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How do you Make a Sick Child Eat?

February 19, 2012 by Michelle

Cold, double-ear infection, croup (scariest one yet) – my bunny has been sick on and off for about a month. And with each illness comes a lack of appetite.

When she had her first major cold, somewhere around the 6-7 month mark, the nurse on the phone told me, “A baby’s job is to grow. But when they’re sick, we don’t worry about that. As long as she’s making wet diapers, it’s okay if she’s backing off the solid foods.”

I don’t feel much like eating when I’m sick either (like now, since she inevitably gets me sick). However, all this illness means several weeks of reduced calories, when we’re already trying to play catch up!

So here’s where we’re at:

Delayed Tests & Doctor Appointments
I’ve gotten myself a little break to try to plump her back up. Since she was sick, we haven’t done the colonoscopy/endoscopy yet. And I canceled her GI nutrition checkups that would have been Friday. But they need to be rescheduled, so we eventually have to get back on the scale.

Eating Everything in Sight
Once she does start to feel better, she starts eating up a storm!!! And insisting that one of the other older boys the nanny watches feeds her rather than feeding herself, she’s quite the little princess.

Heavy Nursing
Being sick, she started nursing a ton more, so at least when I’m home, she’s been getting lots of fatty breast milk. As she feels better she seems to be holding on to that increased nursing, and eating more table food.

In addition, when she has been sick here’s some of what I’ve been trying to help her eat more. Some ideas from doc/nurses, others my own.


  • Breast milk (more frequently, as liquids are easiest and it’s going to give her the most calories & nutrition)
  • Warm apple juice with a little honey
  • Applesauce
  • Popsicles
  • Non-citrus fruit
  • Frozen Peas


  • Stick with favorite & familiar foods suck as blueberries & mini-pancakes
  • Cut foods up into smaller than normal portions
  • Slightly smaller breakfast, or breakfast time a little later, since that tiny stomach is full of post-nasal drip in the morning./li>

This isn’t an exhaustive list. But I’d love to know you’re go-to foods for sick kiddos.


  1. Alicia says:

    Gelatin made with no-sugar added juice was a hit with Joel.
    Also, you could try mixing a little tofu into whatever Grace is interested in eating (like the applesauce)because it doesn’t really change the taste and adds some protein. Putting it in a yogurt smoothie is also great because you can sneak veggies along with the fruits and it is easy to drink. 🙂

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