14 month old only drinking Pediasure (no food) - Mothering Forums
Life with a Toddler > 14 month old only drinking Pediasure (no food)
greeny's Avatar greeny 09:27 PM 12-19-2007
My friend's dd is almost 14 months old. She was formula-fed, and at a year was switched to Pediasure instead of formula. (The pediatrician said she wasn't getting enough calories from formula and needed a higher-calorie food-source.) She only drinks Pediasure and small amounts of water. Nothing else.

My friend is extremely concerned that her dd does not eat any solids. She drinks her Pediasure and that's it. She MIGHT take a bit or two of food, but eats such a small amount that it doesn't add up to much, even considering how small a baby's stomach is.

Her weight has been steady at 20 lbs for several months. She hasn't been losing but she hasn't been gaining.

She is active and happy and developing normally.

What advice, if any, would you give to my friend, who is very worried about her baby's diet?

Thanks in advance.

Tofu the Geek's Avatar Tofu the Geek 09:38 PM 12-19-2007
So, I really know nothing about Pediasure, but I assume it's comparable to formula? Meaning, she's getting all the same nutrients as formula, but geared to a toddler? If that's not the case, I'd get the mom to look into a "toddler formula".

As for the weight, if she's otherwise happy and developing normally (like you said she was), it's likely not a worry. My DD weighed 23 pounds at 11 months. She's 15 months now, and still weighs 23 pounds! Her height barely changed at all in that time period as well, although I have now noticed in the last couple of weeks, she's shot up a bit.

Is mom sitting her at meals and putting food in front of her to let her experiment with? As long as she's offering, I'm not sure what else you can do if the child is turning it down! Other than offering more of a variety, in case she just hasn't met something she liked. My first DD, was exclusively breastfed until 1 year and then BARELY touched any food until around 18 months. At 15 months, I still couldn't leave her for anymore than 3 hours as she needed her breastmilk (and refused to drink it from a cup). So, if it happens with breastfed kids, it's surely possible with formula fed kids too!
greeny's Avatar greeny 09:51 PM 12-19-2007
Quote:
Is mom sitting her at meals and putting food in front of her to let her experiment with?
Yes, but the bad thing is that my friend is so stessed about the eating that she keeps urging her baby to try foods, which gets the baby upset, and mealtime has become an unpleasant experience for everyone.

My friend has a hard time just following her baby's lead; she seems to think that if her friend's 14 month old is eating a whole banana for breakfast, and then some crackers for a snack, and then chicken for lunch (etc.) that her baby should be too.

I've suggested stopping meals and having a snack tray out, to take the pressure off of mealtime. She doesn't want to try that.

To be honest, I don't know that much about Pediasure or what's in it, but I'm assuming, like you, that it's sort of equivalent to toddler formula.
Tofu the Geek's Avatar Tofu the Geek 12:42 AM 12-20-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by greeny View Post
Yes, but the bad thing is that my friend is so stessed about the eating that she keeps urging her baby to try foods, which gets the baby upset, and mealtime has become an unpleasant experience for everyone.
Ya, it would be best if she just let babe play with the food and eat if she wants.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greeny View Post
I've suggested stopping meals and having a snack tray out, to take the pressure off of mealtime. She doesn't want to try that.
This is a really great idea, it is too bad she won't try it.
Ruthla's Avatar Ruthla 12:48 AM 12-20-2007
When DS was 14mo, he was mostly nursing, with a few nibbles of solid food here and there. He definitely ate a higher quantity of solids when he was 10 and 11mo than he ate at 13 and 14mo.

Really, what her baby is doing sounds normal to me. I'm glad she has her on pediasure instead of cow's milk- if she wasn't getting human milk or some sort of formula, and isn't ready for a lot of solids yet, I'd worry about malnutrition. I think she needs to continue to OFFER a variety of healthy foods, including the formula, and trust the baby to take in more solids when she's ready.
AEZMama's Avatar AEZMama 12:48 AM 12-20-2007
Pediasure is very filling for a little one-it's a few steps above formula. It's basically like a meal replacement with all the vites & mins in it. We had to do Pediasure for a bit as well, but what I did was cut the Pediasure a bit with either a little milk or water and just ran the gamut of foods to get ds to eat. It almost sounds like her LO is very attached to the drink, but maybe if she also institutes a routine where they sit together to eat, let LO self feed with fingers (make a mess, make it fun, etc) it might help.

Also, if she is stressed then her LO might be picking up on that as well. Tell her to take it slowly-little by little. She can't expect miracles overnight-it takes time. The other thing is to maybe have someone else help-ds didn't self feed until we went away for christmas last year and his nana and auntie took a try...and both succeeded where I was at my wits end. Sometimes a fresh perspective helps.
mamajama's Avatar mamajama 12:50 AM 12-20-2007
It really is too bad she won't do the snack tray! That's what I did with my kids when they were going through the 'grazing' phase of early childhood that is so normal. We'd sit down for meals and as they grew they'd sit for longer simply because it's an enjoyable time. Power struggles around food are so difficult to get out of but not too difficult to avoid.

I really hope she reconsiders the idea of accessable, healthy snacks for her little one throughout the day. I think it would be the solution to her worries. Also, I don't know how she's gaging how much her little one eats, but be sure that she's thinking in terms of weekly intake rather than daily. That might alleviate some stress. Some littles seem to eat like sparrows and it;s a wonder they can thrive, but when you look at the variety and nutrition they've consumed within a week, it makes sense.
LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6 02:21 AM 12-20-2007
Is the baby gagging on foods/resisting eating all together, or is she just eating so little that mom is worried?

If she's gagging and refusing most foods by mouth (so not even playing with them), I would suggest that she ask her pediatrician for a referral to an OT who does feeding therapy. There are toddlers who have feeding/oral aversions, and they can be helped.

There are a larger number of toddlers who just don't eat very much.

I would recommend two books to her:
Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense (by Ellyn Satter?)
Just Take a Bite

The first is aimed more at parents of typically developing kids and does a good job of showing how to take the battle/drama out of eating.

The second is aimed more at parents of kids with eating aversions.
katheek77's Avatar katheek77 02:57 AM 12-20-2007
If she's THAT worried, why not try the snack tray? Honestly. Sorry, it just annoys me when people say "My baby won't eat" but what they mean is "My baby won't eat exactly the way I/the doc/my mom expect her to". It's a pet peeve of mine.

FWIW, my DD was 19lb 2oz at 15mos - her 18mos visit is next month. She gets BM and supplemental formula...and has since a week. She's just little (was 7lb 15oz at birth, though). If she's developing normally and not LOSING weight, I wouldn't be worried about not gaining, esp. as I'm sure she's gotten more active over the past few months.

Anyway, we tend to 1) offer food off of our plates - the same exact food is much more interesting on my plate for some reason 2) Keep healthy, high-cal food in the fridge/pantry so DD can "pick" what she wants to eat (obviously, we don't keep candy, potato chips, etc. in those places) She walks over, I open the door, she points/grabs. 3) Have a snack plate out for her...raisins, other dried fruit, cheerios, whatever's around that is interesting and fairly non-messy 4) Let her use "grown-up" bowls/utensils/cups/seating if she wants it. (Obviously, you have to watch more closely with grown-up forks...) 5) Offer whenever I have food out (like, if I'm cooking, putting away groceries, etc), even if she hasn't wanted it before...I was making apple cobbler today, and DD asked for some apple, even though she's always spit it out...yah, she ate it. So, who knows? 6) Not stress over balanced meals...DD will eat nothing but cheese for two days, then nothing but blueberries for three or whatever. Over time, I'm pretty sure she's getting afairly balanced diet, esp. with the bm and formula.
eepster's Avatar eepster 04:32 AM 12-20-2007
To begin with you could have her rea this book, My Child Won't Eat!. Pediasure is very filling, a Dr reccomended it for DS and when I asked around her heard from mom after mom (here, at LLL meetings and at API meetings) that when they gave pediasure the LOs didn't want to eat anything else. I decided not to do pediasure and have found the best way to get DS to continue gaining wieght was to nurse him alot and avoid him filling up on the low calorie foods he likes best (I must have the only kid in the world who when given strawberries with whipped cream actually scrapes the whipped cream off and eats only the strawberries and gets excited by spinach salad.)
greeny's Avatar greeny 12:04 PM 12-20-2007
Thank you so much, everyone, for your responses.

Lynn, her dd is not gagging on food, and doesn't refuse all food outright. She just has very little interest, and will literally only take one, maybe two bites and be done. I thought of an oral aversion or something, but from what she's described, it doesn't seem like that (though I'll ask for for more details and suggest that if it sounds like it would help).

Quote:
If she's THAT worried, why not try the snack tray? Honestly. Sorry, it just annoys me when people say "My baby won't eat" but what they mean is "My baby won't eat exactly the way I/the doc/my mom expect her to". It's a pet peeve of mine.
Yes. I totally agree. Part of the problem is that my friend has this idea that she has to do everything the way her friends and/or the books do it. She has a really hard time breaking out of the box and trying something less conventional. She feels that all babies eat in highchairs at mealtime, so hers has to. Also, she has a small dog, and she says that leaving the snack tray out would be impossible with him around. *sigh*
hippiemum21580's Avatar hippiemum21580 12:25 PM 12-20-2007
I agree to cutting back on the pediasure. It is meant to be a meal replacment and is filling so I am sure her child is simply not feeling hungry. Maybe offer food first before the pediasure?
emelsea's Avatar emelsea 12:35 PM 12-20-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by hippiemum21580 View Post
I agree to cutting back on the pediasure. It is meant to be a meal replacment and is filling so I am sure her child is simply not feeling hungry. Maybe offer food first before the pediasure?
I agree! I'm not sure how her meal routine works, but she should try offering food first, before offering the Pediasure.
MamaB2C's Avatar MamaB2C 12:46 PM 12-20-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by hippiemum21580 View Post
I agree to cutting back on the pediasure. It is meant to be a meal replacment and is filling so I am sure her child is simply not feeling hungry. Maybe offer food first before the pediasure?
This is what my friend had to do. Her son wouldn't eat at that age either, and he was breastfed. She stopped offering him to nurse or drink juice in the mornings, and for an hour prior to mealtimes, and instead offered him some solids. He was filling up on milk and juice and therefore wasn't hungry! He eats more now that the food is what is offered first when he is hungry.
Xoe's Avatar Xoe 01:27 PM 12-20-2007
i don't have much time to write....but kids can have a wide variety of feeding problems. i know four 3 year olds with feeding issues-- and each one is different. my dd has reflux and scar tissue inside her tummy-- which makes food stay in her tummy a long time. you can't just know that type of thing. you need medical tests to find it out. another kid has oral aversion. another has something called EE. i say your friend needs to make an appt. with a pediatric gastro asap. it can take 3-6months to get seen, but the sooner you find out what's happening, the better. also, I feed my dd 350 cal Ensure Plus because at a certain age, pediasure won't be enough cals.

xoe
butterflykisses4's Avatar butterflykisses4 01:30 PM 12-20-2007
Has she tried putting yorgurt ont he table. Not in anything just a pile of yogurt ont he table? We have done this and actually added fruit juices to color it. My DD LOVES this she is 1. She plays in it and love the texture then of course puts some in her mouth. By the time we are done she is practically licking the table! LOL
Telle Bear's Avatar Telle Bear 02:21 PM 12-20-2007
My SIL had this problem with her son ( now 6) and he actually landed up having a sensory problem...but it was only with his mouth. He was only drinking formula and would lick the salt off of chips. He is fine now, but it took A LOT of work.

The doctors kept telling her not to worry, but she felt/knew something wasn't right. They landed up in Philly in some center that deals with kids and eatting issues.

I hope this doesn't scare you, I am a firm believer that mothers intuition is the way to go.
dawncayden's Avatar dawncayden 03:43 PM 12-20-2007
She could still put dc in a highchair, but leave the food in front of her and don't push it. Don't talk about it. If dc thinks its a big deal, than she's more likely to resist. This is if she won't try a snack tray.

Can she try a snack tray in addition to what she's doing now?
eepster's Avatar eepster 06:07 PM 12-20-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by greeny View Post
Also, she has a small dog, and she says that leaving the snack tray out would be impossible with him around. *sigh*
Having lived my life with lots of pets this would be a real problem, the dog would gain weight very qoickly but I doubt the child would.
Tofu the Geek's Avatar Tofu the Geek 06:20 PM 12-20-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
Having lived my life with lots of pets this would be a real problem, the dog would gain weight very qoickly but I doubt the child would.
Couldn't she leave a snack tray out for a few hours per day, and have the dog play outside during that time, or in another room (basement, spare room, etc.)? or maybe even have the pet stay with a trusted friend/family during "work" hours so that she could use the snack tray as a way to determine whether her child IS interested in food?

I don't have a small dog, so I can't say if this is workable, but I am pretty sure even if I did, that my child eating or not would come first and I'd work out something for the dog that would not be detrimental.
greeny's Avatar greeny 08:26 PM 12-20-2007
Quote:
My SIL had this problem with her son ( now 6) and he actually landed up having a sensory problem...but it was only with his mouth. He was only drinking formula and would lick the salt off of chips. He is fine now, but it took A LOT of work.

The doctors kept telling her not to worry, but she felt/knew something wasn't right. They landed up in Philly in some center that deals with kids and eatting issues.

I hope this doesn't scare you, I am a firm believer that mothers intuition is the way to go.
I've thought of this before, but to be honest, her intuition isn't to be trusted always. She is a severe hypochondriac, and lately the hypochondria has been manifesting itself in extreme worry about her dd. She's had "intuition" before about herself, sure she was dying of some horrible illness, but after countless doctor and specialist visits, it turned out nothing was wrong in every case. So it's hard for her to know when she should listen to her gut and when she's just having obsessive thoughts. (I understand this, as I am prone to having obsessive thoughts myself.)

I agree that she should put the dog away (out in the yard) for awhile while she has a snack tray out. I also agree, and told her, that she should just stop talking about food to her dd completely. She should have it out and available, and mention it once. "Dd, there's some food here if you'd like it." But she needs to stop with the, "Open up! Here comes the spoon! Please eat. You have to eat. Please. Just one bite. Come on." In fact, she should stop with the spoon completely and give dd autonomy in choosing whether to eat or not. It's turned into a very unpleasant experience, and it's never good to have such negativity surrounding food and eating.

She's just so stressed, but not so willing to try something different.
crazydiamond's Avatar crazydiamond 08:40 PM 12-20-2007
It's already been mentioned, but I'll say it again. She really needs to read Child of Mine by Ellyn Satter.

There is a whole section of this parent coaxing behavior in the book and how detrimental it is to kids eating. Really. . the parental anxiety just makes kids do the opposite. Since she won't hear it from you, maybe hearing it from a dietician in this "official" book will help guide her.

Doctors just want the kids the grow and many times they aren't really concerned how, just as long as they do. So the pedi many just say to use pediasure without really investigating her behavior with food. If your friend won't read the book, but obviously listens to the pedi, then maybe she can get a referral to a pediatric dietician.

If the book's suggestions don't work, then I'd see about getting evaluated for oral aversions and other feeding problems. But I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that there is something definitely wrong until she's given the other suggestions and earnest try.
LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6 10:28 PM 12-20-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by greeny View Post
I've thought of this before, but to be honest, her intuition isn't to be trusted always. She is a severe hypochondriac, and lately the hypochondria has been manifesting itself in extreme worry about her dd. She's had "intuition" before about herself, sure she was dying of some horrible illness, but after countless doctor and specialist visits, it turned out nothing was wrong in every case.

<snip>

She's just so stressed, but not so willing to try something different.
Aha! The real issue is her anxiety.

Is she open at all to seeking help for anxiety? Anxiety CAN come through the body and so it DOES feel like you have all these weird symptoms. They are physical symptoms, but the cause is the brain-body connection, not some weird disease. I have a friend who suffers from anxiety, and it always, always comes out physically first. From a lot of therapy, a short stint on anti-depressants, and work with her chiropractor, she's gotten to the point where she now recognizes those weird body symptoms as anxiety, but it's taken several years to get there.

Until she gets help for her anxiety, she's going to struggle with everything her daughter does/doesn't do.
greeny's Avatar greeny 02:12 AM 12-21-2007
Lynn, I know. She has sought help for her anxiety, but not consistently, really. Like I mentioned, I suffer during times of stress from obsessive thoughts, and I know how virtually impossible it is to rid oneself of them, even if rationally you know that your thoughts/fears are irrational. So yes, I think anxiety is really at the heart of the matter. And once this problem is fixed, another will take its place.
Hesperia's Avatar Hesperia 02:42 AM 12-21-2007
I know this isn't directlyrelated to the issue(s) at hand, but I thought maybe bringing it up might help you coax your friend (WITH A SPOON-OPEN PLEASE) to help herself, help her daughter.

What is she going to do when her DD does eat, and is moving around and dropping bits of food on the floor, and snacking on the couch...where will this dog be, how will it react, is it going to be trying to eat out of her DD hands...etc etc.

I know pets and children can be stressful, but learning to deal with food/toddler/pet now is best. Maybe bring this up with her as a round-about way of trying to help her. Focus the attention to the dog, and how to keep him/her out of the toddlers way of learning to eat.

Encourage ways to keep the dog safely out of her DD's way while eat by setting up a special eatting location out of the dogs reach (either by physical location or rank in the pack).

Anyways, I really hope mom comes to terms with this whole thing and remembers raising children is about everyone learning together.
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