Toddler won't eat lumpy food

(41 Posts)
Dsiso Sun 06-Jan-13 11:12:14

My son will be 2 next month. He won't eat any meals that aren't pureed, but will snack on toast, bread and rice cakes. I desperately need advice on how to get him to chew and eat lumpy food at meal times without him spitting it out or vomiting! Help!

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 06-Jan-13 14:20:15

Vomiting is unusual at this age, does he do it with the toast?

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Jan-13 14:30:49

What kind of thing do you mean by lumpy? Do you mean pureed or just any food that isn't liquid? What about pasta, potatoes, sticks of veg, bits of cheese? Are they all rejected too?

DS is the same age and for ages would only eat toast or pasta, but we tried to make it more nutritious by giving him different toppings eg avocado, peanut butter, cream cheese, hummus, banana on toast and pasta sauces made with loads of veg, lentils etc.

Dsiso Sun 06-Jan-13 16:52:24

He really only eats pasta with a sauce in which I put chopped up veggies. I used to mash up the whole lot with a fork. When I give him a spoonful which isn't mashed up, he vomits sometimes to the extent of emptying his whole stomach! With toast, he doesn't gag or vomit and although chews a little, he mostly sucks on the pieces.

I have tried him with toppings other than peanut butter on toast, and he shakes his head, unless I manage to get it in his mouth before he sees it. He will then simply refuse to open his mouth for any more.

My husband says I give too many options, but if he hasn't eaten all day I feel as though I should offer almost anything so he doesn't wake up in the night hungry. It can be really hard. I think I just have to be tough and offer him only 'whole' pieces of food and hope he gets over it.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 06-Jan-13 18:12:54

I think your Dh is right, don't offer alternatives. We learnt this the hard way and its taken a long time to get our dd back on track.

I think you are also right, from now on only offer proper food, ie what you are all eating and let him feed himself.

It can be very hard but serve the food and don't ask him to eat or cajol, just chat and eat amongst yourselves. If he's not eating and everyone else has finished give him a couple of minutes and then clear away.

As with most things with children it will take him about 3 days to work out that if he is hungry he needs to eat what is there, nothing else is coming his way.

Ignore all of his tantrums and stay calm. I know its difficult but it really is worth it.

If you do all of the above and he is still refusing all solids and vomiting if he does eat after day 3 id take him to the GP, just to rule out ant physical cause.

There is a book called My Chikd Won't Eat by Carlos Gonzalez. It was out of print when my dd was being fussy but is back in print now and is supposed to be very good.

Dsiso Sun 06-Jan-13 18:26:28

Thanks for the advice

VinegarDrinker Sun 06-Jan-13 18:28:34

To minimise parental guilt we tended to offer one meal we knew he'd eat and one "new" meal per day. I agree, the least attention the better. Just all sit down together, eat yours and ignore him as much as possible. I wouldn't be feeding him at all at this age.

I agree it is worth seeing the GP too if simple behavioural things don't work.

Dsiso Sun 06-Jan-13 18:31:18

Sorry just pressed the wrong button before I'd finished my message! I really appreciate the advice given by JiltedJohnsJulie. I now have a plan and like when he was a baby and the sleep issues was worrying me, I found I could cope when I have a plan to stick to. Knowing it'll take 3 days also helps. I have decided to keep a food diary so I can't track what has gone in and reassure myself that he is eating!

I'll let you now how I get on.

Dsiso Sun 06-Jan-13 18:33:35

Ps. Vinegar drinker- you've been helpful too. I live in South Africa at the moment and so this forum makes me feel like I'm not on my own.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 06-Jan-13 18:45:37

You're not on your own! Mn is always here smile

Agree with vinegar. We did something similar where we would make sure there was something on DDs plate she would eat along with the new food. So for example if he has toast for breakfast, try offering just a quarter of his usual amount and something new, such as a banana, fruit salad or cereal. Doing it meal be meal though is fine too.

Just out of interest, what sort of milk does he have and how much each day?

Dsiso Sun 06-Jan-13 18:59:50

He drinks formula, mostly. He used to have about 150ml a day, but started at a crèche in September and refuses to eat their food, so as a result has doubled his milk intake during the week. At weekends and holidays he is back to 150ml a day though, if that.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 06-Jan-13 20:32:59

Don't know about SAbut in the uk formula isn't recommended after one and between 12and 24 months its 300 ml of full fat cows milk per day. Once he's reached 2 you can move him onto semi skimmed if you prefer, and there is no minimum amount.

With that in mind, and presuming you have access to full fat cows milk, I'd swap him over. The formula can act as an appetite suppressant. Don't forget too that the 300 ml includes any milk used in food.

Know its tempting to give him the formula if he refuses food but if you want him to eat I really would advise ditching it. At the moment he knows that if he refuses he gets lots of attention, alternatives and sone milk to fill him up smile

forevergreek Sun 06-Jan-13 21:49:03

i would swap milk back to regular cows milk

then like your dh mentions, just offer an option and no others. but i would start breakfast each day with something he likes (porridge and fruit maybe), so he has least eaten something. try for 3 days and see what happens.

then i would maybe take to gp/doctors as most children can tolerate lumps before the age of 2 (just in case)

Dsiso Mon 07-Jan-13 18:37:33

Just wanted to give you an update from the first 24 hours. I have followed all your advice. My boy ate porridge (his favorite) but mixed in with a more coarser type available here in SA for toddlers, something he turned his nose up at before. Straight after he asked for a yoghurt so i didn't give him any milk. Then he snacked mid morning on some dried mango and rice cakes. He helped me make lunch and for the first time put some cheese he was grating in his mouth, chewed and swallowed. He are his usual toast, but avoided the 1/4 of it with scrambled egg and cheese on. After nap he had a bread roll and a yoghurt. But refused any dinner, what I made for myself (bolognese) and some par boiled carrots. The closest he got was putting the carrot in his mouth and taking it out again. He wanted toast and a yoghurt, but was told he needed to eat pasta first. About an hour after dinner I offered 150ml cows milk, of which he only drank 60ml. He has now gone to bed, we'll see how the night goes. My husband is away with work this week, so it might be hard, but I am taking one meal at a time and feel that a small step has been made with cheese and carrot today.

Thanks for all the support and advice. I am determined to make it work!,

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 07-Jan-13 18:45:23

Gish, think you've both done really, really well. Hope you have a good night (and don't offer any snacks or milksmile)

forevergreek Mon 07-Jan-13 19:17:20

Great! That's half way

Dsiso Tue 08-Jan-13 19:47:44

Well the end of Day 2 and I haven't done so well today. The morning went well, but it went downhill at supper time. We were at a friends who has 2 kids, 16 months and 4 years. They were having fish fingers and chips so a plate was given to my son. He screamed, pushed the plate away and wanted to get down from the table. I was embarrassed and took him aside, spoke to him and told him to stop crying and sit with the others. He did for a bit but didn't touch the food. Then I offered the pasta I had packed for him, which he also refused. He asked for toast and was told he could have it after his pasta. A while later the smaller one had a biscuit, my son was offered one too which he ate, then asked for more. Instead of another biscuit I gave rice cakes, which he ate, followed by dried mango. Just before bed, my son asked for toast, which I gave him.

I think I should not have offered anything after the first refusal, but so hard when the other kids are eating. I haven't given any formula though, he did have about 50 ml cows milk just before the biscuit went in. He hasn't had any mashed up food for 2days so perhaps there is some progress? We'll try harder tomorrow..

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 08-Jan-13 19:54:46

It is really, really hard to refuse to give your child food, especially when you are in company and may feel like all eyes are on you, but please don't offer any alternatives. He was playing the "food bingo game" which basically goes like this. I refuse what's on offer, I get lots of attention and something more scrum my, mummy also gets in a state. Bingo!

If he pushes a meal away just assume he's not hungry and ignore.

Don't beat yourself up though, you are both going in the right direction and tomorrow you can sty firm, I know you can smile

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 08-Jan-13 19:56:32

Just one more thing, what did he have for his afternoon snack and what time was it and what time was tea?

Dsiso Tue 08-Jan-13 20:01:24

He had a yoghurt followed by 1/2 a bread roll at 4pm. Tea was offered at 5.30pm.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 08-Jan-13 20:10:55

Think he isn't hungry enough at teatime. Could you move the snack forward or give him much less? Even half a bread roll is a huge snack for someone so tiny.

Did you manage to have a look at the Carlos Gonzalez book?

forevergreek Tue 08-Jan-13 20:48:47

Yes I agree with the snack. Half a bread roll and a yogurt would be roughly what mine eat for lunch ( plus a bit of fruit)

Maybe just yogurt and no roll?

Dsiso Tue 08-Jan-13 21:01:09

Thanks, will give yoghurt only at snack time and one option for dinner.

Watching this with interest as have a super-fussy 16mo.

He loves toast but often rejects sandwiches. He never eats meat, unless we're out in a cafe, whereupon he will eat everyone else's sausages, burgers, or beef fillet. He won't consider egg in scrambled, boiled or poached form, but quite likes the first half of a piece of eggy bread (the second half he throws). He hates textured food, but has been known to work his way through bowls of scampi and calamari. He despises all vegetables, but demolished carrots and parsnips at Christmas because they were cooked in maple syrup. He is deeply weird about pasta. He is quite hard work! He will also gorge himself on something, then freak out - presumably because his mouth is too full for him to move it around, bite his tongue, or gag, and sometimes vomit. Small small pieces of things seem to help. The calamari rings baffle me to this day though.

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 09-Jan-13 11:16:12

Dsiso how are things today?

TLW the calamari is funny. Why do you think he's behaving differently at home?

Dsiso Wed 09-Jan-13 12:43:20

so far so good today. When he's refused food or says bye bye to it, I just tell him there's nothing else until the next meal/snack time. Determined to make it work...

TLW, it was reassuring to hear about your experiences. I have tRied to get hold of Carlos Gonzalez's book, but will have to order it via the UK as not available in SA. I have searched in line and found a YouTube interview and realize that it's really my problem. Looking at his food intake over the past few days he really has eaten quite a lot, especially carbs.

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 09-Jan-13 12:55:48

We realised it was us too when nursery told us dd was having 3 or 4 helpings at lunch, 2 days a week and barely anything at home.

AllBellyandBoobs Wed 09-Jan-13 13:07:41

I also have a nearly 2yo who refuses to eat a lot of lumpy or chewable food. I'll be hunting down a copy of that book this afternoon. My main concern is that she won't eat any veg unless it's blitzed up in a sauce. Just got to keep offering and not worrying i suppose. She still has quite a lot of breastfeeds over a 24hr period so I'm not sure if that adds to the problem

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 09-Jan-13 13:16:40

Well it could do but the BM comes with a lovely cuddle from mummy so who can blame her? smile

AllBellyandBoobs Wed 09-Jan-13 14:32:50

When you put it like that it does sound preferable to some carrot batons smile

We've scratched our heads over DS lots. I think there were a few possible physical issues, and a few temperamental ones, and they have blurred a bit as he's got older.

He was 10 weeks prem, so he (and his twin) were weaned at 6 mo actual - which meant purees not BLW. They were both quite slow to get finger foods, so he never really did that thing of sucking at/playing with food - he just wanted it in his mouth NOW, either by me spooning it in, or once he could hold it himself, shovelling it in. He is the only person I know who eats toast sideways - literally all in, regardless of geometry!

The paed said that sensitivity to textures is quite common in premmies, so the sudden pulling food out of his mouth, refusing meats etc seems to be related to that. He was also reflux vomity and possibly lactose intolerant for many months when he was little, so it's possible food/swallowing has some negative connotations for him also.

On the other hand, his sister is obviously the same age, but much more relaxed around meal times, and that's just down to temperament. DS will scream with rage, bang his head in his high chair, hurl food or sippy cups actually they both do that etc etc. Some of this may be related to physical issues, but a lot of it is just his personality - he did the same when I refused to give him my iPhone when he was in the bath yesterday smile.

The eating better outside the house thing has baffled me too - it can't be because we're more relaxed, because sometimes I find it utterly terrifying! It could well be copying more people around him, as he does eat well around friends' babies, and nursery rarely report a problem. It could be that he tends to like more highly seasoned food than he usually gets at home. Or it could just be the Law of Sod, which also works at home - don't have quite enough of anything, and they'll love it. Rely on a meal, and they'll hate it!

Any kind of cold/cough/teeth issue sends him back to Square One too. So I'm just trying to accept that there will be days and weeks when he eats loads, days when he will try things, and days when everything will be POISON! Trying to maintain a state of Zen-like calm about it is not easy though!

Also Dsiso I got the MCWE book on Kindle, if you have any devices that support eBooks?

Dsiso Wed 09-Jan-13 16:42:15

Gosh TLW what i'm going through is nothing in comparison to you. I really admire your strength, which also gives me strength too. Thanks for the tip about the kindle edition of of MCWE. Through the UK Amazon site, I wasn't able to get it, but have just been on the USA site and it's now waiting for me to start reading! As soon as the boy is in bed I'll be onto it.

Ah, wasn't trying to get all competitive about it, honest wink. Basically he is a healthy boy who is a charming combination of greedy, fussy and stroppy - I wonder which of us has to own up to those genes grin!!

Compared to that constant vomiting sounds a lot more wearing. Fab to hear you're making progress.

Dsiso Thu 10-Jan-13 18:22:40

Well I am definitely making progress. I've found the MCWE book really useful and the whole notion of forcing my son to eat something he doesn't want to will not help, as well as offering everything in the fridge! So a compromise was needed and for supper tonight I made scrambled eggs on toast for both of us (my husband is still away). I couldn't believe it when he ate it all, even wanted to try the marmite I was putting on mine. I know that he eats toast so decided to go for something he will eat mixed with something he won't. I know it's not ideal, but it felt like a mini breakthrough for me, and at least he got some protein.

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 10-Jan-13 19:06:29

That is good news! TLW I'd blame it on dh smile

Great to hear about the scrambled egg - on the occasional days when dd wakes before Ds for lunch I'll do us both egg on toast, and we sit together, she calmly waits while I get things ready, and eats the egg gram by gram. I have shed a little tear at the realisation that that's what parenting one, easy, baby must be like. The Ds wakes and all he'll breaks loose! I wonder when I'll be brave enough to just serve that to him?
Tonight they had shepherds pie, made bland with much more potatoes than meat, but the carrots were a bit crunchier than ideal, and he was diving at the spoon to get at it quicker. Boys!
Jilted are you in the midst of this stage or have you come put the other side?!

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 10-Jan-13 22:38:38

Out the other side, well as far as you can be with a fussy one smile

Agh! Dinner (pasta, two types) rejected. Breakfast (wheatabix or porridge), rejected. No sleep, not feeling very strong here!

Dsiso Mon 14-Jan-13 20:26:42

Oh shame TLW. I know how you feel. My son has a cough which doesn't seem to other him, but bothers me when he coughs in his sleep every 30 mins!

In terms of the food, porridge is always a hit. The rest the day a bit hit and miss. Following MCWE, he had a small bowl of what we had for dinner, chicken pasta and broccoli (I know, interesting combination to use up the rest of yesterday's roast dinner!). He put on grated cheese, moved it all around his plate with his fork, went to his bag from crèche and removed the leftover toast and peanut butter! Then asked for a yoghurt as MCWE says you should still give dessert. Hey ho, one week of nothing but porridge, toast, peanut butter, yoghurt, a little scrambled egg and dried mango! But he's not lost weight so I've given up worrying.

Oh it doesn't make any bloody sense. Thursday he nearly impaled himself on a fork in the eye because he was trying to eat a mashed potato meal so quickly. Today he wouldn't try one morsel of the sodding stuff at dinner. But did, wierdly, eat some very unappetising humous sarnies for lunch without any fuss at all. Meh!

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