder is that I'm a single working mama now already almost at the end of my rope, so cooking lots of things and them not being eaten takes so much time, energy, and money.

It has been this way from the beginning of introducing solids, even though I did everything "right." Has anyone dealt with this? I'm so thankful that I am able to have him with me at work all day and so I can nurse him, but if this "situation" doesn't go our way, I'm worried about him. Plus it would be nice to not be nursing him QUITE so much. He still wakes every 2-3 hours to nurse at night.

There is no indication or family history of food allergies.

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#2 of 17 Old 08-20-2007, 09:48 PM
 
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Avocado? Nut/seed butters on apples/celery? What about eating cashews? Ds loves them, they are pretty easy to chew. Does your ds have his molars? Is he nursing tons because they are coming in or is just normal for him? Sometimes I make a granola with raw almonds & sunflower seeds-throw in the food processor with some soft dates and cinnamon and process. It's so yummy with some almond milk. You can also make almond milk easily by soaking almonds overnight, then blend (or use a food processor) with dates, water, and salt. I hope that is helpful!! Mary

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#3 of 17 Old 08-20-2007, 10:08 PM
 
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I do a lot of coconut milk in things, cereal, smoothies.
Ds wouldn't touch meat until last week, then bam! He loves it!
I make homus, because he loves dipping broccoli and carrots in it, or crackers too.
You could also freeze smoothies into popsicles.
I also hide things in my smoothies:
Berries
Banana
Coconut milk
Lettuce or kale
broccoli (cooked)
carrots (cooked)

you can't taste the greens if you add enough berries

I also mix up a little snack pack containing, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and dried fruit.

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#4 of 17 Old 08-21-2007, 01:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your replies! It seems there is a theme today.

He won't drink more than a sip or two of smoothies. I do usually put lots of things in my smoothies, although I've tried many different concoctions, from different types of protein to plain ol' strawberry banana smoothies.

He chews up and spits out any nuts. Won't try nut butters. Chews up and spits out granola unless it is soaked/softened in almond milk like a cereal.

He nurses that way all the time, for a long time.

He won't eat tomato-based sauces. He makes a bit deal about wanting "noondles" but will only eat one or two noodles.

Again, I'm okay with nursing him, but because of our situation I'm hoping to encourage a more well-rounded diet and more volume as well.

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#5 of 17 Old 08-21-2007, 01:23 AM
 
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I highly recommend the book My Child Wont Eat! I wouldn't worry about the no meat thing it is extremely healthy to have a vegetarian diet.

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#6 of 17 Old 08-21-2007, 01:31 AM
 
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children need far less protein than most people seem to think...my children are complete vegetarians, and there's never been an issue.

maybe he's in a lull in his growing, and doesn't NEED to consume a whole bunch. and breastmilk is really pretty complete nutrition...it's amazing how it literally changes to match the age of the child.

my four-year-old hardly eats solids at all, and i have found SOME solutions, for us, anyway. she has dysphagia, which makes oral intake of solids difficult for her...she'd've breastfed til she was eighty, had i let her. as it was, i nursed until she was four and two months. (yeah, i catch flack. but i could care less, she needed it.)

when i find a food that she WILL eat, i freeze several portions in ziplock snack bags. perfect single-servings that i can quickly reheat in the microwave or under running water...without having to go to all the trouble of cooking.

i offer her food throughout the day, and plenty of liquids. yes, to the smoothies. her pediatrician suggested that we offer the solids BEFORE giving her a drink...and this HAS increased intake a bit. at four and four months, she's up to 32 pounds.
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#7 of 17 Old 08-22-2007, 01:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks again for the replies. I don't mind him not eating meat except that he is not eating vegetarian protein sources either.

He hasn't eaten much in the way of solids ever, so I can't attribute it to a lull in growing.

Thank you also for the book recommendation. This is really frustrating because I feel that there is just some innate reason he doesn't eat and wants to nurse, although he is completely healthy. I would be more than happy to continue the way we are except that I'm afraid the courts will force ds to have visits with his father longer than is good for him, and he will come home starving (like he already does with the visits he has now). This is my only reasoning for trying to see if anybody had some magic idea.

Prenatal/Pediatric Chiropractor (Diplomate) , raising the next generation drug-free!
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#8 of 17 Old 08-22-2007, 01:12 AM
 
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I'm not a mama but a behavior analyst who has worked with families with children with disabilities including food refusal and other food issues. One of the best ways I have found to get kids to expand their repretoire of preferred foods is to offer the new food for a week or two with only the expectation that it remains on the plate/tray. The child doesn't have to touch it, taste it, just tolerate it being present. Then after that isn't an issue, encourage touching it, putting in near the mouth. Not necessarily tasting it. Just exploring the texture, smell, etc. Then after a week or so when playing isn't an issue, encouraging the food to go in the mouth for a bite. Giving choices among non-prefferred items is good too. I know many people don't like using food as reinforcement but offering a bite of fruit contingent upon eating a bite of lentils (once he has been repeatedly exposed and explored them) can help a food to become preferred. If this sounds good you might want to consult a behavior analyst for a specifc plan for your little guy.

Good luck! It is such a tough situation to deal with...

Jenne

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#9 of 17 Old 08-22-2007, 02:01 AM
 
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My ds is almost 2 and hardly eats too... I often wonder how he keeps growing! But, he's healthy and strong so he must be getting enough of what he needs. I try to give him vitamins to supplement. He also nurses all night long. I've just decided to let him, I work full time so nighttime is sort of when we bond... even though we're both asleep.

I don't know what to tell you about the nursing all day. I think ds would too if he was around me all day.

I'm not meaning to trivialize your concern... only you know if there is something wrong... but I think we often expect kids to eat more than they really need. I know I eat more than I need! And I really believe that kids have a good sense of what they need... as long as they don't become addicted to junk food that is.
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#10 of 17 Old 08-22-2007, 03:28 AM
 
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I think you may be in a position where you need to start figuring out if he's just 'picky' or if he actually has food aversions/difficulty with food.

If he eats only eggs and dairy and a range of whole grains and fruits, I honestly wouldn't be worried. He's getting protein from nursing, from eggs and dairy. He's getting vitamins from the fruit and grains. I know very few kids who will take more than a bite of brocolli! My kids have two veggies they will eat consistently: peas (fresh and cooked) and fresh carrots (and heaven forbid they should be mixed!!). Ds will eat tomatoes and fresh beans in season, but not much else. Neither of my kids will eat legumes because they don't like the feel of them in their mouths.

Which brings me to: Another thing to look at is texture of food and whether this could be a sensory issue. If it is, it's something that might benefit from occupational therapy in order to help him deal with the sensory aspect of it.

So, take a look at what he will eat - what does it have in common, taste-wise and texture-wise. Some kids will eat only smooth things, some crunchy. Some will eat either smooth or crunchy, but nothing in between. My dd is like this - she took a long time to get used to certain foods, night nursed until close to 3, and is very cautious of new textures. I suspect she's also a 'supertaster' as she's VERY sensitive to spicy foods, and has incredibly sensitive smell (especially for a 3 year old).

But she doesn't strike me as ever being as extreme as your ds is. We've had real success with introducing things slowly, kind of like a pp said. Put it on her plate, let her play with it. Then smell it. Then take a bite. Many things, she's said 'no' to. But the other day, she discovered she liked watermelon!

Somewhere I read that it takes 10 or more introductions of a food before a child will often try it, so don't give up.

Other books I would suggest:
Just Take a Bite: Easy Effective Answers to Food Aversions and Challenges
I liked:
by Ellyn Satter. She's got another book called "How to Get Your Child to Eat: But not too much". I've never read it, so I don't know how good it is.

If you think his issues might be sensory, then I recommend:
Sensational Kids
The Out of Sync Child

I would also keep a food log to see just what he DOES eat and see if you can work on expanding it from there. If he comes home from his dad's hungry, it could be for a variety of reasons. My dd is always desperate to nurse when she's been away from me for a while. It has zip to do with hunger.

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#11 of 17 Old 08-22-2007, 03:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiro_kristin View Post
I would be more than happy to continue the way we are except that I'm afraid the courts will force ds to have visits with his father longer than is good for him, and he will come home starving (like he already does with the visits he has now). This is my only reasoning for trying to see if anybody had some magic idea.
Do you send pumped milk with him?

Timmy's Mommy WARNINGyslexic typing with help of preschooler, beware of typos
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#12 of 17 Old 08-22-2007, 09:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks again!

I really doubt it is sensory, probably more picky, but a diary is a good idea.

He won't drink expressed milk.

Prenatal/Pediatric Chiropractor (Diplomate) , raising the next generation drug-free!
DS - CJ :, the love of my life
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#13 of 17 Old 08-22-2007, 10:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiro_kristin View Post
It has been this way from the beginning of introducing solids, even though I did everything "right." Has anyone dealt with this? I'm so thankful that I am able to have him with me at work all day and so I can nurse him, but if this "situation" doesn't go our way, I'm worried about him. Plus it would be nice to not be nursing him QUITE so much. He still wakes every 2-3 hours to nurse at night.
DD is 2.5, and still eats very little solids - some days she eats less than a tablespoon. She is at 55% height and 55% weight and looks just great. She rarely gets sick, and is very active.

I think its very normal.

I think toddlers are supposed to get the bulk of their calories from breastmilk... no matter what many Western peds say.

Also... I don't think eating more solids will help much with the night nursing, sorry to say. DD still nurses 4-5 times a night no matter how much she eats during the day. MAYBE it helps a little to delay that first night waking if she gets protein before bed, but I don't really think it makes much difference.
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#14 of 17 Old 08-22-2007, 10:49 PM
 
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My almost 2 yo eats and drinks very little besides breastmilk, too. It doesn't bother me when he seems content, but he frequently goes through bouts of acting ravenous, but refusing all food, and unable to seem to fill up on breastmilk. Then he's miserable.
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#15 of 17 Old 08-23-2007, 11:45 AM
 
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I agree with Lynn on considering sensory issues. Also, when he chews something and spits it out, maybe it's hard for him to swallow it. Are there any correlations with what foods he swallows and what he spits back out? My ds doesn't really know how to chew and swallow solids, so he will bite foods, suck on them for the flavor, and then spit them back out. The only food he really gets down is yogurt. We are doing occupational therapy through Early Intervention (it's free and they come to him). Try not to convince him to eat more and worry about it because that can really backfire so that they end up eating less. I like what Ellyn Satter says in her books:
The parent is responsible for the what, when and where of feeding; the child is responsible for how much and whether of eating.
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#16 of 17 Old 08-23-2007, 11:58 AM
 
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I thought I'd pop a link in to Ellyn Satter's website-- she's got some good pdf files about this issue.

Look under the heading 'Educational Materials'....

Pregnant and/or breastfeeding since May, 2004, with dd6, ds4, and dd born 9/11.
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#17 of 17 Old 08-23-2007, 04:05 PM
 
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Hi Kristin.
I think considering what must be at least some emotional confusion for CJ, he's "behaving" normally. My oldest didn't eat anything (or so it seemed) for the second year of her life. Now her appetite is huge. I think she was going through a stage and I've heard from other moms that the age of 18 - 30 months can be tough for food. Although I know you wouldn't go there, try to resist the temptation to offer something sweet just to get him to eat *something*.

Best of luck and let us know what you discover.
Kate.

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