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3 year old dd won't eat

(13 Posts)
Madallie Tue 06-Jan-15 13:30:39

I'm getting really frustrated and worrued about my dd who has just turned 3. She has always been a fussy eater but eaten enough variety where I thought it just acceptable to get by but in the last 6ish months things have just got worse and worse and I don't know what to do or how to progress from here.

In fact I think (know) I'm handling it all wrong as I keep getting cross with her about it, saying she can't do/have certain things e.g. Tv time, dessert if she doesn't eat her dinner (or at least some of each thing on her plate). She is very strong willed though as many toddlers are and doesnt back down which usually ends in us all getting upset. I just don't know what to do.

This is a list of the things she will now eat:
Rice crispies - no other cereal (tried loads)
Chicken
Broccoli
Cauliflower (but only a couple of mouthfuls of both these veg)
Gravy on veg but no other sauce
Fish fingers or fish in parsley sauce not plain fish
Breaded chicken
Toast and margarine
Breadsticks ((sometimes)
Fruit - only raisins strawberries, blueberries and raspberries
Boiled egg - but only the yoke
Yogurt

This is the extent of what she will eat now. Of course left to her own devices she'll eat cake, sweets and ice cream but she only has these as treata or on special occasions so it's not like she s filling up on Junk food or anything or that she knows she'll have these foods so doesn't bother with other foods.

I'm just really worried about her health but also why she seems to have such a phobia of eating or trying new foods and why she goes off food she has previously eaten.

Does anyone have any advise at all?

ChippyTuesday Tue 06-Jan-15 13:50:55

This thread above could be written about my 3yo DS. If I put anything else down in front of him he will flatly refuse to try it, eg, turkey etc at Christmas, steak pie at NY. He just says 'yuck' and will cry that it's horrible hmm I've just bought the mumsnet cookbook from Amazon in the hope that if I try and involve him in cooking it may help. Other than that I'm open to any suggestions!

Madallie Tue 06-Jan-15 14:02:23

Thanks chippy. I'm not alone at least but it's horrible isn't it? What to you do about food for him tho? I got into the habit of giving dd what I think she is most likely to eat (from the healthier options) rather than just making a meal e.g sbag Bol, lasagne, stir fry, casserole etc because I know she will just refuse it. I hate doing this but at least she's having a relatively healthy option and eating something. I want to stop this and just give her the meal I'm cooking but im so worried about the upset this will cause and that she went eat. I just feel so lost as to what to do. 11 month old dd eats anything an everything and I though once she started eating family foods that it would encourage dd1 to but it has made. I difference at all. ����

ChippyTuesday Tue 06-Jan-15 14:37:53

My elder ds was the same as this, if it's any consolation. I've found the older he gets, the more likely he is to try new things (under the guise that he can then eat them at school dinners with his friends as he knows what they taste like now) He's now 6 and turning into a good eater, although he still has his moments, inc a meltdown over trying some bliddy mint ice cream hmm If you find the magic answer then please let me know! At the moment I'm taking consolation in the fact that he eats veg & fruit, and I've been giving him a vitamin supplement to help him along. He also used to eat homemade soup and is now refusing that too sad

Midorichan Tue 06-Jan-15 15:23:21

I think they go through phases - mine now only eats rice balls, sometimes broccoli, sometimes some Cheerios, twiglets, sometimes a tiny bite of our toast, sometimes a tiny bit of baby corn, and miso soup. Oh, and pizza base. That's it! I compensate by giving him soy milk on occasion (for the protein), and making sprinkles for the rice balls made from salmon. I'm not too worried though - I figured if he gets hungry enough he'll eat more one day but for now it's not too bad. There was a kid who only ate jam sandwiches! The doctor apparently said he was somehow getting all the nutrients he needed...

Jaffakake Tue 06-Jan-15 21:26:38

Have you tried cooking with dd? I've found that in picky phases when we cook with ds he's pretty certain to eat it.

We've made tomato pasta sauce with hidden veggies and pizza with a choice of toppings.

AmericasTorturedBrow Wed 07-Jan-15 19:46:25

My DD is the same. We've bought "How to get the little Blighters to eat" which is very short, very simple, and trying to follow it. DD is at least now trying food whereas before she refused to. You basically let them have control over whether they eat - you choose what is bought and cooked and put in front of them, after that it's up to them. If they want to eat it, they can, if they don't then they don't. Don't enter into any discussion, positive or negative, about food. Don't praise them for eating something, don't threaten or bribe if they don't, just put it in front of them.

DD has gone to bed with pretty much no food the last few nights but she has at least tried some food (I've bent the rules slightly and if she does eat something I much later on give her a banana before bed, but I don't say to her thats what I'm doing), and I make sure I do her lunches full of things I know she'll eat. She never has a huge appetite in the evening anyway but hoping to make some progress - apparently it can take months with some Little Blighters wink

DS was very fussy aged 18months til 3 when he gradually started trying more, he's now 6 and a brilliant eater - he'll try anything and consequently I trust him if he says he doesn't like it, he just grew out of his fussiness. DD is much more headstrong, hence the intervention

addictedtosugar Wed 07-Jan-15 20:01:37

OK, its restrictive, but there are bits of all food groups in there.
Will she take milk on the rice krispies?

If it was me, I'd put something on her plate from the "will eat" and a small amount of something that the rest of you are eating - but not touching.

I'd then let her eat what she wants off the plate, and when the rest of you have finished, check she has "DD, do you want anything else on your plate?", and clear up.

Ignore (however much you are panicking) quite how much she has / hasn't eaten, and stop all the non related threats. Eat or not, but you still get the TV.

Would she take a multi vit is your worried about the micro-nutrient content?
If she is active, and not loosing weight, she is taking in enough calories.
I know 2 boys, very similar in age and size. One eats masses, one seems to live on air, but they are both healthy. Some people just need less food than others.

Bangonthedoor Wed 07-Jan-15 22:34:27

So relieved to see this thread, thanks OP! I really lost my temper with DD this evening at dinner time due to the fussiness, the spitting it back out, the not wanting to eat it etc etc... hmm

My reactions so far have been completely wrong and I know that, not eating is the only behavioural thing I can't manage or cope with at least, it drives me insane!

Liking the advice of ignoring it all though and just taking the plate away when they've had enough...might start trying it.

DD gets constipated really easily though so I do worry about her not getting enough fruit and veg.

Goldmandra Wed 07-Jan-15 23:13:51

im so worried about the upset this will cause and that she went eat.

Why are you so worried about it? Unless your child is very under weight, missing a meal or two will do no harm.

Follow the advice from Americas above.

It is not your job to decide how much of what goes in your child's mouth.

You decide what food to make available to your child. You put it in front of them or, even better, allow them to serve themselves from a bowl on the table and you leave them to it.

Every time you get cross or anxious, every time you encourage one more mouthful, bribe or reward her, you are putting pressure on her to eat. You are trying to make her put something in her mouth that her body is telling her not to.

Your DD has her own inbuilt systems to regulate her calorie intake. She doesn't need you to do it for her if she is offered a balanced diet.

From now on, you cook the food, whether it's food she likes or something she isn't keen on. Put it down and step back. Don't watch her eating. Don't ask her to try anything. Don't offer bribes or praise. Don't even mention the food. Do sit and eat your own meal with her and talk about everything under the sun apart from food.

When the meal is over, ask her if she has finished and, if she says yes, accept that 100% and take her plate away without comment. Offer the next course or get her down from the table as you see fit.

Don't offer snacks between meals and remember that if she is actually hungry at a mealtime, the food will be more attractive and palatable to her. This will help her to enjoy her food and is not cruel.

ChippyTuesday Thu 08-Jan-15 12:28:38

Thanks for that Americas - I've just ordered it off Amazon, and if any of you want to try a god simple cookbook, the mumsnet one is fab. Not all for kids too, and the recipes seem really straightforward.

Madallie Sat 10-Jan-15 21:26:42

Thanks Americas and gold, I really appreciate your replies. I will really try to take your advice and and can see how this is definitely for the best. Thanks again.

Goldmandra Sat 10-Jan-15 23:42:43

Good luck Madallie.

I know from personal experience how hard this is.

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