3yo only eats crumpets, porridge and chicken nuggets!(8 Posts)
I am really worried about my 3 year old. His diet had become increasingly limited, to the point now where he will only eat porridge, crumpets, cheese twists, noodles and chicken nuggets. Nothing else. No fruit, no vegetables, no other meat. Anything else we offer is refused. He also wants us to feed him with a spoon rather than him do it himself but I don't know if that's related. He does drink a bottle of milk in the morning and at bedtime. I feel so awful that it has got to this point and really don't know what to do. Has anyone been in a similar situation or have any advice?
My son has been fussy from the word go. We've tried every strategy going, from refusing him what he wants and letting him go hungry if he doesn't eat what we give him, letting him eat only what he wants, feeding him up on shakes etc and any other technique you can think of.
The 'starving him' technique (when you offer them food, take it away if they don't eat it after 10 mins and re offer after an hour, which was recommended by health visitor) didn't work and he lost quite a lot of weight.
He's 4 now and although he does eat a wide variety of foods, we still feed him a lot (such as mashed Rusks for breakfast...at least I know he's had something!). He usually starts with feeding himself, eating the things he likes. We then feed him the rest. I don't make him eat something I know he really doesn't like. Tried to feed him porridge once, which resulted in him retching. We've come a long way now. Meals times are still a struggle sometimes, but not the negative event that they used to be
I do have some tips though!:
Let him sit on the counter while you cook; my son will usually try new foods this way.
Cookie cutters for sandwiches! Ds would only eat 'dino butties', using a dinosaur shaped cookie cutter, for a good while.
Bribery. Don't care what people say, the 'you eat 5 spoons of that and we will play football' works.
Sticker reward chart.
Eating with other kids.
Ketchup!! With everything! Find a sauce he likes and let him have it with all food. I can get my son to eat curry if he can dip it in ketchup, haha!
Give something he likes for each meal, alongside something he doesn't like. Broccoli with his nuggets, etc. This is where the bribery comes in, haha.
Eating on the go. Picnics/car/pram. The 'quick, we have to finish our sandwich before we are allowed into the playground' trick works well.
Make meal times happy. Tv...why not, if it works then who cares.
Give smoothies etc (if he likes them) to reassure yourself that he's getting vitamins and fruit and veg. Twirly straws can make this fun.
Blend veg into sauces. I kid you not, I used to blend my beef stew up and mix with passata, so my son would eat it with spaghetti. He still hates stew, but I can feed him some without tampering with it now (with ketchup ;) )
Take him to an 'all you can eat buffet' and let him pick his own food. He might be willing to try new food this way.
Cut out snacks and be aware of how much milk/ water/ juice he's drinking. He needs to feel hunger in order to want to try new foods.
Excellent advice from Daisy.
My now almost 5 year old was very similar. Always fussy but by age 3 would only eat pizza, sausages and baked beans, although she did eat fruit. We found that we had to be strict about snacks (nothing except fruit between meals) and just persevere. We'd have to try every new meal several times before it became accepted - even things such as fish fingers would be greeted with a tantrum at first but after a couple of times more accepted. She's still not a brilliant eater and but is much better thankfully.
The best advice I can give (and it's really hard I know) is to try to relax and to focus on mealtimes being a pleasant family time to catch up about your day, rather than focusing on what isn't being eaten. If your child doesn't eat, that's their choice, but nothing further until the next meal time - but don't make it into a battleground.
Get rid of the bottles of milk, that's where you need to start!
Daisyandbabies, thank you for taking the time to write such an informative reply! Like you found, I also think my boy could starve himself for a long time if we tried that method your health visitor advised, as he has a strong wIll.
I've now bought cookie cutters and twirly straws and looking forward to trying them!
Lots of good ideas. Thank you x
Bouncey, thanks for replying. I must learn to keep offering something even though it is refused because it could take several attempts. It's quite easy to fall into the trap of only offering the food I know he will eat.
I'm glad your daughter is a much better eater now, and I agree that I need to try to make mealtimes stress free happy times.
LouBlue1507, yes, i've just realised that he has almost 200ml of milk in his morning porridge too so that is sometimes almost 600ml day which at his age is probably too much and fills him up.
Playing - my dd is a bugger with food too. Chicken nuggets, sausages, dairylea on toast are practically the only things she will eat. However she will empty my fruit bowl if I let her!
Unfortunately she has a number of food sensitivities - citric acid being a huge one - so food often equals sick/pain to her.
As with Daisy, ketchup is your best friend. She will eat chicken of any variety of it is plastered in ketchup.
Perseverance is a must, keep offering things, I read somewhere they have to try something 10-20 times before they will eat it without fuss (Gina ford maybe), again I second bribery. Dd loves a good Disney film or hour of chuggington before bed - she has to eat some of everything on her plate or she gets no tv time. Reward charts don't work wit her unfortunately but I do give her choice. So she can have sausages or chicken nuggets but she has to have the veg I prepare. She is nearly 3 so am hoping she grows out of this soon as when we started weaning she would eat absolutely anything then at about 18 months it was cold tinned macaroni cheese or beans and nothing else so at least nuggets are a small improvement!
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