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For several reasons my daughter had to be weaned off breast milk when she was around 14 months. At that point she was not eating well and lost a lot of weight. One pediatrician recommended we give her PediaSure, and that was the only food she drank consistently (she didn't even take regular milk). And by giving her 2-3 bottles of that a day we slowly brought her weight back up to almost normal for her age.

Now she is 20 months old and still drinks that amount, but recently I read some articles saying that stuff is full of sugar and chemicals and has been linked to food allergies (one of my younger brothers also has severe food allergies and drank that stuff at that age).

My wife and I are extremely busy and we have 2 other kids (one even younger than her). We try our best to feed her solids but she almost always refuses to eat, even when we let hours pass and leave her in hunger.

Should we stick to PediaSure since it's keeping her going or should we wean her off it? If it is the latter, what can we give her instead or how can we make her eat? Just as we are concerned about giving her too much PediaSure we are also concerned about her losing weight again.

I am sorry for asking two questions in one. If you can answer even one that would be greatly appreciated. Of course we will talk to our doctor but any additional guidance or tips will help.

  • Don't be sorry. This is an excellent question. I agree that I would be wanting to ween her off of the PediaSure as well; just because it is store bought and probably does have sweeteners and chemicals. I don't have a solution to the making her eat issue though, sorry. I wish you good luck though. – user7678 Mar 13 '16 at 13:48
  • One of mine was low weight, technically "failure to thrive" - refused foods. She wouldn't touch pediasure. But you're right, they are loaded with trash and are not the prime source of nutrition they are boasted to be. I'd bet docs suggest it because of some corporate agreement scam or some such because you can achieve the same kinds of nutrition with no trash pretty easily. For us it was yogurt. Even Target sells organic yogurts from the yo-baby and yo-toddler brand. It's nowhere near as expensive as pediasure. – Kai Qing Mar 14 '16 at 22:24
  • Keep trying different types of solids. It's not good that she's only having liquid food at that age. – user1751825 Mar 25 '16 at 14:07
  • Will they eat honey or sugar syrup? Why not mix this into mashed potatoes until it is super sweet. Then slowly reduce the sweetness over severL weeks. Never let the child see that you are adding something or the game will be up!! – Tim Galvin Jun 6 '16 at 16:54
  • Actually you can ask your doctor to prescribe you the pediasure in the can it is more nutritional andhhasand it has little to no sugar. – Marie Jul 8 '17 at 7:08
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I had a similar problem with my son, and the reason he loved it was because it's packed full of sweetness to make it drinkable for older kids. If you have ever tasted breast milk (or formula), it has very little sweetness to it; that is why your child will not want to take it anymore.

I mixed little bits of PediaSure with formula for a week or so, to give it that sweetness while gently weaning him back into formula. Be sure to take out an equal amount of formula to the amount of PediaSure that you add.

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    I thought pediasure tasted salty, and who knows why my kids never took to it. It was my wife that looked over the ingredients and was appalled that this commonly suggested supplement was loaded with things they can easily do without, or use a better form of. Particularly Carrageenan. It wasn't hard to make shakes from organic fruits and vegetables in a standard mixer they would somewhat reliably drink. I understand though - it is time consuming and I don't hold pediasure as quite the villain she does. – Kai Qing Mar 24 '16 at 23:05
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    I don't know why you say that formula and brwat milk are not sweet. I would say formula (and I assume breast) is sweeter than coke. – Tim Galvin Jun 6 '16 at 16:57
  • @TimGalvin it heavily depends on the mother's diet. A mother that eats a lot of sweet fruits, like apples and bananas, will have a sweeter milk that one who eats tons of pepper. Industrialized food and food high on salt also tends to make the milk saltier. We had a case on the family that every single time the mother ate deep-fried food, her daughter won't drink her milk for the next 4-to-6 hours. – T. Sar Jul 5 '16 at 15:45
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I've gone through the same exact case where I doubted Pediasure due to many negative information online. I tried to give my daughter another product but she ended up losing weight. I even went to see a nutritionist and I was suggested to give Pediasure again. Hence, personally I think it would be best to stick with it.

Hope it helps.

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Children under 3 can handle a lot of fat in the diet & need it more than us due to brain development. I have found that butter is a great way to add fat as you can often add it to nearly anything a given child might be willing to eat. Avocado is also very high in healthy fats if a child will eat it and coconut oil can be added to foods as well.

If she is liking to drink calories more than eat them, there are many smoothies that can be made ahead of time & frozen to save you having to make them up as she needs them.

I have one like this, she is also thin & always has been since she was tiny. The good thing in making smoothies too is I let her help. Even at 20 months I would find that if I let her put some things in the blender she was much more open to trying it when we were done. I involved all the kids & usually anything she totally refused the other kids liked or I could drink it.

So for my skinny girl here are the things that I can use that are high fat for her: Coconut oil added into things Butter on toast or added onto any veggie she might eat (this has been hit & miss) Avocado - mine does not like this plain, I do things like mash it up & bake it into things she won't notice, like brownies (I cut the oil and use this) Mine doesn't care for yogurt so in smoothies I have better luck to do half yogurt half whole fat sour cream. She will do french toast, so I do that with lots of butter & sliced fresh fruit versus syrup. During the between times I have a muffin tin I leave where she can reach & it has nuts, dried fruits, whole grain cereal, etc in each little compartment. She only will eat one or two items at a time often, but over the day I find she often will eat most of what is in there. She also rearranges it repeatedly & plays like she is cooking.

For my to go bag I always keep in there some breakfast cookie things called BelVita. Those are high in fat & yummy. I don't know that I'd say they are a good every day way to add fats, but they are shelf stable, high in fat & better than some other options. I also keep ensure as mine will drink that. I don't offer those items unless we are out & I can't find her a better option or forgot to pack things.

We also do daily vitamins for us all and I try not to fret it too much. Mine was so small she had lots of testing done when in infancy. They never found anything wrong with her. I too am a petite person, much more so than my parents. I am also much smaller than my siblings. So I know firsthand that being small & thin isn't inherently concerning. I now have a 10 yr old son that is nearly my height & outweighs me. It is more concerning if a child has been growing at a certain rate & drops off than if a child is petite all along. So when her weight dropped off, at that point then yes, getting weight back on is the fastest concern. Once that is stable, then sorting out how to get healthy fats into her diet & not rely on supplemental drinks is an excellent plan. Smoothies are different because they are whole foods blended. They are fortified the way a supplemental drink is and you can often hide small bits of very nutritious things in there, like spinach & quinoa.

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You can still give her PediaSure because this is the only product that she is into. And you said that this product let her grow and gave her a little weight. Just make sure, that this product she drinks does not give her some allergies. Why? Because people are always different in someways, sometimes a person can be good in some vitamins and some are not.

Additional: Please check the Nutrition Facts and seek advise from other Pediatricians.

(sorry for bad english)

  • So you are saying that it's ok to give something to a child merely because that's what they want? That isn't a good reason to continue to let the child have something. This would be a better answer if you provided some evidence that the ingredients in pediasure are at least not more harmful than the benefit they bestow on the consumer. Very young kids don't know what's best for them-it's up to parents to provide them the best, healthiest, safest experiences/options/foods... – Jax Aug 4 '16 at 17:16
  • While pediasure does not constitute a balanced diet, it is better than starvation, is what I think he was trying to say. – pojo-guy Jul 9 '17 at 12:39
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    Yes @pojo-guy. Thinking that the child is 14 months on that time, she could have eaten some mild solid food like banana, vegetables and so on. That will balance all the nutrition you want and it is better than the other milks that stating they have the best formula and safest for babies. It's just you as a parent should balance it for the child. Think deep. Would you let your child starve because she/he doesn't want to eat your food? – Joshua Dela Cruz Aug 12 '17 at 3:05

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