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My 18 month old is refusing food

(17 Posts)
mariinaa Sun 21-Jul-19 07:18:35

For quite a while now my 18 month old daughter is refusing to eat properly. She always used to eat literally everything, I always vary her dinners, snacks and drinks and try to give them at roughly the same time. For example last night she had a banana for breakfast around 8, had some milk and took a nap, then refused to have any snacks so we went out around 12. Got lunch at Subway and tried to give her a tuna sandwich which she always loved, she’s shaking her head and kicking off. Had a few small rice cakes around 3pm, took another nap, then she went to her cupboard and brought me one of her ready meals to let me know she wants to eat. I heated it up, she ate 4 spoons and then refused it. (I normally cook but not that day) Put her to bed at 7 with some milk as I normally do, but worried as this behaviour has been going on for a while now and I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong or shall I be more strict with it😩

OP’s posts: |
HennyPennyHorror Sun 21-Jul-19 07:41:25

No don't be strict. They go through phases like this quite naturally. They're self-regulating. Sometimes, they just don't want much to eat and it can go on for quite a long time.

Be careful not to fill her up on milk and she'll get hungry and eat. NEVER try to make a child eat everything.

Encouraging them to try something is fine...but only a little. Just keep offering food, try to eat when she does. Eating is a social event and they do better when you sit down at the table with them and eat your meal too.

Give her what you're having in general unless it's super hot curry or something. That will teach her better than anything.

mariinaa Sun 21-Jul-19 07:47:04

I normally give her milk just for bedtime but that day I thought if that’s the only thing she’ll have then might as well give her some more milk. Could be to do with the rising temperatures to be honest, I’m not so keen on eating when it’s hot either 🤷🏼‍♀️

OP’s posts: |
SmartPlay Sun 21-Jul-19 12:25:21

There is no reason to be strict. Like PP said, they are self regulating - at least healthy children. If she doesn't eat, then she's probably not hungry. Just leave her to it, no child starves in front of a full plate!
Also don't offer her other things instead, only to make her eat something - that way you'll only create a picky eater.

HennyPennyHorror Sun 21-Jul-19 13:54:21

Try to stick to regular times for her and your own meals. She shouldn't be dictating when she eats by fetching things from the cupboard. Not sure why she's got her own cupboard either?

If you cook meals at the same times each day, then she'll get used to that and begin to feel hunger around that time.

mariinaa Sun 21-Jul-19 16:38:00

@HennyPennyHorror It’s just a cupboard where we keep her snacks and foods? Where else would I keep them 😂

It is hard to have meals at the same time due to the fact that I work and she naps at different times of the day but we’ll keep trying

OP’s posts: |
HennyPennyHorror Sun 21-Jul-19 22:46:40

I suppose it seems odd to me that an 18 month old still has separate food that's all. Not being judgy...mine both had the same as us from around 1 year old.

I cook and meal plan on a very tight budget and there's no money for processed foods which is a good thing. If your schedule makes meal sharing tricky, I'd try to have one meal a day with her at least.

mariinaa Mon 22-Jul-19 10:04:24

@HennyPennyHorror it’s where we keep her little fruit pouches, rice cakes and sometimes some ready meals for when she’s looked after by somebody else.
I wouldn’t necessarily say she eats separate food? I’m sure many little ones have snacks that their parents don’t eat.

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HennyPennyHorror Mon 22-Jul-19 10:50:55

I know you're right and that many do. It's just mine didn't. I think it's a big fat swizz...that whole industry. No need to buy pouches...just give them fruit.

Any rice cake will do (though I think they're terrible things) and ready meals? No. You can freeze small portions of meals you're having and her babysitters can warm them up.

mariinaa Tue 23-Jul-19 05:30:13

I can’t imagine rice cakes being terrible? 🤷🏼‍♀️ She does eat regular fruit as well, sorry but I don’t see anything wrong with fruit pouches 😂 it’s fruit whether it’s mushed up or not

And fair enough, maybe you can and have the time, but not everyone does. Things that I eat, aren’t always suitable for my child, I don’t think mum shaming ready meals is wise. Good on you if you have the time to prepare everything fresh and organic gluten free or whatever. But, see not everybody has that luxury and that’s what ready meals are for, so parents don’t need to worry and are sure their child had proper dinner.

OP’s posts: |
HennyPennyHorror Tue 23-Jul-19 06:39:35

Mushed up fruit...smoothies or whatever, aren't as nutritionally valuable as whole fruit. The fibre has been shredded and therefore rendered less effective.

Rice cakes are usually made from refined white rice which lacks any real nutritional value. They're not fatty or full of sugar true...but they're not any real USE to a small child either. The ones made of brown rice are better though. I just personally hate the things...that's what I meant by terrible.

HennyPennyHorror Tue 23-Jul-19 06:40:57

As for that phrase "mum shaming" what a lot of cobblers! I'm a human first and foremost and so can engage in discussion like anyone! Don't have to be excluded from criticism just because you're a parent for goodness sake!

mariinaa Tue 23-Jul-19 10:31:34

Okay well thank you for your opinion, I will carry on feeding my child what I know is best for her. Feel free engaging in discussions, however if you’re not prepared to be open minded, then good luck with those.

OP’s posts: |
HennyPennyHorror Tue 23-Jul-19 11:59:38

It doesn't take an open mind to understand that processed food isn't as good as fresh.

But good luck anyway.

bigshiplittleboat Tue 23-Jul-19 19:47:04

My 1 year old goes through phases like this, and then a week later is wolfing everything in sight. It sounds like she's still having a lot of milk though - she only stopped breastfeeding recently but since then she has she's been eating more - she generally doesn't drink much milk so just has it in cheese/yogurt. If you are very concerned take her to a HV clinic to be weighed - it will probably put your mind at rest! Also I find I never fancy eating much if it's hot, might be that too.

mariinaa Tue 23-Jul-19 20:31:56

That’s what I was thinking, could be the heatwave. She’s started eating more recently and napping loads too, she is of a normal weight luckilysmile

OP’s posts: |
Timandra Tue 23-Jul-19 21:43:09

She shouldn't be dictating when she eats by fetching things from the cupboard.

There isn't actually any good reason why a toddler shouldn't communicate what she would like to eat and when from a selection of food that makes up a balanced diet. It's expressing a natural desire to eat, not dictation, and it's good for children to learn how to listen to their own appetites.

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