The title of this post may lead one to believe that I have the answers.
Sadly, I don't.
The answer is definitely not force-feeding. I've tried to force feed my husband. It only makes him mad. Think about what response your toddler will have. My daughter spits out food before you can even get it past her lips. It's one of those infuriatingly adorable things she does.
Tonight she would have absolutelynothing to do with dinner. We offered stew, bread, crackers, a banana, cereal, water, forks, spoons both metal and plastic. What she did with said offerings? She threw them on the floor and said "oh-oh". She looked around for the dogs and offered them some of her bounty. She whined and whined. So we asked her if it was bedtime. In response, she made her way to the stairs and crawled up as fast as she could.
We bathed the little monkey, then we decided to offer her food one last time before we put her to bed.
And she ate.
Three servings of oatmeal.
Then refused the banana.
Then, after a good tooth brushing, fell instantly asleep.
Parents everywhere, fear not. Your child will eat at some point. I just cannot tell you when.