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20 month old refusing to eat

(9 Posts)
cobaltblue27 Sat 06-Aug-16 19:58:08

Dear Everyone,

I am absolutely at my wits' end with my son's refusal to eat.

He has always been absolutely impossible since I started to introduce food at around 5-6 months. He never ever ate unless distracted by books/songs, and rarely from me (we have a nanny while at work). Now, over a year on, he still won't eat meals unless it is all mushed up and fed to him on a spoon, with books/radio/songs etc. I have been getting increasingly worried about this, as I know he is really far behind. One of the problems I think is that our nanny continues to shovel spoons of puréed pasta, mince, vegetables etc into him (all very bland) using distraction techniques. I never get as much in as her and nor would I want to-I don't think he is ever going to learn how to eat properly on his own when he is stuffed at every meal. I have spoken to her about this but she just bats me down and tells me how she has three children and blah blah blah.

My own approach has been to try to encourage him to feed himself, and I keep trying new things to give him. I have done this before resorting to the same spoon and mush and distraction approach. However, he just isn't progressing with the eating this way, and knows that out of concern about him not eating properly, I will always cave and end up giving him yoghurt or cheese or whatever. I have realized this has to change. After speaking with my husband, in the last few days we have decided that I am no longer going to feed him anything off a spoon: he can feed himself yoghurt and put things in his mouth, so am going to have to show him that if he won't feed himself, then he will go hungry. He will eat a few normal, un-mushed foods that he likes on his own: cheese, rusks, Ella's nobbly fingers, yoghurt, blueberries, butter (every time I give him bread and butter as something different he just eats the butter...), banana, tangerine and slices of apple. He will feed himself yoghurt/rice pudding with a spoon, and amazingly this morning my husband had him feeding himself porridge and at lunch time, we went to the zoo, and he was eating a cheese and ham sandwich greedily in his pushchair (this was a first-I nearly fell on the floor). But supper was a total disaster. He just ate nothing. I am expecting DS2 in December and I am panicking as cannot have a newborn and a 2yo who still can't feed himself. I feel like a total failure.

My total failure to get him to eat has affected me hugely and was a major factor in me developing severe depression last year (I had to take three months off). I am still really struggling now. I totally lost it staying a few days with my parents and sister, watching my niece, who is the same age as my son, feeding herself normal consistency foods like her older sisters perfectly. My son just squirmed and squealed in his chair. I completely freaked and just left and came back to London, and then that evening, when my son refused to eat again, I ended up screaming and shouting with frustration and just stormed out of the house and walked for miles before coming back hours later. Work is not going well, I can't even bring up my own child, and I have also been diagnosed with several lifelong autoimmune conditions (via a spell in intensive care last October). My son refusing to eat is just impossible on top of all the other stuff. It is AWFUL. He is also developing really terrible screaming tantrums if he doesn't get what he wants, lying on the floor kicking (and kicking me). It is awful to say this but I really am not enjoying this at all. I spend a lot of time hating it.

We are going to speak to the nanny and get her to listen to us and be consistent in strategy with him, and if she doesn't agree we will say that we will have to find someone else because he just isn't progressing.

I am completely at the end of my tether. I know I have totally messed up but please any pointers for someone as useless as me would be hugely appreciated!

Pearlman Sat 06-Aug-16 20:04:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cobaltblue27 Sat 06-Aug-16 22:03:56

Thanks Pearlman. I am worried because although our nanny gets the food into him, it is really uncomfortable how she shovels it in-he doesn't choose to eat it. I am really worried about him not being able to feed himself.

People keep saying that I'm hard on myself but I feel so useless at this parenting lark. Apart from my sister (whom I kind of have to see from time to time...) I don't really have any friends who have children my son's age-to be honest I almost actively avoid them as I worry I am going to be shown up as miles behind and useless compared to everyone else. The not eating thing is also really isolating. There is no way I'd meet anyone for a meal with my son there as I simply couldn't relax.

Pearlman Sun 07-Aug-16 07:00:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Footle Sun 07-Aug-16 07:24:30

I disagree, Pearlman. Cobalt won't ' be wishing she had more time with him like this' because this is currently a nightmare.
OP, you need someone to intervene and sort this out. Have you talked to your GP about what help is available to you ? You sound depressed and panicky and a bit disempowered by the nanny too. A nursery might be better for your son - he'd be surrounded by other kids feeding themselves, for a start.

Pearlman Sun 07-Aug-16 07:32:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fuckyoucanceryoucuntingknob Sun 07-Aug-16 07:38:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Smerlin Sun 07-Aug-16 07:38:21

Please read My child won't eat by Carlos Gonzalez. It explains how often children eat less as they get to this age as they are not growing as fast. The nanny 'shovelling it in' may also be a contributing factor to him not needing as much food when with you. Relax, give him more control and let him enjoy experimenting with food without pressure. Please read the book- I think it would really help you feel better about this smile

Runningbutnotscared Sun 07-Aug-16 08:35:05

I'm sorry your having such a difficult time - I imagine the pregnancy hormones won't be making life easier either.

I'd like to join the 'what your describing doesn't seem to bad' camp, but that's because I'm in a similar situation. My nineteen month old ds can feed himself (we did blw) but more often now hands me the spoon so I can feed him. He is lazy!
Baby two is due next month and I have the occasional panic that life is going to be very hard bf-Ing one while spooning food into the other.

But we will manage, and you will too. It will probably be very messy but it will be manageable.

My ds often also decides not to eat, usually when I have spent hours preparing something, or a rediculous amount of money buying something in a cafe. I agree with pp that it's probably an age thing, so try to smile and ignore. I don't offer substitutes (except a banana before bed) cause I'm harsh. Lack of dinner doesn't effect his sleep, but often makes breakfast a lot easier.

If your ds doesn't eat his dinner and you don't provide yoghurt/cheese does it effect his sleep?

All children develop differently, so it's difficult but comparing yours to others will just drive you bonkers.
If your worrying as much as you seem to be in your op you may benefit from speaking again to your GP about your anxiety.

(Oh - and my top tip about being kicked by a tantruming toddler, move further away so they can't reach you. Not sure it helps with the tantrum but it does save bruises on your legs)

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