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WIBU not to make my toddler anything for dinner?

(39 Posts)
LoopyLou1981 Tue 20-Mar-18 17:25:25

Disclaimer - I know I would be but I’m losing the will with this at the moment!

My ds is 2.5 and is refusing to eat anything for dinner. I’m sick of preparing decent homemade food only for him to stick his fork or finger in it repeatedly or push it around his plate. I’m even sick of throwing freezer tapas in the oven for 20 minutes only to have the same outcome!
I’ve tried encouraging, bribing, begging and even ended up shouting and in tears in frustration! I don’t know what else to try but he can’t be getting enough nutrition.
His 1 year old sister is clearing her plate and looking at his longingly!
I just don’t see the point in wasting decent food on a meal he won’t eat. I might as well put a piece of bread in front of him. At least when he doesn’t eat that it doesn’t matter.
And rant over! 🙈

ShortandAnnoying Tue 20-Mar-18 17:29:49

Actually you would not be unreasonable to give him something really easy if he is not going to eat much. I'd give him a little sandwich.

Qvar Tue 20-Mar-18 17:30:14

Pick one, perfectly balanced, inoffensive meal that you want him to eat and serve him NOTHING but that for 2 weeks. batch cook it and just serve it up, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Fresh portion each time, but the same meal that you have decided is THE perfectly balanced meal (eg cod, cheesy mashed potato and peas)

Cos what toddlers do, is they redistribute their hunger away from dinner (because vegetables) and onto breakfast ("Yum, beige pap, my favourite!"). Don't ever serve bread or cereal to toddlers if you want any hope of ever serving them anything else. It was a mistake to ever let him see the colour beige - it's like Toddler Crack

chimpandzee Tue 20-Mar-18 17:31:40

Maybe he's not hungry? Too many snacks? I would look at what he's eaten during the day and see if he's had his calories earlier in the day.

lizabes Tue 20-Mar-18 17:32:10

Make something cheap and easy, stick it in front of him and leave him be for a bit while you make yours or read or something.
That's what's worked ime.
The more pressure you put on them to eat the less they want to

KarmaStar Tue 20-Mar-18 17:32:13

A few tasty finger bits he can pick from?
I hear your rant op,perhaps winewhen lo are in bed?

ShortandAnnoying Tue 20-Mar-18 17:32:35

Haha I have the exact opposite advice to Qvar. I'm sticking with my sandwich idea.

LoopyLou1981 Tue 20-Mar-18 17:33:14

Thank you! At least I’m not being completely unreasonable!
I thought chicken nuggets, chips and beans were supposed to be toddler crack?! The little sod (lighthearted!) won’t even eat crap food! 😂
Good idea with the batch cooking. It might be slightly less soul destroying!x

UnicornRainbowColours Tue 20-Mar-18 17:34:48

Hmm can I offer some advice as a nanny of a similar sounding child?

Start down by writing a list of food he likes and will actually eat. For example my fussy toddler will eat pasta.m, fish, sweet potatoes, eggs, tomatoes and avocado without fuss. And soup.

Give him small portions, a child only needs a portion the size of his fist. Try and Make it fun, don’t get cross and cheer every time he takes a mouthful.
give him the food, try to gentley encourage for 30 mins after that remove the foods. No snacks etc he’ll eat eventually.

LoopyLou1981 Tue 20-Mar-18 17:34:55

chimpandzee do you know what the calorie intake should be? It never crossed my mind to check that!x

Camomila Tue 20-Mar-18 17:35:27

Just make something you like, then when he doesn’t eat it you’ve got an extra portion for you grin

MessyBun247 Tue 20-Mar-18 17:35:38

What about making him a normal dinner and just leaving it on the table, moved slightly away from him. Act like you DONT want him to eat it. Sometimes reverse psychology works with toddlers grin

BangPippleGo Tue 20-Mar-18 17:37:17

Agree with PP about just picking one meal. And then stop making a battle out of it. If he eats it then great, if not then he's not hungry. Make sure that the only snacks offered throughout the day are healthy. Give him a vitamin.

My DS is much younger but I would get so stressed out at meal times when he wouldn't eat that it drove me to tears. My mum (who is a senior health visitor) told me to chill the fuck out. Now he is offered a nutritious meal and if he doesn't eat it, it doesn't matter (He's given a small portion and given more if he eats it all). If he doesn't eat it, the remainder goes in the fridge for tomorrow lunch time. He only snacks on bananas and carrots if he's in a phase of not eating his dinner (so no "really yummy" alternative) and is offered a slice of toast before bed if he's hardly eaten.

You may well find that your reaction is spurring him on.

LyannaStarktheWolfMaid Tue 20-Mar-18 17:41:11

Offer food, whatever you are cooking for yourself or DD. Don’t comment, whether he eats it or not. Pretend you are not the slightest bit interested. At the same time it’s helpful to write down everything they eat for a couple of days. I bet you’ll find it’s more than you think, albeit in bites and nibbles!

Uniglo18 Tue 20-Mar-18 17:41:33

I give my dc when they are food refusing a cold picnic plate and that seems to work with super fussy ds. So a plate of cheese, crackers, cold meats and salad seems to be accept. Put it on a party plate and leave it in front of him and see what happens.

LoopyLou1981 Tue 20-Mar-18 17:44:00

Bang your mum sounds brilliant! 😂
Definitely need to calm down.
It doesn’t help that he’s got a speech delay so he can’t say ‘I don’t like this’ or ‘I’m not hungry’ he just plays with it or pushes it away.
Somehow I think I’d find it easier if he could tell me why he’s no eating. Although if it’s ‘your cooking is terrible mum’ it’s tough shit really! 😂

Qvar Tue 20-Mar-18 17:45:21

They need far less food than you think. Like, one of their handfuls a day

Soubriquet Tue 20-Mar-18 17:47:44

My 3 year old tries this to the extent where he will even try to throw the plate. I tell him no! And then go and take the plate away to the kitchen and sit back down.

He then suddenly changes his mind and asks it to be brought back. He then usually eats a good portion of it

BangPippleGo Tue 20-Mar-18 17:49:36

My mum is the best grin food is not worth stressing about with babies and toddlers. If they are hungry they will eat, it's really that simple most of the time. Stick to what you know he likes, variety really doesn't matter at this stage.

greatbigwho Tue 20-Mar-18 17:50:34

Between 2 & 3 I switched meals around, so my toddler's main meal was at lunch time. She dropped her nap before two, and although she didn't need to nap, she was a bit cranky in the evenings, and meals were a real flashpoint. So for tea she could just have sandwiches, pizza slices, picnic style bits that were easy to eat and that I knew she liked and wanted. Her main meal at lunch time was generally left overs from the night before, so took very little effort.

It totally changed how she ate for the better, and made everything so much less stressful.

VileyRose Tue 20-Mar-18 17:51:27

I used to give them the dinner style meal for lunch when less tired and grumpy! That way I didn't feel so bad doing a wrap or something smaller for dinner. Then a small snack like banana before bed.

greatbigwho Tue 20-Mar-18 17:52:12

I also found she was much more willing to try new things at lunch time as well!

chimpandzee Tue 20-Mar-18 17:52:47

loopylou1981 I've seen anything from 1200 being suggested as a calorie intake for a 2 - 3 year old in a day, but if they are very active and not underweight then I would add more to that. And this was going back a few years when my now 8 year old was that age so the advice might have changed a bit since then.

nuttyknitter Tue 20-Mar-18 17:55:48

I feel your pain! Hard as it is, though, the most effective approach is to pretend you don't care. Offer something easy or that you know your DS has eaten in the past, leave it in front of them without comment, and if they refuse simply say 'That's OK. You don't have to eat it' as unemotionally as possible and take it away again. If you don't engage in the game/conflict there's no satisfaction for the toddler in refusing. Good luck!

Bundlesmads Tue 20-Mar-18 18:00:23

It sounds like he’s not hungry. Have you tried feeding him later?

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