It’s difficult to have a picky eater. But what if your child is so picky that it doesn’t eat anything except milk? If this is your case, you’re probably exhausted and screaming inside your head,
There could be a lot of reasons why your 2-year-old won’t eat anything but milk as his tummy is always full from drinking milk. Again, it could be your toddler simply finds comfort in drinking milk than eating other food. Your child could also have a slow development phase or be physically ill that’s refraining him to take other foods.
These reasons have more explanations which I described below in this article. I’ve also explained 6 techniques on how you can solve this problem.
But first, you have to understand whether it’s normal for a 2-year-old to only want to drink milk.
Is it Bad for a 2-Year-Old to Only Drink Milk?
No, it’s not bad for a 2-year-old to only drink milk. It’s completely normal if your toddler isn’t interested in any food. It’s a result of slow cognitive development in most kids. Usually, toddlers tend to hold their habits of breastfeeding for a long time. It develops a picky-eater habit in them.
However, you should do a thorough checkup with a pediatrician to figure out if there are any medical reasons your toddler isn’t eating. Also, only drinking milk will become a health concern if your child is lactose intolerant or has any kind of allergies.
So, whether it’s bad for a 2-year-old only to drink milk depends on the health of the child.
Why My 2-Year-Old Won’t Eat Anything But Milk?
Primarily, there are 5 reasons why your 2-year-old won’t eat anything but only milk. These are simple reasons. For example, milk is your toddler’s only favorite food or your child is filling up its little stomach with milk.
Again, if you’re not introducing new food to your toddler other than milk, they won’t want to eat. Finally, your child could be having slow growth or losing interest in food due to illness or stress.
I’ll describe each of these reasons in detail so that you could be aware of these conditions.
- Reason 1: Milk is Your Child’s Comfort Food
- Reason 2: Too Much Milk Filled Your Child’s Belly
- Reason 3: You Don’t Introduce New Foods
- Reason 4: Your Child’s Growth Slowed Down
- Reason 5: Your Child Lost Interest in Food
- Solution 1: Have Family Dinners with Your Child
- Solution 2: Introduce Small Portions of Food
- Solution 3: Engage Your Child in Meal Prepping with You
- Solution 4: Give a Small Portion of Milk
- Solution 5: Make the Food Interesting
- Solution 6: Hide the Milk Bottle
- FAQs On Toddler Won’t Eat Anything But Milk
Reason 1: Milk is Your Child’s Comfort Food
The first reason your toddler finds comfort in drinking milk. As milk is a liquid substance, your child doesn’t need to put a lot of effort into drinking it.
Some toddlers can’t get rid of the habit of breastfeeding until 3 or 4 years old. So, when you start to remove milk from their diet, it upsets them and diverges them from other food.
Reason 2: Too Much Milk Filled Your Child’s Belly
Another crucial reason your toddler isn’t eating anything is that you give a large portion of milk to your kid every time. Your toddler is filling up on milk. So, he doesn’t have any space left to eat other foods.
Again, milk takes time to absorb in the human body as calcium binds with iron. So, when your toddler is drinking a large portion of milk, they lose the appetite for eating other foods.
The main trick here is to leave your toddler hungry even after drinking milk. On the contrary, you can offer food before and keep the milk at the end as a reward. This will make the toddler take an interest in other foods.
Reason 3: You Don’t Introduce New Foods
Now, you could also be the reason why your toddler doesn’t like food. Do you give your 2-year-old a bottle of milk every time he’s hungry? See, that’s the problem.
By nature kids are curious. If you don’t introduce new foods to your kid, he won’t ask you for it. The reason is kids don’t know other foods exist other than milk if you don’t introduce the food to them.
Reason 4: Your Child’s Growth Slowed Down
Now, even if you introduce a new food, your child could be a picky eater and always choose milk over anything. In most cases, it’s the result of slow cognitive and physical development.
Generally, infants grow faster and require more milk than a toddler. So, when your child becomes a toddler, he or she doesn’t require frequent food consumption like before.
Naturally, a child’s growth slows down in the toddler phase. So, your 2-year-old doesn’t feel the need to eat anything after drinking milk.
Reason 5: Your Child Lost Interest in Food
Finally, losing interest in food also makes a toddler have only milk other than any food. The reasons could be physical sickness, mental stress, or allergic reactions. A love for bland foods can also be the cause your child isn’t eating anything colorful.
Sometimes toddlers feel uncomfortable with the sizes, shapes, and colors of newly introduced foods. As a result, they don’t feel interested to taste other foods and stick to their old diet – milk.
How Do I Get My Stubborn 2-Year-Old to Eat Apart from Milk?
Now, whatever the reason is it’s essential to feed your toddler other foods than milk. You can try out 6 easy and effective techniques to get your stubborn 2-year-old to eat food. Start by slowly introducing new food to them at the dinner table. Make the food interesting consisting of their favorite colors. Also, try to consult a doctor if your toddler is allergic to any food.
I’ve discussed all the techniques in detail below to increase the appetite of your 2-year-old.
Solution 1: Have Family Dinners with Your Child
Kids love to imitate. So, the best place to teach your child to eat is at the dinner table. Simply, make your toddler sit with everyone at the family dinner table when it’s time to eat. If there’s no one at home, you should sit with your child.
When everyone eats different kinds of food, your kid will start imitating the process. Let the toddler touch the food and take bites to his preference. It also helps to build up your child’s motor skills which is good for his development.
Solution 2: Introduce Small Portions of Food
Now, when you’re making your toddler used to regular food, don’t force them to eat a full plate at the beginning. Besides milk, introduce small portions of food each time. Sometimes a small mushy baby carrot can really boost their appetite.
The smaller portions will become less intimating to your child. They’ll feel more in control of their meals. However, remember that toddlers may not be equally interested in the same food all the time. It’s completely normal if they like blueberries in one week and don’t like it for the next 3-4 weeks.
Solution 3: Engage Your Child in Meal Prepping with You
Another great idea is to create an enjoyable environment around food. Engage your child in meal-prepping activities. This will help the child to be more interested in trying out new food on his own.
For this, you can start with taking your toddler out to grocery shopping. Let your child pick whatever he finds interesting. Make him put small amounts of vegetables or fruits in the cart. Your kid will have both fun and also develop an interest in foods other than milk.
Then, when you’re cooking that food, keep your toddler nearby. Let them help in washing and stirring the food. It’s an effective way to slowly throw away your child’s fear of new foods.
Solution 4: Give a Small Portion of Milk
Now, as you know drinking too much milk destroys your child’s appetite to eat anything else, you can limit the amount of milk. In this case, you can use a 4-ounce sippy cup instead of a 14-ounce water bottle. Drinking less amount of milk will make your kid hungry and eventually eat solid food.
But then again, you might get worried that your child will receive less nutrition from milk only. The recommended amount of dairy for a toddler’s development is 2-3 serving per day. So, what you can do is serve ½ serving of milk and 2 ½ servings of other dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, etc. Also, make sure to feed a sip of water between each serving.
Here’s a caution. Don’t force feed or try to make the transitions in a day. Adapt your child to the new diet gradually so that he or she doesn’t feel stressed.
Solution 5: Make the Food Interesting
Many parents forget that kids don’t actually see food the way adults see it. Especially, it’s hard to make toddlers like regular foods. So, your job here is to make the food fun and interesting.
One way could be giving the foods fun shapes. You can also cook foods that have your kid’s favorite color on them. Try to find out which food your toddler prefers the most by checking his taste test daily. Then, plan and schedule his favorite food 1-2 times per day to build an eating habit.
Solution 6: Hide the Milk Bottle
Here’s another effective way to minimize the amount of milk in your 2-year-old’s diet. Pick a day 3-5 days from now and inform your kid about that date. Say you can’t give milk on that day.
Then, when the day arrives, wash all the milk bottles and hide them in an unusual spot. At first, your kid may throw some tantrums. But you have to be strong and deal with it. Tell your toddler that there’s no milk today but you have other food options.
Offering alternatives to your kid slowly will allow them to adapt to the new situation. Eventually, your toddler will start eating other foods.
So, this is how you can help your 2-year-old to develop a diet that is nutritious and contains foods other than milk.
FAQs On Toddler Won’t Eat Anything But Milk
Should You Completely Remove Milk from Your 2-Year-Old’s Diet?
You should not completely remove milk from your 2-year-old’s diet unless your kid is allergic to milk. Consult with a doctor in case you see any irregularities whenever your toddler drinks milk. To increase appetite, you can limit the amount of milk and introduce new food in small portions gradually.
Should You Give Snacks to Your Child to Increase Appetite?
You can offer snacks to your child to increase appetite but make sure it’s healthy (e.g., fruits, vegetables). However, you should avoid giving snacks to your child before mealtime. Otherwise, it’ll kill their appetite. It’s best if you keep snack time and meal time organized at different scheduled times for a day.
When Do Toddlers Start Eating Food Naturally?
Toddlers start eating naturally when they turn 4 years old. Though each toddler has a different growth period, most of them tend to start learning about new food at the age of 2-3 years old. When they turn 4, they automatically, build a natural preference for different kinds of food.
So now, you don’t have to think all day “Why 2 year old won’t eat anything but milk?”. Hopefully, this article helps you change your toddler’s diet into a healthy one. Remember, every child is built differently. Never force-feed your child. Encouragement is the key to your baby’s natural development.
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