My little Gandhi's hunger strike.
January 31, 2017 12:12 PM   Subscribe

My soon-to-be one-year-old woke up one morning and went from bottomless pit to refusing anything more than two bites of food. We are stressed out. How to handle this?

- I've heard that "food before one is just for fun" but I don't want him (or us) to form any lasting, detrimental habits. He'd previously eat 2-3 meals a day of things like a small container of yogurt, a couple tablespoons of rice mixed with baby food (flavors he likes, and homemade purees), mashed up egg yolk with cous cous, etc. None of these are enticing to him now.

- He will still come up to us and want a bite of the food we're eating, but again will lose interest after a couple bites. This applies to anything we eat, including very spicy food, pickles, chicken, cake, etc.

- I never nursed for Reasons, and he's been formula-fed until now, with solids starting at six months. We also never tried baby-led weaning because spoon-feeding (yes I know, not a smart idea) was just more convenient for us. Thus, he hasn't gotten up close and personal with touching food, which I suspect might be the cause of some of this new behavior.

- We (or our nanny who's with him while we're at work) don't give him any snacks other than maybe a handful of puffs during the day. He does drink about 24 oz. of formula over the course of the day.

- He will only eat applesauce, sweetened yogurt and bananas (other than formula, puffs and those other baked snack type things.) This is worrisome because we don't want him to develop a taste for sweet foods, but if these are the only things he's eating, we're torn between giving him something versus reinforcing the unwanted habit.

- We've tried finger foods, purees, different shapes/ textures (julienned carrots, tiny ravioli, blueberries, string cheese) and he's gone off all of these. He's not a fan of handling squishy textures like blueberries or bananas. He's fine with things like french fries or string cheese, but loses interests after a couple bites even if he has it in his hand.

- We don't have a dining table (space) and also because my boyfriend and I have different work schedules, we rarely eat together. I've seen this as one recommendation for encouraging kids to eat, but that won't work for us.

- He's had a cold for the last week or so, but this behavior started before that. He's also teething, but in the past teething never affected his appetite (I know there's a first time for everything!) He has three lower incisors out fully, and the two on top just cut through a couple days ago. So still pretty much a gummer.

- We've tried feeding him dinner at different times before he goes to bed at 7 pm: 4, 5, 5:30, 6, 6:30... doesn't make a difference. It's no go.

1. How do I handle this behavior? I plan to talk to his pediatrician at his next well-visit, but I'd like to know how other parents may have handled similar behavior.

2. Does allowing a baby to 'play' with his food help with actually getting him interested in food? Does a substantial amount of food get inside the baby vs. on the floor?

3. I will keep trying to feed him the food we eat, but he screams bloody murder when we put him in his high chair. If we don't do that it means chasing him around for 2-3 bites of food until he just refuses, pushes our hands away, purses his lips and gets cranky. We don't force him at this point, and he goes to bed with a bottle (full 8 oz.) of formula. He'll wake up 1-2 times at night to polish off another full bottle, which tells me he's hungry. Any ideas on how to get him to focus on mealtime, and learning that at certain times during the day, this is what everyone does?

Halp! I probably shouldn't but I'm losing sleep over this. Thanks in advance, MeFites.

P.S. And yes, he does look like a miniature Gandhi, my little brown-skinned, follically-challenged cutie pie.
posted by Everydayville to Human Relations (33 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Definitely could be teething. Are you giving him anything for that? I would try dosing him up with ibuprofen/tylenol and see if that changes anything. Especially since he asks for food and then stops - it seems like there's a reason why he doesn't want it after a few bites.
posted by dawkins_7 at 12:17 PM on January 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

if he's still drinking 24 ounces of formula then he's not going to need to eat much.

we transitioned our (now two year old) formula-fed baby to milk between 11-12 months. i think by 1 year we had cut him down to 18-20 ounces of pure milk over three bottles and then worked his milk down to two bottles totaling 16 ounces (2x8).
posted by noloveforned at 12:25 PM on January 31, 2017 [12 favorites]

What's his output like?

My gut says possible constipation, but you will really need a visit to the pediatrician to confirm this. Toddlers can still poop while having some blockage in the intestines. I'd make an appointment.
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:25 PM on January 31, 2017 [3 favorites]

Teething cases stuffy note and crankiness; I experienced this when my wisdom teeth were coming in. You can check his weight with your bathroom scale; weigh yourself holding him and not holding him. If his weight is stable, don't worry. If he is losing weight, call the pediatrician - one reason to have a regular pediatrician is so you can call and discuss stuff. He's probably going through some phase and it will self-resolve. Meanwhile, I'd try to make healthy foods available and avoid too much attention to the eating issue.
posted by theora55 at 12:25 PM on January 31, 2017 [5 favorites]

2. Does allowing a baby to 'play' with his food help with actually getting him interested in food?

If I handed you five little plates of pureed goop for dinner and said three of these are food, one of them is a highly nutritious concentrated vitamin supplement, and one of them is not food, how would you handle it? How would you determine which ones are good to eat and which is not? Which are good for you and which are good for you and taste good? You'd probably want to touch it, right? Check out the texture? Smell it? Give it a very tentative taste? You still might not be sure.

Your kid isn't even a year old. Everything he sees is brand new to him--he's got to get involved with his food before he can determine if it's good for eating. It's an instinctual developmental thing, and "playing" with their food is just how babies do it, that's not a design flaw. He'll probably need to taste something a dozen times before deciding it's good for eating, too.

It's obnoxious and messy and bad manners from an an adult's POV, but it's just how babies work.
posted by phunniemee at 12:26 PM on January 31, 2017 [25 favorites]

Let the kid touch (play with, if you will) his food, for crying out loud—that's how babies interact with the world. My (now adult) kids fed themselves the overwhelming majority of the calories they took in that didn't come from breast milk.

(Put a shower curtain under the high chair, if the floor/carpet needs protection.)
posted by she's not there at 12:28 PM on January 31, 2017 [18 favorites]

Everything I know about babies and eating I learned from Ellyn Satter -- a nutritionist recommended her books to me when I was pregnant and I find them really helpful. Basically she says you control what your child eats, when and where; he or she determines whether (i.e., whether to eat at all) and how much. That's pretty much it. It's useful to include a range of foods, and always include at least something you know he'll eat (say, applesauce.) Don't force him to try foods or show a lot of emotion either way. He definitely won't starve this way, and he will eventually eat a range of foods. Good luck!
posted by heavenknows at 12:31 PM on January 31, 2017 [9 favorites]

It's been a while since my kids were one but here's what I recall.

First, there's no silver bullet here. Every path will involve making a choice and it will cause stress somehow. This is all of parenting.

You could simply not offer any food, including bottles, outside of mealtimes. This may make him crankier. But it will make him hungry.

You can focus on feeds he likes to eat vs new foods. As you note, the long term version of this plan leads to fussiness. But in the short term it's fine.

You could eat together as a family once a day. I get this is not an option for you, but you could rearrange the rest of your life to make it happen. Maybe. It's not the only solution, but it is there.

Definitely try some kid's ibuprofen to see if it takes the edge off his teething issues. That may improve his willingness to eat.

Finally, kids go through phases in terms of appetite and at times they will seem to eat next to nothing. It may just be a case of him eating not much food for a while and it's normal.
posted by GuyZero at 12:32 PM on January 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

I should add - you can also just give him his overnight bottles and try again with food in a few weeks. That probably won't be the end of the world. I didn't go college with anyone who drank milk from a bottle overnight - he'll move past it eventually.
posted by GuyZero at 12:36 PM on January 31, 2017 [4 favorites]

he goes to bed with a bottle (full 8 oz.) of formula

In case you aren't aware, you don't want to be doing this after his first tooth breaks through.
posted by she's not there at 12:45 PM on January 31, 2017 [7 favorites]

Even if teething didn't affect him before, maybe now he's old enough to notice that chewing hurts or that a stuffy nose/irritated tummy doesn't make it fun to eat (my kid always had digestive problems while teething).

>Does allowing a baby to 'play' with his food help with actually getting him interested in food?
Oh gosh yes. Smelling and touching it is how they figure out that it IS food! Get a chair that lets him be at the same table height as the rest of the family, give him a spoon to fiddle with, put a blob of any non-chokeable dinner on a plastic plate, let him hang with you until he tries to flip the plate onto the floor, wipe him off and have a safe place for him to do his thing while you finish eating your meal. Eating with everyone is also how he figures out that it's the Thing That Everyone Does, and not making a big deal of that lets him figure that out at his own pace. Barring any physical or developmental problems, offering kids different kinds of foods that grownups eat usually gets them eating when they're ready.
posted by tchemgrrl at 12:51 PM on January 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure 1 year olds can form any lasting habits that will cause any sort of damage provided non-abusive parenting, not the least about food. My child changed eating preferences and habits at least 5 or 6 times between 1 and 3. Sits good at dinner. Bad at dinner. Breakfast. No breakfast. Milk! No milk. Extra milk! Spilled milk. We just provide normal opportunities for healthy food, and let him do what he wants. My son is more animal than human at times, so it's not like he's gonna starve himself on principle.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 1:01 PM on January 31, 2017 [3 favorites]

Also remember that it can take a lot of times of introducing a food before a kid will take to eating it. Pick something and keep it on a regular rotation- he might develop a taste for it!
posted by freethefeet at 1:04 PM on January 31, 2017

Okay, so it looks like we will be letting him feed himself from now on. Fortunately, San Diego weather means we can eat out on the patio almost year-round.

he goes to bed with a bottle (full 8 oz.) of formula

In case you aren't aware, you don't want to be doing this after his first tooth breaks through.

Did not know this - do we know why? It's the only way, in lieu of dinner, to keep him from not waking up crying two hours later because he's hungry. He doesn't always drink all 8 oz.

What's his output like?

My gut says possible constipation

Didn't think of this. He has at least one normal (soft, ochre-brown, etc) bowel movement a day, but I do notice the hard dark pellets in the soft poop fairly frequently. It usually resolves with prune juice but I'll look into this further.

Thanks for all the answers so far!
posted by Everydayville at 1:08 PM on January 31, 2017

Did not know this - do we know why?

Milk is full of sugar and it basically lets sugar sit on the kid's teeth all night long leading to decay, sometimes very rapid decay. And if the kid loses baby teeth early to decay it causes problems with the adult teeth coming in properly.

So on one hand it isn't that huge a deal to have a bottle overnight once the teeth are through on the other hand, it's not considered something that should be your primary method of feeding the kid.
posted by GuyZero at 1:17 PM on January 31, 2017 [4 favorites]

Gotcha. That should've occurred to me. We'd be totally screwed then, because with no dinner and bedtime bottle, sleep will be very challenging. I do brush his teeth in the morning and before bed with a baby brush, but yes, I do see the problem.
posted by Everydayville at 1:21 PM on January 31, 2017

The no overnight bottle thing is a huge (and sometimes rapid) cause of tooth decay. After his last bottle of the day/night you should be wiping his gums and baby teeth with a clean damp wash cloth.
posted by saradarlin at 1:25 PM on January 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

How long has the food strike been going on?
It's not unusual for an avid eater to turn into a non-eater and back again for a while. Could be teeth, could be anyhing. I'd say do ask the pediatrician to check for constipation.

But otherwise, dial down the panic! If he's not eating his food, give him yours. If he's not eating that, offer a bottle. If he's only hungry at night, feed him at night. Do whatever works rightnow and doesn't drive you round the bend.

Seriously, do whatever works right now. When it stops working, do something else. Best parenting advice I ever got.

At his age, eating and discovering the joy of eating is still about play, so let him play! His eating habits are going to change a lot, so don't worry about fussiness. Bad eating habits are something you worry about in a two year old, not at barely one.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:29 PM on January 31, 2017 [4 favorites]

Have you tried mixing extra milk into the mash? When Baby Machine is turning his nose up at stuff, we'll frequently mix a little more formula into his mash. He loves the taste of that sweet sweet enriched stuff, and it also helps him over the unfamiliar texture/unfamiliar taste hump.
posted by joyceanmachine at 1:55 PM on January 31, 2017

Seriously, do whatever works right now. When it stops working, do something else. Best parenting advice I ever got.

That's so true. It doesn't matter if he doesn't eat regularly. That he's trying so many different foods is *amazing*, so keep making that possible. Otherwise, let him figure out his way to get what he needs -- for all you know, he's building something that needs a lot of calcium and not a lot of [other nutrients]. It will swing back around. Just have a variety of stuff around, and if he just eats a ton of one thing, go back to that line at the top. This too shall pass...

Never be more invested in your kid's diet than s/he is. Babies are driven by biology, and that's a great way to mature too...
posted by acm at 1:59 PM on January 31, 2017 [5 favorites]

When you say you rarely eat together do you mean the family rarely eats together or that neither of you eats with your kid? If I'm not eating at the same time as my kid, I'll generally leave her food on her high chair tray but point the chair in the direction of something interesting (sadly, usually me doing chores). It can take a good 5-10 mins of her watching me before she'll turn to actually eat the food. If I put her in her chair and want her to eat immediately, she goes apeshit. Babies! It would generally take her half an hour to get through a meal. But it's half an hour where I can be eating my own lunch, reading something, doing the dishes etc, rather than half an hour of chasing a wily rug rat around so it's ok with me.

We did baby-led weaning and my kid did a lot of exploring but barely much quantity wise but til 11 months which freaked the shit out of me but now at 13 months she eats well enough. Strongly recommend a handful of these IKEA bibs, a cloth and a sweeping brush. If you clean the baby, then tray, then sweep, you can get it all with one cloth and very quickly.

The Gillian Rapley baby led weaning book is pretty good. Tons of ideas and practical advice in it.
posted by bimbam at 2:00 PM on January 31, 2017 [3 favorites]

My kids never liked 'new' food at night. They seemed to be past their capacity to cope. I would limit or delay his first bottle of the day and give him loads to explore in the morning. Can be any kind of food.

For mess a good vinyl/plastic tablecloth as a drop cloth goes a long way - the messy self-feeding lasts 2-ish years so may as well solve this now.
posted by warriorqueen at 2:23 PM on January 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

By big dumb opinion as the parent of a 16 month old:

a) I would not chase him around trying to get him to eat bites of food. That's going to be counter productive in the long run.
b) a bite or two and loses interest isn't really that bad, seems normal, maybe keep doing that, more often
c) the pediatrician told us to expect wild fluctuations in appetite and quantities in toddlers
d) something I read that stuck with me was that toddlers seem to survive on air - as long as they get fruit and water, they should be ok (YMMV, mine is a little anemic)
e) we get constipation problems with bananas, had to ban them
f) If it is teething, frozen foods might appeal - mine likes frozen peas and frozen mango (cut up).
g) we've had success with for finger foods: roasted butternut squash, figs, kiwi (sometimes), black beans, other beans. But not every time and not always on the first time. We kept offering.
h) it can't hurt to try some of the stuff around sensory processing integrations now - maybe use a little dr google. I think it's stuff like playing with sand, and brushing his back with a hairbrush. It's probably not the issue but if he finds foods "yucky" it could be
i) if the highchair is no good, maybe a child-size chair and table would help, assuming he is standing and sitting confidently
posted by vunder at 2:41 PM on January 31, 2017 [3 favorites]

Kiddo is 7 now, and we try and do the same thing we did back when she was 7 months: here is food, please eat as much as you need. We worked on manners, utensils, and so on as she grew older (this included only eating at the table, no spitting, use utensils as much as possible, and developed to ways of trying foods, how to communicate preferences, things like that).

She still, at 7, goes through periods where she does not eat much. Usually it's to do with teething, allergies, pooping issues, or illness (like colds). Or heat. Those days I make sure gets a smoothie with yoghurt and fruit and an egg. Then there are days where she eats two breakfasts between getting up and going to school, and a second lunch when she gets home, and is sneaking bites of food while I prep dinner, then eats as much dinner as me. I figure those are growth spurts, either literally getting bigger, or the amount of brain work she is doing. I don't make a big deal in either way, beyond the normal checking in at food times, and asking her what she'd like when I meal prep.

Chasing kids and forcing food is counter-productive and makes it a power struggle. I try and trust my kid to eat as much and what she needs (although I do remind her not to just eat the carbs, or the protein, from her dinner plate). So far we have a MUCH more chill dinner time than a lot of families I know, even if my kid doesn't eat as much or as compliantly, she's polite, tries new things, and eats a decent range.
posted by geek anachronism at 3:59 PM on January 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

I should also note that my earlier second to last point about the sensory integration stuff comes from a friend who was struggling with eating issues with her toddler - he'd gone on strike with most foods. The sand table therapy and the hairbrush on the back therapy were recommended to her. He is not on the spectrum, though.
posted by vunder at 4:05 PM on January 31, 2017

So, we went through this, right around the same age.

There's so many variables, it's impossible to say. Everyone in this Ask is right, all of those things can cause disinterest in food or lack of appetite, and you will likely drive yourself bonkers experimenting until you get an answer. Ask me how I know.

At his one year check up, bring it up. Note his weight. Express concern and maybe ask if you can come back in for a weight check in a few weeks. If he's still gaining weight, you're fine, at this age kids who are still mostly formulatarians are pretty common. When we went through this, it got to the point of weight loss and that's when the medical panic bells start to ring and blood tests and feeding therapy get brought up.

For now, read some Ellyn Sattler (who I like buuuut the whole kids-won't-starve-themselves thing ain't entirely true), explore some of the possible causes above, and try not to make a big thing out of it (which I know is difficult). This is a very normal phase.

(In our case, best we could figure is that he's lactose intolerant, which we didn't figure out until his toddler poops still looked exactly like breastfed baby poops, and about as frequently, and he was unable to potty train. We cut milk out and he potty trained immediately and also started eating way way more. He's still picky, but as long as you give him food he likes, he's a bottomless pit. But he spent a good 18 months between 1 and 3 years old barely eating anything and having All The Tests, all inconclusive or negative. It was agonizing.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:26 PM on January 31, 2017

Just try to chill out. Put easy-to-grab, easy-to-gnaw foods on his plate -- same stuff you two eat -- and let him do what he likes with it, and end the meal after a reasonable interval. Pay no attention to what happens to the food.

NEVER coax 'em to eat. (2nd the rec for Ellyn Satter.) It is TOTALLY NORMAL for babies and toddlers to swing back and forth between pigging out to barely eating and back again. Kid is still peeing and pooing, right? He's not making that out of air.

There are no recorded cases of healthy children starving themselves to death, despite what worried parents will tell you. But you can really cause longish-term feeding problems by getting into struggles or bribery over it. It's your business to provide the food; it's his to eat or not eat.

Do try treating him more as an older kid. Scrap the high chair and get a booster. Use a plate/bowl, fork and spoon, and open cup (of water, given near the end of the meal so if it gets spilled whatever's in the bowl doesn't turn to soup) for his 1st birthday. Have confidence in your kid! They know how to feed themselves, they know how to imitate adults, they know how to regulate their intake. I don't like fussing with an unpeeled banana either -- give him chunks and a fork!

Nitpick: I would do anything to get him off the "puffs." Those are infant Cheetos, straight-up junk food. Starch, oil, sugar and salt -- I noticed a "cheddar broccoli" variety had more sugar and salt than either cheddar or broccoli -- it's a great way to get a toddler who only likes bland and crunchy junk food. (I have quite an axe to grind with the retailers of these things and their absurd framing of them as nutritious. You'd do better with a low-sodium potato chip, which is at least a slice of vegetable and oil and a bit of salt, and not a mere dusting of a vegetable in a pile of rice starch, sugar, etc.
posted by kmennie at 6:44 PM on January 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

One other thing: I like the OXO toddler fork for forays into self-feeding. Might be a little early but if he doesn't like to touch squishy things, it might be good eventually and less messy. Things stay on that don't stay on a spoon.
posted by vunder at 8:31 PM on January 31, 2017

You can still do a bedtime bottle if you want to, just have him do the bottle while you're reading a bedtime story, then do teeth brushing afterwards. It sounds like you are already doing teeth brushing - if you do that after the bottle and before bed then you're fine.

I don't have a lot to add to the above but just wanted to say that around 1 year old can sadly be when babies start getting some toddler tendencies, which means that they start getting into power struggles about everything - eating, sleeping, putting on clothes, using the potty (if you're doing early potty training). Anyhow. It's frustrating and it's a really long stage. My daughter ate so many kinds of food as an infant I was convinced she was going to have a great palate. She loved saag paneer and would eat a giant bowl of raita at Indian buffet (we tend to go almost every weekend). By 1.5 years old though she would turn up her nose at anything that looked or smelled or tasted anything other than bland or sweet, for the most part, and for more than 2 years since then the trend has continued. I know that if you go by people's social media accounts or bragging, every kid seems to be eating sushi as a toddler etc, but I'm pretty sure that there is a huge crew out there just like my daughter who are majority fruitatarians. I tried fighting the battles, serving her plain yogurt and trying to serve actual meals with meat and veggies. Did it many times. But I got sick of wasting my time and having to throw away the food. Now I just sneak vegetables into other dishes (for example, today we had a berry smoothie with kale mixed in) and try to keep her away from candy and junk food. At Indian buffets she will only eat rice, naan, and mango lassi. I was the same way as a kid, and these days I can eat almost anything and love ethnic foods.

Anyway, my only point is that if your kid is as stubborn as mine, he's going to keep refusing anything but what he likes, and this could go on for quite a long time (like years), so I would encourage you to Let It Go Frozen-style, and don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good (like, if vanilla yogurt and fruit are the worst things in his diet, you're doing better than most kids out there, believe me). You're a great mom. Best of luck. Go get some sleep.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:45 PM on January 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

Hello! Mother of a 14 month old here. My kid started doing this, as if on cue, the week after his first birthday. It went on for 5-6 weeks, where he survived on air, and then this week his voracious appetite is back. I suspected that it was teething and some general disinterest in food.

I just try to keep reminding myself that everything ebbs and flows with a baby, and you just do what's right for you in the moment.

For what it's worth, my baby is on as much milk as yours is, including a bedtime bottle, and he's sleeping through the night. This is worth gold for me, I'm NOT losing the night bottle. I may start weaning him off the day bottles soon, but the night bottle will stay as long as he needs it. I also didn't do BLW, spoon fed him, and now he's very comfortable grabbing food and eating it. There's no right or wrong, quite honestly.

Anecdotal: When I was a kid, I ate pretty much grapes and just a few mouthfuls of a special rice my aunty made me, until I was 3. Every day. Only. It was awful for my family. I grew up to become a ravenous foodie, and have no food intolerances, bad habits, or weird attachments to food. I had a bottle till I was 3 too - no teeth issues. In my home country, kids are spoon fed till they're past 3. Most grow into adults that can feed themselves just fine. When my mum reminds me of all this, it makes me feel better about my baby's weird eating patterns.

Just remember, everyone around the world does parenting differently. Most of us turn out okay assuming we are loved, accepted, and supported. You're doing a great job!
posted by shazzam! at 4:11 AM on February 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

My kid is 2.5. At her two-year check up the pediatrician asked how she was eating. I said, well, it's really variable, some days she eats two blueberries and a corn chip and some days she eats as much as I do, we're a little concerned. Ped just laughed and said that was 100% normal. At 2 you're supposed to be looking at how they eat over a week, not a day, so - that gives you a sense of normal for toddlers.

Which is to say, it's a reasonable idea to go to the ped to rule out ear infection/constipation/sore throat (my kid's appetite drops significantly with all of these) but, you know, it's probably just normal. Frustrating, but normal. He's probably just still relying on formula for most of his nutrition - at that age my kid was relying on breastmilk, with some forays into food for fun and exploration.
posted by john_snow at 6:36 AM on February 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

If he won't go to bed without the bottle there are a couple of things you can do. One is to give him a bottle of water, which is not going to be a problem for his teeth. He may not accept this, or he may be ready to switch from lots of fluids to more solids. Another thing you can do is wait until he has just barely gone to sleep and then tiptoe in and check where the bottle is. Some kids will throw the bottle away as they fall asleep, just like big people turn over to fall asleep. Other kids will just fall asleep and the bottle with drop out of their mouth. But some kids will hang onto the nipple and produce just enough suction to keep it there. That's bad. It means there is just enough suction to keep small amounts of the formula coming out and feeding the decay bacteria right behind where his front teeth are or will be.

The tooth problems that result are called "Nursing Bottle Syndrome" or they were some thirty years ago.

If your kid is sucking as he falls asleep and after, you will want to get someone professional to examine his mouth to make sure that if there is any damage they catch it as early as possible.

If your kid is spitting the bottle out or tossing it as he falls asleep then the situation is not critical. I'd still get his doctor to take a quick look at his mouth at his next visit, but I wouldn't schedule one for right away.

Be aware that kids go through growth spurts and growth plateaus, and there is a stage when the kid is ready to wean from the breast when they often switch to wanting and requiring barely anything to eat. Biologically this happens when the kid may need to get by without milk because the mother is having another kid, so their development allows them to survive this. They need to stop getting heavier while they still need to be carried. You'll notice other similar patterns, like stranger anxiety kicking in with mobility, and becoming too heavy for a sturdy farm woman to conveniently carry around showing up at the same time that all his growth occurs in his legs, converting him from a toddler with their ramrod straight posture and rolling gait, to a long legged guy who can keep up with you as you walk. Right now your little guy is perhaps going through a developmental consolidation stage, rather than a growth stage and you want that. It he kept growing the way he did during his first year he would be enormous and ungainly. The baby proportions have to go

If he is eliminating fine then I would not worry at all what he was eating. I might be worried that he wasn't eating because he was sick, but I'd let him decide how much to eat.
posted by Jane the Brown at 1:54 PM on February 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thank you all for the insightful responses.

Another thing you can do is wait until he has just barely gone to sleep and then tiptoe in and check where the bottle is.

He usually stops drinking even before he falls asleep. I'm going to try giving him the bottle before we brush his teeth and that should work.

I'm marking best answer as those that seem most applicable to my situation, but I found something useful in all. Thanks again!
posted by Everydayville at 4:29 PM on February 1, 2017

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