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3 year old on hunger strike - getting desperate

(12 Posts)
ThinkAboutItTomorrow Wed 01-Jul-15 09:28:21

DD is tiny. She's always been tiny and we aren't exactly big so it is probably normal but she won't eat with her nanny and I'm getting really worried.

It has been going on weeks now - she eats breakfast with us but then nothing at lunch or dinner. It leaves her tired and fractious.

We have talked to her directly about it (as far as you can with a 3 year old) and she says that she doesn't like eating with her nanny because she want mummy and daddy.

Beyond this she is happy with her nanny and seems to love nursery each morning. She eats plenty at breakfast.

We have tried ignoring it - but not very successfully - we struggle to fully ignore as it worries us so much. So even if we ignore it we end up saying 'no you can't have a snack because you didn't eat your tea'. We end up giving her a very plain sandwich after we pick her up, with no snacks or treats. Because we can't put her to bed hungry. We do this at the table as a meal because we feel like some of it is to do with her finding meals boring.

We are thinking now of trying the GP but I'm pretty sure it's not medical as she eats for us. I think she has picked up on the fact it worries us and is using it for attention.

What do we do?

MrsAukerman Wed 01-Jul-15 09:33:44

So she is having dinner, just not at the time and location you'd like? Sorry, not trying to be an arse just comes naturally but your post is a bit confusing. I read it as she has a large breakfast and a small dinner with no lunch. Is that right? Do you prepare the food for lunch? Could you prepare her lunch with her and propose that it's a snack box for while you're not there? Make it lots of small healthy snacks so she can pick at it through the day then just give her a larger dinner at home later?

ThinkAboutItTomorrow Wed 01-Jul-15 10:25:13

She is sitting at the lunch and dinner tables either refusing to eat or filling her mouth and then refusing to swallow or spit it out.

Then we end up giving her a sandwich at 7pm instead of her having time to play before bed.

It seems such a waste and I don't want her to get into the bad habit of not eating main meals.

Greenrememberedhills Wed 01-Jul-15 10:27:43

Give her the same meal as the nanny does at 7? At least that way you can eliminate that it's an issue about type of food?

Seeline Wed 01-Jul-15 10:29:39

Does she eat all her meals at the weekends?
What food is her nanny giving her - is it the same sort of thing that she gets for meals at home?
Would she eat something less formal during the day - eg more snacks (healthy), or perhaps not sitting at table?
Are there other children about when she has her meals - I always found my difficult eater ate better when in the company of others children.

ThinkAboutItTomorrow Wed 01-Jul-15 10:30:04

It's a nanny share so a bit unfair on the other girl if my DD gets some sort of special lunch.

The nanny preps decent healthy meals which she was eating mostly until a few weeks ago.

ThinkAboutItTomorrow Wed 01-Jul-15 10:32:49

Yes she eats at weekends. Bit of a faff as she tends to mess about but she eats. When she eats with us it's pretty healthy and balanced.

Even if it is pasta pesto or something that is the same whoever makes it she refuses to touch it.

It's a nanny share and the other child eats anything and everything.

BertrandRussell Wed 01-Jul-15 10:41:10

Is she losing weight? Does she have plenty of energy? If no and yes, then try to stop worrying about it. Tell the nanny just to serve her her meals, then take them away without comment when everyone else has finished whether she's eaten or not. If she's hungry in the evening give her a supper of some fruit and a sandwich and a glass of milk. No comment, no emotion- sit and chat about the day while she eats it. The more important you make it the more important it will become- if you see what I mean. Back right off. Be cheerful and matter of fact and ask the nanny to do the same. And repeat- "it's a phase"

Kewcumber Wed 01-Jul-15 10:51:24

I think you have to continue to ignore it as best you can.

She wants you there, thats understandable but it isn't going to happen and she needs to learn that trying to control you via food isn't going to work.

You need to repeat that Mummy and Daddy need to work Mon-Fri so can't eat with her during the day then (and keep repeating until she understands) and give her the most boring food you can think of at 7pm.

I don;t think the GP will do anything and as it's only been a few weeks then I can;t even say its a food disorder yet.

My DS went for weeks and weeks eating very little regularly (then eating like a horse in between - I decided he was part camel) - it is very hard to chill about it but you must as far as you can. It didn't do him any harm and he's now a strapping 9 year old.

It will do more harm in the long run giving her the message that she can use withholding food as a control mechanism than a few weeks of being hungry during the day.

Acknowledge what she feels (that she wants you around more) but that her going hungry won't make that happen, it will just make her hungry.

ThinkAboutItTomorrow Wed 01-Jul-15 10:58:20

Thanks everyone. I know logically that you are right to ignore it's just so hard in practice.

She isn't growing well and still needs a 2 hour nap to get through the day. Today she is wearing 18-24 month shorts and a 2 year old t shirt. Size 3-4 just falls off her. But DP and I are both short arses and were pretty scrawny as kids so hard to tell.

Kewcumber Wed 01-Jul-15 11:06:41

DS was wearing age 3 shorts until he was 6 or 7! At 9 he's in age 10 clothes.

I know its hard in practice just keep reminding yourself that you don;t want a teenager who thinks that stopping eating is the way to control things.

pause4thought Fri 07-Aug-15 00:22:46

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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