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18 month old is just getting messier with eating. I am getting really upset now.

(14 Posts)
Pavlovthecat Sun 29-May-11 18:57:12

Both my children have been (are) messy eaters. I guess it is our fault (DH and mine), as we have been quite lax with discipline, compared to some of those we know at the table from the outset, DD was baby-led wean, we wanted her to learn textures etc, so did not stop her picking food up with hands as a baby, let her do it. She learnt to use spoon/fork etc very young but preferred to use her hands. We did try to get her to eat properly and have always tried to address it, but so it seems not enough, we were not prepared for a battle at mealtimes, and figured she would develop manners eventually, by copying us. We mostly eat together. She was notorious for leaning out of her chair and trying to eat my food. Mostly, she is eating ok, though not the tidiest eater in the world.

DS - We have done baby-led and mush, he has been messy, been fed and fed himself and come out of it to some extent less messy than DD was, so we thought. He has mastered spoon and fork easily, VERY independent with eating, dislikes being fed.

Just as we thought he was starting to feed himself without much mess. He now refuses to be fed AT ALL. He will spoon a bit himself, but now insists on using his hands. For Everything. We cannot cut up food or else he chucks in on the floor. When he has had enough he chucks it on the floor. When he is bored, he chucks in on the floor. He tips his water into his food, smears food onto and all over himself and his chair. He feeds himself with fists full of porridge or whatever else we are eating. He is not upset during this time, he does it quite methodically, purposefully. Sometimes he chucks his food just because he can. More than DD ever did. He has 2-3 baths a day, bibs don't work, and we are just cleaning the floor and him constantly. He often laughs, but we respond sternly, and even DD no longer laughs at him, and often he does not laugh when he does it now.

We are literally reaching the end of our tether, 3 meals and 2 snacks, that is 5 times a day the kitchen, and our boy are both minging. Often we are too.

HELP!

MissHonkover Sun 29-May-11 19:40:21

Blimey, that sounds hardcore. I'm sure someone with better advice than me will be along in a minute (DD is only 11.5 months, but is/was BLW so I'm very well acquainted with floor cleaning).

Have you tried giving less in terms of snacks between meals? DD always eats with more purpose if she's truly hungry, rather than just a bit peckish. Her playing with her food is an indication to us that she's had enough to eat. (When I say 'playing', I'm talking about sweeping the contents onto the floor with her forearms, or dropping stuff absentmindedly onto the floor, rather than the 'exploring textures' stuff.)

I know this isn't a permanent solution, but how about giving less messy food for a bit just to give you some respite? Drier finger food that won't stick to clothes, chair etc.

Good luck, sounds like it's getting you down.

Pavlovthecat Mon 30-May-11 08:21:22

misshonkover problem with no sludge, he eats toast and porridge for breakfast, he eats a LOT, if we only gave him toast, he would complain, I did this yesterday in fact as I was doing pancakes a bit later, and he just wondered around going 'eat eat eat'. He did eat all of it, just with his fists, then threw the bowl and spoon on the floor. Also, he eats what we eat, so the no messy food is not always possible. But I guess we will not be cutting up his food now!

I recall a friend of mine removing bowls etc from her child when she did this, and removing her from the table immediately, and then her child learnt that this is what she did when she had enough food. Often, DS will pass us his plate/bowl when finished, and it is that bit we want to encourage.

We can reduce snacks but he gets very hungry. He does not drink milk so we need to ensure he eats enough other food. And while he throws it on the floor he also eats. We will maybe give him less at a time and he can ask for more.

supadupapupascupa Mon 30-May-11 08:30:03

big sympathies!

the only comment i wanted to make is that you said you bath him 2 or 3 times a day....

are you sure he's not retaliating about not being allowed to get dirty? It seems excessive to me to be kept that clean.

Pavlovthecat Mon 30-May-11 08:44:02

suda we only chuck him in the bath/shower to get the grime off due to ease. Honestly, porridge is not easy to get off him or his hair with wetwipes or flannel !

Although, maybe, he is wanting to get dirty so he has a bath? he does love a good splash!

I can honestly say that my children are not excessively clean. If you saw them, you would not think that grin

wolfhound Mon 30-May-11 08:59:21

DS2 was a bit like this. DS1 was a fairly tidy eater and happy to sit in his high chair. DS2 refused his high chair from about 13 months, would only kneel up on a normal kitchen chair, would only feed himself and made a horrible mess all the time. Like yours, he wanted porridge which was hugely messy. He also refused to wear a bib. And he would wander around the table once he'd finished eating though everyone else was still sitting and eating. Drove me (slightly) mad. But I took it as his desire to catch up with DS1, so put up with it.

Now DS2 is nearly two, it's much better. He still does all these things but he's a lot less messy. In fact, funnily, he's got very fastidious and when he gets food on his hands/clothes he flaps his hands at me and demands they are wiped straight away. His attention span for staying on his chair is improving. I think if you hang in there it will get better. Stick to a minimum of rules that you can keep him to (mine include, no eating anywhere other than at the kitchen table, wiping hands and face before leaving table area, any silly playing with food (like pouring water into it) and food/drink gets removed from his reach etc.)

DC3 is on the way. If he/she is like DS2, my plan is to put him/her in an oversized t-shirt before meals, which will hopefully catch the worst of it (and is somehow less objectionable than a bib to little people).

Good luck.

wolfhound Mon 30-May-11 08:59:58

p.s. I have also rather often let ds2 go out with a porridge-encrusted face...

Pavlovthecat Mon 30-May-11 09:01:47

wolfhound good that it is not just us! but shock that he still does it! I say shock but DD took ages to get sorted with it.

We do not allow eating in any room other than the kitchen. relatively new rule as food just gets everywhere. Keeping the house much cleaner!

Good luck with DC3! hope he or she is cleaner for you grin

Pavlovthecat Mon 30-May-11 09:02:48

oh yes, dirty face. DS has often done the school run with DD and DH with a bit of porridge still encrusted in his eyebrow as DH did not see it. Sometimes it is still there when i get home from work at 1pm grin

KenDoddsDadsDog Mon 30-May-11 09:09:11

DD is going through a similar phase at 17 months. Not as extreme but the throwing food thing is identical. We have bought her one of those plastic painting smocks from ikea which covers her entirely. My friend also passed on a bowl which doesn't spill snacks if it is thrown.
At nursery they are doing a lot of exploring textures. So they get squirty cream, a tray of rice pudding, tray of pasta etc and are allowed to have a good explore. Maybe that would satisfy his need for smearing and feeling?

sprinkles77 Mon 30-May-11 09:35:14

My DS is the same. At home he eats in just his nappy, and if we're out he has a bib with sleeves. I stick him in the kitchen sink if he's really filthy after a meal, but only one bath a day. He usually still has breakfast in his hair at bath time. The only time I make a real effort to get him clean is if we are meeting someone judgey, like my grandma, ILs or the GP. If it's warm enough I feed him outside the back door so I don't need to clean the floor. Inside the cat eats cleans up a lot of the mess, and the rest I wipe with kitchen towel. Occasionally I use the free local paper to cover the floor. Agree with Pavlov, no eating ouside the kitchen. Also have an easy to clean Ikea high chair. It's so irritating isn't it?

sprinkles77 Mon 30-May-11 09:36:41

Oh, and OP, try not to get upset... I know easier said than done, but it makes no difference. I'm banking on an improvement at some point too!

MissHonkover Mon 30-May-11 14:01:20

Interesting what your friend discovered about removing the bowl from her baby, OP. I'd never considered that by taking her food away once she stops eating it we could be lining up trouble! grin

Lisatheonewhoeatsdrytoast Mon 30-May-11 14:05:01

We went through similar with our DS now 2.5, we did as others advised removed bowl etc, never let him eat out the kitchen and in a high chair (he still is)
Don't worry though my DS has only in the last couple of months grown out of it and realises its not right, if he has a hissy fit now and again he'll attempt it, but as soon as we remove the bowl/plate and cutlery he stops and asks for his dinner back smile

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