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Nightmare every mealtime!!

(12 Posts)
bluesmile10 Thu 06-Oct-11 20:26:30

16 mo ds is a nightmare every mealtime to feed. He won't eat unless he has toys, books or some kind of distraction on his highchair and it's getting worse. He points and cries for another and another and will refuse food until he has something. How do I stop this? I can't let him go hungry! He has also started to eat a few mouthfuls of a meal and then start spitting out, even with food that he has been eating for ages! Is this just a phase or how do I stop it?

Iggly Thu 06-Oct-11 20:36:40

Tired? What times are you feeding him?

RitaMorgan Thu 06-Oct-11 20:42:20

If my 14 month old starts spitting food out I take it to mean he's finished! Sometimes he barely wants anything, but that's fine - he won't starve.

I would get rid of all the distractions. If he doesn't want to eat, get him down and let him go and play, try again in half an hour. If he really doesn't want anything then let him wait til the next snack/meal time. I'm of the "I provide the food, up to you if you eat it" school of thought when it comes to mealtime shenanigans though grin

ChippingIn Thu 06-Oct-11 20:47:51

Do not give him any toys/books etc at meal times, meal times are for eating. If he doesn't want to eat he can get down. He will not starve himself. Most people are also very suprised by how little small children actually need to eat.

You could look at what you are giving him - are you giving him things that you need to feed him or are you giving him food he can eat by himself? It's much better to give him things he can eat himself (whatever the rest of you are having) and let him get on with it, just ignore how much he is or isn't eating and if he starts shouting/crying/carrying on - ask him if he's finished and if he is clean him up and let him go and play. DO NOT make a fuss if he eats or doesn't eat.

Repeats HE will NOT starve himself.

menopausemum Thu 06-Oct-11 20:49:05

Try breaking the routine. Habits form easily so to break them its easier if you can change the whole set up. Try feeding him in another room. If that's not possible try him on a booster seat up to the table (I know that might be difficult). If you can't change any of the other parts of the meal routine then I would suggest you follow RitaMorgan's advice and get rid of all lthe distractions and keep trying him again every half hour or so. Make sure only healthy food is on offer. If he can fill up on snacks whilst playing then you will struggle more to get him to eat at meal times. Plus - this really is just a phase, very annoying but it will pass. Remember you are the adult, you are in charge and it's up to you to set the rules. Good Luck

bluesmile10 Thu 06-Oct-11 20:51:53

Iggly, breakfast is about half 7 (that's the most successful meal), lunch is around 1 and tea is around half 5. We had been having tea earlier but he never seemed really hungry so we made it a little later.

bluesmile10 Thu 06-Oct-11 20:55:39

Thank u ritamorgan, chippingin and menopausemum, think I worry too much that he's not eating and therefore I should worry less and definitely break the habit!

Iggly Thu 06-Oct-11 20:59:06

So prob not tired then. Maybe eat with him and as the others say, relax a bit but demonstrate that meal times don't require extra entertainment.

shuckleberryfinn Thu 06-Oct-11 21:11:11

It is most likely just one of those phases, as long as he remains healthy and doesn't drastically lose weight I really wouldn't panic. My 6 year old is a human dustbin ( it's not unusual for him to have 3 teas and several snacks between school and bed) and he went through this. I left his plate out on the coffee table until the next meal, didn't make a big deal of it and chucked away what was left. Dont know if thats any help to you?

CheeseAndBunion Fri 07-Oct-11 13:52:35

I was about to post exactly this so thank you bluesmile. My 19 month old is literally unbearable at mealtimes and I have just been in tears after another disastrous episode. I also have a 4 year old so the mealtime dramas end up affecting us all. I know that all the advice above is right and I am going to try my hardest to follow it, but can I just ask, do any of you have any tips about how to stay calm at mealtimes? I find it so hard to just ignore the fuss he makes - pushing the plate away, spitting food out, crying when the plate comes near, moaning for toys, other food etc (none if which he actually wants). How do I just relax and let it wash over me better?

menopausemum Fri 07-Oct-11 18:10:20

I doubt there is any good way to make yourself ignore it. Many years ago after yet another horrendous bedtime for 1yr old twins and 2yr old dd my husband snapped 'for God's sake, you teach this, you should be able to sort it out!. You can imagine my response! However after a period of not speaking we sat down and talked about how to handle it. I knew all the theory - yes I was teaching behaviour management - but was reacting to their behaviour without really thinking about how best to handle it. Things got much better after that. Try planning your line of attack and getting any other adults or older children in on the act as well. If you can see it as a 'project' (probably wrong word) then you might be able to keep a sense of perspective.

mrsrvc Fri 07-Oct-11 18:39:56

There is obviously something in the air! I am also having a nightmare with my nearly 17mo. He used to eat everything and anything and suddenly he is refusing most food. I am probably a bit bad about the snacks ( but they are almost always fruit with the odd digestive biscuit...). Also he has some teeth coming through so that is probably not helping. But like your lo he tries a bit then starts spitting it out, or just upends the bowl onto the floor. Other times he just looks at the food and picks it up to give to me while shaking his head. Very disheartening...

I had wondered if it was that I have been giving his boring food, but I have tried some old favourites like curry, and sausages and tbh he wont even eat them. I have no idea how to get any veg into him.. Maybe its time for some vitamins...

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