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Anyone else got a REALLY fussy eater?

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by anon736, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. My 14 month old is a terribly fussy eater. He loves snacky food (bananas,
    dried fruit, biscuits, cereal) but pretty much refuses to eat any other
    foods. I have tried both homemade food and packets and both are
    rejected. I've been trying to avoid making a big issue of food as the
    last thing I want is for every meal to turn into a battle, so I
    currently try him with a 'meal' and when he doesn't eat it I give him
    something he does like, usually a banana, toast or yoghurt. I must admit that my motivation is starting to weaken, however, as it's so demoralising to keep making him food which just goes in the bin.
    However,
    I've begun to wonder whether I'm doing the right thing as he's seeming
    to like sweet things more and more and savoury less and less. He is very
    independent and doesn't like to be fed, but I've tried dozens of finger
    food ideas and he won't really eat any of them. He does seem to eat
    better at nursery, where he has been going twice a week. I let him play
    with his food, try to eat the same as him etc. but to no avail.
    My question is when does not making an issue of food start to become encouraging bad habits? I do wonder whether he has us wrapped round his little finger and refuses things knowing that he'll get something else (invariably something sweet as that's all he'll eat).
     
  2. My 14 month old is a terribly fussy eater. He loves snacky food (bananas,
    dried fruit, biscuits, cereal) but pretty much refuses to eat any other
    foods. I have tried both homemade food and packets and both are
    rejected. I've been trying to avoid making a big issue of food as the
    last thing I want is for every meal to turn into a battle, so I
    currently try him with a 'meal' and when he doesn't eat it I give him
    something he does like, usually a banana, toast or yoghurt. I must admit that my motivation is starting to weaken, however, as it's so demoralising to keep making him food which just goes in the bin.
    However,
    I've begun to wonder whether I'm doing the right thing as he's seeming
    to like sweet things more and more and savoury less and less. He is very
    independent and doesn't like to be fed, but I've tried dozens of finger
    food ideas and he won't really eat any of them. He does seem to eat
    better at nursery, where he has been going twice a week. I let him play
    with his food, try to eat the same as him etc. but to no avail.
    My question is when does not making an issue of food start to become encouraging bad habits? I do wonder whether he has us wrapped round his little finger and refuses things knowing that he'll get something else (invariably something sweet as that's all he'll eat).
     
  3. You are doing the classic thing of thinking your child has to eat something so a banana or yoghurt is better than nothing. Try not giving him anything at all if he wont eat. Then when he says he is hungry try with a proper meal but not sweet food or crisps. I know its hard but your child will not starve for missing one meal but will get ill from lack of nutrients if all he is eating is sweet food.

     
  4. Chica77

    Chica77 New commenter

    My son was like that for ages, he only wanted to eat yoghurts! I was getting quite worried, but i don't think yoghurts are that bad. He just had normal ones, like Danone Activia, not petit filous as they've got too much sugar in them. He didn't like other sweet things though. I think you're right not to make a big deal of mealtimes. You can't force them to eat, and unless they start losing loads of weight then it's not a problem. He will get there in the end - my son was a lot better at about 18 months.
    Is there any food that he will eat (apart from yoghurt and banana!)? I used to make pasta stars with veg and cheese sauce for my son and he seemed to like that.
    He was 2 in June and he still doesn't have a big appetite. He will eat what we do, but he rarely finishes his portion. He's 75th centile for weight and 90 something for height, so he's ok.
     
  5. kittenjames

    kittenjames New commenter

    Errrr, I totally disagree with this. The OP is talking about a BABY, I don't think denying him food is the answer - he is 14 months for flips sake!!
     
  6. Chica77

    Chica77 New commenter

    Exactly. It's not like you can reason with a 14 month old! Fair enough for a 5 year old. My mum said she was watching a programme about fussy eaters and there was a young child on it who'd only eat yoghurt, and the nutritionist said that was ok as it has calcium and so on in it. Better they eat something than nothing.
     
  7. I did say that I wanted to avoid making every meal a battle zone. He is only 14 months and isn't talking yet, so it's good old guess work. And at no point have I said that I fill him up on crisps or junk food - we're talking weetabix, fruit and Plum fromage frais.
    Thanks Kitten and Chica - it's a relief to know that others have taken a similar approach. I'll keep plodding on - he's certainly not looking bad on it so perhaps I'm just worrying too much.
    x
     
  8. Chica77

    Chica77 New commenter

    He'll get there! They only have small stomachs. All my son has had today is a few spoonfuls of shreddies for breakfast, a few forkfuls of my jacket potato with tuna for lunch, and a bit of quiche and veg for dinner. He's fine. He's still like the duracell toddler with loads and loads of energy, so i try not to worry that he eats less than some kids half his age!
     
  9. It's very old fashioned to think that if the child doesn't eat his dinner then he shouldn't have a yoghurt- if the approach you've used all along is to be calm about food and not make a fuss when he doesn't eat something or other then it's not going to hurt him to give him yoghurt if that's all he wants. I don't agree with some of my friends who insist their children eat all their savoury before their sweet; they can't distinguish at a young age I don't think. One of my friends will put her 3 year old to bed without any food if she refuses her main- is that the right way to go about educating and feeding a child? My LO will often have her fruit before her main while she's waiting for it, then happily eat her main and yoghurt afterwards. She frequently eats her yoghurt and then returns to her main! We BLW and I've always tried to be as laid back as possible, and on the days when she doesn't eat much i quietly despair but then remind myself that I should trust her to make the right choices. Today for example I made a lovely cheesy, leek and mushroom sauce for pasta that I thought she'd love, and she didn't eat a drop of it! Just wanted the plain pasta from around the edge of my plate (hers was mixed up). I thought about what she'd eaten through the day and actually a bit of plain pasta (preceded by blueberries and followed by yoghurt!) wasn't going to hurt her. Hopefully your LO is going through a phase and if you just continue to offer all kinds of food he'll start to branch out again. It is stressful when you think your child isn't eating properly (I have a thing about meat- she doesn't seem to want it ever, but someone on the BLW facebook group I'm in mentioned that perhaps she just doesn't need the meat.... not sure about that, but will keep on offering it in different forms as I have been doing!) Don't worry x
     
  10. Maybe you wouldn't feel so bad if you prepared food for you and OH and just gave him some of that. If he watches you eating it he may be more inclined to eat it too, and then there won't be much waste if all you're doing is offering him some of yours. Just a suggestion; ignore me if this is what you're doing! My LO will always want what mummy has got!
     
  11. Chica77

    Chica77 New commenter

    Yes, mine too! Even though we have exactly the same thing, he still wants it from my plate sometimes!
    Also, have you tried distracting him at mealtimes? Sometimes my son will sit at the table and play with a toy car or something and lets me feed him. Other times he wants to feed himself.
     
  12. Tbh I disagree with both approaches. Babies only have small appetites - I think giving puddings at all is completely illogical - if they are hungry they will eat main course if they eat main course then they surely dont need pudding. Also using pudding as a reward reinforces that savoury us bad I think. With my daughter I always give main meal at lunchtime so we dont have the bed on an empty stomach issue then go more snacky for tea when I am more flexible. 14 month olds are not stupid and soon learn the drill - the very fact that when you give them mains they point at the fruit bowl and say 'na' is proof of that I think. It worked with my daughter anyway and 2 days at my inlaws last weekend led to her refusing to eat more than half her lunch and asking for fruit instead.
     
  13. Actually my approach is quite the opposite from giving fruit as a reward- rather it's just part of her healthy balanced diet, together with yoghurt. Giving fruit and yoghurt at all sorts of different times means that it is not a reward or even a pudding as such. I wouldn't withold it because she hadn't eaten mire than half of her lunch but the laid back approach we've adopted since weaning, means she'll often eat her main after her fruit, or choose savoury over sweet. Nobody here has said that savoury is "bad".
     
  14. I do agree with you here. There's been several times recently when I've got the impression that he just doesn't want to eat his main as he wants something else (a banana), rather than that he doesn't like it. However, I still feel very uneasy about the idea of mealtimes becoming fraught - he's VERY strong willed and doesn't give in easily. I quite like your suggestion of just offering the 1 meal at lunchtime, then being more flexible at tea.
     
  15. Thats fine clematis its whatever works for you. My daughter also eats loads of fruit and yoghurt just not at the same time as her main meal of the day.
     
  16. Oh and misstutu dont let it get fraught - just offer him a meal and if he has a choice to eat or not eat. One big advantage of 14 month olds is they do have short memories - if he refuses then you give him some fruit an hour and a half later he wont connect the 2 at all. Therefore in reality he has a late lunch and eats the same overall but in his eyes you didnt give him a choice. I always give my daughter a big fruit snack mid afternoon anyway. Also some babies are more difficult with food than others.
     

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