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AIBU to wonder when the dicking around with mealtimes/food will end?!

(51 Posts)
Soupyliv Mon 26-Jan-15 19:55:20

My son is 3 and not really into food. When I say 'food'; I mean actual meals, snacks, cakes, finger foods etc are fine. This has been tough for me as I love food, love to cook and went on special baby weaning/family cooking course in order to transition him from milk into healthy nutritious food..

Over the last almost 4 years I would HATE to think how much food I have thrown away; I am quite hard line with him, even as a baby I would restrict snacks so he was hungry, I do not spoon feed him anything and expect him to do it himself etc.. and even now after an hour of complaining he's is hungry, every mealtime is a massive drama/chore of me giving him ultimatums, telling him he ahas got half an hour to eat it etc.. him trying to negotiate number of mouthfuls, telling me he doesn't like it (god forbid i try anything new)..

I know this is not a new issue in parenting, but to be honest it has completely drained the joy out of food for me too, my expectations are now very low and I am feeding him stuff I never thought that I would :-(

Gymbob Mon 26-Jan-15 20:00:31

think you need to make less of a drama out of meal times. the more you go on at him, the more he'll dig his heels in. give him his dinner and back off.

Soupyliv Mon 26-Jan-15 20:04:36

I do. These days I give him his food and try to change the subject and talk about something else. Sometimes it works, mostly it doesn't.

firesidechat Mon 26-Jan-15 20:05:57

Stop the drama and relax. Do not make mealtimes a battle field and give yourself a break.

I know that it's not a popular opinion on mn, but a bit of what you might call rubbish food will not damage your child for life. Making a big deal of food may though. Unless the diet is very restricted then giving them what they want to eat may take the pressure off for a while.

I had one very fussy eater which I think was because of sensory issues and they are now an adult who will eat almost anything.

123upthere Mon 26-Jan-15 20:09:41

Make it fun for him let him choose things pictures of food have picnics on a rug on kitchen floor have a little table chair for him to eat - in peace - away from you. I wouldn't like you near me when I'm eating telling me to hurry up watching every mouthful like a hawk. Back off and let him explore otherwise years of anxieties about food await - I should know - I grew up watching my mother treat my baby brother exactly this way. It. Was. Depressing.

pregnantpause Mon 26-Jan-15 20:10:09

Ime 5. I adore food and cooking and it hurt when eating life was reduced to something dd would definitely eat every other day( read loads of plain pastaconfused). Something changed at 5 and now she's an absolute pleasure. She loves eating in restaurants and compliments my cooking, likes to pick stuff from cook books, looks forward to sharing food . The four year hasn't got there yet. She's still a misery to feed. Roll on the day she 'gets' it toogrin

ozymandiusking Mon 26-Jan-15 20:10:12

I think at 3, children still need some help and encouragement to eat.
Sit with him and make conversation and pop the odd spoonfull into his mouth
Children get tired when feeding and can't always be bothered..

LaLyra Mon 26-Jan-15 20:11:57

Have you tried letting him serve himself?

No idea why it works, but it made all the difference with DS2. If you put a piece of chicken on his place and then add mash and veg he'd have a meltdown. If you give him a plate with chicken and then put mash and veg on the table in bowls he'll fill his plate with more veg that I could have dreamed of getting into him and eat it quite happily.

Goldmandra Mon 26-Jan-15 20:13:08

Sometimes it works, mostly it doesn't.

You need to unpick this sentence.

What do you mean by it works? Do you mean that on those occasions he eats what you want him to eat? Do you mean he doesn't complain?

When you think it doesn't work, does that mean it doesn't make him eat?

Is it just not working quickly enough? What is you preferred timescale? Is this something you need to control?

If the situation isn't getting any worse and he is eating something, it is working.

You need to butt out and leave him to it. Don't try to assess whether it is working. You are providing food, he is eating what he chooses therefore what matters is working.

If you don't want the complaining and negotiating then never engage in it. Just ask him if he has finished and be prepared to take the food away if he has.

moanymandy Mon 26-Jan-15 20:13:38

Have you tried reward charts?

My 4yo ds got like this. Every dinner time was a chore. me constantly nagging him to eat his dinner and him complaining he wasn't hungry any more/didn't want it.

He asked for a toy not long after Christmas. Only small car but I saw an opportunity to make him work for it.
I made a chart and used his new stamps he got for Xmas. He stamped it after each meal. He loved it, responded really well to it.

He got his car and he now eats his dinner with very little fuss grin

May be worth a try.

lessthanBeau Mon 26-Jan-15 20:23:00

oh I feel your pain, my dd age 6 is like this, my two older ones ate fairly well, but this one is a nightmare , won't try anything, will happily go without rather than eat, even at 6 I sometimes resort to feeding just to make sure she eats something. she's a lazy eater. the worst thing about it all is the smugness of friends and family whose children eat everything and anything as if its a parental achievement! I have no advice, other than try not to stress over it though sometimes I could cry when I see how little she eats and when things she previously liked are now off the menu. confused

mynameissecret Mon 26-Jan-15 20:30:03

There's a great book called something like 'my kid won't eat' ToddlerCalm is also worth a look to help understand children's eating habit.

paxtecum Mon 26-Jan-15 20:30:25

Will he happily eat carrot sticks, apples, bananas, cucumber, tomatoes?

Will he eat toast?

mynameissecret Mon 26-Jan-15 20:37:53

It's callsd 'my child won't eat'

MoreBeta Mon 26-Jan-15 20:39:26

DS2 has been like this since age 3 ad still is age 13. I love to cook as well and I just wish he would say 'no thank you I don't feel hungry'. Instead he basically messes around inspects every bit of food, refuses to eat anything 'new'. Is a 'vegetarian' who doesn't really like like vegetarian food. Refuses to eat 'ham sandwich' unless said ham is in a toastie or on a pizza. Refuses to eat 'chicken' unless in a bun or in a nugget. Doesn't like the mince in my 'spag bol' or 'chli con carne' but literally identical mince made into a home made burger - infuriating.

Apparently eats everything put in front of him when at other people's houses though. He ha a Turkish friend and olives and all kinds of very adult Mediterranean food get knocked back with second and third helpings.

I really think it is attention seeking and very annoying.

ModreB Mon 26-Jan-15 20:41:21

If he's into finger foods, scatter bowls of them, and I bet he will eat more than you think.

DS1 ate everything that was put in front of him. He is now at 24yo a really healthy eater.

DS2 (ASD) would eat one thing every day, and my GP said that if he will only eat chocolate, at least it has iron in it. He is now 22yo and a 6'2" strapping, not fat lad.

DS3 was sooo fussy, but, I kept offering, let him eat what he wanted, didn't stress about what he didn't eat, and now, he has the widest diet of them all.

They were all grazers, and if you provide grazing, they will do OK.

TattyDevine Mon 26-Jan-15 20:42:02

Despite the advice that you are too strict / not strict enough / too medium you will have this for a while and it gradually goes.

I totally lost my cooking mojo for ages as they kept going ewww for no apparent reason for a few years and I've only recently started to get it back.

Makes you want to crack out the vino.

Goldmandra Mon 26-Jan-15 22:26:34

I totally lost my cooking mojo

I used to wonder why people would feed their DCs chicken nuggets and chips then cooked something nicer for them and their DH to eat later. DD1 felt the same when we visited people who did this and used to ask me why she couldn't have the nice dinner with the grown-ups.

Then I got DD2 and it all suddenly made sense sad

TattyDevine Mon 26-Jan-15 22:43:33

Yeah, after the 10th time of scraping a mangled up spat out salmon fillet into the bin you kind of lose the will

Hazchem Mon 26-Jan-15 22:49:25

* pregnantpause* your post gives me hope. We eat the same sort of thing over and over because DS will eat it and it's so so dull. All th joy and fun of cooking and eating is sucked out. Hoping he might magically get it soon then.

maninawomansworld Mon 26-Jan-15 22:53:32

From personal experience I find that the problem is negotiation.
Cook dinner, put it on the table and all sit down. No one leaves the table early, if child is not hungry they have to sit there until you have finished.

If when you have finished they have not eaten, ask once 'are you going to eat this?' If they say no then either eat it yourself ( my preferred option) or just bin it and the go hungry. Under NO Circumstances are there any desserts / snacks / suppers until the next sit down meal.

They'll eat eventually when they realise you're not going to bend.

SaucyMare Mon 26-Jan-15 22:57:34

I was having these problems,
I was giving him too much food, i started using a smaller plate, and it was a simple rule clean the plate for pudding, NO discussion, no "1 more mouthful" just "you know what is needed" and discuss something else, he either got a pudding or he didn't.

Soupyliv Wed 28-Jan-15 07:34:54

Thanks everyone some great suggestions.. Yes he will eat toast and graze on things but one of he reasons that I am trying to crack it Is that my newborn is due any day, and he needs to be feeding himself. He is also a big boy (born 91st centile 9,5!) and stayed there; I just can't understand how hunger doesn't take over!! I also trying to get to a place where we all eat the same thing (except the baby). Love thx idea of him helping cook and also serve himself smile

Jackieharris Wed 28-Jan-15 07:44:54

This is why I'm not going to do baby led weaning.

At 3 I'd expect a DC to have 5 small meals/snacks a day rather than 3 big meals. If he's not going through a growth spurt then he doesn't actually need that much food. Are you sure you're not trying to give him portions that are too big?

I had big babies too bit sometimes they only are small amounts.

There's nothing wrong with wholemeal toast. Let him eat that. Put marmite, peanut butter, bananas etc on it for variety. Will he eat French toast- a good way to get an egg into him?

As lobs as he's eating a bit from each food group each day I'd not fret too much.

Put it out. He eats it or he doesn't. Put it away. Repeat 5 times a day.

Janethegirl Wed 28-Jan-15 08:11:04

Agree with the suggestion to let him help himself from serving bowls as that approach worked for my dc.
I still use them today and never plate up food for anyone.

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