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?

kinkyfuckery Sun 24-Mar-13 20:33:11

YABU, you should stop feeding him.


Of course you still make him food. You tell him he eats that, or he doesn't eat (there's usually a compromise to be made somewhere after a bit of effort). He's not likely to starve himself.

Yanbu as your child your rod etc wink

But - surely you're the one giving in an giving him the cookies if he doesn't eat his dinner? If you stuck to it and after a few moments of 'hunger' I'm sure he'd eat more. Unless he is sn of any kind he's at an age where you can tell him and he'll understand.

organiccarrotcake Sun 24-Mar-13 20:34:40

Check out "My Child Won't Eat" by Carloz Gonzales

Phenominal book.

When you say "feed him" do you mean hold the fork and pop it in his mouth for him?

parakeet Sun 24-Mar-13 20:35:29

Yes, YABU, sorry. No 5-year-old will starve themselves. Make a vow today to never feed him again. Serve up meals and after 10 or 15 minutes take the plate away without comment or criticism.

(This method only works if cookies and the like are banished from the house though.)

Good luck...

OhDearieDearieMe Sun 24-Mar-13 20:35:54

This is simple but requires a little bit of determination from you - the adult. Of course he's going to hold out for cookies if he knows that is an option. Who wouldn't? grin It's up to you - the adult - the ensure that cookies are not an option until the good healthy home cooked stuff is eaten. Then cookies are negotiable. He won't like it - but it won't take long for him to 'get it'.

Annunziata Sun 24-Mar-13 20:37:38

Do you mean physically feeding him yourself?

Softlysoftly Sun 24-Mar-13 20:38:15

So it sounds like you give him the crap hedemands and feed him a few bits of healthy?

He's 5, give him healthy food, he eats it or goes hungry until the next meal.

Don't feed him, negotiate, or in fact discuss it at all. Plate on table, ignore, take plate away 30m later.

If you absolutely can't bear to wait until the next meal offer fruit/cheese/veg sticks as a snack.

SamsGoldilocks Sun 24-Mar-13 20:38:48

Stop buying biscuits until he makes progress eating. One good week and he can have a couple.

Good luck, its hard work and dispiriting having a child who doesn't like eating.

ItsallisnowaFeegle Sun 24-Mar-13 20:39:56

I can imagine in the daily frustrations of trying to encourage him to eat it might seem like the easiest way to ensure he eats something but I agree that now is the time to refuse snacks and stop physically feeding your DS.

Give it a go and please let us know how you get on.

missmapp Sun 24-Mar-13 20:40:45

The only way we got ds1 to eat, was to remove ourselves from the situation. first off , he ate on his own ( as I couldn't leave well alone if I was there) then, when eating together ,w e would talk about other stuff, but not mention food AT ALL. If he ate, we said nothing, if he didnt eat, we said nothing, but he got nothing else either.

I hadnt realised how much attention his lack of eating was given. As soon as we stopped the attention, he started eating. That was about 3 yrs ago- he now eats most things and tires new things happily.

Good luck!

redskyatnight Sun 24-Mar-13 20:41:23

I'm with the rest. If he doesn't eat within a sensible time frame (say 10-15 minutes) take the food away. Do not offer alternatives.

Yes yabu sorry. What does he do at school?

MsVestibule Sun 24-Mar-13 20:43:45

Of course YABU. I still feed my 4.5yo DS for exactly the same reasons you do and I am being U too! I know I should stop feeding him, but he's a stubborn little bugger and I know he wouldn't eat it. I guess I'm just picking my battles. Dinner times would be unbearable, but I realise I'll have to bite the bullet sometime.

OTOH, my DD(6) is a fantastic eater and has just polished off a full roast dinner while DC ate a Yorkshire pudding by himself but I had to feed him the mashed potato, peas and gravy. No chicken, stuffing or carrots.

Shybairns Sun 24-Mar-13 20:47:27

I still feed my DS 5 and a half if he's really tired. Same with my DD aged 4 if she struggling due to fatigue.

They can both use a knife and fork correctly and eat well at restuarants, friends houses and most of the time at home.

I'm quite relaxed about it. As long as they know their table manners and can handle cuttlery correctly.

HollaAtMeBaby Sun 24-Mar-13 20:50:33

I thought you meant breastfeeding shock

YABU - this is purely an attention seeking tactic! What happens if he's at school or at a friend's house? Presumably the dinner ladies/friend's mum don't sit for hours playing the aeroplane game with him. Just stop.

Does he eat meals with you? How can you eat your own dinner if you're spoonfeeding your DS?

Zatopek Sun 24-Mar-13 20:51:38

My 5 year old still won't eat much. She eats cereal at breakfast, lots of fruit during the day but won't sit for more than 5 minutes for a meal. I try not to let it wind me up (she's a healthy weight) but I do always worry she's going to wake up hungry or get grumpy due to low blood sugar.

I find it best if I feed her her main meal in the middle of the day. Come the afternoon when she's tired, she is not interested in eating a meal.

To get round this I usually offer a picnic tea or toast or sandwiches, cheese, fruit and yoghurt which she will usually pick at through the evening.

Whilst I encourage and remind I won't force her to eat. Though if she hasn't eaten much I will offer cereal at bedtime.

wannabeEostregoddess Sun 24-Mar-13 20:52:53


What does he do at school?

DD1 is 4 and hasnt been fed by me since she could use a fork well. But she still acts up now and again with her dinner. Its all for attention. If I play into it nothing gets eaten. If I ignore she will eat it 9 times out of 10. The one time she doesnt she will be starving at breakfast and wont do it again for a while.

wannabeEostregoddess Sun 24-Mar-13 20:54:55

Oh and we never say, "You have to eat whats on your plate."

She is told to eat what she wants and leave what she doesnt. But she has to eat something.

Bluelightsandsirens Sun 24-Mar-13 20:58:39

What happens when he is eating lunch at school?

kinkyfuckery Sun 24-Mar-13 21:09:21

Oh do you mean you physically feed him? Like spoon feed him? I do that at times with my nearly 8-year-old blush

Fairenuff Sun 24-Mar-13 21:38:35

I'd like to know what he does at school too.

simpson Sun 24-Mar-13 21:41:20

Like the others, my first thought was how does he eat at school?

My DD is 5.1 and there is no way I would feed her...

MsVestibule Sun 24-Mar-13 21:42:17

For everybody asking what the OP's DS what he does at school - perhaps he's on packed lunches? My DS will happily eat sandwiches (with limited fillings!) by himself, it's just proper meals where he won't feed himself.

Maggie111 Sun 24-Mar-13 21:47:30

I really enjoyed a Supernanny episode where she faced a similar child...

He had 3 portions on his plate even carbohydrates/protein/fruit&veg

He had to try at least a mouthful/taste from each section to achieve a sticker for a reward chart and he was allowed to eat his dinner in peace and leave whatever he didn't want.

Take the stress away from meal times and use a clock - tell him whatever isn't eaten by X time gets put in the bin

And don't feed him snacks in between meals!!!

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 21:47:34

Primary 1and you're still feeding him,that's unnecessary.but you're both stuck in roles
Presumably when you not there eats ok?so it's not a functional issue?
Don't make food big issue,serve it with no accompanying commentary.and no cookies

Rhubarbgarden Sun 24-Mar-13 21:52:25

Ah, this thread is useful. Dd (2 and a half) is refusing to eat at the moment then demands snacks two hours later. She doesn't get them though. It hadn't crossed my mind that it might be attention seeking. She used to be a really good eater. It's maddening.

Cannierelax Sun 24-Mar-13 21:55:14

Yes I am physically feeding him myself. I'm literally fed up.

NappyHappy Sun 24-Mar-13 21:55:37

My 5yo ds1 is the same but I refuse to feed him. If he doesn't eat what he can then he goes without. Then comes downstairs after he has gone to bed saying he is hungry. I don't give in anymore, I used to but I just leave him to it. He sits with ds2 who is 17m and he is a dustbin.

If he's on School Dinners he could just have eaten quite alot so isn't really hungry at home.

Pinkjules Sun 24-Mar-13 21:57:14

Just another angle...I'm a childminder and recently started minding an absolutely terrible eater. A couple of times her parents have arrived earlier while dinner is still in progress and they took over and fed her.

All the other children were horrified and talked about what a baby she was when she'd gone home (I dealt with this obviously)

So you could consider this if you need convincing. As a child gets older this kind of behaviour can become embarrassing for them. All the other children thought she was a baby. No one wants that or their child do they?

I'm all for the "each to their own" and not judging one another's parenting styles but certain things like eating and sleeping need to be tackled in an old fashioned disciplined way so that a child can function properly at school and, later, in the adult world.

No one should be feeding any child over about 18 months IMO. YABU.

Don't offer anything else, even fruit or healthy snacks, don't make a fuss. Just insist that they sit at the table until its eaten. Even if they scream the place down. One of mine had a fussy phase. Sometimes she sat at the table until she fell asleep in her dinner. It went on for about 3 weeks and I thought I would never win his battle of wills. But then I did.

neunundneunzigluftballons Sun 24-Mar-13 21:58:47

I was going to suggest my child won't eat too. I saw Carlos Gonzales a few weeks ago giving a talk. I am guessing with your clear adoration of your child he will be right up your street and he is humerous which helps. You will never need to feed him again after.

wannabeEostregoddess Sun 24-Mar-13 22:02:43

Just insist that they sit at the table until its eaten. Even if they scream the place down.

Personally I dont agree with this. Becoming distressed over food is not the way to promote a healthy attitude towards eating. Neither is insisting they clear the plate. That leads to a culture of overeating.

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 22:02:57

Well,stating the obvious.stop feeding're both stuck in roles
You fret,fuss and fed.he refuses,squirms and eventually gets cookies
Get a plan,stick to cookies as alternative,and no more feeding him

Cannierelax Sun 24-Mar-13 22:03:30

Ds has a cheese spread sandwich for lunch that eats and do e cheese and raisins for after. He does eat at school but I think it thinks him the full hourish as he sometimes finishes just before the bell rings. I am always making his meals seperature as I know he prefers bland food. Nothing hot/ spicy the way DH and I like. He puts his hands to his throat as though he was choking when he tries something new. This is only the second time in his life that Ds has had pasta!! He used to live of toast and butter. I feel frustrated as I've made a huge amount of effort with cooking his meals fothrown to go in the bin over the years.

Iggly Sun 24-Mar-13 22:06:04


why not make more child friendly foods? I found spicy food horrid as a child. So that way he feels included. Doesn't have to be every meal but some. Also give him a choice at a weekend.

Don't buy cookies or other snacks. Just have healthy stuff in like fruit, toast etc etc.

Don't react if he doesn't want anything. And if he gets hungry offer him some fruit or something like that

wannabeEostregoddess Sun 24-Mar-13 22:07:07

You need to become nonchalant. Inside you can be seething that the meal you just prepared is going to waste, but you cant let him see that.

When eating becomes emotional problems start to appear.

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 22:08:19

He lived off toast and butter because you facilitated it,he gets cookies cause you offer
He has no functional physiological impediment to eating,he does have ability to behave certain way
You're both stuck in roles and habituation -both need to more cookies

kinkyfuckery Sun 24-Mar-13 22:11:09

OP do you think its a control thing? do you think he genuinely doesnt like these foods? Could it be a sensory issue?

Sirzy Sun 24-Mar-13 22:11:38

I would stick with the foods you know he likes but give it to him and then leave him to it. If he eats it fantastic pile on the praise, if he doesn't say "never mind" and carry on.

Get rid of the cookies, he knows that if he doesn't eat he will get what he really wants so why would he bother eating things he isn't so keen on?

Perhaps (as much as time will allow) get him to help with the cooking of meals? Encourage him to try little bits of the foods as you are preparing things.

Good luck!

NaturalBaby Sun 24-Mar-13 22:12:56

It sounds like you've got fairly big, complicated issues with your ds's eating that is going to take a long time to work out and change. Think back - where has it all come from, why has he got eating habits like this? Then you can work out how to help him get over those issues and move on.

Cannierelax Sun 24-Mar-13 22:13:04

Iggly- but I don't give him spicy food, I prepare his meal seperatly, always have done. I found the weaning stage very difficult, I didn't have a clue what I was doing. Anyhow, that's in the past. I'm going to put all his home treats away and be firmer from tomorrow. If he doesn't want to eat, he doesn't have to, but no snacking afterwards. Sometimes he will cry when I put him to sleep as he says he's hungry, I feel awful. Also he doesn't eat enough himself, he leaves breakfast for example and says he's full when I go to feed him the rest, he eats it happily. I'm confused.

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 22:17:09

Ok,so get a fuss, and meal offered if he declines offer fruit,yoghurt.nothing else
Stop offering cookies that he like as alternative to rewards nor eating properly
No big hoo haw just keep offering food,if decline scrape food with no comment

Cannierelax Sun 24-Mar-13 22:17:13

Kinkeyf- yes I do think it's a control issue. Physically he can eat those foods. Take for example fish fingers, If I cook them at home, he will spit it out and pretend to start choking! But when we are in McDonald's, he will eat them happily albeit me feeding him.

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 22:19:06

So stop feeding him,take the control away.don't reinforce and maintain what you dislike

TheEasterBunnyVsTheKids Sun 24-Mar-13 22:19:25

My 3 yo dd was a terrible eater, until I started to involve her in the cooking and food prep. After just a few short weeks, she is now eating whatever is put in front of her as she has helped make it.

Get rid of the cookies and sweet treats. He doesn't need them.

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 22:21:08

Agree with kids and food prep,pizzas,grating cheese,beat eggs

EggBasket Sun 24-Mar-13 22:21:56

Sounds like he needs to learn to take control of his feeding/appetite himself, if you've always fed him then he's not learned to work out himself how much to eat to keep himself going til the next meal, iyswim.

Is there anything which he will happily feed himself (I mean a main meal, not cookies!). If so then maybe a gentle approach would be to start with one meal a day that he has to eat all by himself - and make it something you know he likes. Let him use fingers if easier than cutlery. Have a reward chart with stickers if he makes a reasonable effort to feed himself (even if the amount eaten is minimal). It might be that he naturally has a light appetite but it has been overridden by your feeding him.

Does he have any sensory issues with touching food, getting hands messy? Maybe 'playing' with food, eg making dough or playing with jelly, would help him be more hands on.

Altinkum Sun 24-Mar-13 22:24:08

I feed my massive 3.8 year old ds, if I didn't he would be extreamly tall but be extreamly underweight, my moto is one I feed two you feed, it worlds but the process is long, he's ate his breakfast alone for the past week or so (every other day) slow steps bilut we are getting their!

I should say ds has massive good allergies so my fault his food intake is limited as I was extreay nervous of foods that he was allergic too.

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 22:24:21

Try buffet type meals,pizza he picks up,things he can handle himself
What happen at parties or other folks house?do you feed him
Did he attend nursery?

Yup, stop feeding him.

3 meals a day at set times. You eat at that set time, or you don't eat! No snacks in between meals. If he does a whole week of eating well he can have one small treat.
Give him 15-30 minutes to eat what he wants. If he doesn't eat it, it goes in the bin (or to the dog).

What food will he eat?

Startail Sun 24-Mar-13 22:25:49

Super nanny would still be sitting there 7 years later if she'd tried to get DD2 to eat anything she didn't want to.

I think she would have starved, or at least lived on the odd bits of school food she would eat, she was and still can be, spectacularly stubbon.

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 22:29:02

Your child can eat,no physiological impediment.he eats on own terms with bad habits
Stop feeding him.don't make food a thing.offer it,if he declines scrape plate no comment
Reduce the draw and emotional energy.not respond to inappropriate behaviour.

fuzzpig Sun 24-Mar-13 22:33:34

YABU, sounds really stressful though.

Cannierelax Sun 24-Mar-13 22:33:59

When we have been invited over to friends( this is very embarrassing) but he has refused to touch the meals that have been prepared. So I made him toast.
My anxieties are that I want him to get his recommended nutrition daily- carbs, protein vitamins etc. I fed him a banana today otherwise he wouldnt have eaten it.
I'm starting to feel like a crap mum, I've always tried my best to ensure he had a good diet,but in actual fact it wasn't. As he never ate the meals I made... Fwiw, I have battled an eating disorder for several years , I do hope this has nothing to do with it.

NaturalBaby Sun 24-Mar-13 22:34:15

The weaning stage may be in the past but if you look back and go over things you might be able to work out where these issues started. For example - why is he making a performance of choking and holding his throat?

My ds is nearly 5 and being very fussy, picky and controling - it's like he has to exert some level of independence and what/how he eats is fairly easy to control. He has very limited choice and control in everything else as he's at school all day so I can forgive him for being a bit fussy and picky.

Does he ever get involved in choosing meals, shopping for food, preparing snacks or small meals?

Cannierelax Sun 24-Mar-13 22:36:03

Natural baby- he enjoys making cupcakes ( more junk)

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 22:37:27

Stop offering alternatives of toast,cookies.offer meal,and if he decline scrape plate
I can see this is causing you lot distress,he'll pick up on that emotional charge
Keep it light,neutral and not all about fact don't discuss eating

Cannierelax Sun 24-Mar-13 22:38:10

He has also just recovered from tonsillitis where he lost a lot of weight. I feel more at ease knowing he has eaten say for example a banana today although I did feed him.

NaturalBaby Sun 24-Mar-13 22:39:28

you can make healthy fruit muffins, pancakes, pizzas... look up I can cook on Cbeebies. We have a kids cooking class nearby as well so spent a few weeks making something nice once a week which went down really well.

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 22:40:10

You polarize food.the nutritious stuff he won't eat.the cookies,toast you offer that he will eat
Stop offering these alternatives. No discussion or response to him holding throat
Get him involved making good nutritious food

Sirzy Sun 24-Mar-13 22:41:27

Your not a crap mum. I can fully understand why you have continued to feed him but that isn't getting to the bottom of the issues which really need tackling now.

Can you give him a daily mulit vitamin?

NotAnotherPackedLunch Sun 24-Mar-13 22:42:56

When you cook for him keep some back and put it in the fridge. Then if he doesn't eat his dinner you can bring out the next portion instead of a snack when he is hungry later.
It is also easier to pretend not to care whether he eats it or not if you haven't just cooked it.

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 22:47:20

I wouldn't offer multivit,just introducing another battle another stressor

Cannierelax Sun 24-Mar-13 22:47:59

Sirzy- I give multivitamins daily
Not another- good idea. In hindsight I realise I've been substituting too many bland snacks( toast/ cheese/Cookies) that I knew he would eat as I felt he would be hungry as he wouldn't eat his meal. I will be speaking to DH tonight to explain my plan of action
To make things worse, I have at times been allowing him to sit in front of the tv so he wouldn't concentrate on his food, whilst I fed him. Just so the brat would eat.
Okay- things are going to change, they can't go on as they are. I really appreciate all the advice.

Have you tried gardening. DD will eat any amount of peas, beans, strawberries and such if we grow them together. Don't ask about the half rotten tomato she ate from under one of the plants <boak>

Also, sorry about this... is your eating disorder a past issue for you or do you think you are still in delicate recovery with it? You certainly may be more anxious around food, worried about his eating, watching him. This could affect it.

If he likes baking, what about carrot cake, banana or courgette bread? Just reduce the sugar in them and put more veg or fruit. I even hear there are cookies you can do with courgette in them.

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 22:51:52

Telly off, meal at table,no hoo haw when he refuse or hold throat
Keep meal times light,offer no alternatives.clear cupbard of junk foods
And remember tiny,small steps to get there.anticipate you'll have up and downs

2rebecca Sun 24-Mar-13 22:57:23

Meal at table with family if possible, don't discuss his meal or feed him. When everyone has finished then ask him if he has finished if he has tidy away no puddings, stop buying sweet treats so there aren't any. Just give him a small portion so if a couple of hours later he says he's hungry he can have another helpin of the same food.
I agree stop watching him, feeding him as he's enjoying the attention. Congratulate him if he eats his dinner but make eating an enjoyable activity not a daily chore. He won't starve himself.

Cannierelax Sun 24-Mar-13 22:59:46

Mrs- yes we planted garden peas- he never ate a single one!
I really do hope my eating disorder hasn't caused this. I've slwAys been anxious about his eating, ever since he was a baby. I had comments from others saying I over fed him when he wasn't hungry. I didn't have a clue about the weaning stage but made everything from scratch sndexercand refused to buy tins. He hated the food.

Cannierelax Sun 24-Mar-13 23:03:26

What do I do when an hour after meal time he inevitably says he's hungry. I want toast or a biscuit?? Do I say no, u didn't finish your dinner, or do I say, no dinner time is finished. Or even, we don't have cookies / toast? My common sense has completely gone out of the window in terms of this eating issue. He moans and moans at the dinner table from the second I place it infront of him.

Cannierelax Sun 24-Mar-13 23:04:00

Apologies for typos

scottishmummy Sun 24-Mar-13 23:06:32

Menu plan so you know schedule.offer regular meal at table,no toast,no cookie
If he decline,scrape plate no comment.offer meal again 3hour later
Hungry in between offer small fruit and don't bulk up on drinks

midastouch Sun 24-Mar-13 23:15:41

YABU how is he ever going to learn to eat himself. My DS is awful for this particularly since DD was born, but i havent given in and if he doesnt eat his dinner he goes hungry, may be harsh but i havent got time to feed 2 children and eat myself, and seeing as he is fully capable why should i!

idlevice Sun 24-Mar-13 23:26:33

We have a bit of a similar situation with our DS1 just about to turn 5. We have started eating together all around the table which has definitely made his eating improve a bit. He will have a blander, smaller version of what we have, eg pasta, veg on the side, grated cheese. We also made a list of a few points of what was expected him to constitute "a good tea" - try going through this with your DS but keep it short & simple & gradually build up to working on each one when/if you feel you can. For new foods, our DS must try one mouthful only & if he says he's full he must eat another 3 mouthfuls before he can be finished (if it's clear he can't really be full).

I was concerned he was malnourished, underweight etc & when I mentioned it to the dr Complan was suggested as a supplement. DS now has half a sachet a day in a fruit smoothie, mainly to give me a bit of piece of mind. As it's like a milkshake there is no problem with him drinking it!

Yfronts Sun 24-Mar-13 23:35:22

Stop feeding him and don't offer any alternatives like cookies. Just say that he can have his original dinner anytime he wants.

Morloth Sun 24-Mar-13 23:46:38

You say: 'tough luck, you should have eaten your dinner - if you are hungry, get an apple'. And ignore the ensuring histrionics.

You cook a meal, fair enough maybe not full adult spicy. You say 'Dinner's ready' and give it to him.

If he doesn't eat it, then oh well, he can't have been that hungry.

Right now it is a game, and he is winning.

2rebecca Mon 25-Mar-13 07:53:11

Agree apples or other fruit in between meals. No toast or biscuits and tell him he should have eaten his dinner as you have other things to do except prepare his meals. I presume he copes all day when at school. It's better for kids to be a bit underweight than overweight anyway, but stop making meals battlegrounds. If he's more relaxed he may eat more. Make him sit at the table until everyone has finished though.

StickEmWithThePointyEnd Mon 25-Mar-13 08:05:18

Would the advice to serve up the meal and remove after 15 minutes work with a 2 and a half year old?

Cat98 Mon 25-Mar-13 08:14:40

As suggested, I would serve up a meal, don't comment on what endows or doesn't eat. If he doesn't eat, after a decent interval say 'do you want any?' 'Are you sure you're not hungry, because there's nothing else until x time'.
Then remove food.
If he's hungry later, either offer back the original meal or some fruit/crudités and cheese or something. If he protests, just say 'I told you there was nothing else, you can have this but no toast/whatever'. Then ignore resulting tantrum (cuddle/comfort, but don't give in).

Repeat for next meal.

It will take nerves of steel but a healthy child won't starve themselves. If worried, gp appt a good idea.

Get Him involved in meal planning and take into account his preferences when cooking.

And read 'my child won't eat' - it will change your life!

Cat98 Mon 25-Mar-13 08:15:11

'He does' not 'endows'!!

Cat98 Mon 25-Mar-13 08:18:05

I'd also maybe sit him down and explain the change in rules first. He's so used to you feeding him it will be a shock initially.

Skullnbones Mon 25-Mar-13 08:21:40

Wow! You know YABU. If you are fed up doing it, stop doing it!!! If he was not able to feed himself, that would be different. But he is capable. How hard can it be to just let him eat? My kids are 6 and 3 and I haven't fed either since they could hold a spoon or scoop!

Maybe change up your menu plan? Do you all sit down together? Family meal times in our house usually involve a lot of hands on food, breads, etc. like others say, maybe take him shopping after him being involved in the meal planning. Sounds like you and he are stuck in a rut, and only you can change that.

Skullnbones Mon 25-Mar-13 08:23:45

Ps of course you say no when he says he is hungry after not eating his dinner. He will eat his breakfast. I have great eaters but they sometimes try it on. The answer they get is have a bit of fruit. He will change if you stick to whatever changes you make.

Skullnbones Mon 25-Mar-13 08:24:52

Crumbs just read the whole threadblush first time I have just dived in and added my thoughts. Sorry OP I didn't mean to come across as harsh.

Maggie111 Mon 25-Mar-13 08:26:15

Have a new schedule and routine - sit down and talk it over. You will have breakfast at X, X minutes to eat it, these are your breakfast choices. Lunch is at X, finishes at X - here are some examples of what I'll be serving. You can have a snack of a piece of fruit or a yoghurt at x o'clock... and dinner is at X, until Y.

So when he doesn't eat, that's ok, he can have another go at the next meal - and he will know how long he has to wait. It wont hurt him to go hungry for a few hours.

Have you spoke to a GP about your issues and his?

kelda Mon 25-Mar-13 08:27:34

YABU. Although I totally understand why you do it. I still sometimes feed my ds aged four and a half. He is thin, and has just been diagnosed with mild SN.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Mon 25-Mar-13 08:28:02

Stop offering biscuits as an alternative to food. He will know that you'll do this. I also recommend reading 'My child won't eat' by Carlos Gonzalez. It teaches parents to be less stressed about their child and food.

Fairenuff Mon 25-Mar-13 08:31:16

Just so that you know, all children (well most) go through a fussy eating phase or two. How you deal with it will determine how they behave. So if they accidentally stumble on a way to get Mum's full attention all to themselves for at least half an hour, three times a day, it's not surprising that they cling on to it.

This is why, being casual and matter of fact about it helps to teach the child that eating is nothing special, it's just something we all do, like sleeping, going to the toilet, having a bath, whatever. A normal part of routine life.

You haven't created this problem but by responding to it the way you have been, you are keeping it going. It will stop if you are clear and consistent.

I would suggest serving a very small portion to start with because a lot can look a bit daunting when you're not used to large amounts. Eat together, at the table, don't pay any attention to whether or not he eats. At a set time, probably when you have finished your meal, clear the plates without comment. You can keep his in the fridge if appropriate and he can have some more later if he asks for it.

That's it. No snacks. If he says he's hungry just say 'Yes, that's because you didn't eat'. Don't offer food unless he asks for it. If he says he's hungry just repeat the phrase to help him link the hungry feeling with proper food. If he asks for a biscuit tell him 'No we are not having snacks, just dinner'. Don't offer him dinner until he asks for it and then follow the same routine as above. Sit with him and if he makes no attempt to eat, remove it after about 5 minutes. If you stick with it he will come out of this phase surprisingly quickly.

'Just insist that they sit at the table until its eaten. Even if they scream the place down.'

Are you serious pinkjules?? That's one way to ensure a child develops anxiety issues around food. In fact my poor misguided parents tried that with me and I developed an eating disorder when I was nine and had big panic attacks at the dinner table. I was genuinely terrified to eat at the table and even now I panic in a restuarant.

I would never ever force any child to stay seated at a table until they eat their dinner and as for falling asleep in it shock

If I was the parents of your mindees I would be finding my children another childminder!

I feel very strongly about this!

If he says 'I'm hungry' an hour after dinner - don't offer anything thing like cookies/treats etc. Just offer exactly what he was offered for dinner.

Give him a small portion so you always have some extra to give him when he says he is hungry. Or say 'if you're hungry eat an apple/banana/some peas' - no biscuits or junk. Just fruit or veg.

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.

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!

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).

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.

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 09:45:21

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

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

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

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.

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!

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.

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?

Glad you had a better morning smile

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'!

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?

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". ??

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.

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.

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.

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

Blimey, well done Cannie!

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.

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

2rebecca 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.

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 )

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

scottishmummy 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

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.

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