Mommy SOS: Toddler that Won’t Eat!

I may look innocent..

Don't let the cuteness fool you..

I Have the Perfect Baby — at Daycare.

Jasper is at daycare M-W,  I work from home one day and he goes to my mom’s the other day and obviously is at home over the weekend. Four days a week he takes 1 crappy 1-1.5 hour nap and doesn’t eat anything except breast milk from the tap. The other three days (at daycare) he eats a giant breakfast, a giant lunch, takes a large bottle and a snack and takes two 1.5 hour naps.

The one day he’s with my mom he doesn’t eat anything (bottle or solids) the entire day except for his absolute favorite things like cheerios or cheese puffs.

This situation has been getting progressively worse…

Certainly eating has been a struggle for a while now, but he USED to take a bottle outside of daycare just fine. He USED to eat purees and finger foods at home. Then he started getting finicky about dinners and lunches at home and still ate a big breakfast. That was the point at which we saw our pediatrician at his 12 month appointment and he told me as long as he was getting one good meal a day.. but things have deteriorated to the point where he won’t eat anything but breastmilk for 3 -4 days straight. And when I say he won’t eat, I mean he won’t let the spoon come near his face and he picks up his finger foods and throws them over the highchair.

Until he gets back to daycare of course, where he acts like a perfectly normal toddler, appetite, sleeping and all.

What is this? What causes this bizarre behavior? Am I alone in this? Do I call the pediatrician?

I’m torn on the last question – clearly there is no medical reason that he’s not eating or he wouldn’t be eating at daycare either.  The daycare teachers joke that he’s pulling one over on us. And I’m sure it’s true that he knows he can get away with things at home that he doesn’t at daycare but short of force feeding him (which I know is the one thing you are NOT supposed to do) I don’t know what to do differently.

I try offering him a variety of foods, I try walking away so he doesn’t feel pressured, I try purees and finger foods, I try warm and cold foods, I tried moving his highchair. I try eating the foods in front of him NOT in the highchair to see if he’ll try new things. This last one works on ocassion – but he’s still completely uninterested save for a few random bites here or there. And it’s not a matter of finding things he likes better because he actually is at the point now where he won’t try anything new at all and is even rejecting previous favorites like avocado and blueberries.

I even dropped his mid-morning nursing session hoping that less milk would leave room for more solids but it hasn’t made a bit of difference so now he’s just getting less calories overall.

How long can this go on? Can a 13 month old live on breastmilk and a few snacks alone?


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Mita says:

My Son is 1 yr old and has given me a hard time eating ever since I started him on solids. He wants to breastfeed but doesn’t want to eat solids. At times when he has starved for hours and still refuses to eat, I show him videos on laptop, to get him to eat, and that works wonders. However, I am left me with a sense of guilt for having done so. Pediatricians recommend not to show children TV while feeding them, but when nothing else works, this does. Also all the other mothers I know of, use this technique to feed their children (which is a consolation that I am not the only one). Day by day, I have been showing him videos more frequently. I do not know how to do to break this habit.

Judy N says:

Sorry if this is repeated above, but I didn’t read thru all the comments…my son was exactly the same. He has done SO much better after starting to give him table foods…meaning foods that have some salt and/or sugar in it. Even things like his beloved Happy Baby Chick Chick he stopped eating, but if I sprinkle just the tiniest bit of salt on it (it still is mostly bland to my taste), he’ll eat it up.

KaiRayne says:

Hi Ariana, I know this is a few days old, but I’ve been sick and wasn’t able to respond. I totally understand your frustrations. Both my kids were VERY picky as toddlers. My oldest has grown out of it and is trying new things (Thankfully), but my youngest(who has Autism) is still very very picky. I was told that the growth charts that pediatricians typically use were modeled after formula-fed babies and are inaccurate for breast-fed babies. Breast-fed babies tend to be smaller/leaner than formula-fed babies. But if you are really concerned about Jasper’s caloric intake, you could try to supplement with something like Pediasure, however, don’t get into a habit of replacing a meal with it cause then Jasper will learn that he doesn’t have to eat and you will still give him the Pediasure. I wanted to supplement with it and my Pediatrician actually told me not to and to just keep offering food and limit liquid intake during the day. Making sure not to give drinks during a meal and always after it. My boys are 4.5 & 6 now and we still practice the after meal drink. As far as Jasper not taking anything but water in his sippy, you should try a plain small plastic cup or a cup with a straw. After all is said and done though you have to follow your instinct, cause only you are his mother and you really know what’s best for him. I hope you find something that works. He will eventually grow out of this though. Its pretty typical. Pick your battles and don’t let food be a battle. Toddlers know that they can control what goes into their bodies, most of the time and its really the only thing they can control right now and so they do. :)

ariana says:

Shane, I love that mobile chair -thanks for the head’s up!

Stephanie, how interesting!! I have always loved the trip trapp. Though i’d be REALLY upset if I spent that much money on a high chair and jasper still hated it ;)

Stephanie says:

Having just purchased Community Playthings shelving for my daughter’s elementary school, I’m sad to say that they don’t offer a discount to schools. :(

You can sometimes find their stuff used on eBay though. :)

They are an interesting company – they are bascially the money-making arm of the Bruderhof Communities – a pacifist Christian group whose members live communally – they don’t make a salary or own property – the money made from selling their furniture takes care of their members’ needs.

Speaking of expensive highchairs, another great one is the Tripp Trapp – it grows with your child:

Shane says:

Once again tons of great info in the comments. I think the idea about trying a different chair/table is a GREAT one. Do you think your daycare would let you take one home for a night or over the weekend to try out before you purchase one like they use? I bet you’ve already discussed these feeding concerns w/ them so they may be supportive of any ideas to help you. They may also get a discount on purchase that they could pass along to you.

This is the chair I’m planning on getting soon as a mobile chair to take w/ us out to eat and to use a friend’s homes. The reviews seem more positive than the Chicco version.

There’s so much good information on here, I’m glad I came back to check it out! Ariana, I see that you mentioned a few times that you don’t want to start a bad habit. One of our early childhood instructors stated, “habits can be broken” when we had some class controversy over something another mom was doing. It really made me remember to prioritize what’s best for my baby and me. It might not be exactly what books or other people tell me is the “right” way to do things, but I need to be comfortable with how MY baby’s doing.

Also, if you think about the habit of feeding or watching TV while eating, Jasper certainly isn’t going to refuse to eat unless he’s in the tub when he’s 6 years old! All of these challenges are temporary, and he’ll adjust to what’s “normal” in time.

Finally, I was SO worried about taking my son off the bottle, especially since he was adjusting to baby #2 in the house. I was worried that he would want the comfort of his bottle, and he might need it to get sleepy before bed. We decided to take him off it cold turkey, and it was SO much easier than I thought it would be!

Kimberly says:

LOL, I’m familiar with the company… remember, I work with infants and toddlers for a living! ;)

Barbara says:

Back in the day, my son was such a picky eater/non-eater that he didn’t even make it on to the percentile chart for weight! The Dr. used to tell me, “Mother, when he’s hungry, he’ll eat”. And “as long as he continues to grow in height, don’t worry.” Well, I listened and today, at 26 years old, my perfectly healthy son (who weighed 76 lbs when he entered 9th grade) is 5’11, 157 lbs. and eats foods that he wouldn’t so much look at throughout his youth…sushi, caviar, ALL veggies, you name it. Don’t get worried and frustrated. It will all work out in the end.

Allie Friedmann says:

Ari! Sophie also has what I am reluctant to call an eating disorder! Her pediatrician said she is in the 1th percentile for weight – 1th! – so it isn’t just my imagination. She has good days and bad days, but something I have always found to be helpful is feeding her spoonfuls while she’s playing. (Did someone say this already? Sorry, but I didn’t read all the posts.) I just follow her around and give her one spoonful here, one spoonful there. And I have no qualms about giving her sweet food. Mashed sweet potatoes with honey and peaches, for example. Date/banana/fig-sweetened milk rice. Homemade fruit popsicles. You name it.

Please call me sometime so we can catch up!


jbhat says:

First, kudos to you for keeping the “dairy” open this long! Second, there is a ton of helpful advice from all of your commenters, and I don’t really have anything helpful to add. (Other than that when toddlers throw food on the floor, they are telling you they are all done….whether you want them to be or not.) I hope he knocks it off soon. He’s too stinkin’ cute to be messing with you like this!


Sarah says:

I’m sorry, Ariana — This sounds so stressful. I’ve had other issues with Finn (like poor SLEEPING and 40 minute naps — ARGH!), but he’s always been an eager eater. That being said, I have noticed that he’s “moodier” about his eating now that he’s almost a year old. The last few nights, he spit out one bite of puree but not another, or ate one bite of solid/finger food over another (throwing the “lesser” item to the floor!). So far, I’ve been able to correct the problem by feeding him from MY fork, and acting like it’s MY food. He seems to really respond to modeling, and want to eat what we’re eating. Last night we got him to eat spinach leaves off of our plates by nibbling on them first and really exaggerating how much we loved them. I know that you said you don’t eat at the same time as Jasper, but would it be possible to try it once to see if it makes a difference? (sorry for being so forward). My husband and I used to eat so late but have completely rearranged our schedules so that we all sit down to eat dinner together at 6. This means more advanced planning, as it is harder to pull off, but mealtimes are now something we really look forward to. We also pull Finn directly UP to the table (we use a stokke, but I know that other chairs also provide that option), which he really enjoys. When we were on vacation and using a borrowed traditional high chair, he didn’t really like it at all.

I’m not sure if any of this will be helpful at all, but I thought I’d offer what I could. Good luck! And in the meantime remember that your breastmilk is good, nutritious stuff!

ariana says:

Incidentally, they also carry the cribs they have at his daycare.. the ones that you can just roll back and forth that puts the kids to sleep so easily..
If I ever have another I’d definitely try to get one of these!

ariana says:

Yes, kimberly, those exactly! How come I couldn’t find them LOL? Not that I would necessarily buy them because they are pretty $$ considering it’s just an idea that he might like it better than his highchair.. they are really cute though. I love wood instead of plastic.

Samm Ivri says:

Mia is an ok eater but only when she’s entertained. Every meal is accompanied either by Yo Gabba Gabba on tv, or by her holding something she loves (a cell phone, keys, etc). I see you’re worried about developing bad habits. But actually, having the TV on while having dinner was something DH and I always did. So I didnt mind it. Keeping her distracted makes it much easier to feed her. She seems to open her mouth automatically. Also, if she seems to not be in the mood for something I’ve made her (like eggs, last night) then I offer her something else. One of her favorites is small cut up pieces of cheese. She almost never refuses that. Good luck! I know it can be so stressful!

ariana says:

Kimberly, the are made by a company called “community” but I can’t find them on the web anywhere.

The sort of look like this:

Kimberly says:

Eh, I’m all for not “giving in” to bad habits, but to me sitting in a high chair is not “mandatory,” if you know what I mean. If your primary concern is getting calories in to him, then focus on that. What kind of chair does he sit in at day care for meals?

ariana says:

Kimberly, I do sometimes do the slipping food in when he plays and sits on my lap, but was worried I was “giving in” and am reinforcing his bad habit of not wanting to sit in the highchair for meals! Should I not worry about this?

Stephanie, my FIRST thought was definitely reflux, but as you said since he eats at daycare … and we also recently were at the ENT who scoped him and said he had some redness, but about the same as he had while on prevacid so I took that to mean not enough to worry about.

Also, I like your theory that he’s so happy to see me… but the fact is that when he’s home with me all day he still doesn’t eat :(

Stephanie says:

My two year old is a giant (97th percentile for height, which is very funny to her 5’2″ mama) but my six year old was a preemie and it took her awhile to even register on the percentile charts. I worried a lot about what she was and wasn’t eating and whether she was gaining enough weight.

For what it’s worth, I was told to ignore the percentile charts completely because they were making me crazy. If she was gaining weight between doctor’s visits, that was good. If she was losing weight, that was cause for concern. Going from the 20th percentile to the 10th percentile was OK as as long as she was gaining weight. It’s weight LOSS that’s cause for concern. The other thing to watch out for is dehydration – if he refuses to drink anything, that can be a problem.

My two year old will go for days where she is completely uninterested food – maybe a handful of cheerios or sunflower seeds and that’s it. It makes me crazy. Then she will have bursts of a day or two where she will eat everything in sight. It all balances out – she’s healthy as can be. Generally speaking, toddlers are pretty good at getting what they need.

If he wasn’t eating at daycare, I’d be curious about reflux – when the esophagus is irritated some babies will refuse to eat because it hurts to swallow. But since he is eating really well at daycare, I wouldn’t be too worried. My guess is that he has that little window of time with you each night after day care from 6 – 7 and he’s so happy to see you that he doesn’t want to waste time eating – he figures he can do that at daycare – and he does! :)

Kimberly says:

Awesome lens. ;)

Ok… I thought he’d always been at that 20% level… so then it’s better to err on the side of caution. But look at his growth curve… if it’s been more of a natural channeling rather than a “falling-off” of the curve, it’s much less of a concern.

We also have the FP space saver chair that Keri mentioned… I love it, and James seems to as well. Can you try eating all together at least on the weekends and on the days you’re all home? (Even if it’s a snack for you and you have your dinner later.) And have your mom eat with him when he’s with her? It may make a difference… eating is a very social behavior and it often helps these kiddos who tend to be poor eaters. What about having him on your lap to eat rather than the high chair, or slipping bites in his mouth while he plays?

Keri says:

How funny– Hadley rubs food in her hair, too, especially messy stuff like oatmeal and spaghetti sauce. It’s so gross!

ariana says:

Kimberly – taken with the 85mm!! :)

Thanks for the great ideas. I admit I’ve been reluctant to try sauces/dips because of the mess. That’s the other lovely recent development – the food that he doesn’t throw on the floor he likes to rub in his HAIR!!! ARgh. I will definitely try some of your other suggestions.

And to your first point, up until 9 months he was in the 50th percentile, so it did represent a drop rather than what he started at.

I am definitely trying to control my frustration but I’m sure I’m not doing a great job. It’s actually gotten to the point now where he pretty much tries to get out of the highchair as soon as I sit him down, so that’s a pretty big barrier to doing anything else at the moment.

Keri, I am thinking of getting something like that just to change things up but not to eat with us because he eats hours before we do.

Keri says:

Hey Ariana! I saw your response earlier about Jasper potentially not liking his high chair. If you want to try an alternative, we bought what is called a “space saver” chair at Target for about $55. It is a chair that attaches to a dining chair and can be used pulled up to a table or with the included tray. We have always pulled Hadley right up to the table to eat with us. That might make Jasper feel a little more involved with you guys during the meal.

Other than that, I tend to agree with the other commenters that maybe little Jasper is just trying to see what he can pull over on you guys:-). I did notice, though, that when we started transititioning Hadley to whole milk at 12 months, she was eating more solid foods since the whole milk doesn’t fill her up as much. Are you giving Jasper whole milk for some feedings or are you waiting to transition until later?

We also had a hard time convincing Hadley to drink milk (and not water) from her sippy. She didn’t like it the first few times and threw her cup to show us, but she is getting more and more used to it. I think it was just a matter of her developing a different mindset. Hope this helps:-)!!!

Kimberly says:

BTW, this photo of Jasper is absolutely gorgeous! :)

Kimberly says:

Ariana, the first thing I want to point out again is that there is NOTHING wrong with tracking in the 15-20th %ile for height and weight… AS LONG AS he stays on HIS OWN CURVE. If he used to track at the 50th %ile and then dropped down to 15-20, THEN I would most certainly be concerned, or if he plateaued for a long period of time. But please don’t think that he’s somehow NOT in normal range for height and weight. HE IS! I see this concern pop up time and time again in your posts… As long as a child is not below the 3rd or above the 97th percentile, HE IS IN NORMAL RANGE!

Yes, a 13 month old CAN thrive on breastmilk alone… though I know that’s clearly not the goal here, it should be of some comfort to you that Jasper IS getting all the nutrition and calories he needs to grow from you and from what he is actually willing to eat at daycare.

I would start really fortifying his food that you send to daycare: add heavy cream, pure butter, or a bit of olive or canola oil to everything he eats to increase calories. If daycare is the only place he’s willing to do this, then take that as a starting point. You might consider trying something like Carnation Instant Breakfast mixed with whole milk, maybe in an open cup or even through a straw if he’ll only take water from the sippy. It’s what we call “poor-man’s Pediasure” here at the clinic. Lots of nutrition, extra calories, and tasty so that most kids will drink it.

Try dips (such as ranch, sour cream, anything that has high calories), with finger foods to see if Jasper is interested – many times dipping makes foods much more appealing to toddlers, AND they’re getting those extra calories to boot. Try removing the tray to the high chair and pushing it up to the table to eat, if that’s possible with your chair. Or get a booster that will allow him to sit at the table like a “big boy.” Also, James (who admittedly is generally a pretty good eater) is starting to want 1) to hold the spoon HIMSELF – he will allow me to guide the spoon while he holds it, and 2) to eat what I have on my plate rather than what is on his tray – even if it is the SAME food! Consider putting Jasper’s food on your own plate and see if he’s willing to eat it that way.

There is also a product called Duocal which is a high calorie, flavorless powder you can sprinkle on/in just about any food, to boost calories.

In working with children who have feeding issues (refusal to eat, difficulty gaining weight, failure to thrive – WHICH JASPER IS NOT!), I’ve found that often kids pick up on the stress and pressure the Mom is feeling to get them to eat, which in turn make the child inclined to eat less. Really try hard to be zero-pressure when it comes to eating, and if you are starting to feel stressed about it, then try to leave the room and have someone else sit with Jasper while he eats.

I know this is such a difficult issue for moms… I’ve worked with many families in much more difficult situations than yours… kids that are truly failure-to-thrive, OR who have been fed by a g-tube and are trying to learn how to eat orally so that the tube can be removed. It’s a very sensitive thing for the kids, and very stressful for the parents… I understand! Try to relax and let Jasper take the lead when it comes to eating. And keep up the nursing… at least then you know he’s getting what he needs.. everything else is just gravy, as they say. Hey, gravy… another really good source of calories! ;)

Stephanie says:

Ariana – I’m SO happy you posted this! I have a seriously picky 13-month old. The only thing that he won’t say no to right now is rice. I feel your desperation! Sadly, I have to admit to putting him in front of the TV somtimes, just to get him to take a one bite. Argh! Sending good wishes your way : )

ariana says:

Mandy, hot dogs are one of the few foods he will eat!

Ava, he eats alone because the other babies eat at 12pm and he eats at 1pm after I’ve nursed him at 12pm (also showing that he’s not filling up on milk, he eats just fine an hour later!)

Sarah, I wouldn’t worry at all if he were in the normal range for height and weight.. he’s only in the 15-20th percentile and that will be going down I’m sure as the situation worsens.

Sarah says:

My 14.5 month does this often. I refuse to worry about it. He is big for his age and is developing normally. We (myself, DH and my mom who watches his 3 days a week) offer him healthy food and he gets to decide what to eat. If he doesn’t want to eat, I figure he’ll make it up later. If he wants to just nurse while he’s with me, I let him. I chalk that up to his adaptation to the days we are apart — he holds it together and does his best for all involved on the days I work but when we are together he wants and needs more from me.

Hang in there and try not to stress out over every bite not taken.

Ava says:

I don’t have any advice to give you, I’m sorry, but do you think he eats better at daycare because he sees other kids eating at the same time? Does he eat alone there or in a group with other kids?
I’m just wondering if the modeling behavior is what’s encouraging him to chow down.

Hugs — I know how frustrating this can be.

mandy says:

Ugh it’s such a pain! I feel for you! My boys ages 4 & 2 do the same thing. The meats they will eat are ONLY chicken & hot dogs (yes i know chocking hazard, but we cut them up small and THEY EAT THEM!). They could llive on mac & cheese. I have been sneaky and put chopped chicken or hot dogs in mashed potatoes when Jayden (my 2 year old) wont eat meat. It drives me crazy! I hear it’s normal, so I try not to worry. Just wait in like 15 years all of us will be going to Costco to buy in bulk for these boys!

pam says:

(of course this is not helpful at all, just commiserating.)

pam says:

One of the things I’ve learned about daycare is that my boys have a totally different life there. They nap in cots. They eat at a table and drink out of regular cups. They don’t use their pacifiers when they nap. They eat vegetables, for the love of all that is holy! These are things they do not do at home, no matter how hard we try.

Their teacher pointed out to me that kids can have two different routines, and they can be okay with it. I wish the boys would eat vegetables at home, but I guess I’m not as strict about it (or as good of a cook?) as they are at daycare. I don’t know. It’s tough, that’s for sure.

erin says:

jenna brings up a good point and reminded me of this product ( i have used these and they are sturdy, light, and super portable. you can use them at home or in a restaurant … or pretty much anywhere that has a table. if jasper likes being up at the table, this might be another solution!

Jenna says:

I was just thinking about that! I was going to ask where/how they feed him at daycare. We’ve kind of joked about when we would become cool enough to carry one of these ( around to restaurants and such like all of our friends with toddlers do, but maybe something like this is your solution! Good luck! I know this struggle has to be SO frustrating! Doesn’t it seem like it will be so much easier when they can just talk and tell us what the problem is? I’m sure that phase will come with it’s own set of issues, but the thought of it seems so dreamy now!

Peytie's Nanny says:

I agree with Erin, its always best to talk to the kiddos Dr. but something I will say, I NEVER give a kiddo that eats solids a bottle (or in your case breast…) before the solids…

It makes it MUCH MUCH harder to get them to eat. I had one mother who would give her daughter a bottle right when she would wake up, then hand her off to me and tell me to feed her. She of course wouldn’t eat anything for hours because the milk would fill her up. Through the rest of the day she would eat just fine because she was hungry and I wouldn’t give her anything to drink until after she ate (I know its harder for parents, but honestly a few days of a cranky baby is better than years with a poor eater).

ariana says:

I just read a thread on the

and now I’m wondering if he just hates being in his highchair? At daycare they feed them in these little low to the ground chairs with belts (no tray) and for finger foods they pull them up to the kiddie table.


ariana says:

Maybe that’s it – it’s the NAME! LOL :) Thanks for posting though, I do feel better knowing that I’m not alone.

ariana says:

Thanks guys for the ideas.. a few more facts to clear things up:

1) Yes, he “takes” as sippy, he LOVES the sippy so long as there is water and not milk in it! If there is ANYTHING but plain water he throws it.

2) Eating dinner together isn’t really an option.. he eats at 6pm and goes to bed at 7pm. I don’t have our dinner ready until after he goes to bed because I don’t get home much before 6.

3) At daycare he eats the food I bring him, not the food the other babies are getting (the same food he’d reject at home) and he doesn’t even eat at the same time as the other babies. They have lunch at 12 and I breastfeed him at 12 and he gets his lunch at 1pm.

Funny about the tub Marybeth.. I’ve actually considered feeding him while watching cartoons or something – I just HATE to start that bad habit, but I’m getting desperate.

I’ve heard the adage that babies won’t starve themselves, but he really doesn’t give a crap about food. Like I said he’ll go all day without it and it doesn’t bother him at all. Grrrrr.

Oops! Two things: First, I meant to say that when my nephew hit 12 months, his pedi said he should stay on formula or switch to pure cream instead of transitioning to whole milk.

Second, my sister would feed both her son and daughter whole-fat yogurt while they were taking their baths. She said that they were so distracted they hardly noticed they were eating. As long as they liked the flavors they picked, they were fully willing to eat in the tub!

Michelle says:

At 12 months, he should really be on a sippy cup and not a bottle (in addition to nursing if you keeping that up). Are you not transitioning him onto whole milk yet? Either way, I’d try putting whatever milk you are giving him in a sippy.

I have the opposite problem with napping. I’m lucky if my daughter will sleep 1 1/2 hours at daycare but at home she’ll sleep 2-1 1/2 naps!

I would cut out the purees as well and just focus on finger foods. What kind of things does he eat for breakfast and lunch at daycare?

I admit, I’m a little bit obsessed with feeding, and I am always so concerned that my LO isn’t getting enough to eat. Fortunately, he’s a decent eater so my obsession is probably misplaced!
I have one nephew who was a terrible eater, though. He’s now 5, and still not all that interested in food. My sister is always shocked whenever he eats a good meal! When he was a baby, his pedi gave my sister the option of keeping him on formula or giving him bottles of straight-up cream! (she chose formula, then switched to the toddler formula for quite a while). I think that as long as he’s taking the breastmilk, he’s getting the essential nutrients that he needs for both development and nutritional needs. Basic instinct means he won’t let himself starve, either. Sorry I don’t have much to offer, but I DO think he’s doing ok with what he’s getting.

Melanie says:

“Pulling one over on you” is probably the best description. The good news is – he won’t let himself starve. The bad news is – it probably won’t get better overnight.

In my house, when our toddler refuses to eat, we no longer force it. She does not do this every day or at every meal but when she does she is still required to sit there while mommy and daddy eat their meal. And she is not served any other options. It bothers me but I tell myself that she will not starve herself. I also give 2-3 options with a meal. Rice, chicken, fruit. That way I am not just giving her chicken and she refuses it. I know I tried a variety and she either refused it or ate a bit (without me getting up and providing a new option). If you haven’t, try eating his meals with him. Try serving him what you serve yourself so he sees you eating it. At daycare…they all eat the same thing and monkey see, monkey do. Don’t make a big deal about it. I read in a magazine recently that coaxing a child to eat usually vets the opposite reaction you want because they are programmed to do the opposite.

As for naptime, this has gotten harder for us since we transition to a toddler bed a month ago but when she was in her crib, I simply put on her sound machine and closed the door. She either cried for 5 minutes and fell asleep or chatted to herself for 30 minutes before falling asleep. I cannot rock her. It doesn’t work. She has to put herself to sleep. And if Jasper does this at daycare…he is more than capable of doing it at home.


karen says:

my jasper goes through periods like this too – it is like a complicated math equation trying to get all the stars to align to get him to eat a meal. if he just woke up, if it is too close to a nap time, if he sees something more interesting, if the dog barks, if you put something on the tray he doesn’t like – then it is all over with! i don’t have any expert advice. just know that so many moms are worrying about the same thing! some days i feel like all i do is make food that jasper won’t eat. the best luck i have is to let him eat out of the high chair. i just sit down with a bowl of food and try to feed him while he plays. and don’t feel bad about going to the pediatrician for help – that’s what they are there for. i am always calling and asking to talk to a nurse. they can usually tell me if i have reason to worry or if i should just relax.

erin says:

if i had to guess, your daycare is probably right. he knows that he can get away with things at home that he wouldn’t try to pull on them, and he’s taking advantage of that. as a nanny, i’ve seen numerous children do the same thing; they eat well, or nap, or generally act better with me, and their parents are flummoxed.

does that make a worried mommy feel better? no. my suggestion would be to talk to your pediatrician about SAFE and EFFECTIVE ways to make jasper “snap out of it,” as it were. it could be that this will be a phase and that he will just magically turn a corner, or it could be that it will be a difficult process, not unlike having to let a younger baby “cry it out.” either way, while it sounds like you have tried a number of strategies, jasper’s doctor may have a few more. they may not be pleasant, and may — just my guess — involve cutting off even more breastmilk to make jasper hungry enough to comply, but i think you will feel better knowing that the advice came from a doctor and that jasper will, at the end of the day, be fine.

in the meantime, we’ll see good thoughts your way. be strong, mama!