thread: How are fussy eaters created?

  1. #1
    BellyBelly Member

    May 2010

    How are fussy eaters created?

    My 10 month old DD had a really hard time starting solids, and only started eating 1 meal a day at nearly 8 months.
    She is pretty good with cereal and fruit, okay with vegetables sometimes, and not very good with meat. The only thing she will give me a willingly open mouth for is baby yoghurt, which I am a bit iffy about giving her anyway because of the added sugar.

    I saw an episode of 'House of tiny tearaways' the other day, with a 3-year-old boy who only ate yoghurt! He had 23 little tubs of yoghurt a day, and that was it.
    It rang warning bells with me, because I can definitely see my DD going that way, and I don't want to create a fussy eater.

    We have good days and bad days, but lately each mealtime has been a battle. I try not to make it a 'battle' as such, but I really have to *work* at feeding her, and it's exhausting. I have to distract her with toy after toy to get her to eat more than 3 mouthfuls of anything, and sometimes she just flat-out refuses.

    It's the same with finger food! I know the vegetables and fruits she likes, but sometimes even with those, she has hardly anything.

    I'm worried about her iron levels. I also wonder how her food consumption affects her sleep.

    If she refuses food, should I give in and let her eat yoghurt? I just feel sometimes like "something is better than nothing" but at the same time, I don't want to create bad habits.... i.e. she figures out that she can just eat yoghurt if I don't persist.

  2. #2
    BellyBelly Member

    Aug 2008

    Maybe every 2-3 days have a "just give in" day. What a child eats over 48 hours is more important than 2 x 24 hour periods, and I think you're less likely to build bad habits.
    If you're worried about sugar, can you go for a sugar free yoghurt and mix it up with a bit of a sweet fruit puree?
    For iron, put a little bit of iron fortified rice cereal in with the yoghurt-puree mix. Value add, if you will

    One little girl that I used to nanny for came across as a fussy eater when I first met her, but it turned out that she was just having too much milk at the wrong times of day, so she was filling up on that and then not eating. By adjusting her daily bottles, all of a sudden she was eating huge amounts of anything we could give her. So could it be that as well?

    It's great that you're conscious of not creating bad habits. You're already doing the best just by being aware of it.

  3. #3
    Registered User

    Sep 2005
    In the middle of nowhere

    In my experience fussy eaters aren't created they are born that way and can be coaxed (quite successfully) into being adventurous eaters.
    Neither of my two were great at the start either. Heck DS chose to only eat frozen peas for a fortnight a while back, and my DD was a yoghurt lover too. Neither of them ate well until well over 1. I have the only two children i know that will eat a laksa or butter chicken or garlic prawns. There will always be wasted food while they're learning. They will only eat to satisfy themselves - gluttony is a learned behaviour, so often their definition of enough is markedly different to yours. Food isn't their main source of nutrition until after 1 so as long as she's still BFing /drinking her bottles don't worry about her levels. Food is a discovery as much as filling a need. The texture/smell/tactility/taste is all new. Try giving her a piece of meat to suck on (a decent sized piece if you're worried about choking).
    SOme things I have discovered in my years of trying to get children to eat
    don't make it a battle - if they are hungry they'll eat and won't starve, but the second they smell a fight- they'll be itching to take the side opposite to yours
    offer a variety all the time, but also offer what they like as well. I know it's a bit hard with yoghurt but I offer what my DD calls a 'picnic plate' when they're being a bit fussy with chopped up vegies, fruit, crackers, sandwiches cut out with a biscuit cutter, savoury muffins etc, but only a tiny bit of everything so it doesn't look too hard to eat.
    roll model good eating habits
    make it fun, let her eat outside/on a towel on the floor etc and have her help you make it. Pop her up on the bench and pick out what she'd like
    often eating off your plate is far more exciting than their own

  4. #4
    BellyBelly Professional Support Panel

    May 2007
    Warrnambool Vic

    I agree with Kmn,

    Fussy eaters are born, not created. all children will go through periods of fussiness. As the parent, set your face to neutral and plough on. Don't take food refusal personally. Don't think it's something that's *your fault*, be flexible, but staightforward about it - it could go on for a number of years. With 4 children including 2 teenagers I can usually be assured that some-one will tell me loudly how much they hate what I just dished up.

  5. #5
    Registered User

    Dec 2007
    Sunny Qld

    I say don't stress so much - your bub is only 10 months old!! Plenty of time to get interested in other stuff. Is she teething? My near 10 month old is more reluctant to eat things when her mouth is hurting. And she's a yoghurt lover too!!

    However my 3.5 year old and 2 year old are fussy eaters. Very fussy. But we don't give in to their fussiness - they get served what we are eating and if they don't eat it - their loss. I tell my kids that I'm not running a restaurant, and if they don't want to eat the food (not usually cos they don't like it, just cos they like to get mummy mad) then its them that goes hungry - not me.

    My 2 year old was eating everything and anything when she was 10 months old, and I was sooo over the moon, thinking that I had got a kid that wasn't fussy (DS has always been fussy). But nope - she got to about 20 months, and then turned fussy. Now we are lucky if she bites a piece of carrot of a night time!! DS was the same, but has gotten slightly better, we can mostly bribe him to eat his dinner... LOL

    I definitely agree that they are born, not created.

  6. #6
    BellyBelly Member

    Apr 2010

    often eating off your plate is far more exciting than their own
    How true. DD#2 eats anything she can steal And given that she can open the fridge, the amount of food she can steal is rather substantial.

    DD#1 was a great eater as a toddler, then went into fussy eating mode for ... oh, 7 years ... and will eat a lot more stuff now. In fact, she tells us all about it - "I LOVE chips! I used to HATE chips!" Yes, we noticed. I think she's just got old enough for peer pressure to kick in, and every other kid in the universe (especially her little sister) likes chips

  7. #7
    BellyBelly Member

    Dec 2009

    My 30yo BIL still picks out all the veges in his meals. :/ Not sure what my point is.. just saying for shock value I suppose.

  8. #8
    BellyBelly Member
    Add Butterfly Dawn on Facebook

    Aug 2008
    Climbing Mt foldmore

    agree with mrsnb. we are the same. you eat what's on you plate. but you may request dinner for the next night -within reason. my ds2 is shockingly small but he eats until he's full. yogurt is great. you can make your own easily and add fruit to taste.
    maybe have a look at the baby lead solids threads?

  9. #9
    Registered User

    Oct 2012

    My son wouldn't eat meat until he was nearly 2. remember food is for fun until bub is 1. I always offer something and if they're not keen i do a deal, as long as they at least try it, they can have what they want if they don't like it. eventually they will find something they like. also we have had regular phases of 'i think i will just eat rice crackers all week' and with plenty of other foods too, like bread weeks, carrot weeks, all sorts. their little bodies will tell them if they need something, to get to that age and only eat yoghurt is very unusual.

  10. #10
    BellyBelly Member
    Add ~clover~ on Facebook

    Sep 2007

    I agree with MNB too. I have 4 kids & they ALL have different tastes. One won't eat potato of any kind, one won't eat pasta of any kind, only one really gives veggies/salad a good go. They all eat different fruits. I think watermelon the only fruit they all eat.

    DD1 used to be shocking with veggies, but she's a pretty big salad kid now. Lettuce, capsicum, carrot, corn etc. DS has just decided he likes lettuce & carrot after refusing to touch them for months! DD2... we're starting with carrot. We'll work from there

    Their dad was also a fussy eater when we got together. Would only have mash,& meat for dinner. Wouldn't eat veggies or anything else at all for dinner. It took a good few years, but he was eating pasta dishes, spag bol, lasagna, potato bake AND veggies by the time we split.

    Only one of mine who is easy at dinner times is DD3, but she isn't a snacker, so doesn't eat much through the day. She eats a good sized meal for dinner & eats pretty much everything put in front of her

    They're all different & they all like different things at different times. All I can suggest is don't stress. 'Food is fun til they are one' She isn't relying on food just yet. Formula/BM is giving her what she needs til she starts eating a little better. You can try natural yoghurt too, maybe add some fruit of your own to it?

  11. #11
    Registered User

    Apr 2008

    I was a very plain eater as a child but my tastes developed over time. However, I still prefer to eat my vegies raw - always have.

    My DD1 went through a very fussy phase and has a lot of allergies but she is now turning into a much more adventurous eater - I just serve up dinner and if there is anything new I request that she tries it. If she doesn't like it she doesn't have to eat it but I just want her to try it.

    DD2 is still fussy but again I ask her to try things. She is much less adventurous but is slowly getting there. Funnily enough both kids prefer their vegies raw to being cooked - I'm not going to argue about it as I understand where they are coming from and they are healthier that way anyway

  12. #12

    Dec 2006

    My DS2 didn't really eat until he was about 14 months. We offered, he munched, licked, tasted and spat out most stuff. He just wasn't fussed on eating a heap. I kept thinking food is for fun until you are one. But who says 12 months is the magic cut-off!! His was just a little later. He was pretty much given our food. Some days he'd gnaw on a bit of meat and seem to consume vast amounts. Most days, very little.

    He wasn't a great sleeper, but he wasn't waking for hunger, or he'd have eaten more. He's 2.5 now and eats well (but refuses to eat mashed potato LOL).

    I personally think that nothing is better than just something, ITMS. She's still a baby. So long as she is healthy, has no issues with weight etc. If i wasn't hungry and someone put a spoon of yoghurt in my mouth, i'd be unlikely to say no - i love yoghurt. But if i was hungry and someone gave me a ham and salad sandwich, i'd eat it. That's got to be better for me in the long run.

  13. #13
    Add Rouge on Facebook

    Jun 2003

    Don't make a big deal out of food. If they don't like something don't stress. When they are old enough get them involved with buying and cooking food. And keep up the variety. Always let them try new things. We don't eat chips or processed foods from the oven. I offer good food. And if they don't like it they can have fruit. My DD hated meat till she was about 4 DS (6) still hates fresh leaves (salads) but will happily eat sauted spinach or a slasa. So we improvise. I still ask him to try it. But he loves salad rolls. They both hate pumpkin so I never make them eat it (even though I love it) yet they both love peas (which I'm not a fan of unless fresh) and steamed carrots (which I hate). Just remember there are plenty of ways to get good food into them. And their likes and dislikes will change dramatically over time.

  14. #14

    Mar 2004

    Are fussy eaters created? Or are they born?

  15. #15
    Add Rouge on Facebook

    Jun 2003

    I think they can be both and often likes and dislikes develop in utero. DD to this day hates oranges and I couldn't stand them during pregnancy.

  16. #16
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber
    Add TeniBear on Facebook Follow TeniBear On Twitter

    Oct 2009
    Lalor, VIC

    My 30yo BIL still picks out all the veges in his meals. :/ Not sure what my point is.. just saying for shock value I suppose.
    I imagine I'll be doing the same at 30. I haven't willingly eaten most vegetables since I was a toddler. I eat potatoes and onions, that's it. The onions are a very recent addition.

    I agree with everyone saying don't make a big deal. Mealtimes were always tense if my dad and I were eating together - he'd try to force me to eat things I don't like, right up to when I moved out of home. He still does it with my youngest brother. I doubt I'd be eating veggies if he hadn't anyway, but why make things tense and upset your kids for no reason? My mum never had a problem just leaving a couple of different things off my plate and giving me a little extra of what I did like.

  17. #17
    BellyBelly Member

    Jan 2011

    Goddess I'm glad you posted this... I've been wondering the same thing though my baby is shy of 8 months. She loves yoghurt too and I make my own with a maker I bought from the supermarket. I use the packer yoghurt mixes and choose the natural sugar free ones. Then I add in grated pear, or minced blueberries etc and as someone else said, a bit of baby rice cereal for added 'solid' value. I was adding yoghurt to the cereal but she wouldn't have a bar of it, but adding a little cereal to the yoghurt so that it retains the yoghurt taste and consistency seems to work.

    She also only really likes Rafferty's baby cereal and creamed cauliflower. She did like avocado but now she just spits it out. She is not at all interested in finger foods. I think she may be teething again too.

  18. #18
    BellyBelly Member
    Add Butterfly Dawn on Facebook

    Aug 2008
    Climbing Mt foldmore

    I think they can be both and often likes and dislikes develop in utero. DD to this day hates oranges and I couldn't stand them during pregnancy.
    that's interesting, when preggy with dd I had bad gastro from.strawberries, never had a problem before, dd is allergic to strawberries and I was but now tested ok again.

    so I say fussy eaters are born for the most part, but with all the extras in our food these days, some are made as well.