Worried - 12mo won't eat or drink at nursery

(12 Posts)
pickledlily Tue 19-Mar-13 14:29:33

Posted on weaning originally but no reply so hoping here might be better...

DD was EBF and has recently started nursery but won't eat meals (she just gets upset and cries) or drink milk whilst she's there. She's a wreck by the end of the day. Once home she feeds, and feeds, and will eat a late supper, but I'm worried that she's going all day without nourishment.

She has never been big on solids, only getting the hang of them last month, but she's been ill since so it all went to pot.

Anyone experienced this, any advice to get her settled and eating?

ReetPetit Tue 19-Mar-13 14:36:38

how old is she and how long has she been at the nursery?

it sounds like it's not working - maybe you should look at an alternative - a childminder maybe?

ReetPetit Tue 19-Mar-13 14:44:10

how many days is she doing also?

scarecrow22 Tue 19-Mar-13 14:51:41

Hi, it would also be interesting/helpful to know what her feeding/milk routine was in say two months before started nursery?
Eg, when did you start weaning?
Did you have problems during settling in?

I feel for you, starting childcare v diff for mum - even without this. Children do not voluntarily starve but you are right to address it soon.

pickledlily Tue 19-Mar-13 19:45:58

Thanks for the replies. Good news... she ate her tea today!!! It seems she just wanted to cuddle up to her carer while eating. I'm hoping she will be ok tomorrow, but just in case she's not...

She's only been at nursery for 3 weeks (3 days/wk), so it's still early days settling in-wise. We started introducing solids at 6months, BLW as she was a spoon refuser. She just played with her food, as you would expect, for ages and didn't start eating properly until 11 months, but was happy to try anything. Then she got ill on and off for 4 weeks and her appetite vanished and hasn't really returned. She hates all the things babies are assumed to like - Weetabix, bananas, sweet potatoes, cake... She will only eat textured/solid stuff (hates anything pureed/mashed) although she will now feed herself rice etc with a spoon.

So not at all fussy hmm

ReetPetit Tue 19-Mar-13 19:55:58

sounds hard work!! are the nursery worried?? if not, and they are happy for her to self feed then i would bear with it. if you are happy with all other aspects of the nursery then i can't see how moving nursery would help.

she sounds like she has some issues with food though - the nursery, if good will be able to help you with these.

some babies are very stubbon when it comes to taking milk, they kind of go on a little protest and refuse it, i have had it in the past, it's very draining for the carer and can't be much fun for the child, but eventually she will realise that if she's hungry, she needs to eat!

Bear with it, I would say, it's still early days....

scarecrow22 Tue 19-Mar-13 20:05:44

As Reet says it is quite early days, and the key with babies and food - I think - is not to let on to them that you are worried. They realise alarmingly early that they have a power tool with food if you betray your anxiety about it. Easier said than done, but v important to not bed in problems.

It sounds like you had super bad luck that the beginning of taking solids, the cold and the childcare change all came at the same time.

For the food, are nursery happy to do baby-led weaning type stuff? I didn't do it, unless you count my DD scooping up humous early on and me abandoning the bland purees for more interesting food: result she loves pesto, humous, spicy pasta and mackrel but often will not eat more simple children's food! A more serious point here is for them and you to perhaps start looking at what she does like to eat and making sure at least some of what she is offered includes stuff you know she would normally eat. Then you can gradually introduce new tastes and textures as the core issue settles down.

On the milk, did she have bottles/cups before nursery? I presume she's having the same now re both the delivery method and milk (expressed, formula or cows milk)? If not, that change would be the obvious problem. If she is, then maybe there is something around her routine for milk that has changed? My DD (2.2) really only likes to take her milk if she is cuddling her favourite rabbit toy; maybe she is missing you (I don't know how many other people gave her bottles before), or you held her in a certain way, or whatever?

Hope something in that ramble helps. Really hope you and the nursery can sort this out. The tea time today sounds like a big breakthrough. If she seems generally well and happy in herself (no other big change in behaviour viz sleeping, mood, etc) then I really think time, love and reassurance from you and carer will do the trick.

Very good luck.

pickledlily Tue 19-Mar-13 21:16:37

Her carer looked totally drained and relieved that she'd eaten when I picked up DD today. I know they had tried everything and were concerned.

I've always been very laid back about her eating (or lack of!) at home as she was always getting plenty of milk, growing at a rate of knots and, until she was ill, would be quite happy to give anything a try. She doesn't like bland food - the spicier and tastier the better. The nursery's menu is proper home cooked, adult food (one of the reasons we chose the nursery) and they fully support BLW. I always assumed she liked chunky food because of teething (which she seems to be suffering from permanently)

For milk, nursery used her sippy cup from home. But she won't drink formula, expressed or cows milk (she never has done). She just scrunches up her little face and spits it out with a look of disgust as if to say "don't even think of fooling me that's the real deal".

Other than the food/milk situation, she seems happy at the nursery once she's got over the initial tears. She's been very clingy since starting, but I think that's normal, isn't it with separation anxiety kicking in?

scarecrow22 Tue 19-Mar-13 21:58:53

Do you mean she's never taken milk from a cup happily - ie only from breast? If I misunderstood, sorry...if that is the case, that mystery is solved!

Re food, sounds like nursery are lovely and supportive. Also sounds like you are mostly unlucky about all things happening at once. Do update about how she gets on next couple of days.

You are right they show separation in diff ways: dd seemed happy enough but in 2nd week if child care, maybe 3rd, she went from 2-3 bf a day to refusing breast altogether and only biting my nipple and glaring at me (so to speak). She was 10mo and I had so wanted to keep feeding her morning and night (well the ones I was home). Maybe her way of punishing me? Maybe my milk changed from work etc? Who knows, but she seems to have turned out pretty okay and adores her CM! Have faith x

scarecrow22 Tue 19-Mar-13 22:00:27

That Shd have been 1-2 BFs a day to none. Late!

fondantfancier Mon 25-Mar-13 11:08:26

My son didnt eat at nursery for ages, probably 2-3 months at first (he did start eating at about a month, then just little bits and no milk for ages). We loaded him up in the morning and evening (and sadly all night BF) til he was more settled....it might just take time.
He wouldnt drink using a cup for a long time, and then only water, no kind of milk would ever enter his mouth via a plastic cup in his mind!
For us nursery was the answer and he loves it now and eats like an angel.
give her a bit more time, its a big change for her.
Good luck.

beancounting Mon 25-Mar-13 21:04:08

My DD was pretty similar, started nursery 3 days a week at 11.5mo having been EBF (bottle refuser) and a very reluctant solids eater - we did BLW as she hated being spoon fed but she didn't eat much anyway. I was hopeful it would all fall into place when she started nursery but it didn't quite go according to plan!

I reckon it took about 6 weeks for her to settle in so that she stopped being tearful when I left, and about the same time she started to eat there too, so I think it was all part of getting used to the new environment and people. She never did take formula but after a while started to drink cow's milk there (which she hadn't done at home previoulsly) which was great. Part of the milk thing was that I discovered the staff were used to children with more of a routine re milk, so they would try and give her x oz at certain times - she was used to being fed on demand so it worked better when she was offered it little and often.

It sounds like ages and it was tough at the time, but the staff were patient and sympathetic and now (2.5 years later!) she's really happy there and is apparently one of their best eaters!

I don't know if any of this would help you, but I would BF her in the car just as I dropped her off and then again when i picked her up (to minimise the time between milk; she would then feed again when we got home) (nursery were happy for me to feed her at the nursery btw, just didn't have anywhere where we wouldn't have been disturbed by other parents coming and going!), I'd send in some food from home that I knew she liked that was easy for them to give her alongside her meals (e.g. houmous and rice cakes) so there was at least something familar about mealtimes, and although she'd never previously been fussed about soft toys we picked a bunny that we made a big deal of at home, putting it in her cot at night and carrying it around so that it seemed familiar and comforting when it was at nursery with her.

Good luck, it's a really difficult time for both of you and it's very worrying when they don't eat but I'm sure she will make up for it on the days she's with you and will gradually settle in until she's fine there.

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