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<sobs> Meal times turning into a nightmare...please give me some advice/hope!!

(44 Posts)
PussinJimmyChoos Thu 28-Aug-08 20:22:53

DS is just over two and was initially a reasonable eater. However, lately he is soooo fussy and picky over everything that I'm dreading meal times! He's fine with breakfast and lunch but it seems to be dinner time that's the worst meal.

He is fine with snacky type foods - cheese sandwich and the like but anything else and its meltdown! His favourite was pasta in a cheese sauce with brocoli but then he stopped eating the brocoli and now he's starting to refuse the pasta...

What to do when he's not eating? The nursery and DH have said to just take it away, not offer alternatives. However, I can't bear the thought of him going to bed hungry and I will offer something else, although not right after he's refused his food - it will be 20 mins later or so.

Also, how do you know when they are just being fussy or if they geninuely don't like something? He is refusing food on the basis of how it looks a lot of the time... <sigh>

Any help appreciated!

WideWebWitch Thu 28-Aug-08 20:24:37

Give him what works, don't stress, it will pass.

If he'll eat cheese sandwiches and fruit, give him that.

Tbh, I did 'offer alternatives but only if they're healthy ones' so if my ds turned down say pasta at that age he could have some veg or fruit or yog or something but not sweets.

WideWebWitch Thu 28-Aug-08 20:25:22

Although tbh I think when they get older you can do "this is what we're having and I pretty much expect you to eat it" but much older than 2.

fishie Thu 28-Aug-08 20:27:45

does he eat well at nursery? if so then it really doesn't matter what he has with you (within reason) and it is difficult to enforce with single children. ds eats anything when with cm but for a while was extremely picky at home.

PussinJimmyChoos Thu 28-Aug-08 20:28:10

Its so tempting to just give him a cheese sandwich as I know he will tuck into that, but I feel awful giving him that for his dinner if he's had it for lunch. I've tried to vary the sandwich fillings for him - tried hummous and grated carrot. He likes carrot but when he saw it in the bread, he went apeshit! I know they go through a phase of being scared of food BUT its getting ridiculous and I was nearly in tears tonight...I would love to offer him varied foods and have in the past, cooked lots of different things from scratch but have given up now as he takes one look at it on the plate and screeches I don't waaaaaant iiiiit!

He eats all manner of things in nursery though...hmm

WideWebWitch Thu 28-Aug-08 20:31:13

it's a phase, it'll pass, really. just try to stay calm. it isn't end of world if all he eats is cheese s.wiches for a couple of weeks!

fishie Thu 28-Aug-08 20:32:28

that is just what ds did puss, refused all favourites, must be control thing.

i had some success with offering two options to choose from. sometimes he just isn't hungry too. so long as he isn't waking at 2am demanding pasta it is fine.

he is 3 now and it is much easier, he is fine with eating and getting much better at staying at the table when we eat together.

sophiebbb Thu 28-Aug-08 20:40:58

This is a difficult one. I have vowed never to have fights with my children over food. When I was growing up I had to eat everything on my plate and still remember the pain of that now!

My approach goes against ALL my mothering instincts (particularly because my DS has a naturally fast metabolism like his dad).

I offer my DS really good food - my DH is Italian and he gets offered great stuff (DH loves to cook). eg porcini mushroom risotto, sea bass, homemade pasta sauce, asparagus with good olive oil and parmesan, squid pasta, artichokes, olives, salad (and of course fish fingers and beans within all this stuff) etc etc. If he is genuinely hungry then he will eat it. If he doesn't eat it then I figure he cannot be that hungry and he has to go to bed (he goes to bed straight after lunch and after dinner (obviously).

My advice is - don't fight over food. Offer genuinely great stuff. If they don't eat it they are not hungry.

I work in marketing for a food manufacturer and I absolutely refuse to get into the trap of cooking 5 meals a night (which is what a lot of mums do). They eat what you put in front of them and if not they go to bed (especially if it is genuinely great food - which Italian food is).

Apparently, a child should eat the amount of food they can fit into their two hands. That is not a lot.

PussinJimmyChoos Thu 28-Aug-08 20:46:51

mmm at having an Italian hubby that sexy is that! Er...anyway...<shakes self out of dreaminess> wink

I do worry that although its homecooked, the food that I'm giving him is not that packed with flavour or colour but I've done him endless varieties of food and he just flatly refuses it from the look of it and so I'm back to the bland and boring cheesy pasta! He took an interest in our chicken curry the other night (mild) so I offered him some. He took one look and screamed at the spoon...then last night we had home made lasagne - he thought it was pizza so I thought ah hah! Chance to get something different into him...offered him some and the minute the texture of it hit his mouth (he didn't even taste it!) he went ape!!

whiskygalore Thu 28-Aug-08 20:48:45

I agree with sophiebbb. I have seen friends get themselves in such states over their kids not eating, sitting at a table for over an hour at times. By the end of it they are climbing walls and their kids are bored and playing up no end.

I refuse to get into a fight over food and again agree that if they are hungry they will eat.

I make most of the meals from scratch so I'd like to think they taste nice (!!) but if DS who is 3.5 does not eat it then he does not get anything else and can have some fruit instead.

Interesting about the child eating what they can get in two hands - oh dear DS is very over fed!!

MrsMattie Thu 28-Aug-08 20:50:40

Haven't read replies, sorry.

I would just give him what you know he'll eat for the time being, offering new or previously rejected foods alongside his favourites now and then and not making any fuss if he refuses to eat them.

Don't let mealtimes become a battlefield. He is still very young, and personally I wouldn't bother with 'starving him out' at this stage. He doesn't understand. He just knows he doesn't like the look of stuff - fair enough!

pointydog Thu 28-Aug-08 20:51:29

I would be flexible and give him things he likes to eat. Bread, cheese, fruit, veg sticks etc.

I certainly wouldn't bother serving meals, knowing that he was going to refuse them. Too stressful.

PussinJimmyChoos Thu 28-Aug-08 21:00:22

I just keep offering them in the hope that he will eat them at one point...I've wasted quite a lot of food tbh....its very draining and I'm stressed with it all....meal times start out nice and then end up with him screaming in his hi chair and DH and I sighing into our salads!

sophiebbb Thu 28-Aug-08 21:02:49

pussinjimmychoos - my Italian DH cooks great food, helps out with the kids, looks after me while I am breastfeeding, is very laid back, understands the whole female "shoe" thing (yes including Jimmy Choos) and is very sexy looking.

I am VERY lucky.....

PussinJimmyChoos Thu 28-Aug-08 21:04:16


Oooh....I've got a Middle Eastern DH....I do love my foreign men..but...he cannot boil an am rather bowled over by Italian men striding around the kitchen, tasting pasta sauce, adding spices etc....

Do you live in Bristol by any chance??!!! wink

Scarletibis Thu 28-Aug-08 21:04:17

Could you give him his 'main' meal at lunch time then a sandwich for tea?

Also eating alongside him may help. It is a phase - mine are constantly changing what they like and dislike with no rhyme or reason - which can be infuriating!

sophiebbb Thu 28-Aug-08 21:09:05

I travelled a lot before having kids and noticed that kids in countries in South America and in India do not have this problem. I guess I approach my kids with the approach that they are being given good food. If they are hungry they will eat it. No fights.

PussinJimmyChoos - hey hands off!!!!!!

PussinJimmyChoos Thu 28-Aug-08 21:10:09

I do eat alongside him and try to ensure consistency with meal times - i.e DH and I sat at the table with the high chair between us but...

I will move his main meal to lunch times on the days I'm at home with him and see how that goes.....

Its so disheartening though as I love to cook and was so excited about all the things I've made him!

Am ttc no 2 atm...if get lucky, that one can have jarred food all the way wink

thebecster Thu 28-Aug-08 21:11:05

Do you involve him in cooking at all? Obviously no sharp knives or hot things, but when my DS went through a (blessedly short) fussy phase it got much better when he was involved in getting the food to the table. He'd refused to eat courgettes, but when we picked one from DGPs allotment, and then he'd watched as I cooked it in butter, he was so excited to eat it, and now loves courgettes.

He also helps by taking pasta out of the jar and putting it in the pan (away from the stove), and helps pour oil on it before I put it on the stove and add the hot water and knows that the oil stops it sticking when it's cooking. He loves pasta now that he's involved in cooking it as well. And he's actually quite good at peeling mushrooms... When I say 'time for tea, now' he always says 'Wanna go help' and goes to get a chair to stand on in the kitchen so he can put his twopennorth in. He's 2.3. Worked for us, but of course all kids are different. Good luck, it's stressful sometimes, isn't it??

Gobbledigook Thu 28-Aug-08 21:11:59

Mine have all been through this - ds3 is still doing it (4 tomorrow). Happy with snacky stuff and breakfast but not great on a hot evening meal. They still love 'picnic tea' the best!

Mine are 7, 5, 4 now and I've found the best way to deal with it is make no fuss whatsover - make the meal, put it in front of them and they either eat or they don't. IF they don't eat it there is nothign else. Simple as that.

Ds2 moaned when his meal was put in front of him the other night - immediately dh is rolling out the bribes and threat and I just caught his eye and shook my head. We totally ignored it and within minutes he was polishing off the lot.

It's often for attention I think - they know how to push your buttons so just don't let them. They will eat if they are hungry.

sophiebbb Thu 28-Aug-08 21:13:50

Good point thebecster. DH lets DS (21mths) watch what is happening.

But maybe it is just a child thing. Some children are easier than other. DS's first word was "pasta"....

PussinJimmyChoos Thu 28-Aug-08 21:15:04

Sophie - its interesting isn't it - Baby Led Weaning seems to be the norm in other countries and I personally think it makes for a less picky eater but then DS was a mixture of BLW and purees and he's still a fussy arse soo....!

sophiebbb Thu 28-Aug-08 21:16:08

Ahh Gobbledigook - I couldn't agree more!!

mrspnut Thu 28-Aug-08 21:17:58

I would completely ignore it tbh, I have a 2 year old (as well as an 11 year old) and I just offer up one meal.

She eats what bits she wants and what's left goes in the bin. I might offer milk an hour later if I think she hasn't eaten enough, or a bit of cheese or yoghurt.

I never ever show any emotion at meal times, I never mention what she's eating and I never give any positive or negative attention. What we do is have a nice general chat as a family, I might ask if people like what they're eating but only near the end of a meal.

In our family, both kids eat a very varied diet including olives, salami and spicy foods. It's getting the don't mind attitude that's hard but I've never known a child starve themselves.

PussinJimmyChoos Thu 28-Aug-08 21:18:10

Oh christ...I've gone down the bribery route in desperation this last week or so...which has failed miserably and goes something like this:

ME: Ds, if you eat some of your meal, mummy will give you a biscuit. Would you like that

DS: Yeahhh!!

ME: ok then, try some of your food, even just a bit and then you can have a biscuit..

Cue DS looking at his food...chin wobbling...then....BUT I WANNAAAA BISCUITTTT

then hysterics at no biscuit...

Why did I even go there?!!

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