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Thread: OK, I give up! I don't know what else to try!

  1. #1

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    Unhappy OK, I give up! I don't know what else to try!

    My 2 and a half year old has always been a very fussy eater, right from BF to Bottle feeding and then solids.

    But I have finally given up! Just when I think he is getting better with his eating, ie: he will eat a new meal, sure enough the next 5 times I serve it up to him he won't eat it.



    We have been to a paed (when he was 1) and she suggested witholding all other food, other than milk and what I wanted him to eat. That went on for 8 days, finally I gave in when he could barely move from weakness. I have tried finger food (he has fed himself from around 1), eating with him, everything I can think of.

    Does anyone else have any suggestions????? He regularly goes to bed with nothing to eat if he doesn't eat what he is given at night. His favourite at the moment is my spag bol which I do in the slow cooker and I load this up with Vegies etc. This is the only way he is really eating red meat at the moment.

  2. #2

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    I dont know that I like that advice I know many children who are young now (particularly around 2-3) and who are grow up now, who go/went through stages of fussy eating. Marisa is one of them, but withholding food i.e. telling her she could have nothing til the morning made her so upset that she would throw up. So I dont follow that advice any more. I don't know many grown ups who dont eat vegies and I know plenty who feel sick if they dont get enough vegies! I also believe making a huge fuss over dinner just makes things worse - they retaliate more in my experience and come to see that eating time is a stressful time. So, here's something to try.

    Make dinner, put it on the table and let them know dinner is on the table and would they like to come and eat it with you. Make it fun, put colouring / sticker books etc on there so they can start to associate dinner with fun. Or you could say you don't have to eat, but I would like you to sit with me while I eat. Or you could ask if they are hungry / thirsty and see from there. If they don't eat, take it away and wrap it up. If they are hungry later, offer them the dinner, or give an alternative - for us it was dinner, or a sandwich or cereal/toast. That was it. It's no longer a struggle and when you let go, dinner time is so much more fun and relaxing. It wont go on forever and these things just happen at that age!!! Since talking about my stresses with food to others, including older mothers, they all tell me their child's story - a month of only wanting rice, a month of only pasta, a month of this or that. But I dont know anyone who does that as an adult!!! Relax - its much nicer that way
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
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  3. #3

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    *hugs* Relle...its so frustrating having a picky eater, especially one that will like a meal one moment & then dislike it the next.

    Matilda will eat anything with a tomato base, pizza, bolognaise, lasagne. So I try to make 3 dinners a week with that so I "know" that she will eat them. Having said that sometimes you slave for hours making a lasagne to have it rejected... But I guess that is what I do now, just make sure that we have a few meals we know she will eat & I freeze small portions just for her in case we want to eat something different.

    I make homemade pizza's with things almost pureed and spread on top for her with cheese. I put spinach, potatoes and brocolli on our pizza's but she will pick it off, so now I cook it down & puree it and spread it over the base before I put on the pasta sauce or I make the vege's into the pasta sauce to hide it.

    We also have the 20 minute rule, where we offer her food and if in 20 minutes she hasn't eaten any we take it away. She goes 1-2 nights a week atm without dinner.

    I also stopped feeding her afternoon tea & moved dinner earlier so we all eat dinner at 5.30pm most nights & her has no afternoon tea, maybe a snack when she wakes up if its early but most times no arvo tea.

    Matilda also hates red meat & the only time she eats it is in bolognaise... or ham. I don't worry too much about it because I don't like it either & we get iron from other sources.

    Thats about all the suggestions I can think of.... not much here. *hugs* it is the most frustrating thing trying to encourage your child to eat healthy wholesome meals.

  4. #4
    Tigergirl1980 Guest

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    Awwww I'm sorry you've got a little fusspot there It makes life hard. Jonah has gone through picky stages too and in the end I just let him eat whatever, as long as he eats something, usually it's fruit or yoghurt.

    I agree it not making a big deal about eating or not only, that's just going to inflame the situation and he'll dig his heels in even further.

    Maybe if he has a few things on offer. Maybe a little "platter" of things so that he can "choose" his own dinner. Even if it's a platter of cheese, biscuits, fruit, veg and maybe some dip or something along those lines? Or a few bits and pieces of leftovers from other dinners?

    Have you tried making something completely new that you think he might enjoy but has never had before?

    That's all the suggestions I have for now. Hoping you can find some solution

  5. #5

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    Relle, sounds just like my 15 month old son Jackson. With Jackson it is more than just being a fussy toddler, and it frustrates the hell out of me when people tell me they all go through it and he will grow out of it.

    He was lazy with the boob, lazy with the bottle and now he is just plain wierd with food!! He refuses to even let the food touch his mouth, sometimes I have to force it into his mouth just so he can taste it and then realise he likes it. Other times he gags and spits and literally scrapes the food off his tongue with his fingers. It can be so frustrating trying to get him to eat that a lot of times I end up in tears because I feel like he is starving!!!

    We went through a stage for the last three months where he would only eat pureed food. Of course the MCHN looked down her nose at me when I told her this because developmentally he should've been eating finger foods. But if it was the choice between this and him not eating at all, then the choice was easy. Gradually I just made the meals lumpier, and now he is starting to eat food straight off his highchair, but he screams and kicks and arches his back everytime he catches on that dinner is ready.

    I guess just give it time, if he is not underweight, and doesnt seem like he is hungry, then try not to stress too much, can make meal times a heap more stressful if you are anxious too, because bubs will pick up on it. I totally agree with what Kelly said about just trying to relax a little about it, and how the struggle sort of ends once you do. Oh, and also, try zucchini slice, even Jackson loves it, and has veg, dairy and meat in it, let me know if you want the recipe. Feel free to PM me if you wanna chat some more.

  6. #6

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    Thanks ladies, your suggestions really help me.

    Min I am the same, he has been lazy from go get and even when he was eating well, it was so long as everything was covered by sweet potato and pretty well mashed.

    I have tried the platter thing, sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. He sits up at the table with a booster seat, so we try to tell him he is a big boy.

    We don't make a big deal about it. We haven't for quite a while. It was just not worth it .

    Kelly, I will give it a go making it fun and see if that helps.

    I think I am really starting to panic as Cooper has been and is fussy with the Breast and the bottle also. I just couldn't handle another bad eater. It effects everything from their behaviour right through to their sleeping and everything in between.

  7. #7

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    if you are worried about him missing out on his food, have you tried to give him a multi-vitamin, just to help! Pentavite make a chewable one that looks like a little bear, very cute and the kids take them like a lolly!
    Otherwise I find if one of mine won't eat, I make them a fruit smoothy, but blend it heaps so there is no lumps. A least they are getting some fruit. My son much prefers to drink than eat and will eat fruit in a smoothy that he won't touch ever if it was offered to him. You can also put a liquid multi-vitamin in the smoothy if that helps. Get a cool cup to drink it out of, and a 'special' straw. It all helps
    HTH

  8. #8

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    I feel for you-
    Having worked as a nanny for a number of years and now being a preschool teacher, I've seen everything from vegaholics to kids that panic and go into hysterics if the foods on their plate touch each other!

    Kids often learn wonderfully from example from their peers. Do you have a friend with a child the same age who is very enthusiastic about food? Perhaps you could arrange a lunch date/play date and make food totally a non issue, perhaps a crudeté platter and a healthy dip in the middle of a picnic rug. By perhaps not mentioning the food at all but instead just letting it be part of the playdate, your son might think it's a great idea because his little friend is having so much fun.

    Also, depending on his personality some other things might work-

    I think by his age, if he's told in simple terms that it's his choice whether to eat or not but it's mummy's choice what is offered for lunch. If you think that will blow up too much of a power struggle from him, perhaps he can choose if he has potatoes or pasta and he can choose if he has corn or green beans, chicken or beef, etc. -that way you let him feel like he's choosing what he eats and he might feel like he has that control.

    Good luck!!!

  9. #9

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    Relle I hear you! I really think it is an age thing Miss M was a champion eater and now mainly at dinner time is very fussy. If she could just eat pasta and ham she would be in her element. I have been mashing all her vegies and mixing it with Baked beans in ham sauce. It's the only way I can get her to eat vegies. Just do what ever works for you and eventually they will come back to eating vegies. I often offer a fruit smoothie if we don't have any success with dinner as I know that at least she has some fruit and yoghurt and won't wake up thru the night hungry. Try not to stress the tables will turn.

  10. #10

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    Maybe getting you little one involved in some of the preperation of the food? ie. stirring, or in cases of making pizza let him help decorate it etc etc.

    Maybe if he is involved he may be more interested in eating it.....??? Just a thought anyway

    {{{HUGS}}} and sorry if this has already been suggested in another post. Was speed reading so may have missed it!

  11. #11

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    Hi Relle

    I've been watching Dr Phil and House of Tiny Tearaways on Foxtel and they've been dealing with food issues a bit. So I'm not speaking from my own experience - feel free to ignore anything I say!

    According to them, you are right not to make an issue of it and to be hiding vegies and good stuff where you can. If you need to cover stuff in cheese to get him to eat it, at his age that's okay (although not every meal, every day, I would gather!). House of Tiny Tearaways also tried to make food fun for kids who had a phobia, making it into a smiley face on the plate, giving him a sticker for every spoonful/plateful (whatever is more than what he normally manages), having things on different plates hidden under an upturned bowl and they can only turn over the next one when they've had some/all of the first (again, more than what they'd normally manage, but usually only a little bit of whatever it was).

    Eating with other kids was also a biggie for them, especially if you use the sticker system on both kids, even the one that normally eats fine anyway. Amazing to watch how those stickers work!!

    The other winner was eating food as part of a picnic on the floor or in the backyard (not practical at dinner time, but a great idea for lunch). Little bits of everything so they could pick and the whole sitting on the floor thing seemed a hit. Mum and Dad involved as well if they're there.

    I've stacked these away in my memory bank for when Lucy's bigger... I also found my gf's kids love it when I make them their own mini 'pies' (like shepherd's pie, no pastry) in those little dishes (forgotten what they're called now, you put condiments and stuff in them when you're serving a proper dinner party!). I've hidden vegies I didn't even now existed in those for 2 kids who wouldn't touch anything that looked suspiciously like it had grown in the ground!

    Good luck!

  12. #12

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    oh!! I just thought of something that one mum had, katanya's mothers group filmed their children eating & made a DVD for Felix to encourage him to eat...that sometimes can help too!

  13. #13

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    Relle - I totally know how you feel. Lucie is almost 1 and has always been fussy on the bottle and solids. I hate that feeling at each meal time and wonder how she can survive on the little she eats. She definately goes in phases, and (touch wood) at the moment she is eating ok. Definately only finger food though. She totally turned her nose up at the spoon a few weeks ago. Sometimes for lunch I will make some sandwiches and give her one at a time as we are walking in the stroller or pushing her around Big W or somewhere in the trolley. She seems to just eat because she is being distracted by something else too. Lately too we go to the park and she will scoff almost an entire piece of grilled fish while she watches the seagulls and I am holding her (can't let her just run around, or she won't eat a thing!). She also loves 2 min noodles (bad I know, but this is my backup meal when she won't eat anything else) and thinks it's hilarious to slurp them up. Other things that work (at the moment LOL!) are wedges of egg white, large shell pasta, homemade meatballs (I made up a tonne of chicken and lamb with hidden vegies - mashed potato, carrot and pumpkin, threw in an egg and a bit of cooked rice, so far she seems to love them!). Anyway I guess just keep trying thing and try not to stress, although I know that is SOOOOOO hard. Some kids are just small eaters, lets hope one day they find their appetite. And IKWYM about not wanting Cooper to be fussy too, I am that my second bub is totally different when it comes to milk and food too!

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