View Full Version : 2yr old STILL doesn't eat!

04-22-2014, 10:23 AM
I've posted about this before, my dcb who only eats baby food. Well, it's gotten worse, I need something else to try!

He will be 2 in June. Does not speak, at all. Not even mama or dada. Only has 2 sounds, ba and boo. No other consonants. His hearing has just recently been tested, and he passed. He can definitely hear instructions, and follows them. He's now on the waiting list for speech therapy.

He essentially does not eat. Up until about a month ago, he was still eating baby food at home for every meal. I stopped it here coming up on 2 months ago, after gently suggesting for months that it needed to be done.

He only eats dry carbs, for example, dry cereal, toast, crackers, mini rice cakes. That and cheese is literally it. He will be spoon fed apple sauce and yogurt. Put anything else in front of him, and he stares at it or cries. Will NOT put anything else in his mouth, nor allow anyone to do it for him. Is now refusing baby food and infant cereal at home, which they're still feeding him, I assume because he won't eat anything else. They finally switched him to milk about 6-8 weeks ago (from formula), which he'll have fine out of a bottle, but now that he's finally bitten through all of his bottles, parents have decided they're not getting him any more. He will NOT take milk from a sippy cup of any kind. There is one kind of sippy with a straw that he will drink water out of, but he won't drink milk out of it at all. He'll have a tiny sip or 2 from a regular plastic cup if you hold it up to his mouth, but he essentially wets his lips with it and then refuses.

I put lunch in front of him, and I leave him. He stares at it, or recently, dumps it on the floor. He sits and whines and whimpers through lunch, and then he goes to bed. I refuse to cater to him, and mom knows that. Problem is, he will literally go all day here without eating a thing, unless I give crackers or rice cakes with snack, and will only drink water sporadically, no milk.

Then he goes home, refuses his baby goop, and gets - I'm dead serious - a BEAR PAW for supper, because "that's all he'll eat." He goes weeks subsisting on goldfish crackers, rice cakes, bear paws, cheerios, apple sauce, yogurt, and a bit of cheese, and nothing else.

I used to be able to get him to eat pasta or a few bites of mixed veggies, or a cucumber slice, and sometimes even a bit of ham or roast beef, but all of those are a no-go now. He'll simply clamp his mouth shut and throw it on the floor.

I've tried everything, spoonfeeding things to him hidden inside yogurt or applesauce, which is what the dietician that saw him recommended. Well, he just spits out whatever was hidden and eats the apple sauce or yogurt, and then won't have another bite because he now knows there is food hidden in it. I've sat with him and offered him a piece of cheese in exchange for him eating one bite of lunch, I've tried to squeeze it into his mouth when he's distracted, I've had him help me make lunch so he could see what it was, everything. I'm out of ideas and seriously worried for his health and nutrition. I'm also concerned that he seems to be regressing - foods that he used to accept he now won't, and the list has gotten a lot smaller, not larger.

Parents are concerned, and realize there's a problem, but seem content to just cater to him and feed him whatever he'll eat. I get it, if he hasn't eaten all day, then doesn't eat supper and goes to bed, I'm sure he'll have a rough night, but it's not teaching him anything, and it's making him know he can continue to refuse me and get junk at home.

Terminating is NOT an option, despite this issue. He's a sweetheart, the family is great, that's not happening.

I also don't think I'm going to be able to get Mom on board with being as strict about it as I am, as in, you don't eat what everyone else eats, you go to bed with nothing. She's not going to be able to stop trying to fill him up before bed, and as much as I don't like it, I understand why.

Anyone have any other ideas I can try during the day to get him to open up to the idea of other food? It's been 2 months of him wasting food, I need to try something else.

bright sparks
04-22-2014, 10:34 AM
Honestly I don't have any other suggestions, sounds like you have tried everything, even stuff I wouldn't have suggested like hiding food for the very reason it failed, but hell anything is worth a try when a child isn't eating. If terminating isn't an option then all I can say is that you will just have to let it go. You really don't have too many options, either terminate because there is nothing else you can do, or carry on the way it is and try not to let it get to you.

04-22-2014, 10:57 AM
My 'rule' with food here is I offer up a good meal. I don't pressure, encourage, push, bribe or force a child to eat anything. They are in control of what they put in their mouth choosing FROM WHAT I OFFER. I try to include one 'safe' item with each meal whether it be a simple veggie or a fruit since my meals tend to be more adult oriented. If the rest of my group (all same age) can handle cabbage rolls and stir-fry's then so can the picky child that refuses.

I don't stress or worry about their intake. I have a 16month old that eats nothing. She is catered to at home and eats a select few (rather unhealthy BUT ORGANIC) items. What ever. I do an extra mini snack before afternoon nap as my group is all 13-17months old and all still nap twice a day. We have lunch at 11am but nap at 1. I now give a half cup of milk and a cracker of some sort right before 1pm so they aren't starving and sleep 2hrs. I find 4.5 hrs between lunch and snack too long for these little ones.

I would honestly tell you to stop caring. The family needs to put the work in to deal with it...possibly with professionals. The food things could very well be related to the not talking. There may be a real issue here not just a stubborn eat (though having been fed purees so long makes it seems like a learn behavior).

Keep offering let the child take charge in their intake just put it in front and clean it up at the end. It quickly becomes a power struggle if you start trying to make them eat...even the games of encouraging can become a power struggle. Ignore if they whine, chat with them if they are calm...just don't mention their food.

04-22-2014, 11:39 AM
OMG I honestly don't know how you do it! Sorry I cannot offer any other advice other than place the food in front of him and that is it. If he eats he eats, if not so be it. I would not allow a child to throw food on the floor or dump their dish though. For me personally I don't think I would have kept the child in my care, he would have been gone long ago. I actually have in my contract that all kids need to be weaned of baby food and bottles by 18 months (and I think that is too long too lol).

04-22-2014, 11:47 AM
I agree that there could be a link to not eating and lack of speech. Have they been seen by doctors/professionals?

Alternatively, it could be just plain stubborn behaviour, in other words, he knows that he doesn't have to eat what is served b/c he will get the food that he wants, eventually.

I understand your concern, especially if he is regressing. Maybe set up a meeting with the parents, express your concerns, discuss an action plan, and take it from there. Do it all in writing, cover yourself if anything comes of it, have them sign it, and carry on.

5 Little Monkeys
04-22-2014, 11:57 AM
Possible Forms/ levels of autism are what pop into my head when reading your post. Hopefully the parents find some answers to his no speaking and perhaps the no eating will be resolved too.

Sounds like you have given this a fair shot and I'm not sure what else to suggest. I would just keep giving him the food and he can decide to eat or not.

04-22-2014, 11:58 AM
I'm glad to hear that the parents are looking at speech therapy. It could of course be picky eating but I'm strongly in the camp of the speech and the eating being connected. Children with apraxia of speech for instance (I have a wonderful little girl in my care who struggles with this) can be influenced by oral fixations or aversions. Textures can be a problem. (As can social behaviours but that's another story.)

04-22-2014, 12:11 PM
Daisy123, that's what I'm beginning to think. I don't want to force the issue if there's actually some reason why the texture is bothering him, and not just stubbornness. I think the complete lack of speech is definitely related.

They have mentioned these concerns at the doctor, but they doctor just sent them to a dietician, who was the one who told them to "hide" food in baby food, and put them on a waiting list for speech therapy, which is apparently 8-9 months long.

Thanks everyone, I appreciate the support!

04-22-2014, 12:21 PM
Doctors know a lot but at the same time they're limited to their training. That's why it's up to parents to do the pushing sometimes. I wouldn't completely back down from the food thing but it'll take time regardless of the issue. As for the speech issue, perhaps you/parents might be on board with introducing some baby sign language!? I've been learning to use it with my dcg and it does wonders for self esteem and communication (not to mention observational skills!). Whether it's a case of a late talker or a physical issue, I'm an advocate.

04-22-2014, 12:41 PM
My nephew has high functioning autism and he was/is horrible with eating. He will be 5 years old next month. He started talking late and had all types of food aversions, and no matter what you did he would NOT put the food in his mouth and my sister tried everything. She ended having to send a lunch to daycare that was food he would for sure eat because otherwise he would get really moody from hunger.

It ended up being a waiting game, now that he is more verbal my sister has more success at getting him to eat a more varying diet. It was very stressful for their family, his refusal to eat resulted in constipation and other problems. He still has aversions, he physically gags on macaroni but is fine eating any other kind of pasta.

He has been going for speech therapy and occupational therapy since he was 2, it seems to have done alot of good.

I don't think there is much you can do, just keep offering and hopefully it will work out in the long run.

Busy ECE mommy
04-22-2014, 02:27 PM
Apraxia was my first thought when you see speech and food issues together. Autism as well, but I don't know if the developmental history supports it. Definitely a consult with a speech and language pathologist to assess speech and oral difficulties. His family doc or pediatrician should be following as well.

04-23-2014, 04:26 PM
Children can have sensory aversions without having autism. Sensory integration disorder often manifests with oral issues.