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to be sleepless over my 2 yo eating habits

(35 Posts)
godspeed Wed 05-Jan-11 22:17:48

Aaargh!
My 2 yo has reduced the range and amount she eats to almost nothing... today for example she ate
breakfast: one bowl of porridge
Lunch: one eighth of a scrambled egg
Tea: two strands of spaghetti
and that was it, apart from a lollipop and drinking two glasses of milk.
She has always been picky but would eat apples, pears and pasta and tomato sauce in which I could smuggle loads of veggies but now there is No Way of getting her to eat ANY fruit or vegetables and I am at my wit's end...
she seems healthy enough, is toddler-tubby, sleeps loads, has energy etc..but she is getting practically no nutrients other than from dairy and carbs.
I can barely sleep at this stage - wibu to bring her to a doctor? My ds went through a 'picky' stage at that age but nothing like this and eats really everything since he was 3

TrappedinSuburbia Wed 05-Jan-11 22:23:31

Don't make any fuss.
Continue to plonk down a variety of foods, don't offer any others if she doesn't eat them (I know this bit is hard), just take the plate away after what you think is a reasonable amount of time and don't comment.

seeker Wed 05-Jan-11 22:23:49

If she's got lots of energy and she's not losing weight, then she's getting enough food from somewhere. Back right off. Serve food - if she eats it she eats it, if she doesn't, remove it when everyone else has finished. DON"T COMMENT on whether she's eaten or not eaten (this bit is very important!) Make sure there's always fruit and brown bread and butter available if she's hungry. Once again, don't comment. She won't do herself any harm, I promise - and the less attention you draw to it, the sooner the phase will pass. No need for the doctor, honestly. You just have to hold your nerve - and not let her see for a second that you're at all concerned, or even noticing what she eats or doesn't eat.

Indith Wed 05-Jan-11 22:24:38

2 year olds are like that, they make you tear your hair out for the sheer joy of seeing their mother collapse in a pool of frustration for the sheer hell of it.

My 2 year old currently eats everything under the sun. My 4 year old is being a fussy blighter. He has, however, had various phases from weaning to now of eating everything, existing on yoghurt and satsumas, back to eating, eating only pasta and tomato sauce, back to eating other foods and so on.

Ok so my experience comes down t these 2 children but what I have always done it offer dinner (nothing new and scary, I stick to known quantities in fussy times). They eat or don't eat or scrape the sauce off the pasta and eat only that or attempt to pick the onion out of the risotto so they can eat only the rice. When they are done it gets taken away and fruit and yoghurt is offered. Calm, no fussing, no bribary, no weeping. They have a cup of milk and a ricecake or something before bed. If they have really, really not eaten then I may upgrade that to a slice of toast. Eventually it passes and they eat again.

TrappedinSuburbia Wed 05-Jan-11 22:26:33

See, we've all done it and they've all survived grin

Booandpops Wed 05-Jan-11 22:29:57

Hmmm they do have picky days. Is every day the same? When my two were teething they ate very little. So it could be that.
Cereal has lots of vitamins etc. I'm sure she won't starve herself so try not too stress. Easier said than done! Keep offering a balanced diet and she's bound to eat something. My son wouldn't eat any veg from 18mth till 21/2 ish. Now he eats a little so we are getting there. I used frozen veg to save me getting annoyed with the preparation to then chuck it away, a little on the plate every day. Threw most away for six months but then he did start eating eating again It was like a miracle . Persistence is key in my exoerience.

ttalloo Wed 05-Jan-11 22:34:08

godspeed, I know it's hard but please don't worry. Like other posters have said, if your DD has lots of energy and isn't wasting away then she's getting enough to eat from somewhere, even if it doesn't appear that way from the amount she leaves on her plate.

DS2 (2yrs 3mos) seems hardly to eat a thing compared to DS1 (nearly 4), who's always had the appetite of a horse, and eats pretty much anything (with the exception of cheese, unless it's melted on a pizza).

DS2 is practically vegetarian at the moment and won't touch meat (except for the odd sausage if he's in the mood), and can be put off eating anything if he sneezes, or spots bits in his food, or would rather play, and there are days when we count ourselves lucky if he eats one decent meal. There have been far too many recently where he doesn't eat enough across the whole day to make one adequate meal.

But he's sturdy, energetic and happy, and although I could gnash my teeth when he turns down proper food to demand chocolate biscuits or breadsticks, I know that I can't make him eat broccoli or chicken, and I just persevere with offering him the same as everyone else is having in the hope that he might condescend to try it, and eat it. I had a result on Monday when he actually ate six mouthfuls of Thai chicken curry before deciding it was dirty, and demolishing his noodles instead.

godspeed Wed 05-Jan-11 22:46:15

thank you all so much. Yes, every day more or less the same. With her fruit and veg boycott I am actually looking up symptoms of scurvy! I do feel terrible giving her plain pasta of which she eats two or three pieces when her brother is tucking into pasta with sauce made with tuna peppers and broccoli but can't bear her not eating at all (as she does if a pice of pasta has even touched the sauce). Should I just give her the pasta in sauce and not comment if she doesn't eat it? How can she survive on so little? She sleeps about 16 hours a day if that means anything to anyone...

Herecomesthesciencebint Wed 05-Jan-11 22:53:35

Anaemia can be a problem in kids. Would she take a supplement? It might give you piece of mind. Fortified breakfast cereal is a godsend tho so if she will eat that you are half way there!

That said, have been where you are with both mine. Drives you insane doesnt it.

But posters before are spot in, do not fuss, do not pander and stay unemotional as far as kids see (whilst screaming silently of course!).

DS2 eventually started eating when he basically reaslised he was missing out.

We would do a country walk, sit on a bench and get out satsumas and tuna sarnies and he would sit steadfastly refusing as we ignored him until one day he seemed to want to join in. We didnt comment, just let him eat and that was it really, things changed loads from there. But we had had 6months of it prior to that.

Oh, and I know its a cliche but will she get involved in food prep? I think getting their hands on it even if they then dont eat it somehow demystifies it for them. It worked for DS1. I would get him to help prepare food for DH (lets get daddys tea ready, you chop the cheese up etc) and he slowly started trying stuff.

Earthakitten Wed 05-Jan-11 22:54:39

I thought I'd already replied to this confused

Why have you posted it twice? YABU for that!

Earthakitten Wed 05-Jan-11 22:56:27

And how come you're over here thanking people for replying to this thread whilst ignoring those of use who bothered to post on your other one?

RUUUUUDE!

charliesmommy Wed 05-Jan-11 23:13:38

Feed the eldest one first, while 2yr old sits there with nothing.... I guarantee she will soon want whatever is on his plate...

16 hours sleep does sound too much tbh...

TattyDevine Wed 05-Jan-11 23:26:01

A few quick tips

If its really nutrients you are worried about, just supplement, it will give you peace of mind.

Breakfast cereals are fortified by law, as are cereal bars. Margarine is as well with the important fat soluable vitamins, though she is probably getting these from her milk. This will prevent things like rickets.

Iron can be tricky with picky kids (which is why I get a bit defensive of the parents who chose to use follow-on or toddler milks - if they are not chowing down on minced beef and curly kale where the fuck are they supposed to get the iron from, and the "healthy balanced diet" argument sort of falls over).

See if you can ensure she is getting the good fats (long chain polyunsaturates - i.e your Omegas 3 6 and 9) - they are important for brain and eye development and the body cannot make them, you have to get them from diet. Once again a reason to have the follow on milks as they are supplemented with this but no, I promise I dont work for a formula company, but have a nutritional qualification which makes it hard for me to ignore the fact that these milks tick so many boxes in one fell swoop that unless you have a "good eater" and a good knowledge yourself, they simply might not otherwise get. No, they dont NEED it but hell its useful and easy if you dont mind paying for them. Having said all this I give mine cows milk from 1 but I have "good eaters" (or did - my 3 year old is now a bit dubious) and a nutritional qualification and a professional cookery qualification and slot together a balanced diet very easily from this kind of info stored in my (otherwise useless) brain.

Your HV can get you a script for vitamin drops for free if you want.

Pity she wont eat fruit, that's a nice safety net in terms of antioxidants and fibre if you do have kids who wont touch veg.

What else. Hang in there, keep offering it, that is really your only "job" is to offer a wide variety of nutritious foods.

Also, in my experience if kids were not picky babies but became picky as toddlers, I find they "come out of it" eventually as long as you carry on as normal. If your baby was "born" picky (some really genuinely are I kid you not) then its going to be more of a slow burning battle.

piprabbit Wed 05-Jan-11 23:30:32

You could try sending her to someone else's house for lunch grin.

My 2yo DS eats very little at home. He spends one day a fortnight with his Nanny, and eats her out of house and home.

I'm starting to think he may be part-reptile, and storing Nanny's food in his tummy to use during the 13 days when he is driving me mad with worry.

godspeed Wed 05-Jan-11 23:41:20

ouch - sorry - i should have mentioned I also posted on development board but thought it was ok to do that? I am new here and saw other people doing same....
thanks a million for those tips. I'll definitely look into supplements and I'll keep offering (although when she doesn't like something she throws it on the floor)
Not sure how to stop the sleeping - every day at 6:30 pm she lies down on the floor and says 'bed now!' or just conks out till 7:30 next morning and then does the same at 10 every morning for a 3-hour nap..we were thrilled as my ds was a rubbish sleeper but maybe the sleep is because of lack of nutrients?

TattyDevine Wed 05-Jan-11 23:54:07

I doubt the sleep is the nutrients. If she wasn't getting enough macro-nutrients (protein fat carb) then maybe, but she's probably got enough energy, just lacking slightly in the micronutrients, perhaps. (Vitamins and minerals)

Some kids just need more sleep, she'll cut down soon probably, its enviable! Mine are great night sleepers but hell my son droppped his nap at 18 months and DD is gearing up to do the same I fear!

cremedelacreme Wed 05-Jan-11 23:56:15

I feel your pain! My DD is nearly 2.5yrs and has NEVER eaten fruit, veg, rice, pasta, sauces, anything with lumps in etc and she's a vegetarian. People blame the fact she's veggie but she loves quorn and soya bean substitutes (and omelette) so I know that offering meat/fish won't solve the problem.
In addition to trying the offer food/take away if not eaten and then just offer yoghurt, I keep myself sane by offering Well Kid vit/min drops (with flax seed for the omegas, but you can get syrups with fish oils in instead). I also offer every other day or so the Plum or Ella veg/veg and fruit pouches (DD is happy to drink spinach, swede, sweetcorn, pumpkin etc, as a dessert!) and (a bit niceer) I find the Innocent (pure) fruit tubes and Yeo Valley (or similar) yoghurt tubes go down well - especially when frozen into 'ice pops/cream'!

I'm sure I'll be criticised for offering the fveg pouches to a 2.5 yr old but, like you, I was getting worried about diet. I have told her that we will be dropping pouches soon though, wish me luck!

And the best of luck to you! All will be fine. As everyone says, they will eat if they are hungry and since I've become more chilled about things it's been easier in that meal times have been more enjoyable, even if the range of food stuffs consumed hasn't increased much!

cremedelacreme Thu 06-Jan-11 00:00:30

PS. My DD sleeps for 11/11.5 hours at night and then 3.5 hours in the day (although some days she doesn't sleep at all - a sign that she might soon drop nap altogether perhaps?) so not dissimilar to your DD's total sleep consumption! I get loads done in the day!

cremedelacreme Thu 06-Jan-11 00:00:39

PS. My DD sleeps for 11/11.5 hours at night and then 3.5 hours in the day (although some days she doesn't sleep at all - a sign that she might soon drop nap altogether perhaps?) so not dissimilar to your DD's total sleep consumption! I get loads done in the day!

TrappedinSuburbia Thu 06-Jan-11 00:11:56

I had this plastic sheet thing for under the high chair that was easy enough to wipe off the thrown food, it was specifically for this, think it was a freebie with some baby magazine or something, have laminate anyway so wasn't really an issue.

mutznutz Thu 06-Jan-11 00:12:24

How long has it been going on for? Most kids have growth spurts and will eat anything they can lay their hands on at times...other times they can just eat the minimum amount to keep them going.

Unless it goes on for more than a few weeks I wouldn't worry...and don't worry about vitimins either if your child is still drinking milk...although if you could get her to drink a bit of juice that would help, especially if she happens to suffer a bit from constipation (don't know if she does though)

SkyBluePearl Thu 06-Jan-11 00:19:57

don't fuss and just offer normal healthy food. don't push the issue and don't just stick to the things you know he will eat. mine swings between eating next to nothing - to having a growth sput and eating everything in sight.

mutznutz Thu 06-Jan-11 00:22:24

Mine too Sky...I have 3 hungry boys and at times I feel it's quicker to let them run out and eat the Tesco delivery van than to bother taking the shopping in and unpacking it hmm

But they have at times been very fussy and eaten tiny amounts OP...so I really wouldn't worry.

godspeed Thu 06-Jan-11 00:32:28

cremedelacreme - thanks for the reassurance on the sleep, I suddenly felt selfish and a really bad parent to be so delighted she was sleeping so much if it actually meant I am a bad parent because I can't manage to coax her to eat properly IYSWIM - aagh!
Mutznutz - she has never been a great eater, but she used eat anything if it was blended in a tomato sauce with pasta (e.g. I have litres of sauce in the freezer packed with salmon, broccoli, yellow pepper, red pepper and tomato) but her refusing pasta sauce has totally floored me. This has been going on for about a month. Now she won't even eat rice cakes and actually asked me to 'take the rice cake off the butter'
The weird thing is she is a little pudgy (big belly, very soft arms and legs and a dimply bum) but her brother who at her age would eat almost adult-sized portions was and is totally stringy..

mutznutz Thu 06-Jan-11 00:40:17

Do you think she might be just fed up of pasta sauce or that perhaps you've blended a few too many ingredients into it?

Btw don't worry about the sleep thing. My middle son (unlike his insomniac eldest brother!) slept 10 hours straight when he was just 5 weeks old.

I had untold amounts of midwives clutching their pearls at how I should wake him and force feed him...even though he was a good weight. What they could never get into their text book driven heads was that when he did wake, he'd take double the amount of feed.

It's natural (and healthy) to worry but you have to remember nature takes its course and things do even out eventually smile

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