My 15-month-old is refusing to eat: Advice?

My son is a little over a year old (15 months) and is refusing to eat. His diet and health haven’t changed; in fact - nothing has. He just doesn’t want to eat. On the rare occasion that I’m able to get a spoonful of anything in his mouth, he spits it out. I mentioned this to his doctor a few times, and all I got was “if he doesn’t want to eat, don’t fight him. He’ll eat when he’s hungry,” which makes sense…but it’s been three days since he’s eaten anything solid (in fear of him becoming malnourished and lacking vitamins, etc. I’ve been giving him a cup of breakfast essentials - I always try to feed him solid food first, and I try for a good long time before just handing him his drink). Today I decided not to make him his breakfast essentials and just wait it out. I thought maybe he’d get hungry and eat. NOPE. All-day, this child had water and a couple of Cheerios. I hate to admit, but I held his mouth open and put some food in…he ate it. He ate a spoonful of rice while I held him down and forced his mouth open. So I thought, great he’s eating! Nope. Because as soon as I let him go, he didn’t want anything to do with food. WTH? I know this isn’t normal. But he’s been gaining weight normally, everything seems fine, so no one else is anywhere near as concerned as I am…help…

1 Like

Holding him down is only going to make him think of food as a bad thing. It’s normal for them to “not eat” just keep a decent assortment of things out for him to snack on or try. His mouth could also be bothering him it’s really not too concerning until he actually starts dropping weight or any other “symptoms” listen to the Dr. Or find a different Dr. For a second opinion if it’s bothering you that much

1 Like

My kiddo had sensory issues that impacted what and how much he ate. Is he sensitive to sounds or textures?

1 Like

Did you breastfeed? My niece was like this til she was about 2 or so I’d say for SURE! Is he atleast drinking?

1 Like

Normal. Kids can go through that. Or It could be that they are constipated. Both of my children have belly issues. Most children can.

1 Like

Does he have any constipation problems? That could be a factor if so.


Kids go thrugh these phases, do not traumatize him by holding him down and forcing him to eat. He will eat when he is ready. Try to analyze what he is eating, too much milk, to many snacks but forcing him will only make him worst. You can give him Pediasure, try fruits and make his favorites but plesse do not force feed hin. Does he have all his teeth?

1 Like

I would check his teeth first. If no issues there, it could also possibly be a texture issue. A lot of kids with autism for example have issues with food. Hopefully it is just a stage, which is also very common. Whatever you do, just don’t force feed. That will be more traumatizing.

You wouldn’t want to be held down to eat anything

Our pediatrician said as long as they are still growing at a good pace then don’t worry.

My son is over 2 and still does this. Today he ate a bowl of cereal and that was all. Yesterday was 2 bites of cereal and 1 bite of apple. He will starve before eating something he doesn’t want. You cannot bribe the child either :rofl:

For all the Karens…do not bother commenting. He is my 3rd kid. I’m not going to traumatize my child and give him issues with food for life because he doesn’t want to eat. He eats if he wants to. I don’t need to hear about limiting his fluid intake or anything else.

There is no “normal” with toddlers. Except that there is no normal.

We are all in this parenting thing together

Having a similar issue with my 4 year old, I just make sure he has food he likes, fruits, veggies, apple sauce, jello, black olives, yogurt. And plenty of fluids. Next time I got to the store I’m going to get him some pediasure. I had to do it for my oldest when he was 4 when his grandpa died suddenly.

Has he been tested for food allergies? He may have a grain allergy that gives him stomachaches…

Just make sure he stays hydrated and dont force feed him…
When he’s hungry he will eat

1 Like

Trust me, he will let you know when he wants something

1 Like

Dont force feed him!!! That will do more harm than good. My 2 year old does the same thing. Honestly offer him foods you know he will eat even if it’s not super healthy. Have him help you make food. Like yogurt and fresh puree fruit and make yogurt pops. Peanut butter and apples. Finger foods. Veggie straws, baked chips or fruit chips. Make smoothies and add protein powder safe for kids. Make it fun. He will eat at some point. Hang in there :two_hearts:

If he’s still eating baby food, he’s probably over it. Try different foods.


Lol both of my brothers were this way, and lost a lot of weight. From eating everything to just cereal. It’s probably their hormones and Metabolism getting stronger. I see a lot of boys going through that🤷‍♀️

Has he got white spots or patches in his mouth or on his gums.? Is he teething. Did he perhaps burn his mouth with something too hot. ? Are his tonsils swollen or is he having any problem swallowing.? Is there any coughing, gagging, tummy upset, constipation, loose bowel movements. Any sign of ear aches? Any fever? Please don’t force anything as he could aspirate and then you got more issues. Check out some of the things I have asked you about. Have nutritious snacks. Finger foods. Best wishes.Oh are his glands in his neck swollen or anywhere else.

My daughter went through that for almost a year. I took her to the doctor and he told me that she’s not going through a growth spurt. When she’s hungry she’ll eat. When she starts going through a growth spurt, I won’t be able to stop her from eating. And he was right!!!

Leave a snacking plate on his level all day with a variety of non choke able foods on it and just ignore it, you’ll be pleased to see it will probably work great! I’ll bet he grazes and tries each thing out of natural curiosity and not feeling pressured to eat or practicing control over you since he probably senses the power struggle food is becoming. Make sure to give him lots of water as well since constipation is a big issue w boys at that age. Try a variety of textures but all healthy options, cheese flavored kale chips, cheese crackers, cut very small pieces of fruit, tiny chucks of granola bar, shredded turkey and cheese. I hope you try it, it’s worked for both of my boys and they both went through this phase at the same age. For them it was a constipation and food control combo. This worked. Good luck!

I daughter is having the same problem and the doctor said to give her pediasure

1 Like

I just went through it with My 16 month old daughter. Just make sure he is hydrated. Gatorade, water, freeze pops ect

Try letting him feed himself. I babysit a little guy that quit eating so we decided to let him feed himself and he started eating again.


You’ve created a power struggle over food. Forcing him to eat when you want him to will only make matters worse. Take the doctor’s advice and let him eat when he’s hungry. Give him healthy foods, (not the foods he wants) or you’ll have another power struggle on your hands.


Is he drinking? Sneak in pedia-sure or vita drops. Try different textures &fi get food.
Keep an eye out for a change in energy and/or fevers. Also, note any drastic changes in his weight.If everything looks good, try not to worry. I had to out my daughter on iron drops about this age because she would not eat anything green. (I could bury a pea in sweet potatoes & shed spit out just the pea)

My son went through the same thing. Just keep him hydrated and keep offering food. Maybe try snacks that he may favor over others.


With toddlers, you don’t look at what they eat in one day and be like “they’re not eating enough”. Look at the entire week. Give him at least 16oz of whole milk a day. Have you tried smoothies? If he likes liquids better than solids he might go for it.


You can give him pediasure and if this just happened, it could be due to a change in the weather. I eat less when it’s hot or the weather changes.

Stop forcing the food you are making it a battle. Leave out acceptable food choices in an ice cube / muffin tray and let the child choose the food. Write down what is eaten and then you can hand it to the Dr if you’re still concerned. Normally you eating something you enjoy is hard for a young child to resist. Let it be for a whole week and you’ll be surprised by what your child will eat.

Do not traumatize your child to settle your fears. My kids go through phases of eating everything in sight and eating very little. Right now my 2yo is eating very little he’s in the middle of a growth spurt. I don’t force him to eat although I encourage it. Eating it myself helps bc he has that “mine!” Mindset rn. Or doing airplane or choo-choo. I sure as hell haven’t forced him to eat if he wasnt interested


I use to freak about this too when my kids were younger around that age. My grandma always said they wont starve themselves and eat like birds sometimes lol. It was true. I always offered food and drinks.
As long as he is drinking I wouldn’t worry about it. He also could be clogged up a little poop wise. Just some of my thoughts.
He may just of hit a slow down period on growing and when he is growing he will eat everything in site lpl

Call the doctor if you’re worried but he’ll truly eat when he’s hungry… but u holding him down and forcing him to eat he may develop a fear of eating now just cause of that decision u did.

1 Like

I havent had this issue… but my kids seem to want to eat EVERYTHING I’m eating. No matter what it is- they want it.
That being said- have you tried eating with him? Maybe eat off his plate. Just like eat, offer him some- make sounds like it’s really yummy (lol) n then act like your busy- then wait n see if he’ll eat too. Idk- just a suggestion. I hope you figure something out. You’re his mama- trust your instincts.

1 Like

Kids go threw spurts of eating and not eating this week or 2 maybe just a little here and there but the next weeks hell devour everything he see completely normal

My twin granddaughters lived on string cheese and cheese puffs for a couple months. Do t make food a battle. Try enriched drinks or smoothies to sneak in a few vitamins


My 2 year old does the same thing. He goes through spurts where he is not picky at all and eats a ton! But then the next day he will not want anything I know he likes and will hardly eat anything all day. I think it’s just a toddler thing

Don’t force him. You eat, offer him food, if he refuses, cheerfully accept it and say ok maybe you’ll be hungry later. Then take the plate away. Just offer different things

My little guy would do this when he was teething, anytime a tooth (or in his case 2) would come in he would refuse all solids and only drink formula/liquids. I ended up getting toddler formula for a while to help get him some nutrients

1 Like

He will eat when he is hungry enough. My son went through the same thing. Hes 5 and some days he eats like a bird and others hes hungry every 15 mins and eats everything I give him. I’ve tried the pediasure and he didnt like ANY of the flavors but yours may be different so I would try that. Wait it out mama your doing great!! :grin::grin::grin::grin:

1 Like

This behavior is completely normal with toddlers. Don’t force it. Give him 2-3 choices of very simple things he can feed himself. He is learning different tastes and textures. It takes time. Also, only introduce one new food a week. Keep it really simple.

1 Like

Mine did this. He wouldn’t eat anything for a few days. It would drive me crazy! But then one morning he would wake up and start eating normal again. Sometimes they just want what mom and dad are eating so maybe try feeding off of your plate if you haven’t tried that yet.

They all go through it at this age. My daughter did, we freaked out. Our doc said to just give her smoothies for nutrition if she would take it.

You are making too big of a deal about. He’s still gaining and the Dr is not concerned so let it be. If you force him it only makes more issues around food.

1 Like

I have a 18 month old. Our winter went away then bam it was like summer, couple months ago when the heat set in he stopped eating, just simply stopped. Drank water and milk just fine but didn’t want food, couple Cheerios, cheeze its but not food… went on about a week then he randomly started eating again. I freaked took him to dr…couldn’t find anything wrong…I’m just blaming the heat had him so exhausted he didn’t want to eat and made him not feel good. (He’s very active and we spend most days outside the majority of the day)

1 Like

He also could be teething… My daughter does this when she’s teething… She’s getting 2 molars right now and barely ate anything all day… Its completely normal… If you were in that much pain you wouldn’t want to eat either…

Give him pedisure. If he won’t drink it mix it with a little ice cream to make a milk shake. Don’t force him to eat it may discourage him. Give him any snack he will eat anything is better than nothing push fluids to keep him hydrated. He will eat when he is hungry.

Stop making food an issue! Get him some pedialight or something similar. When he’s hungry, he’ll eat!

Don’t hold him down!! Follow her on Instagram she’s a nutritionist! Very helpful

1 Like

Reverse psychology. Tell him it’s yours not his. Worth a shot :woman_shrugging:

My 2 almost 3 year old is is like that still

Forcing food can cause serious eating issues/disorsers. He probably ate in fear, not hunger. He will eat when he’s hungry. For all you know, he’s got a tummy ache and doesn’t want to eat.

1 Like

I don’t want to scare you but maybe he swallowed a penny I say this because my daughter when she was younger did and wouldnt eat for a couple of days and when she did she would spit it up so We would give her Pedialyte in enshore and called the dr a couple days later she threw up three pennys we had no idea how she got them or when she ate them but she’s ok and kids can be sneaky my dr told me the same thing kids eat when they are hungry and as long as they are drinking he should be ok but keep trying anyway and keep montering him and if you feel like your dr isntvhelping isn’t helping find a different ine one who will listen hope this helps

MKe sure your not giving him to much fluid

It will keep him full

My 23 month old has been going through the same thing. She absolutely refuses vegetables. They have pediasure- a toddler drink packed with vitamins and minerals. It’s just a phase. They’ll eat when they get hungry.

Although it can be scary to see our babies not eating i wouldn’t force them to eat anything.

As long as he isn’t loosing weight, he will be okay. My almost 3 year old has always been like this. When she is hungry, she will eat. Otherwise, we don’t even try because it just ends up with us being frustrated and her in tears.

I have gone through this for years with my youngest. She is almost 10 and we still have to do pediasure twice a day. When she does eat its only raw foods. And her weight fluctuates. She also burns calories faster than a normal person.

My oldest son was that way. My pediatrician said the same thing and recommended putting finger foods like peanut butter crackers etc where he can reach them he eventually started eating again. He is now 29 and perfectly healthy.

I’m having this same issue with my 15 month old :sob: is his back teeth coming in? I figured she may not want to eat much because she’s in pain.

My 4yo is the same. It started about 14 months. Every now and then, he’ll eat. Otherwise, just wants milk and water. He’s still growing. I do try to remember vitamins. And for a year and a half i have him the Wal-Mart version of Pediasure. Just keep offering a variety. When i find something he will eat, i buy more and offer it with his next dinner. Sometimes it’s still to no avail.

Maybe let him eat by himself? My 18M won’t let me feed him. I set the food in front of him and he eats by himself

1 Like

My son is 3, his food habits are insane. He doesn’t eat, if he does he’s picky. Turns out he has sensory issues - found out when he was 2 and we are still working on trying to change up his food and get him to eat more. We found out the sensory issues because he also doesn’t talk. Babbles, screeches, etc just won’t talk yet.

when my daughter was getting her molars around that age, she refused to eat. I used the popsicle molds you can get at Walmart or the dollar store and used them to make food popsicles with baby food. helped ease her pain, and got her to eat. maybe try that


I went thru this SAME thing with my daughter. She didn’t eat til she was 3… Literally NOTHING. I went thru boxes of pediasure a week. I couldnt afford it anymore, I started buying breakfast essentials for her. We did that for a while, eventually i bought her a highchair and as mean as it sounds, I made her sit in that chair and would put for example 1 Oreo, 1 chocolate chip cookie or chicken nugget and fish stick … Etc infront of her and i would NOT let her get down until she licked one or the other. After a few days of licking whatever choice, i made her take a bite. Do that with all different things. It truly was the ONLY thing that worked for me. I took her to childrens hospital 2x a month just to hear she would eat when she wanted to. And took her to a program near my house also and the same. I ACTUALLY WROTE DR. PHIL. I was SO worried. Her eyes got dark underneath and everything. I know it is worrisome and scary when they wont eat. And my daughter literally just would not eat ANYTHING. The first couple weeks was hectic, she would scream and throw fits but I would literally not let her down for anything but bathroom until she licked one of only two options. Also, no liquids beforehand. They fill up on that they won’t want food. Hope it works! You can PM me if you ever have any questions!:heart::heart:

All my kids went through that. Sometimes they eat a ton then don’t eat for the next several days.
My 5 yr old sometimes only has chocolate milk.
My 1.5 yr old sometimes only has whole milk.
My 8 and 10 yr old only eat chips.
It does sound stupid but they will eat when they are hungry. It might seem like a long time to you but they will be fine. Maybe leave a bowl of cereal out for him to reach for when he does get hungry.

1 Like

I definitely don’t recommend holding him down and forcing food into his mouth. You’re going to create an awful relationship with food that way. My son goes through phases like this, especially while teething.

My 2 1/2 year old is the same way. I just make sure she get her breakfast essentials every day. If she eats food then I give her a few m&m afterwards for a treat or let her watch Mickey mouse club house. it seems to be working. She is eating more days than not now. It sounds weird to reward your kid for eating but it’s working for us.

Teething my son does this occasionally when certain teeth come in and they hurt so bad he doesnt wanna eat so when this happens I just give him tylenol/motrin and keep up with pedialyte and milk and switch back and forth for like a day or two till he gets to feeling better

Mine too. He prefers hit water or juice over real food. So I decided for him to get the healthy nutrients he needs I will make him fruit smoothies etc.

15 months? Please don’t ever force something in there mouth to eat… even us as adults when we have discomforts it causes us to lose appetite, your toddler is probably teething && how would you feel if you didn’t feel that great & someone force fed you food? :weary: I would offer whatever you can, if he eats it then great but if he doesn’t, then a pediasure is always a good start. You could take him to the store with you & maybe allow him to chose his own box of cereal & own yogurt of choice with cartoons & his own fruits & veggies of choice! Letting children be a little more Independent with there choices can have a positive effect. You can make homemade smoothies also, they’re very filling, very healthy & cold to the teething mouth!!

Could be cutting teeth and it hurts to eat or maybe a sensory thing I know to this day some food I refuse to eat because of texture and my husband the same way, just offer different foods don’t force them to eat if not hungry

Yes might be Teething!! My son is almost 2 and his gums were red and sore. He wouldn’t eat anything. I just made him warm broth. If he wanted milk water or juice he would let me know. He liked the broth. It probably soothes the gums. It lasted a few weeks. Now he’s eating a little more and is a little less cranky. Hopefully everything works out.

Maybe you can’t cook. Have you tried toddler meals


My pediatrician recommended for me to try making smoothies or yogurt. And then move on to larger meals. It worked for my kiddo

Some kids have growth spurts where they eat everything and some have them where they dont eat at all at that point in my opinion anything is better than nothing. My now 5 year old son did this. So when he did I let him pick whatever he wanted

Have him checked for autism, it could be a texture issue

1 Like

Try baby food packets!!!

My son is the same way. It use to drive me nuts. Now @ 4 I’m over it. He will eat when he’s hungry. He only has a few things he will actually eat. I give him a multivitamin a day. I did try pedisure when he was younger but stopped. He can fully communicate with me now to tell me if he’s hungry.

Mama …

I had a problem with this too!

Is your baby filling up on milk? I’ve been told to limit the milk. So he feels hungry for food. Set him in a high chair at regular meal times and offer the food. Limit the snacks between meals.

My son lived on animal crackers and milk until he was 3 pretty much. Now hes about to be 5 and is a tank still skinny but literally has a 6 pack and extremely physically fit and eats everything. Dont stress.

1 Like

Like the Dr said, he’ll eat when he’s hungry. They do that sometimes. It doesn’t really mean much unless you notice other things with it. Sometimes they just aren’t “growing” as much and don’t eat a lot, sometimes they are going through a growth spurt and eat everything in sight.

My son doesn’t like to eat either. I’ve noticed fighting with him makes it worse. I let him look and see what we have (after I’ve hid all the bad foods lol) and make whatever he picks out. Usually he only eats peanut butter sandwiches and cheese but he’s eating :woman_shrugging:t2: maybe let him be apart of the cooking process and make eating fun

Cut out milk. Cut out formula. Give only water to drink and provide many options for food. Most kids go through a phase where they just dont want most foods, but there has to be something you can offer that he will take. Yogurt, fruit, fruity popsicles, apple sauce, think yummy snacks that actually pack some nutrition. But please dont force feed your kid as this will just make their aversion to food so much stronger.

My little girl did this and it turned out to be a throat infection, numbing spray work well, she’d eat if I give her that n antibiotics if she needed them :+1:
Get his throat checked at doctors x

Kids are weird sometimes. Does he seem in any pain? Don’t force him to eat. We can actually live a while without food. Try only water for a day and see if that makes a difference. If not, feed him premade protein shakes and see what happens. Make his favorite foods maybe. Just play around with options. Try not to get frustrated, all kids have their moments

Should never force a kid to eat ever. Instead of solids try pureed fruits yoghurts etc. And give him fluid as much as possible.

Holding him down an force feeding him is just going to create a disaster an make him not want to eat specially if you are feeding him. Fuck if I was him an you were holding me down an force feeding me I would have kicked you bit you slapped you or something till you got your hands off of me!!! TRAUMATIZE the poor kid why dont you!!! My oldest was force fed by a “friend” when he was younger an I walked into the room while it was happening an i flipped my shit an told that fat one legged whore to take her hands off my child an to NEVER put her hands on him again.My oldest told me he will never forget what she did to him an HATES her for how she was with him

If you want to make your life hard keep trying to force feed him. A child or person who is actually Hungary will eat just about anything.

If all his growing is normal just let him be. My son has gone through many fazes…

Ten years old now and has always tracked on the 90th percentile for height and weight

My son was like this, he was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder. We had to go through occupational and food training therapy to help him. During that process he was pretty much only consuming pediasure. He was later diagnosed with ASD.


If he’s gaining weight and health wise is fine I wouldn’t be too worried honestly… I know it can be stressful and I can’t help but think something must be wrong but kids go through phases, I would just continue making sure he gets plenty of water, continue offering foods u know he enjoys and pediasure (to get the vitamins and nutrition) … and I know u didn’t mean anything bad by force feeding him but I definitely wouldn’t recommend doing that anymore, it’s not healthy to be made to eat and can do long term damage if it’s done a lot… kind of like making a plate for a kid and making them eat all of it even when they say they’re full…


I have never agreed with doctors advice of “wait and see”. Medical care is very reactive and not proactive. There is nothing normal about a baby not wanting to eat for days. There are picky eaters, yes but he should get hungry. He could be constipated, sick, etc. Take him back to the doctor or get a second opinion.


That sounds like my 23 year old son. There are days, he’ll drink a glass of milk, but no food. And, then he’ll eat everything he can get. He does not have allergies, or anything physically wrong. I’ve learned to just let him be. He has filled out normally with muscles. So… don’t worry too much, just make sure you have whatever it is he will eat, when he does.


I learned the hard way that forcing a child to eat will do more harm than good. My daughter went through the same phase when she was around 18 months. It lasted until 3 years old. She was super small but otherwise healthy. Her ped said the same thing, she’ll eat when she’s hungry. She would go days without eating a single meal so we supplemented with ensure for kids… if we tried to force her to eat she would throw tantrums, just cry or even make herself sick occasionally. Once we stopped forcing her, things got better. We would offer small healthy snacks multiple times a day . Sometimes she would eat and other times she had her “milkshake” and that was it.


My son had extremely large, swollen tonsils which were not causing him any pain but impacted his breathing, eating, exertion, speaking. Everything changed for the better when they were removed. I am fortunate that A nurse suggested I look into it
Please get another opinion as soon as you can. Best wishes.


Just make sure he’s getting plenty of fluids. You wouldn’t want him to get dehydrated. If by the end of the week he still isn’t eating, I’d ask to speak to a nutritionist. I know that sounds drastic but helping people eat is their job and they won’t just respond with, “He’ll eat when he’s hungry”. Also, keep track of what he does eat and the time he eats it. You might find a pattern. Good luck!


Please dont force food down your childs mouth!! This is so dangerous and hes still so young and learning! :frowning: I have a 16 month old boy and couldnt imagine the trauma that would cause. If you feel this strongly about his lack of eating, go find a pediatrician that will listen to you and actually help point you in the right direction! It takes close to 20 times for a toddler to start liking a new food. Your taste buds change all the time. Keep offering him breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes If my son hasn’t really eaten I’ll make him some toast and bananas and just leave it out for him to eat whenever and he will eventually eat it all! Try different methods and textures…maybe blend it up? I hope some of this helps you, good luck!! :hugs:


Don’t force it. He’ll be fine. He will eat when he’s hungry. My daughter is 2 and hasn’t eaten more than bites since she stopped nursing last summer. Her doctor recommended pediasure shakes, she gave us samples and my daughter loves them. That’s all she will drink and I try to get water in and still attempt food. Sometimes she takes bites, sometimes she doesn’t. She’s growing fine and healthy.


I have a child with a severe eating disorder. He ate everything until he was 18 months, then nothing. I would say wait it out a couple weeks, then take him back. My son ended up being diagnosed with Sensory disorders and mild autism. We did 6 years of occupational and feeding therapy and he still only eats 4 foods at almost 12. Trust your gut.


I feel your stress - my boy was the same. I found that if he had a poo lodged and was constipated, it meant he felt fuller and didn’t want to eat. Make sure he gets enough water so he hydrated which will dislodge the poo. If you don’t make a fuss about it then he won’t feel your stress and will naturally go for the food. One more tip - try to cook things that fill the house with a great smell to entice. Good luck!

1 Like

I have 5 kiddos and they all went through the same thing. I used pedisure and made sure they had a multivitamin. I wouldn’t force it, especially if he’s gaining weight. Just have options for him so when he decides he does want to eat, there’s always something.