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Thread: 18 month old son will not eat solids at all

  1. #1

    Default 18 month old son will not eat solids at all

    My son just turned 18 months old. He has never had a bottle, and is still mainly EFB. I tried to introduce baby food at 6 months as my dr recommended. He refused baby cereal, gagged violently on it, uvula shooting forward. Same with every pureed veg, fruit, pudding, yogurt. He still will not eat. I nurse him every 2 hours during the day. He wakes up at least once an hour all night, every night to nurse. My dr is concerned and has referred me to a feeding team at a children's hospital. Dr. said there is a small window to correct his eating habits before it becomes a big problem. He will still only eat small bits. He takes about 3-5 bites of food he likes and that is it. His diet consists of french fries, chicken nuggets, blueberry cereal bars, white cheese, alfredo noodles, Gerber crunchies and once in a while, he will eat some cheese off my pizza. I have tried everything pureed, chunked, in solid form. Tried temp changes of warm to cold. He just gags or will not try it at all. I don't know what to do. He was presenting in the 98th percentile for height, weight and head. Then dropped to 75th for all 3. Now his head is still in the 75th but is in the 28th for height and weight. I know his diet is lacking protein, big time. But I don't know what to do with him when he is so picky and will not eat any fruits or veg at all. This is my 4th child and I exclusively nursed all of them until they were 6 months and they never had bottles and they all gently self weaned at 18 months. I am at a loss with this baby.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: 18 month old son will not eat solids at all

    Did your other LOs follow similar growth patterns? Because nothing you posted really made me concerned except that big decline in height and weight- though you didn't say what time Spanish the decline occurred over soot's hard to judge whether or not that's troublesome.

    In general, i'd say your child has a pretty normal toddler eating pattern. Toddlers often eat only a few foods- perhaps nature's way of ensuring that a child becomes cautious when he is at the greatest risk for ingesting something harmful. and a breastfed toddler is still getting a lot of nutrition from mama. So you should feel terrific that you are still nursing.

    Has anyone suggested possible sensory issues to you? That could explain your LO's reluctance to eat...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern Cal.

    Default Re: 18 month old son will not eat solids at all

    My toddler is picky and hardly eats anything either, and I figure that's pretty normal for toddlers. What's more difficult is the decline in height and weight ... there are a lot of things that can cause that that would also contribute to pickiness, including reflux, celiac, etc. Does he show any other digestive problems?

    Here is a checklist for sensory processing disorders that you might want to look at. Pickiness about food or inability to properly chew and swallow foods can be a sign of a (treatable) neurological disorder. So that's another thing you might want to try to explore/rule out.

    In the meantime, it's great that your LO loves to nurse, that REALLY HELPS. Imagine how much more stressful this would be if he was weaned! I definitely don't buy the argument that drinking breastmilk hurts a toddler's appetite for solids. That's just not true in my experience. Some babies just take longer to get into solids, but the breastmilk is always good for them.

    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Default Re: 18 month old son will not eat solids at all

    Try some fresh fruit like watermelon, grapes cut in half, paper thin slices of apple and plain no sugar yogurt. Fresh food is key ... stay away from processed foods. Cook veggies in olive oil with salt and pepper (just a bit).

    We still nurse a LOT at 18 months. Just offer food 4-5 times a day and possibly put a dvd on to keep them interested. I find thay DD plays with food for 20 minutes befroe actually eating. Also back off and view from a distance ... sometimes they pick up on our stress.

    being a SAHM to DD born 12/09

  5. #5

    Default Re: 18 month old son will not eat solids at all

    Thank you for your responses. No, my other 3 children never showed this decline in height and weight. I have concerns about his stomach as well. For instance, he cannot keep down any medications such as Tylenol or antibiotics. It comes right back up before I can even get the whole dose in him. The dr. suggested giving him the dose in thirds and waiting 5 min in between giving each 1/3 if that makes sense. It didn't work. He never was a spitter as a newborn or as an older baby so the dr isn't concerned about reflux etc. I do think a possible sensory problem may exist but it is only based on my gut. For instance, in the hospital at birth, the nurse insisted on trying a binky. She would sneak it in there when they took him for blood work etc. I would find it left in his crib. He gagged even when the plastic touched his lips. He would gag and cough when my shirt brushed his mouth area when I held him over my shoulder as a newborn as well. He is over the aversion to foreign objects and materials touching his mouth now but still violently gags at any foods that are sweet (such as fruits) or "gloppy" such as yogurts or pureed foods or puddings or mashed potatoes. I started offering him processed foods as a last resort when dr said he needs solids and she would prefer my son have any solid rather than none at all. And while I am a staunch advocate of breastfeeding, I must admit it gets me feeling down and kind of "lesser" when I have the dr telling me it's because he is getting too much breastmilk (yet he won't take liquids from a sippy because he will not suck on anything but me). And my SIL tells me that he won't eat because it is my fault because I waited til he was 6 months old to even try to give him baby food. I do get frowned on a lot but I nursed all my kids til 18 months. It was just less public because they were well established at eating by this age. As I said, he rejected all pureed foods so he never went "on" them at all. I have even had others try to feed him. It doesn't matter if it is put in his mouth or if it's left on his tray for him to eat. He just won't take more than 3 bites and only of the few foods he has decided he likes.

  6. #6

    Default Re: 18 month old son will not eat solids at all

    I went through the sensory issues website that was posted. Thank you. Some of it does look like my son but only one thing out of the whole list. I just wish I knew what to do. I cannot even give him vitamins as he doesn't take liquids except from the breast and he doesn't eat foods I can hide the vitamins in. He vomits them if given straight.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: 18 month old son will not eat solids at all

    I think seeing a feeding therapist or going to a feeding clinic will give you a clue as to what is going on. My son was also picky, and a few fellow moms said it was normal and it would go away, but my gut told me otherwise. It was very apparent by 9 months something was not right ans we started feeding therapy shortly thereafter and I will be ever grateful for it. From what you are describing it sounds like there is more to it than general toddler pickiness and a therapist should be able to figure out the reason behind it and help him to transition to solid food.
    DS-11/06- known IGE allergies to dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, beef, lamb, duck, amaranth, mustard and more...
    Outgrew pork, oats, soy, chickpeas, peas, turkey, chicken, shellfish and wheat. He has now outgrown more than half his food allergies

  8. #8

    Default Re: 18 month old son will not eat solids at all

    Thank you for your help. I am hoping the feeding clinic will help (if we ever make it there). They have been very backed up and I am still waiting for an appt. So was your son's aversion easily fixed?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010

    Default Re: 18 month old son will not eat solids at all

    I'm thinking maybe get a referral to see a speech pathologist? I work at a Childrens Hospital in a NICU. We have Speech come see any of our patients that have oral aversion issues... and they work with them. They also work with doctors doing swallow studies... like where they have them swallow a dye and then xray as the baby swallows to see what happens with the liquid...
    Just throwing that out there.. hope that helps.

    And until you can get in to see anyone... have you thought about talking to an IBCLC? They make have some thoughts.. about the gag reflex and stuff I mean. I am studying to be one right now and there is A LOT of things I am having to learn about stuff like that!
    I know the lactation dept at my hospital has a breastfeeding hotline... you could even call one of those!
    (Oklahoma's Breastfeeding hotline is 1877271MILK)

    BTW, I EBF my son and didn't start solids til 11 months on purpose. He didn't like a lot of textures at first but I kept offering them and now he'll actually eat yogurt with fruit chunks in it at 22 months : )
    My son didn't have the sensitive gag reflex though like you are describing, and would take a pacifier for grandma when I wasn't there to go to sleep. Also had no issue with bottles.
    I bet you are glad you are a breastfeeding momma... just imagine if you had decided to FF and he wouldn't ever eat from a bottle!
    Last edited by @llli*wreckgoddess; July 10th, 2011 at 10:31 AM.

    Momma to Benjamin, we recently made it nursing to age 2!!!!

    Benjamin born 9-17-09

  10. #10

    Default Re: 18 month old son will not eat solids

    I know my reply is coming way too late, but still... Someone might find it helpful. I hope that your LO's eating habits started improving by now and in couple of months will be even better. If your child is happy otherwise, is reaching or exceeding all of the mental or physical milestones there is probably little to worry about. Of course it is always [B]IMPORTANT to check with her pedi if everything is OK from the medical point of view. If it is, maybe the best is to just keep offering and just be patient. My daughter is 3 y/o today. When she was as little as your son she was more than a picky one, I think she only ate tiny pieces of toasted bread and maybe a table spoon of baby cereal mixed not with milk (I even tried mixing it with my breast milk but she didn't like it) but apple or pear sauce (she kind of "agreed" to eat that). After that she would only eat one certain meal every day for three months and then switch to another for the next three months. She also ate in small pieces or bites and her percentiles also changed. She didn't want to take a bite of solid food until she was 13 months old. She just nursed day and night. I was scared for her iron supplies more than I was for the protein intake. I counted what she ate in the course of one week and I kept my expectations very low. I figured she kind of liked crunchy things - like chicken fingers, toast, crackers (which led me to believe that it had to do a lot with her terrible teething pains - she hadn't slept through the night until she got all of her teeth). I was grinding all of her food (including soups) until she was maybe 27 months old -that is how I managed to hide goodies in it (but trust me it had always been a battle). That is when her last molars came out. And voila! We had soup for dinner, and that was the first time I didn't have to grind it. Things only started getting better from then on. And she also started sleeping through the night! So let's say she eats at least 10 kinds of veggies, at least 15 kinds of fruits, beef, chicken, fish. She used to eat one half or one third of "rottini" pasta per bite and now two or three of those per bite. So if there is no medical reason for it, it can be for many other reasons - of course that's my conclusion, I'm not giving a medical opinion. Teething pains, slower adjusting to different tastes (especially after yummy sweet breast milk - for breast fed babies nothing tastes as good) or even being too cautious about new food - in terms of safety - maybe preventing potential allergies in those early stages, strong gag reflex and ability to take only small bites not as a deformation, but as a protecting mechanism from choking until a little one has all the teeth to chew the food properly so that it is safe to swallow. I know it is hard, especially since all other children have such a good appetite. Then keeping her on track for weight, which means at least try not to lose any weight. Plus occasional hard poop issues from not eating fruits and veggies is just a cherry on top. Keep up the levels of iron - because the lack of iron can cause loss of appetite and other issues. I know that nursing HELPED her go through all that without any health issues, even though many people would say "when she stops nursing she'll start eating or sleeping through the night or anything else". My daughter is now a pretty good eater except for the fact that food is not her priority - playing is, but that is another issue and is much easier to deal with. And she still nurses twice a day most of the days (sometimes more). And she sleeps through the night most of the nights. All the best!

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