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To ask how you solved fussy eating issues

(76 Posts)
TreeBird16 Wed 02-Sep-15 16:59:36

My just turned 2 year old is a crap eater and always has been. She never really got going on solids and has never eaten a dinner ever. She is not underweight and I am still breastfeeding her at night ( not at day to allow her get hungry). She eats porraige for breakfast, pesto, hummus, tomato soup, Apple sometimes, banana sometimes, and yogurts. That's pretty much the extent of it. My older child eats everything. I cook every night and offer fussy toddler the same as we all eat but she won't even taste it.

Anyone experienced this and turned things around?

DisappointedOne Wed 02-Sep-15 17:25:51

Read "My Child Won't Eat".

operaha Wed 02-Sep-15 17:30:58

Making sure there is something she likes. My 9 yo is pretty fussy and recently we've adopted the "you don't have to eat it" approach so for example the other night was lamb bhuna with rice... He wasn't mad on the lamb but liked the rice and sauce - with plenty of yogurt. Tonight is carbonara which he loves but my step kids wouldn't get at home (we used to only cook them chicken nuggets as that's all they'd eat) but I'm sick of kids having separate crap meals so with the carbonara I'll make the sauce separate, serve with plan spaghetti and garlic bread. They can take or leave what they like. I've done this for a fortnight with my son now and the difference in what he eats/tries is great.
I've forgotten your op but I wish I'd tried this years ago. Takes away a lot of stress.

Spartans Wed 02-Sep-15 17:31:03

It depends on the extent of the fussiness.

Dd was very fussy. Only had a few foods she would eat, but they were all healthy so not too bad. Meal times became a nightmare though. I remember walking out of the room when dh and dd were getting fraught over her not eating one meal time. I told dh that I didn't think making a fuss was helping. I was pg at the time and couldn't take the stress anymore.

Within 6 months she had started trying more foods and is great now at 11. It may have been coincidence and she was just ready or it may have been that dh backed off.

With ds he ate well when young and got picky at 18 months. We didn't make fuss we always served him bits of things he didn't like but if he didn't eat it we never fuased and now at 4 he is much better and even asks for carrots, which he used to refuse.

Also we told him carrots would make him run faster, broccoli would make him grow etc .....probably unethical to some mners grin but it worked!

Can't say this will work for you but it's my experience.

operaha Wed 02-Sep-15 17:32:11

Oh and raw veg crudities with every meal!

SheepishWoolf Wed 02-Sep-15 18:12:03

Well first of all, she's eating and not underweight. And she's eating several things, and they're pretty healthy, not like my younger Dsis who at a slightly older age would eat literally nothing but sausages for about 6 months! (she eats perfectly well and healthily now). Above all, whilst you are obviusly concerned, you don't sound as if you are flapping so she's still getting a positive vibe about food from you, rather than a negative one, so you've got a lot to build on from there smile I had similar with my 2 DCs, with a twist - both would eat a narrowish range of reasonable sorts of food but they hardly overlapped! So the trick was to include something from both lists in all meals.

I took a similar approach to operaha - present meal on table in its componant parts so they can choose and combine as they want to. And yes a plate of veg crudities and also we had a small bowl with cubes of soft and tasty brown bread every time. It did help in avoiding tensions around food, and in increasing both DCs willingness to try other things and actually turned out to be quite fun in a lot of ways, thinking of different combinations of things to put out.

I realise your DD is maybe a bit small to be actually helping herself to anything more than the veg and bread, but she can point and ask I guess? My two still have quite differing tasts, but we've developed a much wider overlap, so I found it a useful approach.

Twowrongsdontmakearight Wed 02-Sep-15 18:13:14

Same issue briefly with DD. When she said 'I don't like it' we said fine and popped her bowl by the sink. We carried on eating. She soon wanted it back!

EmmaWoodlouse Thu 03-Sep-15 15:00:16

Given the type of food the likes, I wouldn't worry about it too much - it all sounds quite healthy and much more varied than a lot of children eat. It sounds as if she is quite keen on strong flavours so maybe you could try more of those? For example, if she likes pesto she's quite likely to like garlic mayonnaise too, and if she likes that she could maybe try dipping some carrot sticks or strips of chicken in it.

But I wouldn't actively encourage her to try new things if it's become an issue and she's eating quite healthily already - maybe just give her something you know she'll like and a little bit of something new to try, and be pleased if she likes it, but don't make a big deal of it if she doesn't want to try it. She'll get curious in the end. Also, when my DS1 was at his fussiest he'd sometimes take something off my plate that he would have rejected if it was his own dinner - could you bear to put tempting new foods on your own plate and leave it within her reach?

She's still very young and lots of people's tastes expand as they get older. But I would much rather have a child who only ate the foods you listed than one who only ate chicken nuggets, chips and cake.

Ifiwasabadger Thu 03-Sep-15 16:16:57

My 2 year old is the same, but eats much less. Always limited but not virtually nothing. She is very small for her age, fifth centile.

Today she has had:

Two bites of banana
3 spoons of weetabix
One Ella's fruity pouch (flame me, but the only thing she will willingly accept, I only Allow one per day)

That's it.

She will have milk at bedtime.

I don't know how she's surviving. I've tried everything. All types. Of foods and techniques. Nothing works.

She doesn't speak either. Very stressful.

Ifiwasabadger Thu 03-Sep-15 16:17:42

That should have said "today, this last month, virtually nothing."

NationMcKinley Thu 03-Sep-15 16:26:01

Watching with interest. My DS3 (2.9) is a massively fussy eater too. My other two are great and eat pretty much anything. They all eat together and we have plenty of family meals too. He was bf and weanrd exactly the same as the others. What drives me nuts is his absolute refusal to even try something. I'm more than happy for them to have likes and dislikes but he's ridiculously fussy. flowersfor all of you. It's so stressful!

StarlingMurmuration Thu 03-Sep-15 16:48:13

Ifiwas, is there any chance she has someng like tongue tie which could be making it hard to talk and eat?

MakeThemEatCake Thu 03-Sep-15 16:52:54

Fellow mum of extremely fussy eater here. It wasn't great when he was first being weaned but really started to get shock when he turned 3, it just got more and more limited.

Everyone I've seen over the years has had a laid back attitude about it and been convinced he'll grow out of it but I felt in my gut instinct he wouldn't. He's 12 now and only eats 1 meal, plus a small handful of other foods, he checks labels religiously and has a set of 'rules' he has stick to whilst eating.

It's incredibly draining and worries me sick. I believe he has OCD but am struggling to get a diagnosis for this - the fact that I have anxiety plus other mental health issues seems to count against me, health professionals seem to pick these up from me even if they don't know as I do come across as anxious.

Mine is an extreme example but I wish I'd tackled this early on and listened to my instincts. Just keep an eye on her OP and if I've learned one tip over the years it's to try not to make a big deal of it in front of her, as kids interpret that as pressure which can often make them not want to eat.

Will watch with interest in case anyone else relates or has any advice.

Mistigri Thu 03-Sep-15 17:01:05

I think you just have to arm yourself with patience and accept that (a) there is not much you can do about it especially in the short term and (b) it's easier to make it worse than better.

My DD was a terrible eater as a toddler. In fact at one point, mainly because of our over-zealous efforts to get her to eat, she refused solids completely. She gradually improved (especially after she started having school meals, aged 5) and now at 14 she will try anything - in fact she is a very adventurous eater who likes new flavours and spicy foods.

DS was also a fussy toddler and he's still fussy now at 12. We haven't done anything different. He eats just about enough variety for a healthy diet, but he is a very conservative eater and he dislikes foods that are mixed together or in sauce. I keep hoping that his adolescent growth spurt will make him hungry enough to eat anything but there are no signs of this happening yet!

I was quite a fussy eater as a child. As an adult, I'm the least fussy eater I know.

Gramgram Thu 03-Sep-15 17:24:40

With both my DCs we operated a try it before you decide you don't like it approach. We did find that when they started school they picked up other fads and fancies from their friends. Then we started lying, special chicken was anything from lamb, beef and pork.

I'm afraid to admit we are also guilty of doing it with our DGD, dinosaur marbles are new potatoes. Also good old spag bol is just beefburger meat mashed up, there are no mushrroms in it.

mummymeister Thu 03-Sep-15 19:18:43

My fussy child is now a teenager and it is still a complete nightmare if I am honest. he has been under the hospital since birth - over 9lbs born but it all started going down hill immediately afterwards. we have tried a huge number of different approaches but now basically pander to what he will eat or he will starve himself. going out for meals is just horrible. he hates eating in front of other people. he is an intelligent lad and knows all the issues about varied diet etc but says he just cant do it. the doctors have given up telling me he will grow out of it. we just feed him what we know he will eat. breakfast is the best meal of the day for him - 2 massive bowls of cocopops but after that he can go all day on nothing. little triumphs become huge. he ate a bagel the other day. an actual bagel with ham in it (no butter, cant have butter on anything food of the devil) no idea why he decided to try it then eat it but he did so I have some in the freezer. tonight we are having steak chips and veg. he will eat some steak when it is cold no chips and 5 circles of courgette.

I STILL live in hope that we can turn it around.

JenniferYellowHat1980 Thu 03-Sep-15 20:10:31

mummymeister, as a small ray of hope, my BIL was a very limited eater until his late 20s, but now in his 30s and with a lovely GF, he eats what she tells him to grin

JonSnowKnowsNowt Thu 03-Sep-15 20:15:58

My fussy and normal-weight 2yo grew into an immensely fussy 3yo and an unbelievably fussy 4yo. Then we got a diagnosis of coeliac disease. Went gluten-free and all the fussiness went away over the following year. Like waving a magic wand; as the coeliac antibodies subsided, the eating issues resolved.

Sometimes there is an underlying medical issue, even though it may not yet be apparent.

Ifiwasabadger Thu 03-Sep-15 20:22:26

Starling, she was checked for TT at birth and since by a paediatrician, they both said there wasnt one but I feel like something isn't right. A speech therapist said possible dyspraxia but we have to wait as too early to tell.

StarlingMurmuration Fri 04-Sep-15 08:50:10

sad I asked because my DS had a very severe tongue tie (nearly 100% tied) - although it was spotted and snipped very early, he has had feeding problems and isn't babbling much (at 9 months), and his paediatrician said it might all be related to a lack of tongue dexterity caused by the tie.

Ifiwasabadger Fri 04-Sep-15 09:08:54

Starlight I still wonder if it is that. I may get yet another opinion. Thank you.

KaraokeQueenOfTheNorth Fri 04-Sep-15 09:28:30

I have a child with food phobias and a very limited diet. We often have buffet style dinner - my son gets really upset if there are things on his plate he doesn't like and feels it has contaminated the whole meal. I put everything in bowls on the table and the kids help themselves - so he is exposed to new foods but doesn't have to cope with them on his plate.

Slowly, slowly we are getting somewhere. Really, really slowly. A year ago he wouldn't eat anything apart from bread. Honestly, just bread. (And chocolate spread when allowed!)

Now he eats... Cheese, bread, wraps, roast potatoes, chicken nuggets, sausages, scotch eggs (not healthy i know but this was a bloody triumph), and restaurant chips (but not home made oven chips!)

Still a hugely limited diet but so much better than a year ago! I figure by the time he is an adult he might even have eaten a vegetable!

Hoppinggreen Fri 04-Sep-15 10:52:51

karaoke my DD is the same, even needing to wipe her fork between foods to avoid contamination!!
She has quite a limited diet but it's healthy and she will eat some fruit and veg. She is 10 now and I am very relaxed about the whole thing, I ask her what she wNts for tea most of the time and sometimes she surprises me you asking for some of what the rest of the family is eating.
A lot of food fussiness is about control so now she has (some) control she eats pretty well - the key is to be as relaxed abut the whole thing as possible (even when you are screaming in frustration inside)

justwondering72 Fri 04-Sep-15 11:40:54

My DS1 (7) is really tense around food, especially anything unfamiliar or disliked, so we are trying a bit of what ophera describes (I think it's like Ellyn Satter's approach, division of responsibility where parents decide the what, when, where of food, children decide whether and how much). The magic words are 'You don't have to eat it'. So my job is to put healthy food on the table, his job is to decide whether and how much to eat. No bargaining, no persuading, no threatening, no cajoling, no pressure. I always make sure there is at least one thing he 'can' eat, and anything else he can choose to eat if he wants to. When DS1 starts getting tense and whiny about what's on offer, I tell him he doesn't have to eat it. It totally takes the wind out of his sails, and it's such a relief to relax around food as a family after years of trying all the 'traditional' tricks / pressure / bribery / bargaining / arguing / etc etc. and just ending up with a tense child and an angry, stressed out parent.

It does rather take nerves of steel to believe that your child will be absolutely fine if they only eat veg once in a blue moon, when they choose to. And it means that you cannot use junk or sweet foods as bribes (as in "you can only have your ice cream if you've eaten at least two bits of brocolli").

Satter is a family therapist, as well as a dietician. She reckons that long term, it's more important that children feel relaxed and unstressed around food than it is to get veg in them every day. And it's important that they see you modelling good eating habits - ihat's what they really learn from, not being made / tricked / bribed to eat green beans. I know I am a sample size of one, but I hated all veg and didn't eat any until I was an adult, and I'm okay. My mum never forced or bribed me to eat anything I didn't like - now I am a bit of a foody, and love veggies and salad cooked all ways.

BlueEyeshadow Fri 04-Sep-15 11:49:30

I was an ultra-fussy eater as a child, but now eat almost everything. It was about fear of the unknown for me. What solved it was time (sorry!), and gradually being introduced to new things in an unthreatening way.

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