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To think trying to fix a fussy eating toddler is a complete waste of time and effort?

(106 Posts)
Bubbinsmakesthree Sun 19-Mar-17 13:40:37

I know all the advice - present them with a wide range of different foods, don't make a fuss, pander, bargain etc. No substitutions, they either eat or don't.

Yet again this weekend has involved:

-massive tantrums over food presented
-attempts to throw food /cutlery / push plates off table
-messing around with food but not eating any of it
-trying a bite and spitting it out
-multiple meals where he has eaten nothing at all.

He eats NO vegetables whatsoever. He will only eat about half a dozen meals, mostly basically crap food.

I am fed up of trying, fed up of cooking food that ends up spat out or on the floor, fed up of keeping my cool at meal times, fed up of his shitty moods because he is hungry as he's eaten nothing at all at mealtimes.

AIBU to sack off the whole thing and feed him beans on toast and bananas every bloody meal and save a whole load of stress because I am seeing no results at all from persevering.

Campfiresmoke Sun 19-Mar-17 13:42:40

I have twins. From the moment I weaned them one was a fantastic eater and one really fussy. I fed them exactly the same good in exactly the same way at exactly the same time. It's just how some children are made!

Losgunna Sun 19-Mar-17 13:50:08

Utterly pointless in my (limited) experience.

My ds is 3 and is juuuust starting to come out of a fussy stage of his own accord.

I do tend to give him one 'challenging' food/meal a day and a snack a little while after if he doesn't eat so he's not ratty.

Sometimes he'll try the thing he doesn't like and still not like it, sometimes he'll try it out and find he does like it after all and sometimes he won't entertain it.

We've got a few veggies (broccoli, carrots, peas and cooked peppers) into him this way. There is always something on the plate he likes though so he doesn't go hungry and it's not a problem if he doesn't eat the thing he's not keen on.

Dildals123 Sun 19-Mar-17 13:57:51

I have no real advice, just my commiserations. For a while we just rolled with it, reciting the inner mantra a lady at the playground once told me 'they can survive on a glass of milk and a banana'. Then when she got older, about 3 ish, we felt we had to draw a line in the sand. It was just getting ridiculous, she would only eat crap.
We then implemented some 'house rules', you HAVE to eat your dinner (meaning, at least a reasonable portion of it) and always some vegetables, otherwise No Snacks (meaning, chocolate, pom bears etc. Things like fruit and yogurt we deemed to be OK as snack if she was still hungry, so if she really didn't like her dinner she could have a piece of fruit and yogurt, tbh getting her to eat fruit was already a milestone!). It was amazing, I have never seen anyone eat broccoli florets that fast, even brussel sprouts disappeared in to her mouth. If she had her dinner including veg she could have Choose A Snack (some chocolate buttons, Pom Bears, stuff like that). We wrote all these rules down, and we asked her as well what rules should be in there, so it was a work of collaboration (well, I use that term loosely). It worked for us, I didn't think laying down the law would work, but it did. There were some tears at the start when she realised we meant business, but her eating has improved massively.

AbiBranning Sun 19-Mar-17 13:59:39

Nope as the sister of a fussy eater it's really not worth the hassle or drama. My DB eats most things now, but refused all but meat (a little) cereal and cheese sandwiches as a child. Around 30 his diet widened, but he still only eats what he want and is perfect height to weight ratio. I eat most things and could be called a blob. I do wonder if it's what makes the difference but too late to fix me, but due to this DS is never forced to eat anything, although encouraged to try things regularly.

ElisavetaFartsonira Sun 19-Mar-17 14:07:28

Pretty much. If it helps, mine fixed themself decently well, given time. They just have to be ready.

MoonriseKingdom Sun 19-Mar-17 14:11:05

If it is any comfort to anyone I was a desperately fussy toddler/ young child. I would pretty much only eat cheese and olives (!!). I was tiny and it drove my poor mother to despair. I got much better as I got older and now I'll eat most things.

BitterAndOnlySlightlyTwisted Sun 19-Mar-17 14:14:14

You can't "fix" a fussy toddler. This is the time when they know they can exercise some choices and they will make full use of it. Because they can.

Just offer them what you plan to serve and leave them to it. Don't eat a meal? No snacks, no treats until after the next meal. Mucking about at the table? Yes, you can get down but we're not offering anything else until dinner-time/next meal.

My rule was "Think you don't like it? You just have to take one bite of what's on the plate. That's it." Involving them in the prep/cooking where they are able to make choices could help, too.

CountMagnus Sun 19-Mar-17 14:15:48

I had a DS that lived off chicken nuggets, peas and chips for about a year - eventually he just decided that he would try other things (particularly off our plates). I also took the view that he should try new things, and if he liked it then he could eat more and if not then he didn't have to. Nothing worse than being forced to clear your plate when it's food you really don't like.

He's now 6'2" and incredibly fit, so I don't think it stunted his growth or anything.

Losgunna Sun 19-Mar-17 14:18:15

Yes, 'I'm not asking you to like it I'm telling you to try it' is a bit of a mantra at our dinner table!

Falafelings Sun 19-Mar-17 14:20:15

You're best bet is not being so desperate for him to eat. He doesn't seem hungry anyway

Heatherbell1978 Sun 19-Mar-17 14:21:20

Yep this is my life. 2.5 yr old DS only eats about 10 types of food (no veg) and I'm over making a big deal out of it. He's at nursery 3 days a week where he eats everything put in front of him apparently so that's enough for me. I practically cried tears of joy when he started to like pizza since that's another easy meal to add to the list plus I can always get one if we're eating out. Occasionally he surprises me by trying something new but trying my best to just let him get on with it. No doubt when he's 15 and eating me out of house and home I'll laugh about this.

toffeeboffin Sun 19-Mar-17 14:22:54

Just feed him what he'll eat - it's not worth the hassle. Guaranteed it won't be a salmon fillet and broccoli!

Falafelings Sun 19-Mar-17 14:24:51

Stop serving him beans and don't use bananas toast as a safety net.

He can choose to eat the one meal or not. If hungry at bedtime he can always have the meal he failed to eat earlier

Bubbinsmakesthree Sun 19-Mar-17 14:25:26

Dildals interesting that those methods worked for you. All the "official" advice I read says don't use treats as a reward for eating, but damn, I would be amazed to see a pea eaten, never mind a sprout!

I've heard a number of people saying things improved around three (but there's always a few like Abis brother who keep it going into adulthood, I would go crazy faced with that).

DS was a superb eater in early weaning and as a bit of a foodie I loved concocting new recipes for us. I am finding it soul destroying that we end up either cooking a separate meal for him, eating beige food with him or serving up something vaguely interesting and nutritious only to have it thrown back in my face (sometimes literally).

Soapandglory Sun 19-Mar-17 14:26:17

You can't fix them imo.

I've got two and both have been through this stage. My eldest has mostly grown out of it at age 9, the youngest it just going into the fussy stage.

I do think things like eating at the table together help, but there's no morale cure

YellowRoss Sun 19-Mar-17 14:27:56

Read the book "my child won't eat".

I read it with DD1 and it make me completely reevaluate the way I deal with mealtimes.

Since then I've stuck with the premise that my job is to prepare and serve healthy, tasty meals and eat together to set a good example, the kids job is to eat (or not eat) them. The food struggles benefit no one!

Oh and the other tip was to always try and serve something they will eat as a side dish. Even if it means some odd combinations! smile

Soapandglory Sun 19-Mar-17 14:27:57

I wouldn't really make separate meals, just give him a bit of what you've cooked with a bit of whatever he likes.

Unlikely he'll starve himself.

Redkite10a Sun 19-Mar-17 14:28:47

I found Ellyn Satter 'how to get your kid to eat' helpful. Her suggestion of bread with every meal so there was something vaguely healthy DS would got us through a difficult patch. we had been serving food, trying to get him to eat it, and then giving in and getting biscuits when he wouldn't - it took the stress off us. The other one that had really worked for us, suggested by a friend, is one spoon of main, then he can have one spoon of pudding, and repeat. (You control pudding and make the spoons small enough they have to eat all the main to get all the pudding).

YellowRoss Sun 19-Mar-17 14:28:52

Sorry meant to add the link.

Miserylovescompany2 Sun 19-Mar-17 14:30:34

Variety doesn't work for my 22 month old. I give one food type on her plate at a time. Whether its chicken, potato, beans or whatever...otherwise she chucks the lot on the floor sad

I give her stuff to occupy her hands, I have been known to give her a pack of kit-kats to open each and every one of them, this gives me the opportunity to quickly shovel spoon fulls of food into her mouth. She doesn't eat the kit-kats btw smile

She's getting better using a fork, I usually also have one, so whilst she is putting stuff on the fork...I'll get a sneaky one in her mouth.

She also likes fannying on with yogurts and smearing them all over her highchair. I just give her a little in the bottom of the pot and let her get on with it. As I feed her the rest...

She is getting better, I concentrate on the positive behaviours and praise her when she passes me an empty pot rather than paying mind to all the mess.

I also let her choose items, giving her some control.

We are getting there...

Soapandglory Sun 19-Mar-17 14:32:26

Well we are having roast today. At one time ds1 wouldn't touch it, now he loves it. Ds2 would have wolfed it down as a baby but now won't eat much of it. He'll probably eat the meat and carrots that's it, but that's fine. I never stress about it I just take it away. I've learnt from all the battles with ds1.

Crunchyside Sun 19-Mar-17 14:37:42

I think you need to be consistent, no offering alternatives one day and not the next. It just has to become the norm that they get served whatever you're eating, and if they don't like it, there is no expectation of alternatives. And it is really hard but you kind of have to act like you don't care (even though you're secretly infuriated!) and cheerily say "never mind, you don't have to eat it!"... if they start demanding other stuff "sorry, we've run out of toast/biscuits/whatever". Personally if there's something my toddler keeps demanding and refusing to eat anything else, I'd just not buy it, or hide it in a cupboard so they really believe you don't have it... seems mean, but it works for us.

Usually I am all for giving toddlers choice and free will etc but when it comes to things like food, they would literally eat nothing but biscuits and white bread all day if they had it their way, I don't think there's anything wrong with limiting their choice!

Misspilly88 Sun 19-Mar-17 14:41:08

Cook what you're going to cook. Put it down. "You don't have to eat it if you don't want it". Eat yours. Watch. Wait. This is a magical phrase, works wonders.

Bubbinsmakesthree Sun 19-Mar-17 15:06:16

Honestly I already follow the advice of presenting him with one meal and one meal only, which is the same as what me/DH are eating if we are eating as a family and not bribing /cajoling him to eat. He only gets a separate meal if we aren't eating together.

I try to mix it up between meals I know he'll probably eat and meals I suspect will be a miss and keep offering healthy stuff (like carrot sticks alongside a cheese sandwich, even though I know he'll not go near carrot).

I've been doing this for months and months and his repertoire just keeps getting narrower, the food tantrums are getting worse and there is not the faintest glimmer of positive progress.

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