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To still feed my 5.5 year old child?

(114 Posts)
Cannierelax Sun 24-Mar-13 20:30:55

He is a horrendous eater. Today I made him chicken pasta and he ate 3 bites of pasta and 2 pieces of chicken in 25 minutes. If I don't feed him he will not eat a varied diet but will get hungry and demand cookies. Aibu to continue feeding him do he will at least eat a few bites of healthy food?

Cannierelax Mon 25-Mar-13 23:20:07

Couldn't have done it without all the support from fellow MN's!
Tomorrow is a new day, let's see how it pans out. Someone on this thread asked how I would feel to be forced to eat something I didn't want to. That really hit home for me. I am quite fussy at times and remember vomiting when being forced to eat eggy bread when I was younger! Something which I still can't eat. I caused these issues for DS albeit unintentionally now it's up to me to work bloody hard at undoing this situation.

scottishmummy France Mon 25-Mar-13 21:49:36

Chuffed for you both,keep up good work
You must feel v good what a difference 24hr make
Hang on in there for the ups and downs

CandyCrushed Mon 25-Mar-13 21:44:21

My middle DS was a very slow eater although not that fussy. He would take ages to eat anything the least bit chewy and i used to get frustrated with him. When he was about seven the dentist asked if he had trouble eating as his back teeth didn't align properly confused. Cue smug 7 year old and apologetic Mum. blush (also cue years of braces sad )

Also,
My brother ate all food extremely slowly for the whole of his childhood until he chocked on a piece of meat when he was a teen. He ended up having an operation to 'expand' his unusually narrow throat. shock

2rebecca Germany Mon 25-Mar-13 21:33:59

Excellent, I think kids eating the same as their parents where possible is a good thing as they see their parents enjoying it. I also think it's a myth that kids like bland food. I didn't give mine hot curries when young but they happily ate mild ones and chinese food, garlic bread etc.

mrsjay Mon 25-Mar-13 20:41:03

However I believe this is just the beginning and I will need to be consistently relaxed at meal times.

yip you see the difference already in him if you are going to be pushed for time say at lunchtime give him something easy to eat so you dont stress smile

Fairenuff Mon 25-Mar-13 20:10:36

That's great. Just keep being casual about it and if he does refuse to eat just follow all the advice. If you feel yourself getting anxious come away from him and re-read the thread.

Hopefully this is just the start and he will eat normally but remember children often go through phases and suddenly don't like something they've enjoyed before. That's all normal.

mamandeouisti Mon 25-Mar-13 20:02:47

Blimey, well done Cannie!

Lueji Mon 25-Mar-13 19:28:24

Coming late, but just to say well done. smile

There will be times when he genuinely won't like the food, though. Remember to relax then.

One tip is also to pretend the food is not for them and they are not allowed it. It often works when DS claims he doesn't want fruit. I put mine near him, as if I'm distracted, and he'll often "steal" it all.

Or if DS claims he's full, but hasn't eaten much, I tell him it's ok if he eats a number of mouthfuls. Usually up to 5.

Excellent news!

Don't always offer a treat though - they should be saved for consistently 'good behaviour', like if you eat well all week we can go to MacDonalds.

Cannierelax Mon 25-Mar-13 17:50:41

However I believe this is just the beginning and I will need to be consistently relaxed at meal times.

Cannierelax Mon 25-Mar-13 17:47:15

Well, nothing short of a miracle happened at tea time. I made him the same food as we have. ( normally I wouldn't do this) He immediately starting jumping up and down, I don't want it.... Blah blah. Then I said that it's okay, as long as you try a tiny bit then that's okay and you will get a treat. But i made it clear that he didn't have to have it if he didn't want to. Well he only just went and scoffed the lot and asked for seconds. Me and DH were completely gobsmacked!!
The main changes I made was that I wasn't feeding him, we were at the table, I made it clear he didn't have to eat and there was no shouting / moaning on my part. DS ended with " mummy that was lovely, plz make it 100 times in the Easter holidays". ??

Sounds better. When I worked at SS some parts of this are changed because of confidentiality I worked with a family where this was happening to an extreme degree. DF standing over the DS stressing about eating. Making him eat. It was a Mediterranean family so food IS LOVE and can't be refused. It turned into total food refusal. He was hiding food, throwing up...

With the dietitian it was agreed that the family would eat buffet style and DS could just pick what he wanted or not, no pressure. Slow steps but it helped.

Could you get some counselling about how you see food and eating?

Cat98 Mon 25-Mar-13 14:36:38

I'm glad it went better this morning, hang in there! As someone wise once said to me - 'it's your job to provide a healthy balanced diet for your child, but it's up to them to eat it'!

Glad you had a better morning smile

edwardsmum11 Mon 25-Mar-13 11:02:57

Maybe the issue is that you are on his back and keep telling him to hurry up and make him feel nervous?

Softlysoftly Mon 25-Mar-13 10:54:08

Could he also just be a very slow eater? DD1 is, to be honest as long as we don't need to be somewhere I appreciate the time as I eat mine then get the chance to clean my whole kitchen while the DDs finish theirs!

Sort your routine so you have something to keep you occupied while he finishes off and if you have to be somewhere eg school run then you need to firstly choose "fast" food eg a healthy homemade fruit muffin rather than cereal which takes ages to eat (or at least it does dd1!), and make sure you are up in time to give at least 30-40 minutes of eating time.

I would also consider positive attention as that's what he is seeking. So as you put his dinner down casually say "oh look DS I got this new game of snap (or whatever) today, shall we have a game after tea?". No mention of eating up or hurrying up, but he'll get the idea he will get good fun play attention after he eats not negative attention while he eats. Greet any throat clutching food dramatics with ignoring!

Finally I totally disagree with a clock to time him, or forcing him to stay at table until he's eaten or any of a sticker chart or any of that bollocks as its all just stress and attention which is the polar opposite of what you want to achieve. This is bout you, you need to take deep breaths and ignore ignore ignore. I have been through the chucking meal after meal away stage and it's a pita so I feel for you.

mamandeouisti Mon 25-Mar-13 10:09:07

I'm not in a position to offer much eating-specific advice but can completely identify with the hovering and "screaming" thing which is just linked to your own issue. For me, it's getting ready (so that shoes, coat , teeth etc. becomes a bit of a tirade). It sounds like you need to just step back and calm down! You said that others thought you were overly keen on getting him to eat too much when he was a baby. Today you say that he left one of his egg waffles. How big is a waffle? How many did he really need to eat? Maybe your expectations of what he needs to consume are unrealistic. Agree with other posters - maybe try to eat the same thing together...(how lonely and boring to have to eat by yourself) and if your food adult food needs to be a bit more bland to accommodate that then so be it, for a while. Also get rid of biscuits etc. from house altogether until everyone has a reasonable relationship with food. Even so-called "good eaters" go through tricky phases as they're growing and changing, but try not to get yourself too stressed about it. Agree also that getting them involved in choosing/preparation/ cooking works well as does lots of exercise so that they really are hungry at the right times! Good luck!

Poledra Mon 25-Mar-13 10:08:51

I noticed you mentioned about making him different, less spicy, food. We now have a vast selection of spicy condiments in this house, so that DH and I can add them to food that is mild enough for the DCs' tastes but seems bland to us. That way, everyone is eating the same thing but we can give enough spice for our old tired taste buds to notice.

fuzzpig Mon 25-Mar-13 09:52:15

Supernanny episode - might be worth a watch when DS is in bed.

mrsjay Mon 25-Mar-13 09:45:21

you really do need to chill
MY dd was a terrible eater my advice is in hindsight I used to panic if she didnt eat but the bigger fuss i made the more anxious about food she got, just relax give him his meals let him enjoy them and he will eat, It is just trying to change habits, she is 20 now and loves her food , but from 3 till 6 I honestly thought she was going to wither away from not eating, It is in our instincts to feed our young that is why we panic about it

Cannierelax Mon 25-Mar-13 09:40:43

Some excellent advice on here. Breakfast went well today, I made no fuss when when he left one of his egg waffles, normally I would be screaming," hurry up " 10 times and he still rouldnt eat quicker. I really need to change and be calmer, less involved with him at mealtimes, I was beginning to dread them. I remember being forced to eat as a child and it was awful.I found it difficult eating any kind of meat and still struggle with it today. I will allow him the control of choosing the quantity he eats as well as having a veg/ meat / carb portion so that he has a choice what he likes and dislikes. No more shouting and tension from my part.

mrsjay Mon 25-Mar-13 09:37:05

dont give him biscuits and give him a fork and let him get on with it he has to 'try' what you give him he is nearly 6 yrs old when are you going to stop feeding him ? He isn't going to eat him self all he has to do is sigh and winge and there you are.

ThreeWheelsGood Mon 25-Mar-13 09:32:09

He may be feeling like the odd one out if he's eating different food from you and dh. You should all eat the same thing (obviously smaller portion for him).

Poledra Mon 25-Mar-13 09:07:48

Would echo something others have said - don't overfill his plate. My children all all good eaters, but it took me awhile to persuade DH that it was better to give them a smaller portion and have them ask for seconds/something else if they were still hungry than load the plate up to start with. They were daunted by the amount in front of them and didn't know where to start!

StickEmWithThePointyEnd- yes. I CM a 2.5 year old. She has to sit at the table for about 20-30 minutes, if she doesn't eat the food will either get chucked or saved for later depending on what it is.

She doesn't have to eat the food, but she does have to sit properly at the table, and isn't allowed to get down until everyone is finished.

We've gone from her eating half a tiny slice of tomato at lunch to demolishing a whole sandwich in about 3 weeks.

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