Hi there Dr Joe,
My 18 month old does not eat much. For breakfast he may only have three bites of a banana or Vegemite sandwich. For lunch he may only have one half of a small avocado, and for dinner maybe five mouthfuls of pasta. He does however drink full cream lactose milk…maybe 600mL during the day and 400mL when he wakes twice at night.
Dr Joe Kosterich MBBS, General Practitioner and Editorial Advisory Board Member of the Virtual Medical Centre and Parenthub responds:
Firstly, you do not need to worry if he loses appetite whilst he has a cold. Like with adults, appetite varies in children. In fact, children are better at self-regulating their intake than many adults.
The “average” child will gain 7kg in the first year of life and 10kg in the next five years. The best determinant of whether a child is eating enough is that they are steadily growing and gaining weight.
Your child is having one litre of milk per day. If you want him to eat more solids, you need to reduce the milk intake, as this will be filling him up. By 18 months there is no need for a child to have 400ml overnight. Whilst he will object at first, after a week or two he will eat a bit more to replace the milk.