I have a 20 month old daughter who refuses every kind of food. I’ve tried every method to try and get her interested in it but it doesn’t work. She will feed me no problem, but never brings food to her mouth and often throws it on the floor. If she sees I’m trying to feed her with my hand or a spoon she will slap me away very agressively because she is always on the defense. She likes to touch everything so it’s not a sensory problem but she will only drink milk from a bottle or whatever I put in the bottle. She chews on blankets, stuffies, whatever toys she has no problem. Please help me, I have an Occupational Therapist who specializes in food who comes to the house and she is stumped as well.

  • "She will feed me no problem,*" Sorry, can't see what that means. Can you edit your question to clarify that bit? Dec 19, 2021 at 14:21
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    @PaulJohnson I read that as “feeding bits of solid food to mum or dad, so she clearly understood how it’s supposed to work”.
    – Stephie
    Dec 19, 2021 at 20:35
  • If your main concern is to get a wider variety of foods into her, I wonder if you can experiment with mixing various pureed foods into the bottle? For example I've occasionally seen people giving a bottle of formula plus porridge. I think they used a nipple with a wider opening. / The most important thing I guess would be to check with the doctor to see if there's any nutritional concern with consuming formula (or breast milk) only at this age. Dec 28, 2021 at 0:53
  • What did the occupational therapist recommend? How did those suggestions work?
    – otter
    Jan 1, 2022 at 18:14
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    This question was asked 20 months ago. I wonder if, now the child is almost 4 years old, the situation resolved itself and your daughter is now fit an healthy? What was it you did to resolve this issue, other than just giving her time to grow out of the behaviour?
    – Nikki
    Jul 27, 2023 at 11:11

2 Answers 2


When my oldest was a baby, I had to put yogurt and baby foods in a bottle in order for her to have more than milk because she refused anything but a bottle as well, and one day out of nowhere she started eating food. The squeeze pouches are a good trial also, at least a start, considering they suck on them just like the bottle, my youngest loves them!!


Do this with the help of the doctor.

  1. Go to the ped and make sure nothing is wrong.
  2. Place in front of her soft foods she can't choke on, be prepared for the first few times of her not eating and just throwing it. Make sure it's something that will go on her hands like carrots (mashed of course)
  3. Don't feed her otherwise, or cut back drastically on bottle feedings.
  4. She will eventually stick one of those sticky paws in her mouth and discover that food is good.
  5. Lots of praise and good things.

Now, I'm am not saying starve your child. I am saying let her get hungry. I want to be clear on that. Your child may not be eating because they simply like the milk better. That's ok, but you do need her to eat more solid foods.

The idea here is that baring anything else, she should discover food is yummy and then try to eat it, but that can't happen if she is full-on milk. So, again with the help of a doctor, reduce feedings and let her "discover" foods.

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    Downvoting because of "cut back drastically on bottle feedings.." Dec 28, 2021 at 0:50
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    Do not starve your child, not even partially. This is irresponsible advice. Better advice would be to first offer solid food (the other tips are okay to try), and fall back on a bottle when it has failed (or to complete the meal if they didn't eat a lot of food).
    – Flater
    Jan 10, 2022 at 18:57
  • I do feel I that I was clear "Do this with the help of the doctor." being the first line, and "Now, I'm am not saying starve your child. I am saying let her get hungry." being in there too. Surely you can understand the difference between hungry and starving.
    – coteyr
    Jan 11, 2022 at 3:12

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