To ash HOW I get my child to eat?!(30 Posts)
My youngest is 2yrs 9mo and has been going through the longest 'phase' of not eating much. I swear she thrives on just air!
We had a paed app yesterday (about something not connected) and her height and weight puts her below average. Height wise, both myself and her dad are short, so expected. But she's lost a couple of pounds over the last 4 months which drops her a percentile to the 0.9th for weight. (35 weeker, 4lb 6oz. Always been quite small anyway)
She's not a fussy eater really, just getting her to sit and eat is seemingly impossible!!
Any tips? Have you been through it? How did you get past it?
Is percentiles an issue at this age? Should I be more concerned about her losing weight, even though I believe it to be because she runs around all day and doesn't eat! Her paed didn't mention it, but I'm not sure if he saw the notes from the nurse at that point...
DD now 4 was a totally grazer until she turned 3. Literally had never eaten a full meal and lived off fruit, milk and fresh air. Allah's Kitchen fruit pouches, cut up grapes, strawberries, raisins, blueberries, baby spaghetti Bolognese (in a triangle pack) and picky plates with, boiled egg, hummus and dippy stuff, (pitta bread/bread sticks etc), peeled raw carrot, cucumber, sugar snap peas, any peas! Ham rolled into tubes, rice, pasta, Peppa pig pasta shapes, spaghetti, grated cheese and a spoon, baked beans, microwaved (home made!) Mashed potatoes to name a few. Anything you can eat on the go (never one to sit down!). She is now a very adventurous eater and eats all sorts of things I wouldn't touch so try not to worry too much!
Allah's Kitchen made me
Look at what your DD eats on a weekly basis, OP. 20mo DS2 barely eats anything, I don't think toddlers are designed to wolf big meals.
Lots of high protein and calorie bits and pieces to eat while on the go. Cut stuff up upinto very small chunks. Cheese, avocado, peanut butter on tiny squares of toast, dried fruit. And creamy yoghurts. Plenty of butter.
I know it’s deeply unfashionable but if my dc were really slow, I fed them and distracted them with silly stories and singing. ‘One for mummy, one for daddy, one for Fred’s granny’s cat...’ that sort of thing. Surpring how much you can sneak into them like that. If really resistant allow the tv to be on though I didn’t do that much.
And high cal drinks in between.
She’ll be fine, honest.
Oops. Allah's Kitchen is the new halal range from Ella's Kitchen
In the USA there are weight for height percentiles. You need to know what her percentile is like considering her height. Weight percentile is meaningless by itself.
Under-nourished kids don't run around brightly & interact energetically. She's probably perfectly fine, just not meant to be large right now.
I wouldn’t make her sit and eat three big meals I’d let her graze tbh.
DD (now 12) was very picky, a grazer and couldn't sit still, as well as having texture issues and taste issues (ASD). So she was always small.
I kept up big drinks of hot milk, or hot chic with squirts cream/marshmallows, at bedtime for years to help sleep and add calories.
I tried to make sure there were things she'd wear involed in every meal and often cooked different things so that she would eat.
Fried egg and toaster soldiers was diner plenty of times. Or a tuna melt.
I added cheese to lots of stuff, I blends veg into sauces, I gave her raw carrots instead of cooked etc. We had strips of pepper to snack on, or cut up apple chunks, or raisins. Just left where she could grab some as she passed by.
She eventually learned to eat reasonably well. Still not great as she has some bad habits from then about a sweet tooth and a lack of control at times (not really meals - but grazing from the fridge/snakcking mid-afternoon before we get home).
But she eats relatively healthy and now eats reasonable meals at the table. And while still being fussy and changing her mind about different foods (what is liked or not), she has a reasonably broad range of food now too.
But I did look for added calories at that age rather than low fat healthy foods always - as she needed them. And I never felt guilty about the (effectively baby-bottle sized but from a large glass) bedtime milk - which is effectively gone now too unless she's wide awake and needs a warm milky drink to help her sleep.
Maybe have some little snacks around when she’s playing or watching tv.
Full fat milk & extra cream /butter in mash etc
Croissants are high calorie and not too filling
I resorted to DS gliding past on his scooter while I held out a banana or whatever and he had to grab a bite once . When he really was worrying me I made a game of it. But he grew out of it, more or less, and now if he gets a choice he feels more inclined to eat what he has chosen.
The book .. getting the little blighters to eat
Highly recommend it
Add up all the snacks and graze bits she has in a day. I swear it'll be enough calories for a 3 year old.
Tbh at 0.9th centile yes I would be trying to get her to eat a bit more, I know it's not easy, do contact the paed - partly just to check their view and partly to see if they can refer you to someone who specialises in this. Feeding in front of TV tends to work as last resort.
First off, don’t fuss. I’m sure you’re worried but don’t let your child see that. A battle with food is one you will never win. Your child is active and not fading away, otherwise the paediatrician would definitely have picked up on it.
Try and eat as a family and give your child what you’re all having but be sneaky and add in calories. For example, if you have mash add butter, cream and grated cheese, the same with pasta. Add cream to anything that will take it. Give her full fat milk, cheese, yoghurts etc. Don’t ever let her see that you want her to eat, be relaxed. This phase will pass.
My son is now 5 and still doesn't ear a great deal but he's now the right weight for his height. At 2 he hardly ate and was seeing a consultant due to heart issues however he was a reflux baby. His weight was off the bottom of the chart however he grazed all day and was constantly on the go. With the level of activity he demonstrated the consultant said he would never really put any weight on and as long as he put on 1kg a year the hospital was happy. Starting school was a turning point as food wasn't so available though it seems like one long food fest to me - tuck, milk, lunch then afternoon snack! His activity level is also starting to slow down now he's getting older.
Oh and we've never made food an issue - completely pointless.
My DD was a nightmare to wean and dropped down the centile charts hugely from 9months to 3 years (75th to 3rd). Like yours she had no interest in sitting and eating. Very little interest in food generally. We saw paeds who outruled anything serious. Dietician was very unhelpful- feed her more wasn’t really useful when I was desperate for her to eat anything at all!
In the end I did still get her to sit at table with us even if she didn’t eat. What I served her was calorie dense (added milk, butter, cream, ground almonds, marscapone go everything I could). I also left high calorie snacks out for her to nibble on- eggy bread fingers, avocado etc.
She’s now a reasonable eater- she still has small portions and can go without anything substantial for quite a while but she will now ask for food when hungry and if she really likes something will ask for seconds! And is now just under 9th centile.
Have you tried a bit of reverse psychology? Like “this is mummy’s special chocolate, not for little girls” “well I suppose you can just try a little bit” “would you like daddies special cereal, don’t tell him!”
Also not chocolate with cream, or smoothies and milkshakes with cream. If she likes it, a smoothie with bananas and peanut butter and milk.
It sounds a bit simplistic but cutting food up into interesting shapes did the trick for my DS.
He just grazed really until a few months ago, but using biscuit cutters to make star shaped/gingerbread man sandwiches (filled with things he apparently 'hated') really worked.
We discovered our DCs ate more when we gave them empty plates and putt all of the food in the middle of the table to choose from. It was an amazing difference.
Make sure as an adult you are eating good food, regularly and all sit and eat together as a family. Food should be enjoyed and not a battleground full of stress. Also the sitting and talking together aids their language development.
My daughter is a few months younger than yours and she's still strapped in to eat. We've got a booster seat thing. I find letting her sit at her own little table she won't eat, it's too easy to wander round! We also eat together as much as possible, round the table, no TV.
I only mention it because she seems to be in the minority amongst her peers, most have done away with highchairs etc.
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