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19 month old nightmare fussy tantrums at mealtimes

(5 Posts)
MabelMay Sun 23-Sep-07 21:05:41

Hi, hope some of you have some good advice or similar stories.
My DS is 19 months old and has always been a little fussy about his food ever since he started on solids. Now, however, I feel like the repertoire of foods he will accept has dwindled to about 3 meals.
I've cooked so many delicious meals that have been pushed away in disgust. Now, all i can guarantee he'll eat is fish fingers (although he does happily eat peas or most vegetables with this), scrambled egg, or toast. The only meal he doesn't get fussy about is breakfast - when he'll have weetabix or ready brek or similar and fruit.
When I offer DS any other type of food (and I've tried everything: pasta, cottage pies, fish pies, baked beans, mashed potato, etc etc) he freaks out. Screams and throws tantrum. Sometimes I try the 'if you're not eating this, you're not eating anything' approach but that just seems to make him worse. He gets so upset and grumpy that I now think it's easier to relent, give him a piece of toast and some fruit and get on with the day. However, am I teaching him bad habits this way? My mum said I should just give him what he likes for now and he'll soon get bored and want to try new dishes, rather than turn mealtimes into a battlefield. But on the other hand I worry that I'm just reinforcing his fussy eating habits in letting him have this very limited diet and giving in to his tantrums.
The last thing I want is the stress of mealtimes to start having an effect on his attitude to food.

anyone been in similar situation and have some good tips on how to cope with a fussy eater at this age?

Lorayn Sun 23-Sep-07 21:16:23

Apparently it takes around ten (or maybe more) times for something new to turn up on a childs plate before they are likely to try it.
At nineteen months making him eat a wide variety the 'this or nothing' way isn't necessary, although if he was older I would probably suggest this tactic.
Try giving him something you know he will eat eg fishfingers with new foods, pick a few foods every couple of weeks and introduce them with his usual meals. Once he is used to seeing them on his plate he will eventually try them.
Don't push him/force him or even acknowledge there is anything different about his dinner, if it is no big deal to you, it wont be to him either.
Hopefully this should work, with some children the 'wow you've just eaten [insert random food here] for the first time' is great but if he is throwing tantrums about things I would try to just sneak them in myself.
Try it for a few weeks with one or two foods, if it works, carry on, if not come back and get another technique (sounds like I'm a food guru, I do mean from anyone here!!), there are hundreds, and it takes a different one for each child.
Most of all don't worry, there are ways to get round it, and it isn't a huge problem right now.
If you are particularly worried about his health (which you need not be) just get him some vitamins whilst you work on it.
Good Luck

xXxamyxXx Sun 23-Sep-07 21:18:50

my ds was a nightmere with food untill he was nearly two every mealtime ended in tears and tantrums i found the best approach is when they are playing put a little plate of food near them say nothing and go about your day and the curiosity will get the better of them they still might not eat it but my ds seemed a lot more willing to try without being strapped to a chair and a battle of wills<found all that turned him off before he saw the food and try finger foods my ds even now will only eat what he can feed himself

mummymagic Sun 23-Sep-07 21:25:40

Good for you for not stressing - I think the calmer you can be the better.
Do you eat with him? Maybe he will want to try more food (no pressure approach) if it's what you are all eating.

I tend to give the same food with us for meals (17mth old) but sometimes include a couple of things I know she really likes (eg maybe adding a potato - if we are having stirfry). I have vowed not to worry if she only eats one thing for one meal - I find it all evens out over the week anyway.

I am finding she is getting more particular about food as she gets older (has always been great) and I think they need to feel some control- think its well documented that this is a fussy phase! So I always let her choose what she wants to eat on her plate and don't pressure her to finish or whatever. She usually wants what's on my plate, actually wink. But I do aim to make mealtimes happy and relaxed. I was a really fussy eater and I think it's important to have the opportunity of different foods as a norm all the time

Hope my musings make sense...

mummymagic Sun 23-Sep-07 21:27:17

PS Def agree with the taking their time to try things. My dd will lick, play, try, spit out, then eat food in her experimentation! Keep going - but no pressure.

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