2 year old refuses to eat!

KatalinaJanuary 2, 2002

My granddaughter doesn't eat very much at all. There are days when she eats next to nothing. My daughter has been giving her a product called Boost which has nutrients in it but it's not for little kids. We've tried her favorites which don't work most of the time. Today, for instance, she has eaten two bites of a muffin and some string cheese total and it's 6:30 in the evening. She has refused to eat her dinner of noodles, one of her faves.

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There is a nutritional supplement drink made for children. It is sold in the formula isle, next to Pedialyte drinks. I know I have seen it advertised, but I can't for life of me remember the brand name right now. Maybe someone else knows.

However, I don't think even that is intended to be done without the recommendation of a doctor. Especially not on a regular basis.

As long as her weight and development are normal, I wouldn't worry about it, frankly. Two year olds don't eat much. My DD just turned 2 a few weeks ago and I have observed a change in her appetite. She used to be a bottomless pit. Now she eats very little, and it seems like nothing compared to how she used to eat. But their stomachs really are very small. And their growth has slowed down significantly coming into this age compared to the baby years. So their needs are lower.

I would establish eating routines. Three meals a day and a snack somewhere in between. Prepare her meals, serve nutritous food, and insist that she sits at the table to eat. When she stops and is ready to wander off, take the food away. Don't offer in between meal snacks on the thought "at least she is eating something." Ansd don't let her walk around with a cup of juice between meals. That will just result in grazing and poor eating habits, not more calorie intake. She will get what she needs if balanced meals are offered at routine times. I've also heard that if a toddler can feed herself, let her, don't spoon feed her trying to get her to "take one more bite." It's the parent's/caregivers job to offer her a variety of healthy food, it's the child's job to eat it.

As long as she is healthy and offered good food choices, I wouldn't worry about what she doesn't eat. In my experience with my kids, the come around again in a couple years. Those late toddler/early preschool years, they just don't eat a lot. However, if she is underweight for her age and not growing well, it's time to talk to the doctor. There are rare conditions where kids just don't have an apetite and need appetite stimulants.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2002 at 10:18PM
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Make sure she is well-hydrated, and offer her healthy food. Our DD was that way - we wondered how she gained weight, but she consistently did. And during growth spurts, she would suddenly eat everything in sight.

Remember their tummy is small so offer a few 1/4 cup portions of healthy choices, like fruit, peas, cheese products. If they are urinating well, and pooping about 1 time a day, and gaining weight, then it's probably a normal non-growth period where they don't have a lot of appetite.

Try to keep a nice range of kid-friendly fruits, veggies, grains and milk products on hand. Keep offering, and she will eat when her body requires it.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2002 at 9:23AM
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How long has she not been eating? Sometimes our son will go through a few days of not eating much of anything and then he'll eat a huge meal! He also sometimes gets ulcers in his mouth~actually happened once and he wouldn't eat much at all for about a week! I finally got him to eat a plain hot dog and canned sliced peaches. It just hurt him to eat so he wouldn't. Oh, we also noticed when DS won't eat, that we should be ready for a growth spurt.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2002 at 10:11AM
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i agree. i wouldn't worry either- my 3 year old is the same way, the only time he eats is when he is with other kids that are eating like at daycare,i have him on vitamins and he is growing fine. i work in dietetics and were always taught that they will eat when they get hungry enough, that this usually goes in spurts, and rarely causes any trouble. i do know it happens more often in families that eat on the go and don't sit down and eat together as a family- kids don't like eating alone.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2002 at 4:35PM
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Ok, thanks everyone, I guess I'll calm down about it. She's the picture of health and my DD takes her to the doctor on a regular basis, so I know her health is good. I guess I'm just a worry wort first time Nana!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2002 at 10:28PM
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If the problem continues, you should check out this website http://childrenandbabiesnoteating.com/. It has lots of information about children who won't eat, why they won't eat, and what you can do about it. It really helped my daughter who wouldn't eat (and wasn't gaining weight, so it sounds like more serious than your granddaughter).

For a lot of kids, being picky eaters and not eating is normal, but for others, like my daughter, it's a sign of something more significant.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 2:23PM
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I have a two yr. old daughter who does not eat much. their is a Boost Kid essentials that are made for kids of her age range in which i give to her. Only thing is you dont find it in a walmart, or regular groceries store. you have to go to a drug store that actually sells it. it comes in vanilla, strawberry and chocolate. It is good for a child that does not eat much.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 10:23PM
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