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Battles at mealtimes (sigh)

(21 Posts)
ColumboPumpkinCarver Wed 22-Oct-08 19:23:37

My 18 month old is sorely trying my patience with eating issues. After every meal half the dining room floor is littered with thrown food and the table where he sits is smeared with debris. And I'm not a neat freak, so the mess is the least of it, though obviously after the umpteenth time on the floor scraping up food it does get to me a bit.

I have decided to take the tack of "If he is hungry he will eat" but the problem is that sometimes he eats so little, I start to worry.

Today for example he has eaten:

half a portion of porridge (if that)
a banana
half a babybel
a mouthful of chicken
half a piece of bread and butter
a third of a brioche roll
some dry cheerios
a few mouthfuls of tomato pasta with cheese
a pear
2 cups of milk

The rest of his meals all went on the floor, and he purses his lips together and shakes his head no when I try to persuade him to eat.

So, it is OK to just keep offering him food, trying not to meal a big deal out of it, and hope that he'll eat when hungry, right?

An added factor is that his dad usually gives him his dinner and has been away for weeks on business. So it's kind of bound up in him missing his dad too.

ColumboPumpkinCarver Wed 22-Oct-08 19:24:31

Oh and he ate some grapes as well.

Thankyouandgoodnight Wed 22-Oct-08 20:19:12

Gracious me, that sounds like plenty!! Seriously - that's loads and more than my 22 month old is eating at the moment and I'm not worried about her intake at all. Unless you think he's ill in some way, then I wouldn't worry at all. Really.

nappyzonehasastroppytoddler Wed 22-Oct-08 20:21:59

My 23.75 month yr old eats about that - some days hes like a horse - as soon as he loses interest i can see him about to chuck it about - as soon as he launches a piece i take the plate ask him if hes finished and he says noooooo or pushes plate away. If i was inthe kitchen and miss that opportunity the floor is food carnage!

Thankyouandgoodnight Wed 22-Oct-08 20:23:47

I personally just put the food out and they can eat if they want to and not if they don't. I never try and persuade or try to feed them myself. If i think it's because they're distracted, I may stick my fork in their food and take a bit myself and start talking about something I know they'll be interested in and sometimes, a shout of 'mine' followed by grabbing the plate back off me and more eating takes place wink.

Thankyouandgoodnight Wed 22-Oct-08 20:24:46

I agree - one chuck of food and it's taken away. If they're still hungry and were just messing about, they'll get upset and ask for it back.

BlueBumedFly Wed 22-Oct-08 20:26:56

Columbo they are sent to try us at this age. DD goes between eating half of what I would expect a child of her age to eat and fresh air. Then, she will eat me out of house and home for a while then back to nothing. When she ate next to nothing I worried myself sick, here were some things I did which improved things no end:

Got a 'low' chair and table - DD hated the remoteness of a high chair so now I sit on the floor with her.

Let her 'feed' dolly or a soft toy, allowing her to learn that giving food is a caring thing not a punishment

Gave her a fork - she was spoon bloody phobic!

Took anything away when she started to cry, forced a smile onto my face and said 'all done? OK lets play' If I let her see it was upsetting me she would do it all the more.

Used baby-led feeding. What went in went in and what didn't ended up in the bin.

I was told to imagine I was an OAP in a home and I was strapped down to a chair with someone shoving a spoon in my mouth when I was not that hungry. Made me think!

At this age they can seem to live on fresh air, he will come good in time when he has a growth spurt.

No child ever willingly starved themselves thats for sure!

In the meantime it is extremely stressy and annoying for you - that is what wine is for!

ColumboPumpkinCarver Wed 22-Oct-08 20:58:37

BBF your points are all very good - esp the low table and chair, had been thinking about that.

FiveGoMadInDorset Wed 22-Oct-08 21:02:32

We still have this, sometimes she eats it other times not, have learnt not to push it, she hates eating her food hot so we let it cool down, she also loves her smalee table and chair.

MegBusset Wed 22-Oct-08 21:09:49

This all sounds very familiar. I am slowly learning not to stress with 20mo DS, I guess he will eat as much as he needs.

If you look at what your DS ate today it's actually pretty balanced in terms of food groups, hopefully that will reassure you!

Babysick Wed 22-Oct-08 21:15:18

You got him to eat 2 pieces of fruit! My ds (nearly 3) refuses all fruit and only eats frozen peas. Oh well, hoping he'll grow into it.

deaconblue Wed 22-Oct-08 21:40:02

this it what I do after over a year of trying to persuade ds to eat and getting stressed about it.
put meal in front of him
he says no
I say "that's fine, you don't have to eat any dinner"
move plate into middle of table so he can't chuck it and get on with eating my meal or feeding dd, continue chatting with ds about other stuff
he either asks for the plate back and eats or he doesn't (if he doesn't he will eat more tomorrow)
when we have finished I always offer him dessert (fruit or yoghurt). He always eats that so I know he's had some food.
I think the best thing you can do is trust that he won't starve himself and stop stressing over it (ime it only makes them worse)

jellybelly25 Fri 24-Oct-08 12:47:45

that sounds like a perfectly fine amount of food.

my youngest is 18mo too, sometimes she grazes all day and is out of sync with meals so ends up eating nothing when we're eating, sometimes she's a legend and eats loads. When she's ill, even just a little bit, or teething, she eats b*gger all other than satsumas.

I would suggest that to make it easier for you to chill out about it you could try offering really really small portions, then there's less to chuck and you can keep giving more until he refuses it. Don't prepare anything especially for him - share yours - then it doesn't sting as much when it gets ditched wink.

Does he feed himself or do you feed him?

BlueBumedFly Fri 24-Oct-08 12:52:06

Ha Ha - so saying, DD has a nasty cold so food is a very low priority at the moment. She grazed all morning then refused the lunch I cooked, tried toast which got spat out so she has gone to bed, crashed out the moment I put her in the cot..... hmmmmmm, that might have been the problem then!!

I felt my hackles rising with the food spitting but tried to stay calm, threw it in the bin, picked her up and whizzed upstairs to zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

deaconblue Fri 24-Oct-08 13:29:38

ooh that reminds of another thing you could try. I sometimes put ds' dinner in a bowl, give him a plate and he decides how much he wants as I spoon it onto his plate. Ends up eating more than if i put it all on his plate at once

jellybelly25 Fri 24-Oct-08 13:34:12

ugh, food spitting bugs me. i totally see chucking it as meaning mealtime is now over, but spitting is just like poking fun at us!

BlueBumedFly Fri 24-Oct-08 13:38:46

jellybelly - spitting makes my blood boil!! DD cannot seem to grasp yet that if she want s drink midmouthful the correct thing to do is swallow the food then drink, not spit the food out first then drink the water!!! Ahhhhh!

apostrophe Fri 24-Oct-08 13:40:04

Message withdrawn

MrsWB Fri 24-Oct-08 13:46:49

It is so good to read all these threads as we are having the same problems with DS who is 18 months. He loves cucumber and peas (not much to keep him going) but pushes away anything else I try to feed him, even things he used to love. If I give him a spoon or leave him the bowl he starts throwing it.

Am trying to relax and tell myself he won't starve but it is hard. Especially as he is waking a lot in the night and I can't help thinking he would sleep better with a full tummy.

penona Fri 24-Oct-08 13:54:25

I feel slightly relieved reading this thread. My 17mo DTs go through phases of eating nothing, is worse because one is usually eating nicely and loads while the other just screams until I get them out of the highchair and eats nothing. Having the two to compare just makes me even more annoyed. At least I am not alone!!

colombo - that sounds like plenty to eat! and a nice balanced collection of foods too.

BBF I like your tips, gonna use them for dinner. Esp the OAP one!!!

BlueBumedFly Fri 24-Oct-08 13:58:36

penona - I had to think about the OAP one today so stop me from getting worked up.....!

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