Is your 3 year old not eating and only drinking milk? You aren’t alone. 

 

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Are you living with a 3 year old not eating and drinking milk? When you have a picky eater in your home that is not eating and only drinking milk, it can take a toll on the entire family. While milk is an excellent drink for growing bodies, it isn’t the main source of nutrition that growing bodies need. 

 

Ready to learn all about why your 3 year old is only drinking milk and refusing food and how to fix it? Keep reading to find 16 solutions…

 

Reasons a child is picky eating

 

There are many reasons why a child may refuse to eat different foods. When a child is extremely selective with their foods and primarily drinking milk, it should only last a few days (weeks, at most). 

 

If you are looking for ways to expand your kids’ appetites beyond a glass of milk, identifying the reason behind their love of milk is a great place to start. Here are a few reasons why your 3 year old is not eating and only drinking milk…

 

1) New foods are scary

2) If they are still nursing, they might just prefer the taste of breast milk

3) solid foods might be hard to swallow

4) Do they have food allergies? Young children have a hard time explaining how they feel

5) They are uncomfortable with where they eat. Sure, keeping them in a high chair may seem like the easiest way, but are they ready to try a booster seat?

6) Is it a sensory issue? For some kids, food texture is a big deal that can influence what and how they eat.

7) Toddlers often feel a lack of power. When they are told how to do every part of their lives, they might try to gain back some independence through their diet. 

 

The good thing to remember is that there are plenty of ways to help your child try more meals and find what their taste buds actually enjoy. 

 

Do not worry about your milk obsessed toddler. Here are a few tips to help expand what your picky eater is eating…

 

When your 3 year old is drinking too much milk

 

While drinking milk isn’t necessarily the worst food for them to consume, there are some things to keep in mind if your 3 year old is drinking too much milk. 

Glass pitcher pouring milk into a glass cup. It is outside on a wooden table with a sunrise in the back.

Some negatives to drinking too much milk are: 

  • Your child can become constipated from lack of fiber
  • Cranky mood
  • Low energy
  • Brittle Bones

 

It is important to keep in mind that there are some upsides to your toddler drinking milk. Here are a few benefits: 

  • Lots of calcium
  • Great source of protein
  • Prevents osteoporosis and keeps bones extra strong
  • Contributes to a healthy weight 

 

When children are not eating and only drinking milk, the good news is that there are plenty of ways to help them start eating food again.

 

Here are some of the best tips and tricks to help your 3 year old start eating food and cut back on their milk…

16 Solutions to a 3 year old not eating and drinking milk

1) Plan Family Meals

 

A good idea in general when you have a toddler is to introduce family meals.

Having one main meal every day as a family has countless benefits. Not only does it give everyone a good time to connect and catch up on each other’s lives, but it can also help with picky eaters. 

 

When there is a family meal, it gives your milk loving preschooler the opportunity to see how others are eating (called modeling) and takes the attention off of them. Oftentimes, this can help distract the child enough to get them to eat. 

 

2) Give extra vitamin D

 

So often with picky eaters it is found that they have a vitamin deficiency. Without a healthy diet, it is common for them to be low in a variety of nutrients, especially vitamin D.

 

When your child is vitamin D deficient, many things can happen. Their bones, for one, can become soft and brittle and their energy can become low. For growing children, this is something that should be avoided at all costs. 

 

When your child is only drinking milk, try adding in some vitamin D drops. With zero taste, they won’t even know that you added it to their drink. 

 

3) Healthy Snacks

 

Having a picky eater is difficult. Sometimes all you want is for them to have something in their stomach, but that isn’t the best technique to go by. 

 

Think about a car that’s gas tank is already running empty. You wouldn’t just throw anything in the tank to keep it running, right? That would damage the engine and harm the car. 

 

The same is true for your kids’ bodies. Instead of throwing anything at them just to fill their stomach, try giving your preschooler a variety of foods full of nutrients.

 

At snack time, try a charcuterie board filled with finger foods that can be a mix of their favorite foods and a few nutritious foods. Just remember, the main goal is to present all of the food groups, not just dairy products. Serving a variety of healthy foods is a great trick to helping kids eat well.    

 

4) Use their favorite things

 

Encouraging 3 year olds to eat food when all they want is milk is not easy. A great technique can be to use some of their favorite things to get them to try some food. 

 

Is their favorite color orange? Serve an ‘orange meal’ with cheddar cheese, carrots, and orange bell pepper slices. Just don’t forget the orange sippy cup filled with water or fruit juice. (keep in mind that you can always serve separate meals so you can still enjoy a hearty meal in a variety of colors.

 

Are they passionate about construction trucks? Check out this utensil set made to look like a dump truck! 

 

When it comes to kids eating, know that it is okay to exaggerate the truth. Do you think their favorite paw patrol character would eat dinner? Let them know! 

 

5) Talk to a health care provider

 

For so many picky eaters, it appears to be power struggles with every meal. However, that may not be the case.

 

If your child isn’t eating for several weeks or even months, you might need to approach your child’s appetite in a different way. When it comes to a child only drinking milk, It is completely possible that your little one might have a digestive issue that needs medical attention. 

 

While they may not have the vocabulary to explain it, swallowing food might be painful if their tonsils are swollen. Or perhaps they feel full all of the time because they are constipated. 

 

These sorts of things can happen to just about anyone and are worth looking into if your little one continues to only drink milk. 

 

6) Consider changing the milk variety

 

One of the best tricks for kids only eating milk is to change the milk variety. If you only serve whole milk, change to 1% for a few weeks. The small change will be unrecognizable but it might be enough to not fill their tummies. 

 

If their milk used to make them feel full, try this trick and the extra space in their stomach might encourage more meals. 

 

Another option is to change the type of milk you serve completely. Try oat milk or soy milk and keep regular milk out of the house for a few days. This might be the push needed to increase your child’s appetite so that they nibble on a cheese stick and pretzels. 

 

7) Keep the rest of the family in mind

 

It can be easy to let one picky eater consume the entire family and what they eat, but it is important that the rest of the family is kept in mind as well.

 

Sometimes the best way to help increase your child’s food intake is to ignore it. For the next meal, simply supply a balanced diet and enjoy. Modeling is an important part of preschoolers and seeing everyone else eat will eventually encourage them to eat as well. 

8) Consider vitamins 

 

Kids who only drink milk tend to only do that for a short amount of time. Think about it- do you know any adults that only consume milk? Probably not. 

 

While this is only a phase and it will definitely pass, it might be smart to incorporate a multivitamin to their diet. Talk to their doctor and see what they recommend to make sure your little one is still getting the proper vitamins and minerals that they need to grow big and strong. 

 

With any luck, the multivitamin will help level out any nutritional needs and put your child in a better mood so that eating food doesn’t seem so scary.

 

9) Set a once a day rule

 

For toddlers drinking lots and lots of milk all day, set a once a day rule. What that means is that they can have as much milk as they want, but only for one meal. If its breakfast, fine. But after that then no more milk for the rest of the day. 

 

10) Are they bored with their food?

 

It might be time to try something else to get them excited about their meals again. 

11) Get them involved

 

True, cooking with a toddler requires a lot of patience. But getting them involved in the cooking process is one of my favorite ways to get them ready to eat. 

 

12) Are they stressed? 

 

When people are stressed, one of the most common reactions is a reduced appetite. This is true for children and especially adults. 

 

13) Are you feeding too much?

 

One fact about growing babies is that they eat a lot. Around the age of 2.5 or even 3 they will slow down on growing and need less food. 

 

In fact, most toddlers serving sizes are less than they were at the age of 2 (source).

 

14) Serve it on your own plate

 

One magical fact about a mom’s plate is that the food just tastes better to them- no one knows why! Try offering them a taste from your plate and see how it goes.

 

15) Involve their favorite people

 

Sometimes all it takes to get your kids to eat food and not just milk is to involve some of their favorite people. It can be a grandparent, family friend, or your neighbor down the street.

 

Give Grandpa a call and see if he can sit down with them and model how much he loves to eat food. Even through facetime, you will be surprised at how much this helps kids try and fill their stomachs.  

 

16) Be patient

 

Keep in mind that your 3 year old not eating and only drinking milk is more than likely a phase. Be patient with them and with yourself. 

 

In Summary

 

The amount of milk your child drinks in a day may be alarming, especially when they are refusing to eat. These tips to help your toddler start eating again. 

 

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