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Fussy eater - feeling v stressed!

(6 Posts)
hattieboomboom Wed 19-Oct-11 15:43:47

Just after some advice on dealing with 14 month old DS’s extreme fussiness over food. I’m sure this is one of the most common problems shared on Mumsnet but its driving me mad nonetheless.

He doesn’t have a very big appetite, and that I can deal with. But it’s the refusal to properly try food that I find hardest. The only things he gobbles up are bread or toast, fruit, and yogurt. So I try to put proper things on the toast, like avocado (which he likes), sometimes with tiny amounts of mashed beans or hidden bits of chicken, cheese and tomato, sometimes a tiny amount of ham, or some baked beans, but these toppings do make him less willing to eat. The only proper meals he will eat a decent amount of are pasta with my home made tomato and veg blended sauce, with cheese on top, and a thing I make with sweet potato, red lentil and broccoli, again with cheese on top. And he loves peas – he’ll eat a bowl full of them. But I struggle to get him to eat decent amounts of anything else, even if he hasn’t eaten for four hours and I know he’s hungry. One mouthful takes away the hunger then he just isn’t interested and wants to get down.

I don’t give snacks as I want him to be hungry at mealtimes. When he refuses food, I try not to give in and immediately make him something else I know he’ll eat, as I want him to learn he’s got to eat what he’s given. The other evening, when I knew he was hungry, I made him cheese and ham pasta (which all children love don’t they?!) I touched the spoon to his mouth so he got a taste of it, but he refused to eat any of it. So I got him out of the highchair so he’d realise it was that or nothing. He cried and acted as though he wanted to be put back in his highchair, and then got distracted by something and played for 20mins or so, before remembering he was hungry. So I put him back in his highchair and he sat waiting whilst I brought out the same dish, but exactly the same happened. So I got him down again and he was so upset that I went into the kitchen to cook a load of peas, which I mixed cheese and ham pasta into. He ate the lot. I know there was nothing about the taste or texture of the cheese and ham pasta that he didn’t like – he likes cheese on other things and likes pasta, and there was only the tiniest amount of ham in it. It’s as if he didn’t recognise what I giving him, or couldn’t see any of his favourite things in the food so refused on those grounds.

He’s ok with finger food, but won’t eat much that way, unless its bits of toast etc. He seems to prefer to be spoon fed. He won’t eat fish fingers, he won’t eat omelette or scrambled egg, he won’t even eat pieces of cheese. He won’t eat fish pie or anything else with mashed potato on it, although he will eat sauté potato or chips. He won’t eat pasta with salmon/cheese/broccoli. He won’t eat rice dishes (but he will eat rice pudding).

Breakfast is fine – usually porridge with mashed banana, marmite on toast or fruit.

I try to eat with him sometimes, but it isn’t usually practical and even if I could do it more I don’t think it would help anyway, as he’s exactly the same at nursery where he refuses to eat whilst sitting with other children who are eating. I don’t think its teething as he’s just always been a fussy bugger and I haven’t noticed a pattern to it. He does have a lot of teeth though for his age, so I guess he’s been almost constantly teething for the last 8 months. Could this be a factor? As for milk, he has 5oz in the morning and 7oz at bedtime. So pretty sure I’m not filling him up on that.

Does anybody have any advice, or does anybody have a child that used to be like this and grew out of it? It would be so nice to know it’s probably a phase that he will grow out of, as I find it so incredibly stressful. Or, am I totally overeacting as this is quite normal?! Also, he’s getting fussier than he used to so if anybody has any advice for nipping this in the bud then I’d be most grateful.

Thanks in advance.

Dizzle Wed 19-Oct-11 19:16:54

I have a fussy DS who is now 2.5, he ate everything through the weaning stage and the closed right down on what he'd eat. It drives me crazy but the best advice I've been given is to try putting new things on the plate, don't make any fuss but praise the good eating behaviour... Not easy tho!

Dizzle Wed 19-Oct-11 19:31:09

Oh, and you can make a food diary, sometimes they eat more than you think and also they may eat loads one day and not too much the next couple, but if you evenit out things aren't as bad as you think. So long as he's healthy and putting on weight, he's ok. Apparently toddlers won't starve themselves...

PacificDogwood Wed 19-Oct-11 20:49:48

He is 14 months - give him time.
It sounds like he is getting a range of flavours/textures. Apparently some children will need to be offered a new food 9 to 12 times before they will accept it.

If you can explain to me why after 3 'good' eaters, I seem to have produced a child who Will Not Under Any Circumstances eat anything of a vegetable/fruit nature, I'd be very grateful... confused

Do not let food become a battle field - offer, if he eats fine, if he doesn't, don't fret and move on.

A wise woman once said to me "no healthy child has ever starved in the presence of food.". So true.

Iggly Wed 19-Oct-11 20:56:17

Er why don't you give snacks? They are important for toddlers - you can't starve them into eating. Plus they can make them more likely to try things. Sounds counter intuitive but if I'm starving hungry and haven't eaten between meals, I really really don't want to eat anything new or different. I just want my usual (because being hungry makes me grumpy and in need of comfort).

You're making food and mealtimes too much of a battle IMO. he's so little.

With DS, I've always given two snacks a day (or milk) plus three meals. We eat meals together when we can. This is the time that DS will try new things - if they're on my plate. He eats a varied diet - much like me, we have the same sorts of things every week with the odd new thing. As long as his diet is balanced, I don't mind - it's more important that he eats properly as opposed to a huge variety. He does eat a wide range - and has his favourites as we all do.

Iggly Wed 19-Oct-11 20:57:44

DS is 2 by the way.

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