4.5 ds a terrible eater at wits end

(8 Posts)
honeybuffe Sun 07-Apr-13 20:45:55

Title says it all. My ds1 is a terrible eater. We have twice been from GP to docs about his low weight and also been to a child psychologist to determine if there was any specific problems. As his weight goes up and down by a few lbs and he eats better at times it's hard to find any real reasons, and results were really his weight just about ok so nothing anyone gonna do or can do.

He will gag on food and when younger would actually vomit up food. He will cry and get so upset about eating any foods he really doesn't like. He is very difficult to tempt with any new food, have small successes ie trying pasta after much talking and cajoling.

I actually wouldn't mind if he were just fussy about dinners as he eats lots of fruit and a very good breakfast but at the moment he looks terrible. The actual quantity of food he eats is just not enough. I try to add calories as suggested by paediatrician such as butter and cream in his mash, higher calorie yogurts etc. Even his favourite type of food is never finished such as fish fingers etc.

I suppose what I'm asking is has anyone else had experience of this and if so any suggestions? Did your dc grow out of it and begin to eat properly?

jollydiane Sun 07-Apr-13 22:22:35

I don't have much experience but didn't want your post do go unanswered.

What environment are you feeding him in? What I mean is there a lot of pressure on him to eat. Could you make it a fun, really messy experience that is more of a game rather than eating. For example "look at mummy she has a strawberry on her nose, can you bit it off me". Lets make banana mud pies. Get really messy and squash it in your hands and then lick it off. The point is trying to be really silly so that it is no long a formal occasion and fun.

ChocolateCremeEggBag Sun 07-Apr-13 22:43:55

My younger brother was like this. He lived on cereal and crisps for about 3 months once when he was 3-4 ish and was a pasty little waif until he got to 7-8. Mum tried not to make it an issue (4 kids and me and my brother above him who liked to point out that we "had" to eat our food so why was he special)
He is now 30, still a string bean but very much alive, once he started to hit puberty you couldn't fill him up and he ate for Britain

It must be super stressful, but I would try as much as you can to not make it an issue. Try lots of different stuff, try cooking food together, only give small portions and offer more if wanted

You could try maybe adding a bit of Complan to his cereal or in milk - but speak to GP first (could maybe get it on prescription) as a boost

Chewable vitamins?

honeybuffe Mon 08-Apr-13 10:21:34

Thanks for replies. Have tried fun approach, he loves learning about countries at moment so trying to introduce food that way, pasta from Italy , French scrambled eggs(complete lies!!) and he will at least have a taste. Don't tend to give big portions to him so as not to overwhelm with food but depending on what it is he can literally cry himself to hysterics nearly.

Just feel terrible at moment and made worse by my dad who minds boys while I work telling me he looks terrible and we need to sort it out. Have serious mother guilt at moment. Have tried old "children won't starve" approach and honestly he would!! Wouldn't bother him not to eat much at all. Have tried v strict, leave the table if you are not eating, softly have 5 bites etc. wouldn't mind any of this if he didn't look like such a skinny thing!! He has loads of energy so I know he not lethargic with lack of calories. Of course ds2 doesn't help as he would eat us out of house and home!!

Anyway thanks for all your suggestions good to hear your brother was the same when younger and came around ChocolateCremeEggBag. I do think ds1 is naturally of wiry build too just need to build up his reserves a bit, have given his multi vit in past will go again and see if it gives him a boost!!

noblegiraffe Mon 08-Apr-13 10:29:37

I'd definitely give a multi vitamin, as then at least you can stop worrying about his health in those terms and just get him to eat food that he will eat.
If he doesn't finish stuff that he does like, is that because he's not hungry for a big meal? Have you tried getting him to just snack throughout the day?
My DS is a rubbish eater, won't touch most fruit and no veg. We give a multi vitamin every day because of that. But his weight is ok so there's not so much pressure - it must be very stressful for you.

Goldmandra Mon 08-Apr-13 12:10:06

I would focus all my efforts on reducing his anxiety.

If he's getting uptight when he sits down to eat his appetite will disappear. If you feel anxious, the last thing you want to do is eat and being made to eat something you don't want to eat is very likely to make you retch.

It sounds like he is old enough to take a bit more control, perhaps decide on his own portion size or help plan meals so he can choose his favourites.

If he is deciding how much to take and only takes a teaspoonful, perhaps he will find it less stressful to eat just that teaspoonful and take a little more next time. He will only find it less stressful if he is allowed to eat it with no comment from anyone else and absolutely no pressure to take more.

It's not a case of leave him and he'll get over it but you need to think about whether you are affecting his appetite by making him feel that he is failing every time he sits down to eat.

If he likes fish fingers but normally chooses to stop eating when he has finished one, allow him to take just one. When he has finished it give him a smile and a well done, ask if he has finished and, if he has, take his plate away. That way he will have succeeded and after this experience has been repeated a few times he will hopefully start to feel more relaxed about food and feel more hungry.

If you really want to keep dishing up for him reduce his portion size to what you think he will probably eat rather than what you think he should eat. That way he will be eating the same amount but clearing his plate and leaving the table feeling successful.

Magicmayhem Mon 08-Apr-13 12:16:01

My DD was a fussy eater and I found that putting all the food on the table and letting her serve herself did help, even if it was small portions to start with it did take the stress out of her eating when she was in control. How much does he drink? could he be filling himself up with fluids instead of food?

honeybuffe Thu 11-Apr-13 19:44:32

Thanks for all the replies, lots of good ideas. Will definately be trying a couple over next few days.
I do try to give him smaller portions, firstly because I know he won't eat much and secondly so if he does finish he has a sense of a job well done. I probably am giving off stressed vibes though as am always mentally willing to eat and trying to sound encouraging but maybe he's hearing the frustration. Ill try to ease up and just see what happens.
My only worry with putting stuff on table is he is so easily distracted that he may never eat!!! I do always try to not let him have a drink too close to dinner time as thought before that may be an issue.

Thanks all again, just nice to know I'm not alone with a difficult eater, and more importantly that they are all grand now!

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