Refusing dinner should I offer an alternative

(42 Posts)
Cupcakemummy85 Wed 09-Jan-13 18:03:41

My dd is 18 months and has been fussy for a while now. Normally she is a lover of soup but tonight she flat out refused and won't eat it or the pitta fingers and cheese I put out to go with the soup. I'm so sick of this behaviour I'm exhausted. Do I offer her an alternative ie raisins, cereal, few baby crisps? She hasn't had much today. If I wasn't heavily pregnant I would flop on the bed face down!!

CarlingBlackMabel Wed 09-Jan-13 18:06:00

No, not if she is drinking milk. Just offer what you have offered, and if she doesn't eat it take it away and say 'not hungry? never mind'.

If she protests, give it back.

Don't make a fuss. Be low key.

KnockedUpMell Wed 09-Jan-13 18:14:45

Ds went through a similar phase around that time. I found the more I kept wanting him to eat or suggesting he eat, the less he'd eat. Eventually I just forced myself to relax and let him decide when and how much wanted to eat. I tended to (and still do) offer bread if he refuses a meal as going to bed hungry meant he'd be up a lot more at night. I also gradually reduced his milk intake to be sure that wasn't why he wasn't eating. And I chose to switch to formula as he was eating so little at one stage I was worried about him. But he grew out of it and is a lot better now. Don't stress about it, and just keep offering a variety of foods.

cakesonatrain Wed 09-Jan-13 22:59:21

We decided at about 14 months ish to give up with offering any alternatives to DS. If he doesn't eat dinner, he will eat his tea!
I try to make sure tea is something I know he will eat if he's not really eaten dinner though, as I don't want him.going to bed hungry.
He is also allowed fruit snacks if he is obviously.hungry before teatime. And we will bring teatime forward if he gets grumpy!

MrsMcCave Wed 09-Jan-13 23:09:47

She won't starve herself smile. I find my dcs eat better if I make sure they have no snacks at all within an hour of mealtime. Hungry kids are not nearly so fussy...

Cupcakemummy85 Thu 10-Jan-13 10:09:28

I have to confess i had a mini breakdown this morning. She ate two pieces of orange and a spoonful of yogurt. She did steal one of my digestive biscuits and ate that quite happily lol. I thought we had started to make some progress recently because she was eating most things I put in front of her. Since yesterday she just refuses. What child turns down yogurt?! Lol could it b teeth? She refused her milk before bed last night so something isn't quite right. I need a wall to bang my head against lol I'm literally dreading lunch and dinner time.

noblegiraffe Thu 10-Jan-13 10:11:21

If she is turning down stuff that she likes, then she might not be hungry, or be feeling ill, or have teeth coming through.

Cupcakemummy85 Thu 10-Jan-13 10:18:41

She seems perfectly happy in herself. She is playing quite happily and yesterday too. Perhaps it is her teeth but she ate a biscuit which surely would hurt to eat. I've just made some fruit ice lollies which are a great standby for fluids. She also slept loads last night after not eating a thing so perhaps is not feeling very well. She doesn't have a temp and seems fine. So frustrating!!!!

Goldmandra Thu 10-Jan-13 10:36:45

The reasons why children start being fussy about food are usually very short-lived. It could be that the child has a sore mouth or feels a bit under the weather or it could be simply needing fewer calories for a while between growth spurts. They still take in what they need and after a few days or weeks they generally go back to normal.

Getting upset or uptight about their refusal to eat is often what turns a dip in appetite into a long term feeding problem. Once there is pressure to eat and the child reacts to it there is conflict. Conflict about food, no matter how low key it is, causes problems.

You need to take away the food she doesn't want and get her down from the table with a smile. If she doesn't
Want to eat that is fine. Your job is only to offer a balanced diet of food she likes. It is her job to decide if she needs it.

Don't start jumping through hoops to make her eat. You want her to learn to eat healthy food to satisfy her hunger not to think that eating in itself is a goal.

saycheeeeeese Thu 10-Jan-13 10:43:24

She might be sickening for something, there are times I dont feel myself and my appetite disappears!
My DD is 15mo and she went through this a few weeks ago just before she took an ear infection. She also has a huge molar coming through. She lived on toast and oranges but is thankfully back to normal after a month of hardly eating.

Do you eat with her, all together as a family? Ive found dd eats so much better with us in a booster seat at the table and not in a high chair.

wanderingalbatross Thu 10-Jan-13 10:55:41

My DD is 19mo, and some days she seems to exist solely on air, while other days she eats more than me! I offer her a meal, if she doesn't eat it then I clear it away and don't offer anything else at the time. If, at the end of the day, I don't think she's eaten much I will offer her a slice of toast for supper so she doesn't wake hungry in the night.

I think that she knows well enough to eat when she's hungry, but she's still a bit young to realise that if she doesn't eat now then she might go hungry later. I try not to get worked up about how much/little she eats, as long as she doesn't seem ill or lethargic.

Cupcakemummy85 Thu 10-Jan-13 11:09:11

This has been an on and off situation and this times it seems a lot worse but I will go back to just clearing the table and smiling. We always eat together, every meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I will perhaps try a booster seat and not the hair chair and see if that works. The high chair no longer has the table on it and is pushed up against the dinning table but maybe she would prefer to b on a proper chair?
Ps I'm a bit confused as to what tea is lol. Is it dinner or a snack? We have always just said dinner (mum is Spanish so not really traditionally English) and what is considered dinner?

Goldmandra Thu 10-Jan-13 11:14:26

Tea and dinner mean different things to different people I think.

In our house lunch and tea generally mean the midday meal and the evening meal and dinner just means a meal.

I'm sure that's dreadfully common!

Cupcakemummy85 Thu 10-Jan-13 11:23:26

Lol it's not common just a different way of saying things. My dp calls dinner supper and we always have debates on who is right lol

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 10-Jan-13 11:32:43

Tea is dinner or supper. Most of us northern birds call it tea though smile

Cupcakemummy85 Thu 10-Jan-13 11:38:08

Yeah I'm a southner so perhaps it's not used so much down here lol.

Cupcakemummy85 Thu 10-Jan-13 13:52:37

She is refusing even ice lollies now and all kinds of liquid but doesn't seem ill. Anyone else experienced this?

noblegiraffe Thu 10-Jan-13 13:59:22

Check her throat, it might be sore.

Cupcakemummy85 Thu 10-Jan-13 14:22:16

She is asleep now, I wonder if its time to all someone, it's getting a little worrying now as there was nothing in her nappy from morning to lunch time.

Haven't read the whole thread so I imagine I'll be repeating what others have said...

DS has been doing this for ages and it gets DH and I so frustrated. The best thing we've found so far is to feed DS the same as we eat and sit down together to eat it. It has meant changing our meal times but is worth it when he actually eats a reasonable amount.

Also I try to limit snacks to earlier on the afternoon. That seems to help a lot rather than him snacking on rice cakes etc an hour before.

Goldmandra Thu 10-Jan-13 14:41:40

If she's not drinking or weeing you need to take her to the GP straight away.

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 10-Jan-13 15:12:46

Agree get her to the GP and make sure they check her ears and throat. Hope she feels better soon.

Cupcakemummy85 Fri 11-Jan-13 12:36:29

Go checked her and said it was constipation and I have to up her movicol as she had a major explosion. I don't understand doctors and they clearly don't understand me. It seems dh and gp both were against me today. Dd still isn't drinking or eating and apparently it doesn't matter. What does it take for people to b worried, for her to b so dehydrated she ends up on a drip? I feel like I'm going mad!

Goldmandra Fri 11-Jan-13 15:56:07

Of course it matters if she isn't drinking!

How much has she drunk in the last 24 hours?

You need to take her to A&E or back to the GP if she still hasn't had any drinks today.

Eating doesn't matter but drinking does.

Jakeyblueblue Fri 11-Jan-13 17:47:03

Sounds like your little one is unwell or at least sickening for something and that's a different matter entirely but on the subject of normal toddler refusal of food, ds is 18 months and had just started to refuse most things given to him. I think it's because he has learnt he can say no and thinks its a good game. What I've started doing is putting it in front of him and invariably he says no or turns his head, but i dip my finger in whatever it is or break a tiny bit off and try to get it in his mouth despite his protests, Just enough to let him taste its nice, then he seems to give up and eat it all. I'm not saying force feed your toddler but I do honestly think ds just does it because he can and is actually hungry and just needs reminding its nice!!
If he still doesn't eat it then fine, I don't offer an alternative and will make sure he has some supper instead. smile

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