20 month old refusing dinner

(11 Posts)
Sickandtired14 Wed 02-Apr-14 18:27:43

Exactly as the title says. She eats breakfast and lunch readily and gets excited about dinner but once it's in front of her she refuses it. If you do get her to taste it she just spits it out. It is definitely food she likes. She then after playing with it for a minute gives you the plate/bowl and asks for fruit and yogurt. Which is tough as I want her to eat but I don't want to give her 'dessert' of she won't finish her main.

She doesn't wake at night acting hungry and doesn't go nuts for breakfast the second she wakes up so she seems like she is getting enough food. It's just odd.

I also hate good waste so it's bugging me!!
Any advice greatly appreciated

ikeaismylocal Wed 02-Apr-14 20:32:35

Could she be tired? My ds sometimes doesn't eat much for dinner if he is over tired.

Is she growing well?

I would be inclined to give her a big lunch, let her have fruit at dinner time and hope it passes.

Playitagainsam Wed 02-Apr-14 21:23:59

My DD does this quite often, sometimes with lunch too. She never once seems to be hungry though. From what I've read, it's pretty standard toddler behaviour, and if they're hungry they'll eat. If not, they won't! Mine never wakes up in the night even if she has no tea. I've learnt to not stress about it, but it does still cheese me off to throw untouched meals away!
Re. 'Pudding', I read that only giving them pudding if they eat their main makes the pudding seem even more desirable and the main a bit of a chore. Kinda made sense to me. If she won't eat her tea, I always give DD fruit and a yoghurt as it's healthy.
So you have my sympathy, but having trawled through loads of articles about it, my approach is try not to stress about it, and keep offering it even if they don't eat it.

TheScience Wed 02-Apr-14 21:26:23

At that age I'd let her have fruit and (plain) yoghurt. If she's eating well the rest of the day then don't make dinner a battle.

Judyandherdreamofhorses Wed 02-Apr-14 21:47:55

My DS, same age, is the same. He doesn't always want lunch either though! DD, now 4, used to do this too. I leave the dinner in front of him until DD is finished, then just take it away and offer fruit and plain yoghurt (unless another pudding was planned). I sometimes offer extra milk before bed if I really think he hasn't eaten much.

The waste thing is infuriating.

I'm hoping this will just pass.

naty1 Wed 02-Apr-14 21:51:40

Are you eating at same time?
Is it too close to lunchtime/snack to are they tired?

givemecaffeine21 Wed 02-Apr-14 21:59:45

My DD is also 20 months and in the last month she's started trying to enter into Food Wars despite loving her food and being a total piglet. The only thing I can suggest is ignore, ignore, ignore (presuming she self-feeds?). I put the food down with the cutlery and busy myself feeding my son or if he's been fed already I just bustle around. I've even pretended to do something by the microwave and watched her in the reflection! I've found when I totally ignore she eats, but the slightest smudge of attention and she'd start saying 'no' and push her food away. I made it clear she wouldn't get a yoghurt unless she ate her lunch / dinner. After about 2 weeks of sticking to my guns rigidly, she got the point and hasn't messed around for the last couple of weeks. She used to do this from time to time when she was much younger as she started self-feeding around 12 months at her own insistence and I took the same approach. Before long the hands would be in the bowl eating the food....

I think it's the whole 'any attention be it positive or negative is attention' toddler thing. I think Dr.Green talks about it in his book Toddler Taming? Basically they are attention junkies and don't care if it's positive or negative as long as it's attention. I have found (if I can keep calm) that ignoring these attempts is the quickest solution. For instance she likes to take ages to get downstairs as she knows it irritates me given I'm trying to supervise her whilst holding my lump of a 9 month old so she will string it right out and keep stopping and just staying still. Today I snapped at her to hurry up and she openly laughed. I know she does it for attention and I, like a mug, always feed it as it winds me up so much....*note to self*

givemecaffeine21 Wed 02-Apr-14 22:06:22

P.s. The more you coax and try to get her to the more she'll enjoy it. After getting over my worry about her being hungry, I just said 'fine' and removed it. At first she didn't care as by that time I'd coaxed for ages and given her loads of attention but then the day came when I warned her that if she pushed it away that was that...well she did, and I stuck to what I'd said with no chances, gone was gone. She got a bit upset but it's not happened since. The gentler approach is to put the yoghurt / fruit in full view and tell her when she's had dinner she can have them. If she doesn't just put them away again. I did this too. A combination worked but ultimately it had to be tough love with my DD as she is becoming a master manipulator lately.

Oneforthemummy Wed 02-Apr-14 22:18:19

This thread is very timely - my (almost) 20 month old DD has just started doing this too. Food I know she likes, her heading to the kitchen of her own free will then just crying as soon as the food is put in front of her. I feel a mixture of frustration, anger and worry (that she'll be hungry and won't sleep) which is really hard to control, but it's great to hear that 'keep calm and carry on' seems to be the right approach. Hopefully this will give me the strength to do just that. She's never been a great eater (I sometimes wonder if she's actually my DD!) and I have (and continue to) really struggled with getting her to try anything new. I guess all that can be done is to offer good, healthy food and she'll eat if she's hungry?

Playitagainsam Wed 02-Apr-14 23:07:11

Something that really stuck with me was that it's your job as the parent to give them healthy varied food, and it's their job to eat it!
You can only control the first part, let them do the rest...or not, as in my DD's case!

Goldmandra Thu 03-Apr-14 13:34:51

Try not serving her the food. Put it on the table and start eating it. If she asks for some give her one mouthful. If she asks for fruit/yoghurt tell her she can have it when you have finished your own meal.

When you've finished do the same with the fruit and yoghurt, i.e. put it on the table and wait for her to ask for it.

Don't offer or encourage at all.

If she's eating well the rest of the time and only eats fruit in the evenings she's doing OK and at least the food can be kept and used for another meal if it's only been in a serving dish.

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