Why isn't my toddler eating?

Why isn’t my toddler eating?

Why isn’t my toddler eating? Well she is eating, but not meals. Instead she is surviving on biscuits and icecream. Is this normal? Can someone tell me that I’m not the only one to have a toddler go through a non-eating and fussy stage.

Currently her favourite foods are porridge, mandarin tinned oranges, vanilla or chocolate ice cream, bananas, and biscuits. You could argue that this list does sound healthy (ish) with the mandarins and bananas. But still she’s not eating the lovingly home made meatballs and pasta, or fajitas. She’s not even eating breakfast.

This has been going on for a while. We have our good days where she will eat what’s put in front in her, or she will dismiss it entirely and throw it on the floor. I’m starting to question whether I’m doing something wrong. Is it my cooking? Is she being fed at the wrong time of day? Is she just generally not hungry? Or has she filled herself up on too many biscuits?

There are too many questions!

I know that when she’s at nursery she’s eating all her meals, well most of all her meals. So why is she not eating at home. I’ve tried everything from getting her to eat her food with different spoons, with different bowls, at different temperatures, even getting her to eat in front of the TV to see if that distracts her. But she’s still not taking the bait.

I even thought it may have been because I wasn’t eating with her, whereas at nursery they all eat together. Unfortunately my daughter and I eating together didn’t have any profound impact, and she still just dismisses the food.

It’s starting to drive me mad, as pretty much every single meal is wasted! 

Anyway I’ve come to the conclusion that she will not starve herself, if she’s hungry she’ll either have another biscuit or a banana, or a flipping Yo-Yo Bear. Or she’ll end up drinking a gallon of milk to make up for a lack of food. Trust me I am not starving her, she just doesn’t want to eat.

It is promising that for the two days a week she is at nursery she’s eating, and I’m reassured by that fact. I just wish that she would eat more at home.

Do all toddlers go through a fussy and refusing to eat phase? Please tell me you’ve experienced a similar problem, otherwise I may start to think it’s my cooking.

Claire x

This is proof that she eats a lot of ice cream!

Why isn't my toddler eating?


  • Heather Keet

    All of the toddlers in my daycare went through these phases. I always told parents that a child won’t starve themselves (unless they’ve got a medical condition) and to just keep serving the meals. Eventually they start eating again. I did usually recommend to parents that they resist giving loads of snacks the kids loved…but keep in mind that I wasn’t the one who was stuck awake with a hungry toddler in the middle of the night. #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Noleen Miller

    I have one fussy child – she was also a picky eater when she was a toddler. Now that she is older, she eats her meals and thank goodness she eats her veggies but is still so fussy on many other foods. All the best and hopefully soon this phase will be something of the past.#fortheloveofBLOG

  • Naomi

    I’m lucky that my daughter for the most part will eat anything but we have had days where she refused to eat anything except bowl after bowl of rice pops. Who knows what goes through their minds! #FortheLoveofBlog

  • Nicola

    My 19mth old is just starting to do this. Some meals are fine, like dinner last night he seems to like fish pie! Other meals like lunch he will only pick at things. However, I had him weighed yesterday and he’s putting on weight normally, so I’m going to stop worrying!

  • Mrs Mummy Harris

    You need to have a word with my Hubby! The last week Ben has been a nightmare with eating. we’ve done three different meals over two days each meal time and he still doesnt want anything. Apart from sweet food like chocolate digestives! I told hubby to send him to bed slightly earlier as he’ll be tired from lack of food and he’ll learn overtime we wont fuss over his lack of eating. But no, hubby is scared Ben wont eat and will then stop eating altogether. I’m so glad we’re not the only ones and hopefully it’s a phase they go through! I’m putting it down to his last four teeth all coming in at the same time as 2 have broken through and the other two are literally nearly there!! #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Jaki

    I had a fussy eating toddler and I have a fussy eating four – almost five-year old. I don’t think it was anything I have done wrong. My MIL tells me that my husband lived off ice cream for some time when he was a kid so I’m blaming him!! It can’t last forever, I hope!! #fortheloveofblog

  • Laura: Adventures with J

    You have my deepest sympathies but I can’t really help other than to say that I am jealous of what your toddler eats! J has a far more restricted diet and has never eaten hot food or anything cold – ever! He has never eaten a ‘meal’ and has nothing but marg on his bread. I am reassured that your little one drinks loads of milk as it makes me feel better to know that ‘normal’ toddlers drink milk too but since J is still on formula it is reassuring. #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Emma :Ettie and Me

    How old is your little gorl, my daughter is going through the same thing but I think it might be her teeth – that and the fact that shes now learned how to say no so is voicing her choice!! somedays she eats everything so Im sure its only a phase! Hope your little one gets through it soon xx

  • Emma :Ettie and Me

    How old is your little girl, my daughter is going through the same thing but I think it might be her teeth – that and the fact that shes now learned how to say no so is voicing her choice!! somedays she eats everything so Im sure its only a phase! Hope your little one gets through it soon xx #fortheloveofBlOG

  • Natalie A

    I’ve seen my nieces and nephews go through phases where they barely eat or always say they aren’t hungry. I see them now years later which such a big appetite. I bet it’s just a phase she is going through. So sorry for the frustration you are going through trying to figure it out!

  • Briony

    Oh I’ve been there and though it doesn’t happen often anymore there are still days he’ll refuse his food. Stubborn little thing. So it is certainly not you!! #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Chloe

    Hi, I think that you have the right outlook in this situation she will not starve herself and eat when she is hungry. Hopefully she will grow out of it soon #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Aleena

    My eldest started as a great eater, and these days it’s hit and miss. She usually eats a Weetabix for breakfast and maybe some toast. She turns her nose up at lunch and dinner can be a struggle too. At nursery, she eats everything. When I was working in nurseries, I would have parents genuinely think I was lying when I said they were eating everything! Now that my eldest is old enough to understand I tell her very calmly that she can eat or not eat, it’s her choice. If she eats, she is allowed a snack of her choice mid-morning and mid-afternoon and a yoghurt for pudding. If she doesn’t eat, she can have snacks at those time but of MY choice, and no yog. Sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t! good luck xx #fortheloveofBLOG

  • naomi

    when Eric has gone through a really fussy stage, I have pretty much been assured that its a phase. he doesn’t eat anything and he’s fussy in general, but there are meals that I know he will eat which is reassuring. the only thing I have found helps when he is going through one of those phases where he is really fussy and the usual meals won’t work is offering packed lunches and picnic styles and letting him graze instead of meals. it’s a mindfield though… hope it improves soon! #fortheloveofblog

  • Cheshire SEN Tutor

    I think, like most things with kids, it’ll probably be a phase. Doesn’t make it any easier when you’re in the middle of it though does it! Hope she suddenly starts eating for you. #fortheloveofblog

  • Tim

    We never had this issue with any of our three but we know plenty who did. Ours were just picky over what they would or wouldn’t eat, and they would change their preferences almost as quickly as we could change their nappies … #fortheloveofBLOG

  • The Mummy Bubble

    We have definitely had phases like this. My baby keeps going through them too and it’s so frustrating when you’ve put a lot of effort into cooking. I think they just get bored eventually and start wanting variety again. Very annoying though x #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Jemma @ Popcorn for Lunch

    Argh could’ve written this myself! Our eldest daughter went through a spell of being THE most reluctant eater. She would happily snack etc but refused most meals. It started to drive me bonkers! You might not want to read th next bit….the ‘spell’ went on for a good 2 years. Only now has she started to eat proper meals again! I found myself just learning to relax about it all. As you rightly say, she won’t starve. Don’t put the stress on yourself, you don’t need it. She’ll come out of it eventually. And don’t believe all the people that say they feed their kids organic avocado and linseeds – most toddlers I know are raised on magnificent diets of sausages, chips and E numbers!xxx #fortheloveofblog

  • Helena

    It’s great that she’s eating something. Portion size for a child differs from an adult. I’ve been told to take on palm sized portions so if this is true of children too they don’t need much for those tummies to be full. Eating is a sociable thing but as you say she’s not even eating when you do which is odd. Time to talk to a professional I think. #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Sarah

    I had this with Amelie and the best advice I had was try not to worry and to look at what they eat in a week. She is older now and SO much better! They won’t starve so as long as they are having something try not to worry (Easy to say I know)! #fortheloveofblog

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