2 years 9 month old refusing to eat

(12 Posts)
mirakissanpoika Mon 23-May-16 14:55:06

My daughter has never been very good at eating and I am trying to get her to eat her food but most days it is just a complete mystery why she doesn't eat. I wait in the morning until she askes me for her breakfast so I know for sure she's hungry. I make her breakfast and lift her up to her highchair and sit down to eat my breakfast with her. Aaaannnddd she just sits there and nothing is happening. I ask her if she's hungry and that if she wants her food. And she will reply that she does want it and that she is hungry. And nothing happens. It's not like she is actually refusing her food, she just won't eat it. I've tried taking her food away and that just really upsets her and she's asking for it back. I give it back to her and she won't eat. I just have no idea what to do. If I leave her there, she'll sit there for hours just stairing into the distance not eating. She is incredibly smart and has a very good verbal skills. I ask her why she won't eat her food if she's hungry but she has no answer for me there. Some good days, maybe once or twice a week she'll just eat with no trouble but most days it's like that. If I fed her, she would eat her food quick and without any arguments but I think she's definitely old enough to feed herself, so I refuse to do that. Some days she's ok at eating if I literally point at her hand and the spoon every mouthful and tell her to pick some food up and eat it and give her a cheer every mouthful. It's all just baffling to me. She wants to eat her meals but just won't and I just can not understand why. Any ideas? I do let her go hungry sometimes thinking maybe that would in courage her to eat. And the next meal she will wolf down as she's starving and then the next day, back to normal again. Any suggestions anyone?

VioletBam Tue 24-May-16 06:13:32

Step back and stop letting her lead. Don't wait for her to say she wants breakfast...she's got complete control!

YOU set meal times, not her.

Don't ask her why she's not eating, don't cheer when she does. Simply eat your food and chat to her about other things.

Don't take her food away until you think she's had enough time...at two, enough time to eat lunch for instance would be about 15 minutes TOPS.

Offer snacks between meals but in her highchair or at the table...don't say anything at all about what she does and doesn't eat. Make sure the snacks are healthy and not too large.

mirakissanpoika Tue 24-May-16 18:12:12

Thank you violetbam for the advice. Her snacks are only fruit, nuts and raw veg and I only give her one snack a day as she really doesn't eat proper food if I do. She gets a little treat of a small sweet only after dinner and only if she's eaten her food nicely. I guess where I'm going wrong is attracting too much attention to the eating issue and thats why it has gotten so bad. Actually now thinking about it, she keeps telling me to "stop saying it" when I ask her to eat her dinner lol. So I guess, I will stop saying it. The only thing I would say is she won't be finnished in 15 minutes. I know it should be plenty time for her to eat.
So do you suggest I should just sit down and have our dinner todether and ignore the eating subject and after about 15 minutes, take the food away and get her off the table? She will start crying and saying she hasn't finnished and that she wants her food. But if I leave her there, she'll take at least an hour.

mirakissanpoika Tue 24-May-16 18:16:50

Oh, and we do have set meal times for the rest of the day. I'm not always hungry straight away in the morning and just thought she might not either. But her breakfast time had about an hour's window. But I will stop asking her if she's hungry in the morning.

mirakissanpoika Thu 26-May-16 15:14:04

Yesterday was the first day of the new routine. She sat down and ate her breakfast with no arguments. She then went to nursery and she had a little snack there with no trouble. She only goes to nursery for three hours a day. At dinner time we all sat down to eat and we chatted to her about this and that. I made sure me and my husband were on the same page about not drawing any attention to her eating. She sat there for about 15 min and then had a few spoonfuls of food. She then said she was finished and I lifted her off the table. The rest of the night, she was drinking a lot of water as she clearly was hungry and trying to fill up on fluid. But I didn't offer her anything else to eat untill it was her evening snack time before bed. I made her snack a little heavier as I knew she was hungry, and she ate most of it. Again, there was absolutely no discussion about her food or any attention drawn to her eating.
This morning I made her breakfast ad usual, she sat down and had maybe three spoonfuls and said she was finished. I didn't argue, just lifted her off her chair. Half an hour later, she asked for something else to eat and I explained to her that she won't be getting anything else and that she should have had more of her breakfast. And then left it at that.Then it was time to get ready for nursery and she threw mother of a tantrum. She was obviously hungry but I just stuck to my guns and took her to nursery kicking and screaming. I let my nursery manager know what was going on and told her not to give her any extra food than normal. Am just above to go and pick her up and let's see how dinner goes.
I'm excited this to take a week or two to properly settel but I think I'm on the right track.
Any other suggestions @violetbam? Or do do you think I'm doing ok?
And thanks again for the advice. Sometimes you kind of know what you're doing wrong and just need someone else to say it to you to make it register in your head lol.

Kariana Thu 26-May-16 17:19:36

Sounds like you've made a great start, I hope it carries on for you this evening!

mirakissanpoika Thu 26-May-16 19:39:30

Thank you so much smile
She ate like an angel and asked for seconds.
I'm sure being absolutely starving helped a lot lol.

Kariana Thu 26-May-16 22:13:52

I'm sure it did! Fabulous progress already, glad it's going so well. Will be interesting to see how it goes when she is less starving, so be prepared for a bit of relapsing there. If you stick to what you've started though it sounds like she'll soon realise that it doesn't get attention and just start eating without fuss.

VioletBam Thu 26-May-16 22:36:01

Wow! You've done amazingly OP! I know it's an emotive subject...many parents worry about their child not eating enough.

The only thing I would say...which some might disagree with me about...is that if she has eaten barely anything as she did at breakfast...rather than not giving her anything else when she's hungry, I do offer mine some fruit...nothing exciting and if we're in a hurry it has to be something they can eat on the way.

That's only because at 2 she can't really plan...so she won't be able at this point, to think "Well I'd better eat breakfast or I won't get anything else'

Keeping snacks slightly boring when they've not eaten proper meals keeps it working well....that way they won't think "I'm not eating dinner, I'll get cake later anyway!"

She does sound like my youngest...now she's 8 she eats small amounts and regularly but I never make her eat all her meal if she doesn't want to.

mirakissanpoika Fri 27-May-16 12:02:46

Yeah. I was thinking exactly the same. I don't think she's quite old enough to understand. The breakfast window is quite short before she goes to nursery and she will be getting a snack there. But I think you're right about it

VioletBam Fri 27-May-16 12:18:31

It's only breakfast you really need to try to get into her...and with mine, when they won't or just can't...then I give them a satsuma or banana to eat on the way. By the time they're nearly there, they feel starving and eat it!

mirakissanpoika Sat 28-May-16 01:35:47

Absolutely right. Sometimes you just need someone else to say what you kind of alread know and just doubd yourself.
Thank you smile

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