My daughter is now 19 months old and has NEVER had an interest in food. We have been battling this considerably for the past year. On the percentile chart for weight, she is below the 3rd percentile. In fact, she's sitting below the actual shaded curve for the percentiles. She currently weighs 8.3kg. Her height is fine, sitting around the 35th percentile.
She has been having regular visits to the doctor where we've been monitoring her weight. She is not losing weight, she just gains it ever so slowly.
She has always been and still is breastfed, she never took to formula or baby food. She always eats portions of what we eat, and we make sure to have food with decent iron, vitamins, etc.
One paediatrician suggested she come completely off breast milk in case she was using milk to fill her up. But my wife does not believe this to be the case. She has feeds before going down to sleep and when she wakes up, but she's not drinking enough to fill up. It's more of a comfort thing.
She will come off the breast in order to eat.
The problem is when she eats, she has the tiniest portions. No matter what time of day or whether she's just had milk. It takes us an hour to feed her about one heaped tablespoon worth of food. We're very lucky if she has up to 2 tablespoons worth of food in one meal. She used to eat less, but now that we've started getting desperate to get food into her, we've started bribing her with every bite. Have this bite, and you can watch something on the ipad. Finish this and we'll go to the shops. On and on it goes. Half the food she just keeps it in her cheeks and it takes forever for her to swallow it. The bribe technique caused an initial jump in her weight, but still very slow to increase. We've tried the whole "if she's hungry, she'll eat" thing, but it's now at a point where her weight is so concerning, she needs to eat now or who knows she might end up getting tube-fed in the hospital or something.
It's like she was born without tastebuds. We've had two sets of blood tests done, with no problems aside from her iron being borderline. Her doctor isn't worried about her iron at this stage (as long as we focus on iron-rich foods), and we have been giving her a daily Incremin syrup which has iron and other vitamins specifically for kids her age.
I suppose I don't expect anyone to have any real answers, but it would be nice to hear from others in the same boat. It's just extremely frustrating. Half the other kids her age are these formula-fed overweight monsters that eat whole apples and chug down a whole cup of milk in one sitting. If I give her cow's milk, she'll drink 1cm worth (in a typical baby cup) if I'm lucky. Usually she won't finish it.
I almost forgot to mention she is perfectly fine otherwise. She's hitting her milestones, communicates, is very active, etc.