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To feed a child if they said they are hungry?

(70 Posts)
M2R2 Mon 10-Apr-17 22:18:19

Dd is so skinny, always been a fussy eater. So if she ask for food i am always delighted to give her no matter what time it is.
Once she woke up around mid night said she is hungry cant go back to sleep and i made her a sandwich to eat in bed while half asleep.
I do know that not all parents have this problem. But I don't know how to tell a child no if they ask for food. My niece is staying over and her mum asked me not to feed her after 7. Her and dd came to me around 8 and they said they want to eat and they are hungry I couldn't say no. Was I unreasonable to give a small sandwich. She looks healthy not overweight. WWUD?

Polichinelle Mon 10-Apr-17 22:19:24

I would have fed her as well

BrutusMcDogface Mon 10-Apr-17 22:21:55

Her mum told you not to feed her after 7, so yes you were unreasonable. Maybe her mum has to control what she eats to keep her a healthy weight? (Clutching at straws, here!) but I think doing what the mum specifically asked you not to, is the problem here.

However, I wouldn't give a monkeys if it were my dd.

limon Mon 10-Apr-17 22:23:54

I'd have fed her too.

ohtheshameshameshame Mon 10-Apr-17 22:23:54

Have you never seen Gremlins? If the instructions are not to feed after seven then you must abide!

Fwiw I would have fed her too. Can't deny a hungry gremlin child,

BrutusMcDogface Mon 10-Apr-17 22:24:26

I sometimes give my dc a glass of milk if they say they're hungry but it's too late to eat. I do look at what they've eaten through the day, though, to make sure they aren't genuinely ravenous!

ragz134 Mon 10-Apr-17 22:27:34

Hmmmm. YABU. You were asked not to feed her after 7 (have you never seen Gremlins?!)
I don't think kids need to eat that often and some can be greedy. I know I was and my mum would bring me toast in bed when I was reading. I became chubby and then fat... Still struggle with that now, years of weight issues and dieting.
I do think we need teach children to eat when hungry. My eldest DS (10) has a big appetite and is definitely a foodie, adventurous tastes too, so it's easy to indulge him when he appreciates my cooking more than my other DCs and will eat large portions of his favourites simply because he enjoys it. My other two will eat until full, even if it is their favourite - however much it frustrates me to throw food out!
Children learn behavior, if they know you will give them food whenever they say they are hungry then they may start saying they are just to get extra when they don't need it. I definitely never needed to eat toast at 10pm!

VestalVirgin Mon 10-Apr-17 22:28:03

Make her brush her teeth after eating the sandwich if she usually brushes her teeth at 7.

Only sensible reason I could see to not feed a child after 7; clean teeth.

The Gremlins are fictional, after all. And also never looked like children, did they? Never saw it, admittedly.

ragz134 Mon 10-Apr-17 22:28:25

I see a lot of cross posting re Gremlins!

Kitsandkids Mon 10-Apr-17 22:28:27

If someone was looking after my child as a favour I wouldn't care when or what they were fed- I'd just be grateful for the childcare.

I do say no to my children if they ask for food between meals. It very rarely happens and if it does I just tell them when I'll be making the next meal and that they'll have to wait. They're used to this and rarely mention hunger in between meals. They've never woken up in the night saying they're hungry, but they're good eaters so generally fill up at meal times. I sometimes have to force them to have breakfast as they don't seem hungry in the mornings!

If I did send them to be looked after overnight I don't think it would cross my mind to specify when they should be fed - I'd leave it up to whoever was looking after them to feed them as they saw fit.

FreeNiki Mon 10-Apr-17 22:30:53

A sandwich to eat in bed while half asleep at midnight?

How to say no? Ignore, hold hand, if half asleep they'll drop off again.

8pm fine for a snack.

NannyR Mon 10-Apr-17 22:31:42

I'm a bit on the fence with this one, in my experience "I'm hungry" can also translate into "I'm thirsty or bored or just fancy a chocolate biscuit". If they have eaten well at mealtimes then say they are hungry, I offer milk and/or fruit, maybe crackers. If they haven't eaten recently and there is a chance they could be genuinely hungry then I would offer something a bit more substantial.

VestalVirgin Mon 10-Apr-17 22:32:27

Children learn behavior, if they know you will give them food whenever they say they are hungry then they may start saying they are just to get extra when they don't need it.

Your example about your mom is her giving you food when you were actually busy and would not have asked for any.

Don't you think that is a tad bit different from giving a child who was hungry enough to make the effort to go to you and ask for food something to eat?

EineKleine Mon 10-Apr-17 22:33:27

I would heed instructions I'm afraid. We limit fluids after 6pm to help keep one of our children dry overnight. If the parent has specifically asked you to limit food after a particular time, there is probably a reason, and even if there's not one that you consider justifiable, you shouldn't overrule.

UppityHumpty Mon 10-Apr-17 22:34:49

I'd be pissed off if it was my child tbh. The mum gave you a clear instruction and you ignored it.

Also think midnight sandwiches are unhealthy - you're not doing your currently slim daughter any favours by associating comfort with food.

elephantoverthehill Mon 10-Apr-17 22:38:10

IME children find it difficult to interpret whether they are
a) hungry
b) thirsty
c) tired
Usually they are tired, as an adult I am quite often not much better. But a small sandwich at 8.00 will do the trick.

peachgreen Mon 10-Apr-17 22:39:59

My SIL has a great rule. If her kids say they're hungry outside of mealtimes they get a glass of water. If they're still hungry in 20 minutes they get fruit / carrot sticks etc. It's brilliant because over half the time they're actually just thirsty (most people are really bad at telling the difference!) and the water sorts them out. Then maybe 2 of 10 times they're bored rather than hungry and by the time 20 minutes has past they've forgotten or they refuse the fruit. If they take the fruit she knows they're really hungry. Very effective.

WeddingsAreStressful Mon 10-Apr-17 22:44:37

Yanbu. I'm a healthy weight and it has happened to me a few times that I woke up around midnight really really hungry. My stomach was churning and I would not have been able to go back to sleep. Only cause I could see was that I had been a bit more active that day. So no need to be too strict I think

hiccupgirl Mon 10-Apr-17 22:45:17

I wouldn't give a child a sandwich at midnight but 8pm is fine IMO. I would have given the child one even with the instruction about 7pm as it's not long afterwards.

I get where you're coming from with feeding them if they say they're hungry. My DS eats very little normally so I do believe him when he actually says he's hungry.

PyongyangKipperbang Mon 10-Apr-17 22:46:58

I was going to mention giving them a drink first. Often kids just know that they need something but cant always differentiate between food and drink.

I would not be giving food at midnight unless they were ill.

If you genuinely dont know how to say no then you need to learn because that will lead to huge problems down the line. She has disordered eating now because she knows that she can get a snack any time of day or night, that is not healthy. Meal times and perhaps fruit as a snack in between should be the only time she offered food.

Seriously, for her good and yours, you need to start saying no to her.

You say she is skinny, have you checked her BMI? I am betting that you will find that she is well within normal and doesnt need this indulgence.

NennyNooNoo Mon 10-Apr-17 22:49:04

If they don't like what's on offer at the meal (6-7 pm?), I would offer the sandwich then, not a few hours later. So no, I wouldn't have done.

4sausages Mon 10-Apr-17 22:50:44

Could she have meant for you to make sure you gave her her tea before 7? My DP doesn't consider it "feeding" the children if it's not an actual meal - snacks are different. Having said that I think if I wasn't sure I would've checked, especially if I thought there was a chance my own DD would want food after 7pm.

WooWooSister Mon 10-Apr-17 22:51:14

I wonder why her mum specified a time to stop feeding her assuming she isn't a gremlin It wouldn't cross my mind to specify a cut off time for food especially since an one-off late snack at her aunt's isn't going to have a drastic impact on her life.
As for your own DC, you know them best. If my DC asked for food at night, I'd give them something to eat. It's not a habit so I'd assume they were hungry.

Wigeon Mon 10-Apr-17 22:53:26

I would estimate that 50% of the time my DC say they are hungry, they are actually bored. In our house, you get plenty of food at established mealtimes, and you often have a mid morning snack if hungry (at weekends), or a snack straight after school (during the week). But I really don't want them to be having food at any old time.

I also would have respected your niece's mum's instruction not to give her daughter extra food. You have no idea why she asked, it's not an entirely unreasonable request, you could have just said "sorry, you've had your dinner, no". Presumably they ate dinner not that long before bed? There is no reason for her to be hungry. My DC literally never ask for food after their evening meal because they are allowed as much (healthy) food as they want at dinner time, and they stop when they are full.

I like the suggestion of giving water if DC say they are hungry, and then giving a healthy snack if they still insist 20 mins later. So often my DC just say "I'm huuuuunnngry" (outside of meal times) but if I ignore them for a bit they seem to forget about it. Which surely they wouldn't do if they really were.

stoopido Mon 10-Apr-17 22:53:42

I never refuse food. Even if they haven't eaten all of their dinner. I sometimes get hungry again in the evening so I don't see why it would be so different for my children. I can just help myself to food so I don't like the thought of my kids being restricted.

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