She just won't eat! Every mealtime is stressful and with floods of tears! Please help.

(109 Posts)
LoveYouForeverMyBaby Fri 05-Oct-12 14:36:09

Dd (almost 11months) pretty much survives on milk. That's it. I make her homemade food from scratch for one meal a day, and a punch for the other meal (plus breakfasts like museli, cereal, scrambled egg, toast, fruit etc). Apart from breakfast which she eats, she will not touch lunch or dinner. I have tried not giving an milk bar one morning bottle and she just screams as she is hungry all day and still won't eat.

She has been like this for 2 months now.

Hvs won't help me, they keep saying milk is their main nutrional until 12 months. Well we're approaching 12 months then what? This is a typical meal planner for us, what am I doing wrong??

7am 200mls milk
9am breakfast (toast, museli/wheatabix/cereal/scrambled egg, with fruit)
11am 100mls milk
1pm lunch (today was homemade grilled salmon, with humous, tomato, sweet potato, cous and pasta, with the following finger foods banana, melon, tomato and rice cake) all she ate was the rice cake
3pm 50mls milk
5pm dinner - an Ella's pouch or sometimes a homemade soup with bread.
7pm 150-200mls milk

So she has about 500-550mls of milk a day and solid wise a bit of breakfast and a rice came. Al day.

I eat with her, I make homemade food, I try to get her to be interactive, I try to make it fun, I try ignoring her to see if that makes a difference.

Nothing. Nothing works.

Everyone comments on how thin she is - she is the 75th centile for weight.

Please help me. No one will help or seems concerned but I think a baby approaching 1 years to just have milk and a rice cake in the day isn't right.

LoveYouForeverMyBaby Fri 05-Oct-12 14:36:37

ETA that should read POUCH not punch.

What happens at mealtimes? Whats her reaction to food? Whats your reaction to her not eating?

I know it's hard, but let her get on with it. You are just offering her tastes of food of this age. It's hugely frustrating when other people's babies eat shedloads and yours just wants milk but she will get there. I used to start eating apples, and pass them over to DS partly eaten so he could suck the juice, and sit him in the middle of a pool of cold spaghetti, so he got used to the texture and could play with food.

Ultimately, you won't get her to eat if she doesn't want to, however hard that seems, she may just have cereal and snacks all day but that at least is getting her some calories. there's no shame in giving her weetabix for tea if you can't get her to eat anything else. bitter experience talking here

WheresMyCow Fri 05-Oct-12 14:46:39

How well does she eat at breakfast?

LoveYouForeverMyBaby Fri 05-Oct-12 14:52:54

She purses her mouth tightly shut and thrashes her head side to side. After 5mins of trying to pursuade her to eat she starts to hysterically cry. Mst of the time she starts to cry at the sight of the kitch table or at me preparing food. Inside I am crying, but I put an act on and do a sing songy voice 'come on, lunch/dinner time!" or "Oooh yum yum!" I always eat at the same times and try her food too. I give her after 30mins to try and take away any bad associations with food time but nothing works.

We had a break through a month back where I distracted her loads and would eat then, buts nothing works now.

I did TW and BLW from the start so she has always been used to finger foods and lumps but around 8.5 months she just stopped eating, pretty much anything.

Should I completely stop milk? I reduced to 200mls a day once and she continued her hunger strike.

LoveYouForeverMyBaby Fri 05-Oct-12 14:55:51

Thank you fire maybe I'll try that for dinner tonight. I just feel like such a huge failure at being a mother. I am sitting here crying into the iPad feeling like she's approaching 1 and still refusing to eat solids. I worry much she will develop an eating disorder or be one of those freaky eaters that just eat cheese. I try so hard to prepare her delicious healthy meals and it all goes in the bin. I am a huge failure!

LoveYouForeverMyBaby Fri 05-Oct-12 14:57:59

wheresmycow she will eat some breakfast usually one adult wheatabix with 3oz of formula in it, mixed with a quarter of a banana and a slice of toast. Or maybe a scrambled egg with melon and toast. But then thats it, she isn't eat anything else bar a bit of toast or rice cake until the same time the next day.

Am I giving milk at the wrong times?

I think you need to just calm down completely with it. Shes getting loads from the milk. Dont fret about food.

Make the lunch. Set it infront of her. Sit down and eat yours. Dont comment. Dont encourage. Dont even try to be happy about it. If she doesnt touch it just take it away and clear up.

Try to take the stress and emotion out of it. She will continue this cycle if you dont break it!

Btw, could she be teething?

You are not a failure as a mother. Please please stop being so hard on yourself.

LoveYouForeverMyBaby Fri 05-Oct-12 15:02:39

She doesn't seem particularly teethy at the moment, but like I said this has been going on mice 8.5 months old and she's now almost 11 months.

During meal times I act completely blasé and sometimes completely ignore her but the food just gets thrown on the floor, so I've tried distraction and singing with she might take half a baby spoonful then spits it out and screams. Every mealtime is the same, floods of tears, her thrashing her head pursed mouth or her screaming.

Shall I not give spoon fed mashed food anymore maybe?

hlipop Fri 05-Oct-12 15:04:31

keep calm and don't push food too much - make it as relaxed as possible - try do finger foods as much as possible as usually children enjoy the feel of different foods...also 75th percentile is relatively good - average is 50th

LoveYouForeverMyBaby Fri 05-Oct-12 15:05:17

I feel like a huge failure that almost 11 month of survives on toast,rice cakes and milk. Every other mum I talk to makes food from scratch (I sometime use pouches because it all goes in the bin) and their babies eat three hearty meals a day plus drink loads of milk (from beakers not bottles) and sleep with no prompts.

I can't persuade dd to even have a few mouthfuls of solids, feed to sleep (reverted back to this after 6 months of going to sleep awake) and still using bottles.

LoveYouForeverMyBaby Fri 05-Oct-12 15:06:43

She is dropping from the 75th though and the hvs keep saying they're not worried until she drops 2 centiles. But I'm worried.

She pushed all finger food off her highchair table onto the floor on sight.

hlipop Fri 05-Oct-12 15:11:23

hmm - yes hv are not worried until two centiles have dropped as some children dont like the initial weaning stage - the foods that she likes e.g. toast could you try jams/spreads to introduce her to different flavours? you sound like you are trying everything, keep encouraging fruit too. wouldn't worry about bottles too much mine both came off bottles closer to 16months when they started pointing for a beaker rather than a bottle as i gave the choice. have you tried doing plain pasta on its own? my youngest loved this and it helped her go from below the 2nd centile to almost the 9th

lambinapram Fri 05-Oct-12 15:11:41

I know this is not a good habit to get into, but have you tried feeding her in front of childrens TV? My daughter would not eat much either, but seemed to relax and eat a lot more if baby TV was on. I suppose it took the focus off the food and me. She is now a relatively good eater, although still has tiny portions.

noblegiraffe Fri 05-Oct-12 15:12:01

Breakfast sounds good. Lunch sounds quite overwhelming, what about just putting out the rice cake and one other finger food, e.g. a banana? I wouldn't feed her any more, let her take what she wants. Dinner could be more finger food if she wants it.

Have the TV on during problem meals so that food isn't the focus and she might feel less threatened?

Some children eat lots for breakfast then less for lunch and less again for dinner, don't get fixed on the idea of a big evening meal, or of needing to force food into her. Give her control over what goes into her mouth.

Yes, I think stop with the mashed food and spoon. If she's developed an aversion to that image then probably just putting some of your food onto a plate she can reach without comment either way is probably better.

Could she be allergic to/intolerant of something? My little brother went very funny wrt food when a baby due to his milk allergy as it had made him feel ill.

Given that she can cope with just milk for now, probably best to stick with the standard protocol for food phobias which is not to push it and to just normalise sitting at the table. Maybe don't even give her her own portions and keep your plate in reach. But think about whether she could have an intolerance or something if her next attempts also go badly.

FWIW I have a friend whose daughter had severe GERD and got very funny about a lot of different foods due to that. She's growing perfectly well now! I've also known babies who didn't swallow food until nearer 18months and they're pretty solid too, just keep up the milk until she doesn't need it.

TheHeirOfSlytherin Fri 05-Oct-12 15:16:40

Read this book: My child won't eat.

And relax. She won't starve herself. Believe me, my 2.2 year old did the very same thing as your dd at around the same age. He has still grown, gone up sizes in clothes and appears to have more energy than a durcel bunny!

Put the food infront of her, take it away once the mealtime is over. Don't push her, don't ask or beg her to eat. Eat with her when you can and eat the same meals where possible. Let her feed you if she wants to. Don't offer alternatives and try and keep to a schedule; breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, tea.

Ds always eats loads in the morning then eats less and less throughout the day until teatime when he rarely eats anything.

Don't stress about her not eating enough veg (ds still doesn't eat any so I hide it in bolognese sauce now).

She may start to get better as time goes on but my ds didn't. In the last month however we have had two major breakthroughs; he tried a piece of baked potato in September and last week he ate one mouthful of chicken. This is a child who has not tried anything new since he was around 11 months old.

Ds has a small list of foods he likes to eat so I try and work meals around them - lots of pasta, rice, cheese, scrambled eggs and potato wedges!

The most important thing is not to worry or force her to eat as it will just enforce the idea that food = bad.

I get through it by reminding myself that he won't always be like this. At some point he will be a teenager who is eating me out of house and home....

You say "she's approaching 12 months" well, one year is not a magical number meaning that her nutritional needs will change overnight! Milk will still be her main source of food at 13 months, then 14 months (by then, a little less, but just a little), and so it goes.

Remember that each child is different, maybe she will be fine with a diet based in milk for a bit longer. Talk to the GP, see if she's healthy, if poos and wees are what they should be, and try to relax.

And don't believe in what other mums say their children eat.

Mollydoggerson Fri 05-Oct-12 15:22:03

I think you need to just sit her in her high chair and let her get used to textures, let her stick her fngers into the food and maybe a little will end in her mouth. She needs ten tastes before she gets used to each food.

They only need about 500 calories a day and virtually all of that comes from her milk, so you are only getting her to try new tastes at this stage. It's not so much about nutrtion.

Don't let mealtimes turn into a nightmare (much, much easier said than done). Just give her a few bits of food and offer her some of yours if she is watching you eat.

Don't worry too much about her weight, she will eat when she wants to.

PropositionJoe Fri 05-Oct-12 15:22:25

I would give her breakfast three times a day until she is less stressed about eating.

AnitaBlake Fri 05-Oct-12 15:23:12

I noticed that with DD she eats more when she is ignored. I try to sit with her at every meal I can, and we eat the same things, we often share plates, she feeds me and I feed her. I'm wary of trying to encourage her or use food as a reward (I have weight issues and she has allergies!).

Perhaps have a read of Dr. sears website, or googling babies won't eat. I'd forgotten what tiny tummies they have, and I've realised that she really is eating a lot for her size.

We've tried to be as relaxed as possible with her, and she definitely eats more in social situations, or with us. She adores things like pasta, rice and couscous, but i never make special meals for her, she gets what we get.

NatashaBee Fri 05-Oct-12 15:27:12

DS is like this sometimes... I hate it and find it very hard to hold back from throwing hundreds of different options in front of him until he eats something. I think you're doing all the righht things (being enthusiastic about your food, not giving her milk immediately before meals, taking the food away if she doesn't want it without any fuss). Will she eat better if you just let her pick up handfuls of the mashed food with her hands?

OneHandFlapping Fri 05-Oct-12 15:27:46

It sounds luike you're making a lot of effort to provide interesting meals for your DD. I always found that the more time I spent creating beautiful little balanced meals for the DCs, the more stressed I got when they refused them - and I found it hard to hide it, I wanted them to enjoy my food so much. It was a fairly toxic combination. I would suggest not doing ANYTHING special for your DD's kunches and dinners at the moment. Pouches are fine, and so much less effort.

Have you tried any reverse psychology eg putting her in her chair when you're eating and not giving her anything? Maybe she will begin to ask for stuff.

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