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'Toddlers won't starve themselves' - I actually think he might

(47 Posts)
PenelopeChipShop Thu 18-Dec-14 13:59:50

I've probably posted before about my fussy 2.5 yo but things have gone from crap to worse - he used to eat some dinner every day but it had to be a variation on the same format, either pasta or rice with fish in a tomato sauce, and vegetables.

Now even that failsafe is being rejected, and I am left with nothing, yes actually NO MEALS AT ALL that he will touch.

He eats a bit of breakfast - a piece of fruit followed by either cereal or porridge. He usually asks for snacks in the morning and will get either a banana or something 'lunchy' like crackers and cheese so that he isn't filling up on sweet things.

Lunch will be either scrambled eggs, omelette or a snacky mixture of cheese, salad, crackers, houmous, etc. He'll eat a yoghurt afterwards usually and even more fruit.

Dinner he now doesn't eat. Even allowing for the 'take into account what they eat over a week not a day' thing I just don't think he's eating enough.

What to DO?????! I am now serving up a different meal every day in the full knowledge that he won't touch it and will go to bed hungry. I take it away with no comment and no fuss and still offer dessert, so as not to set up a dichotomy of 'good' versus 'treat' foods. Outwardly I am being calm but inside I am screaming.

Has anyone else's been this bad? How long til they crack and try something new? I am getting really desperate. He goes to nursery 2 days a week and won't touch any food there either.

Whereisegg Thu 18-Dec-14 14:25:25

Is he losing weight or crying with hunger?
Tbh, he seems like he eats healthily and I would consider just offering a variation of lunch at dinner time, while making ott yummy noises at whatever you're eating.
Do you think he would pick off your plate if he was sat on your knee?

PenelopeChipShop Thu 18-Dec-14 14:40:47

No, we've recently had the 2-year check with the HV and he's in proportion, on the ninth centile for weight and height so he's fairly delicate looking and some of his trousers are still 18-24 months size but apparently not underweight. However neither DH or I are very tall or big either so some of this is probably genetic. But he's so strong-willed about food, he just won't touch anything he claims not to 'like' - even if it's something he's never tried or previously liked!

I'm glad you don't think it sounds too bad, but I just worry that everything he eats is very 'light', there's nothing substantial. I'm starting to feel guilty when I eat because I feel like he must always be hungry. But he turns down perfectly nice meals every day!!

Pancakeflipper Thu 18-Dec-14 14:47:02

Are you keeping a food diary? I found my DS2 went through phases of eating lots the hardly anything.

My DS2 would eat fish if I shallow fried it. He wouldn't do meat but now loves chicken.
He was very delayed with eating.
It got better when he was about 4 yrs old really. I had to take it as his pace but every week I would try 1 new food with him amongst his favs and this seemed to open up his food choices. It might be worth trying that approach?

RoseTheHat Thu 18-Dec-14 14:56:13

My DD ate similar or less than that at that age. She was "slim" but full of energy and healthy. She's only really started eating full meals since she started school.

I worried at the time but really I think they self-regulate and need less food than we think.

Ineedmorepatience Thu 18-Dec-14 20:43:10

I would say many children live on far less than he is.

I agree with the poster who said offer a similar meal to lunch for tea and you eat what you are going to eat. Still sit at the table and let him see a variety of food, he may or may not try it eventually.

Try not to worry, he wont starve on what he is eating flowers

Madamecastafiore Thu 18-Dec-14 20:44:35

I am amazed by how much he eats through the day. No wonder he doesn't want another evening meal.

Quitelikely Thu 18-Dec-14 20:46:34

Don't worry OP they go through phases. If he is hungry I know for certain he would eat.

My ds if he eats all his lunch he will hardly touch his dinner and vice versa. It's just how they are.

LostMyBaubles Thu 18-Dec-14 20:47:06

Just thought id add that boots do something that helps kids through this phase. Will try and link.
High calorie milkshake for kids.

53Dragon Thu 18-Dec-14 20:49:06

You have nothing to worry about - don't turn mealtimes into battles. He's having loads during the day, his height and weight centiles match.

Ds2 ended up on the 75th centile for height and the 2nd for weight on my 'healthy' diet - the HV told me to start feeding him chicken nuggets! He's 19 now - 6'1" and 11.5 stone. Eats a normal healthy diet. smile

kalidasa Thu 18-Dec-14 20:50:30

Well it's not mammoth (compared to my gannet DS) but it does sound healthy and balanced, perhaps he is just not hungry in the evening at the moment. What does he drink? If milk, he's getting calories etc there too. I think the overall intake sounds fine, but I understand why you worry about going to bed hungry, I would too. If he's sleeping ok though maybe it's not really an issue?

ShootTheMoon Thu 18-Dec-14 20:50:55

I may be missing the point here but can you start to offer some of your normal evening meals at lunch and bump the easy lunch food to the evening?

My DD is just 3 and only recently has started to eat much at all of an evening meal - she has pretty much always eaten more in the mornings and it tapers off through the day.

LostMyBaubles Thu 18-Dec-14 20:51:53

fatterface Thu 18-Dec-14 20:54:10

Sounds like he eats both a reasonable quantity and a reasonable variety so I wouldn't worry too much.

One of my DC is similar - likes "lunchy" food but not cooked meals (although he will eat sausages/meatballs).

Porridge, fruit, crackers, cheese, yoghurt and eggs over a day is not terrible though. I give a vitamin too.

milkwasabadchoice Thu 18-Dec-14 20:57:39

Mine was the same at 2yo. But less even. It was awful, so upsetting. And gradually it got better. Keep offering and don't panic. If he has eaten nothing substantial for several days, offer pbj sandwiches and milk on front of the telly - worked for me! Good luck, hang in there

Thurlow Thu 18-Dec-14 21:00:43

That actually sounds like a reasonable amount of food. It sounds like he's cramming it in in the morning. My 3yo could have porridge for breakfast, a crackery type lunch, and scrambled egg and yoghurt for dinner with a banana at some point as a snack and I'd see that as a reasonable day's food. Generally she only properly eats two meals a day, not three.

NinjaLeprechaun Fri 19-Dec-14 08:35:12

When my sister was that age she would eat peanut butter sandwiches and bananas, and she would drink milk. Anything other than that and she wouldn't touch it.

The doctor actually said that was a perfectly healthy diet for a child. It certainly hasn't had any negative impact on her health as an adult.

mistymorningmemories Fri 19-Dec-14 08:43:29

So he just doesn't eat tea? Sounds like he's getting enough throughout the day. Dd has never been a fan of main meals and prefers picnic / packed lunch style meals.

florentina1 Fri 19-Dec-14 09:21:47

I agree that a lot of toddlers like the picnic type food. My GS usually eats only 2 meals a day. If he is offered fruit or healthy snacks in between he refuses, so clearly does not have a big appetite. I agree with keeping a food diary. We find that he seems to eats well on alternate days.

It is worrying for you but it seems that what you are giving him is healthy.

Petallic Fri 19-Dec-14 09:36:52

My DS1 was very similar and is only just beginning to improve now at 3.3 I nearly fainted the day he asked for an apple after a year of refusing to eat them. I found that putting "new" foods out at lunchtime worked better as he wasn't as tired and then having the more familiar favourites for dinner. We still have some days when he will refuse a whole meal but it's not now every day and the range of foods he is prepared to try is gradually increasing.

tobysmum77 Fri 19-Dec-14 09:36:53

so why don't you think he's eating enough? HV says his growth is fine and he's healthy. He's eating plenty from your op confused

I have a friend who stresses and stresses about her ds being 'skinny' and not eating enough. He looks normal to me..... and he picks up on it and treats it like a game.

Relax, he'll have a growth spurt in a couple of weeks and will start eating his tea again. personally if it was me I would give him less to eat in the day so he was hungrier.

TortoiseInAShell Fri 19-Dec-14 09:38:09

I am quite impressed with what you DO manage to get into him! I think it's unnerving if they arrange their eating habits differently to what we consider to be the norm; but if you write down every mouthful he eats and mentally rearrange the times he eats them, I think you might be pleasantly surprised!

I read that book about "how to get the little blighters to eat" and followed the rules. We're finally seeing some benefit 3 months down the line but I almost gave up a few times because it felt like nothing had changed.

It's a cheap and easy read if you can get your hands on it. If you can't, the basics are; don't make special food for kids, what is on the table is what's on offer and they can take it or leave it- their choice.

Also don't talk about food at the table, make the conversation positive and about something different.

Don't praise good eating or judge poor intake.

Don't offer pudding unless it's yogurt and fruit, except once a week when you can have a sugary treat. But do always offer pudding as though it is part of the main course and never as a reward for eating the main course.

No bribes - ever!

No food in between meals unless it is wholesome and therefore counts as 'proper' food, such as toast or a banana.

Make the rule that they can't say "I don't like it" or "yuck" etc, and in return your rules are never to tell them that they like certain foods so they should eat it. Tastes change, and what they like one week might change the next.

Don't cook their favourites all the time or they will stop liking the favourite because they've had it too much!

Artandco Fri 19-Dec-14 09:44:45

He's eating breakfast, cheese and crackers/ fruit snack, full lunch and extra fruit. That's the equivalent of x3 toddler meals IMO

I would not give a large snack, then give fish/ meat/ veg/ carbs at lunch, and a snacks dinner.

He prob just isn't hungry by evening tbh as that's a fair amount of food, especially crammed into a few hours. In comparison my healthy 3 year old yesterday ate:

Breakfast 9am : porridge with grated apple

Lunch 2pm: seafood and vegetable paella

Dinner 8pm: steak, mash potato, red cabbage, broccoli

All toddler size portions, no snacks

TarkaTheOtter Fri 19-Dec-14 09:49:27

Between 2 and 2.5 my dd would only really eat about 10 foods. No meat or fish (even breaded). No egg. Nothing with sauce or wet or mixed.Cucumber and peas were the only veg.
Now at nearly 3 she eats a pretty varied diet and will eat pretty much all of the things above. I just offered things I knew she would eat about 90% of the time and child friendly versions of new foods the other 10%. For me it wasn't whether she would starve, I wanted her to get enough nutrients to sleep be well. So I did cater to her preferences.

Fletcherl Fri 19-Dec-14 09:50:06

Has he been tested for low iron as this causes poor appetite. You could give a multivitamin with iron anyway.

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