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Table behaviour of 16 mth old... Advice needed from experienced!

(11 Posts)
duffly Wed 12-Oct-11 13:24:08

Hi there

I'm a first time mum to a 16 month girl. I'm a bit isolated right now from my family and friends with older children (living abroad temporarily) and really need some reassurance/advice/anecdotes....

My daughter USED to eat anything that was put in front of her. This is no longer... And now everything that she won't eat (most things) is either shoved down the crack (no matter how close we get her to the table) between her high chair tray and the table or flung across the room. This is preceded by her cutlery which she WAS attempting to use herself but no longer. And all of this is followed by her plate and sticky mat that (sort of) holds said plate down.

Any suggestions of what is the best response to this? My feeling at the start was just to ignore, try to stay calm and take everything away when the flinging/squashing started and just offer her her dessert. It is getting worse in that the chucking and dumping and mashing is getting more aggressive and single minded where it used to be quite sort of calm - almost like watching the food fall was interesting. Hopefully that makes sense!!

She's also getting to be really whiny and clingy and other weirdness is starting but I'll save that for another post as right now (post lunch) it's not exactly as pressing as that 3m dia circle of rejected food. At least it's the vegetables that she is eating. I'm trying my best to keep believing that she won't starve herself to death...

Thanks for any advice/comments!

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Wed 12-Oct-11 13:30:17

I think your original approach of staying calm and ignoring as much as possible was the right one. I know it's hard though! My dd is 20mo, and sometimes she eats well, other times she goes through phases of just throwing and mashing her food around. There's not a lot you can do at this age to encourage them to eat, and the last thing you want is to make it into an issue. And I think all toddlers go through phases where they eat barely anything with no ill effects.

Sounds like there might be something else up with the being clingy and whiny though - could she be teething? I know my dd suffered a lot when her molars were coming through.

BranchingOut Wed 12-Oct-11 13:34:16

We had a long, long food throwing phase and it finally stopped at about 23 months. It seemed as if he was going to do it forever, then he began to get interested in seeing his bowls/spoons taken to the sink and started asking us to do that instead of throwing them on the floor!

Try to praise her for the opposite eg. talk about putting things on the table.
Cover her lap with a towel or muslin
Get a suction bowl
Cover the floor with newspaper.

tinkerbelleworkshop Wed 12-Oct-11 13:43:57

My DD is 16 months too and doing all the above!!!
Sorry, no ideas, just feel your pain x

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Wed 12-Oct-11 14:10:06

Oh yes, I second what branchingOut says about suction bowl. Makes it much much easier to just ignore.

Iggly Wed 12-Oct-11 14:14:49

DS's dietician said it's common around that age for them to lose interest, appetite falls etc.

Ignore, eat with her and give decent snacks throughout the day - toddlers do better with proper snacks (fruit is not filling IMO, unless a banana) and smaller meals than big meals and rubbish snacks (rice cakes spring to mind)!

She could be teething or she could be hungry hence clingy. Bit as I said above, making her wait for a big proper meal won't work as toddlers need regular high energy food intake!

Firsttimer7259 Wed 12-Oct-11 14:25:58

Don't panic on the food front. Just keep offering and try not to fuss. If shes chucking it about bit time then dont keep giving her food (as shes not eating it so not hungry). So offer her main course, veggies, drink, move on to her yoghurt/dessert/fruit. If shes not eating pack up, dont comment. She wont starve herself. Try not to compensate with ever bigger snacks or more milk.

In terms of clingyness there is a separation anxiety spike between 15-17 months. So reassure and grit your teeth, hopefully she will get over it soon.

It sounds like you are doing the right things. Is she upset otherwise, could anything be wrong teeth, ears, anything? Have her checked over by GP if you are worried you might be missing something physically wrong

Firsttimer7259 Wed 12-Oct-11 14:29:51

PS I do tend to give her milk rather than water when she has little for her meal but try not to give huge amounts of milk so it interferes with appetite.

In terms of being worried look at her, not her food intake: is she happy and healthy looking? is she gaining weight along her centile curve? If these are OK there is no reason to interfere with how she's feeding herself.

gingercurl Wed 12-Oct-11 14:52:06

Someone said to me that rather than looking at what they eat over a day, look at what they eat over a week as that gives a better indication of how much they eat and of what. She suggested that I should keep a food diary for a while as they often eat more and better than we tend to think!

amyboo Wed 12-Oct-11 15:39:58

Thank god I'm not alone. you could be describing my 18 month old DS! Up until about a month ago he ate everything and anything we gave him. He now happily tuips the plate over, throws things on the floor, mashes food into the high-chair tray and any number of other irritating things! He'll sometimes eat, sometimes he won't. I'm quite bad at staying calm, but I guess that's the best thing to do...

duffly Thu 13-Oct-11 12:58:55

Thanks folks! It's comforting to know I'm not alone smile

FruitSalad: Teething is a likely cause. I had ample oppurtunity to have a good look at the state of the chompers today mid-screech and can confirm that half a giant molar has come through. And where there's one...

BranchingOut: So possibly another 6/7 months of cleaning scrambled eggs off the wall etc. Awesome. She eats in a raincoat (big plastic bib with sleeves), in a highchair on top of a sheet. I might start taping newspaper to the wall though smile. And I've got suction plates/bowls but I need to keep a close eye on her as she has worked out how to detach them.

Tinkerbelle: Thanks smile

Iggly: She has 3 meals a day and 2 good snacks. The quality of the food is not a concern to me. The only thing I've found so far that she won't eat is brussel sprouts which is understandable.

Firsttimer: I do tend to just give her one chance. Once it's gone it's gone and she certainly hasn't wasted away yet! I only give milk during meals and as part of her afternoon snack as I consider it food. Her only other drink is water. She IS happy and healthy looking with loads of energy - I KNOW inside that she is fine but there is another part of me that wants her to eat 3 big meals. I've just had her ears checked as she had a nasty ear infection courtesy of the local swimming pool and they're fine - My money's on teething. I'll just keep giving her lots of cuddles smile

Gingercurl: Also it can be quite hard to see the true amount of what's gone in when the remainder is spread over the diningroom? That is a good suggestion though.

Amyboo: It drives me bonkers too! I hope I appear calm on the outside when handfuls are lobbed across the room and I'm racing to get the rest of the potential missiles off her while chirping away about 'how it is so lovely that she tells mummy when she's all full up' grin

Again... Thanks everyone for your kind replies. Looks like I'm on the right track anyway... Just perservere...


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