I feel like my daughter does not eat enough: Advice?

My three-year-old daughter eats less than 300 calories a day. I keep reaching out to her doctor, but her doctor keeps telling me that “no children will starve themselves.” Her Dr also blames me for not feeding her well. But she just doesn’t want to eat! My son has no issues eating, and he’s perfectly healthy. I’m suspecting she has ARFID. We are going to the children’s hospital in the ER because things are NOT going well, and she is not getting the help she needs. She has a lot of anxiety, too, and she may be autistic. My son and I are also autistic, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if she is also autistic. (Don’t need advice on autism and don’t suggest ABA therapy.) She’s currently on so many waitlists to get her tested for autism and to treat her anxiety. But I can’t wait another four months for her to be seen for her eating habits. Any other mamas dealt with ARFID? How can I help my daughter?


Have you tried pediasure shakes?

Sounds like you need a new doctor


Will she drink? Smoothies? Pediasure?


Have u tried


It really helped my child to eat.

If she’s underweight and your doctor isn’t convinced that she needs some type if intervention, that’s a real crappy doctor and you need a second opinion TODAY. If she’s not underweight… by some… miracle? Then just keep pushing to get her diagnosed and into OT and therapy.


No idea about arfid but oh it makes me so mad when doctors say that they won’t starve themselves!! My son did. He had a sphincter that was too tight making it very difficult to swallow but he couldn’t express that. So he just stopped eating. Would go to school and not eat lunch, I’d have to beg him to drink some milk for supper. If he tried to eat things, he’d throw up. Took forever to get a doctor to listen to me!!! He was skin and bones. They finally did an endoscopy and dilated it. The next week, literally, he started eating again. You are the mom and know your child best. Keep pushing! And hugs, mama! I know how hard it is to see your baby struggle. I hope you can get some answers soon. In the meantime, try to add fat to anything that she will eat. Gravy, butter, ranch, whatever has extra calories that she’ll tolerate. Let her make a mess with dipping stuff in different sauces if she will at least get some in her mouth. Good luck!


Seems like you are a great momma, unfortunately doesn’t seem like the pediatrician is. I think you going to children’s hospital is a good idea or maybe finding a new pediatrician


My daughter has autism and eats the same things every day. She wound up getting scurvy from a vitamin C deficiency and ended up in the hospital. My advice would be to put her on a liquid vitamin, to substitute for the things she isn’t eating in the meantime.

Have you noticed what her texture avoidances are? That could be a good place to start potentially. Also high calorie smoothies if she likes that texture


Have you noticed if it’s certain food textures that she likes and doesn’t like? Would she drink a smoothie or protein drink for kids? Just keep trying and find a new doctor she sounds like no help.

What helped my light weight child is lots of healthy smoothies. There are tons of different ones on Pinterest

I’d relax and not stress about it first of all. What does she eat or drink? Is she saying she’s full? Try giving food little and often and away from sitting at a table. Work together to make food as this can help with eating. A fruit rainbow for example. Often the issue is not knowing what goes in food so if you make it together from scratch they can see this. Mine hates purees other than ketchup so don’t assume puree is the answer! Make smoothies together, offer lollies (fruit popsicles). If they want to live off cheesy pasta for a while let them.

We used breakfast carnations for our son. It helped a lot. With protein powder and ice cream like a shake.

Check out this FB group: Mealtime Hostage - The Group

Lots of great advice!

Make her fruit & veggie smoothies, kids love frozen drinks. You can even sneak in SO many veggies you wouldn’t normally feed her :blush:


I can relate to this when my daughter was born she wouldn’t take her bottle when time for solids she would barely eat to I pushed and pushed I got her admitted to the hospital at 6 months old they diagnosised her with cp ( cerbal palsy ) thank god for my mom she worked with handicap children finally at the age of 6 or 7 my mom pushed to get other testing done came out that they diagnosised her wrong final result was autism today she’s 14 yrs old stilll struggling with her to eat solid food but I leave stuff out for her to snack on chin up momma just keep pushing

1 Like

My 8 1/2 yr old grandson who has been with me since birth started out by slowly not eating certain baby foods then shortly afterward started not eating many table foods. He has a very short list of foods he can eat without gagging and throwing up everything. His gut health is atrocious. A small suggestion and I don’t know if it will work but maybe take her to the grocery store with you ALONE spend a significant time in the fresh fruit and veggie area ONLY and see what she might pick out. Go home try and next trip pick a different isle. Each trip do a trial and error. Stay away from any isle that has what she currently eats, and chips, candy, cakes, I did this and he broadened his outlook a little bit to what the current menu is. We never stop trying to introduce small things each month. 8 yrs later who knew he liked jello :scream::yum: good luck and take your baby to a new group of drs please. Good luck and bless your family


Go see a different doctor. Not eating enough can go downhill quickly and lead to a tube. You are right to be concerned. Get a blood test too to check her nutrition levels and iron level.

1 Like

Give her calories in liquid. Smoothies if she likes them, pedisure, toddler formula, make pb milkshakes and toss in banana with it. At this point if you’re worried I suggest seeking alternate pediatrician. Is she severally underweight? Failure to thrive?


Get her into a mental health counselor and see a dietician. Consult with her doctor about supplements she could take like ensure, boost, etc

It could be the age. My son didn’t eat much at that age. And my daughter doesn’t eat much now either

My youngest will maybe eat a half a meal a day with some small snacks. Our doctor said that at this age they are still learning the “American” way of eating and the way they eat is actually how we should eat. Now she has her days where she’ll eat like crazy, then go two - three days of barely eating. She is finally starting to show her weight and I’m constantly saying I don’t know how because she doesn’t eat. We were told they would be concerned if she was still doing this by 4-5.


Yep my daughter has it but it’s due to her rare disease and is on a feeding tube

My son at that age went through the same thing. Pediatrician told me when he gets hungry, he’ll eat. HE WAS RIGHT! He went from a size 4 to an 8 in one summer. :roll_eyes:

Yes…my daughter spend 3 weeks before xmas in hospital and was diagnosed with ARFID. If you want to talk PM me. Thinking of you and your daughter

Leave snacks out so she can grab when she’s hungry. Kids are such picky eaters. Does she like sweet potato’s and regular potatoes? Maybe make them into fries. Potatoes and rice are fattening so watch out for that. Give her pediasure too and of course lots of fruit and vegetables.

My son only wants to eat grilled cheese and chicken nuggets! I spoke with our ped about my concerns with no fruits and veggies. She recommended a glass of v8 fruit a day. (We call it koolaid or red juice)
I’d definitely get another opinion. They should not bash you as a parent. Good luck mama!

A child will not starve herself. My daughter is skinny. Her father used to stress me out saying I didn’t feed her well. Shes always fed just doesn’t want to eat. Every doctor she’s seen says she’s fine. If your Dr says she’s fine I’d trust them.

I know it’s hard momma, just keep trying. No advice from me other than I have a disorder that makes me quit eating for a few days sometimes based off the texture of a food, for example, if I bite into a burger and I get the skin of an onion, or god forbid a tomato or lettuce… :nauseated_face: end of the world for me… gushers are a no go… the liquid creeps me out, and cooked meat used to be bad for me too, got over that one with some therapy after I got extremely anemic… my little girl is 3, and I’ve noticed the texture thing to be a problem for her too, but no where near the point of causing her to stop eating for days… just a couple hours. But it’s so hard watching your babies suffer from something you can’t/don’t know how to fix… :slightly_frowning_face: just keep trying, momma. Maybe try a fruit smoothie (could be fun for her) or the pedisure shakes if she’ll drink them. They have the adult “breakfast essentials” my girl LOVES them, maybe try those? Best of luck to you!! :two_hearts:

My 2 yo went thru a time where he was very picky and not eating “good” I tried to substitute certain things that were healthier options ie. pasta that was make from veggies and the likes. That helped- it was even more helpful making the food fun and having their help getting/making it too. It’s a lot of work but maybe worth a shot? You can pm me for ideas- good luck mama :two_hearts:

Try pedisure, or smoothies.


I have three year old twins, my daughter eats like crazy and my son barely touches dinner etc… but will snack on fruit and veggies, chesses snacks etc. I have learned to leave his plate out as he will go back to it on his time. I usually set a limit for 30 minutes then in the garbage it goes.