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Please tell me my baby isn't anorexic! (long, sorry)

(21 Posts)
boredwithfoodprob Fri 18-Sep-09 20:21:32

I have posted on here a few times about my almost 13 month old's food issues. The last and main issue was when he decided he no longer wanted to eat anything I offered if from a spoon and it would take distraction methods (eg playing with a toy/spoon/kitchen utensil) to get him to eat. He also has a limited amount of foods that he will eat as finger foods) I spoke to the HV about this at his one year check and she was very understanding and come to see me and DS at home, with an Early Years Worker to see him eat lunch and also for her to do some messy play with him, away from the table to get him to be more accepting of foods that are a bit more slimy etc. The Early Years worker is lovely (she came for the second time yesterday) and she is very reassuring saying there are babies that are far worse eaters than DS but tonight I read something on a website about infantile anorexia and am worried! DS eats a good breakfast (cereal,fruit,toast, all as finger food) but the rest of the day goes down hill from there really as have been advised to do no more spoon feeding at all for now. I have been making a big effort to eat with him and DH and I have even started eating our dinner at 6 with DS but all he ate tonight was half a nectarine. The other disheartening thing is that having been a good sleeper, since this new "regime" began he's started waking in the night for milk.... Basically I just want some reassurance that he will grow out of this stage and that he is NORMAL and not on the verge of anorexia! (up to now he had gained weight and remained on the 75th percentile but that was when he was being distracted hmm...........

starkadder Fri 18-Sep-09 22:36:46

your baby is not anorexic

we also used distraction methods when DS was about that age as he got SO BORED of us spooning mush into his face...! finger foods worked to a certain extent - mostly rice cakes, to be honest. He also went through phases.

Ours is a good eater on the whole but I have certainly noticed that if the person feeding him is stressed (even if for something else) then he makes way more of a fuss. This creates a bit of a vicious circle if one is stressed about him not eating.

I'd try (hard I know!) to relax as much as poss, if he's on the 75th percentile then you can afford to have a few meals which are half nectarines :-)

boredwithfoodprob Fri 18-Sep-09 23:00:36

Thanks starkadder, you've really mad me feel much more reassured - I was really starting to think that I had done something dreadful without realising to give DS such issues with food..... But yes like your DS I do think he had grown very bored of the mush! I'm a bit of a worrier and I think he may be the same that if there is any kind of stress surrounding the meal time even if not about food then he plays up to it by not eating, fair enough really. Very glad to hear that your DS is better with food now - how long did it take him to go from the rice cake stage to the eating more variety stage? How old is he now? Thanks so much for your response smile

CarGirl Fri 18-Sep-09 23:03:08

Perhaps your ds isn't meant to be on the 75th centile for weight?

My 3 youngest dds were all 90-98th centile born they were 98th, 75th and 50th by a year old!

pigletmania Fri 18-Sep-09 23:37:35

Dont worry you have nothing to worry about your ds sounds very normal grin My dd (2.6) much the same, its only now within the past 3 months that her appitite has increasd and is asking for food a lot of the time smile. When she was younger she would not drink much milk, when on solids would refuse most foods and could go all day sometimes with just a bit of breakfast she had eaten that morning. The only thing that reassured me was when my mum said that i was a far worse eater when i was a baby, and i was smaller than my dd was when i was a baby, and look at me now 11.5 stone of fat and loving my food. Babies can be finicky and picky. I have never heard of infantile anorexia, iam quite shock. IMO anorexia is about inner feelings about self, control issues and body dismorphia, there is absolutely no way that a baby can have it.

starkadder Sat 19-Sep-09 13:15:28

glad I could help. Our DS is 17 mths now and sometimes he still insists that we sing to him (!) or tell him long stories while he is eating...I can kind of understand it...I prefer to have conversations over dinner as well. It would be a bit weird to just have someone spooning stuff into your face, haha!

The rice cake phase probably ended not long after 12 months, and then we had great success with sweetcorn and peas - we'd give him a little pile on a plate and he got really excited about being able to pick them up one by one, so we could use that as an opportunity to shove boring old pasta/potato/veg into his mouth at the same time grin

He still likes a mixture of stuff he can pick up himself (he is VERY into little bread sticks at the mo - we live in Spain - they're easy to get here) and stuff we spoon in - he's not great with using a fork/spoon himself yet but I think that is my impatience - if I left him to get on with it he'd probably have sorted it by now...

DesperateHousewifeToo Sat 19-Sep-09 14:11:34

I understand that the term 'anorexia' is just used to mean poor appetite, so if this has been used, that is all it means (and does not mean that you have psychologically damaged ds) smile

Try to continue to keep meal times relaxed as has been said by others. It does sound as though he has no weight issues so will come to no harm if he misses some meals as starkadder says.

Offer food (perhaps a mix of finger and spoon food), then remove it if ds is not interested or has had enough. Avoid playing games to get him to eat.

Also, give drinks after food so that he does not fill up on them first.

Eat at the same time as much as possible and sit at a table together.

Avoid giving extra milk to make up for what he is not eating as this will affect his appetite at other times during the day.

Look at the food he is eating over a whole week rather than day by day. Children often don't eat much for a few days and then suddenly eat a lot to make up for it.

I think it's how we react to when they are not eating that is the key. i.e. if a parent gets stressed and starts trying desperately to get their child to eat (by whatever means), this subconciously gives the child control over the situation. They get lots of attention for not eating and so their behaviour is re-inforced.

Perhaps give yourself a month where you won't stress at all about how much or how little he eats. See if it helps.

Good lucksmile

piprabbit Sat 19-Sep-09 14:19:05

I was worried about my DS being a poor eater. He would reject his meals and fret and whine and we would eventually give up. I would feel like he wasn't eating at all.

So I gave up spoon feeding him. He now either gets finger food, or gets to spoon feed himself. This all started at the end of July. He's now 16 months old and although things aren't quite as messy as they were originally, I still quietly dread the chaos of meal times. However he eats almost anything we put in front of him, so I'm going to keep it up as it seems to work from his PoV.

ChairmumMiaow Sat 19-Sep-09 14:31:02

He's only little and plenty of babies are still having a lot of milk at this age.

DS at 20mo still has phases (when teething or ill mostly, but sometimes for no reason that I can tell) where he doesn't want to eat solid food much and will just have a few bits during the day (fruit and bread normally), a little bit of dinner and then he'll fill up with milk. Other days he seems to be eating constantly, whatever I put in front of him!

IMO (and IME with a 75th centile baby), so long as you are offering nutritious food he will decide what he needs to eat and how much. I've also found that nothing I can do will convince him to eat if he doesn't want to.

If you're struggling with things for him to eat himself, take a look at the BLW website for some ideas. Babies who do Baby Led Weaning are often slower to move to solids and so you can get some good advice there about dealing with the worry about babies that eat less too!

Also, if you really want to keep on with the puree, then try giving it thick on rice cakes, or with a breadstick to dip in so he's in charge (DS likes crusty bread with thick veggy soup)

pigletmania Sat 19-Sep-09 16:55:37

What i do with dd is just give foods she likes, yes like others have said on here be relaxed dont get stressed or upset(like i used to) that will just make things worse for the dc and you. If they dont eat tell them that fine and put it away for later, but dont give biscuits, crisps or junk, thats what i do now and dd is 2.6 and below the centiles though i dont know how because we dont take her to be weighed, gave up as it was more stress. We know she is putting on weight as she is getting heavier but no are more relaxed about it. They will eat when they are hungry.

No anorexia is a different thing alltogether and involves complex psycological processes which imo cannot happen in a baby, babies/toddlers that do not eat are just fussy eaters or poor eaters not anorexic.

lolapoppins Sat 19-Sep-09 18:59:18

please try not to worry. At that age, all ds would eat in a day was a yogurt and some cubes of cheese. He got through it in the end, by the age of three we couldn't stop him from eating us out of house and home smile

boredwithfoodprob Mon 21-Sep-09 17:16:24

Thank you for all very helpful and reassuring replies. It's great to know that I'm not the only one who has a dc with little appetite or motivation for food. Lolapoppins - your Ds sounds very similar to mine, only eating yogurt and cheese so that's great to hear that he's now "eating you out of house and home"! Chairmummiow thanks for the link to the BLW website - some brilliant ideas for finger food there. Pigletmania - that's great to hear that you were a very fussy eater when young and now you love your food - that's exactly what I want to hear! Thanks again x

maxybrown Tue 22-Sep-09 22:28:35

My DS at 2 hardly eats at all. Has completely fed himself with spoon from about 11 months. By 13 months extremly competent with fork or spoon - no way would he let you near him lol! But he still eats very little, and we always all eat together. He looks fine and healthy and bright but skinny as they come and low low down on weight scale - has loads more energy than me though!! hmm

Mainly he will eat fruit - it's not like he eats sweets and chocolate as he isn't even bothered about them at all. he loves home made gravy and eggs and picky bits. His Dad and I both love all food so no idea where this comes from!

boredwithfoodprob Wed 23-Sep-09 21:50:49

Maxybrown thanks for your response - so strange how they can eat so little and have so much energy isn't it - my DS is the same. I guess that's maybe part of the problem - too busy to eat! You don't sound like you're worried which is great, need to take a leaf out of your book and not worry so much. Just one question, did he feed well as a tiny baby? Just cos my DS was difficult from day 1. I remember them saying at NCT that a baby should breast feed for half an hour - 45 mins whereas my DS only ever fed for 3 mins and still put on weight!! smile

JockTamsonsBairns Thu 24-Sep-09 00:45:01

Please don't get too hung up on the terminology - the term anorexia is used in these cases to describe an infant's small appetite, and should not be confused with the modern association with anorexia nervosa which pertains to a psychological disturbance. Good luck and hope this helps.

maxybrown Fri 25-Sep-09 17:08:40

I wrote you a fabulous reply yesterday....then promptly deleted it all in one fell swoop, page n all! Grrrr.

I don't worry at all now TBH. Me nad his dad are really good eaters and love anything (those easy to feed people!) so it was always a bit hard for us having such a none eater grin

He looks the picture of health I have to say, and it is only when you strip him of his clothes you can appreciate how little there is to him. Oh and when you are pulling adjustable waists in and they are all bunched up from pulling them in so much!

When he was born they made me stay in hospital for 3 days (after being in a birthing centre as no problems at all during pregnancy) as he didn't feed AT ALL. It was so damned hot in there though, he just slept and slept. (how that soon changed) I kept telling them that I am sure he would be fine and that if he didn't feed I would a- bring him straight back, or b- give in and use formula. As soon as we got home he fed fine. But he was 6 and half pounds born and dropped down to 5 something.He never fed for long periods either. He is at present, age 2 hovering on the 2nd percentile. he weighs the same as another MN baby who is less than a year old grin I will show you a pic of him in a min and you will prob think he cannot possibly be underweight/low down on the scale, so really you cannot be guilt ridden and worried from these weigh in sessions.
this is my 2nd percintile Ds taken about a month ago grin

maxybrown Fri 25-Sep-09 17:11:40

Oh and when he was your DS's age I used to give him porridge at all sorts of time of the day to give him something - don't do that now though.

Yesterday he had an apple, 2 slices of ham and 4 fish fingers. Oh and 2 cups of milk!!

he will nearly always eat fruit, if nothing else.

boredwithfoodprob Sat 26-Sep-09 19:43:13

Maxybrown - thanks so much for your message - i'm sorry you lost the first one! How interesting that your ds didn't want to feed from day 1....perhaps just means that the lack of appetite is more of a personality thing....Your DS is gorgeous, so sweet looking! And yes a picture of health, certainly not what you expect a 2nd percentile toddler to look like at all, thanks for that, all very reassuring. Sometimes I think the whole weigh ins and percentile lark causes more worry than anything, as your DS proves it's how they look and act rather than what they are on a chart.
Sorry, just one more question - did you stop giving DS formula at 12 months? I'm giving ours a bit of both formula and cow's milk here and there as i'm just a bit concerned about his iron levels....probably worrying unnecessarily again!
Thanks again for your advice smile

Ewe Sat 26-Sep-09 19:53:10

My DD has always been light and low centiles on the growth charts. She hated being spoon fed so she has always eaten everything with her hands... even messy stuff! She is now 18months and great at using her own cutlery but I had to let her have free reign on all her meals.

Try not to worry too much! Good luck

maxybrown Sat 26-Sep-09 21:07:45

DS never had formula at all. He just refused it, so good job I stayed off work lol.

He had cow's milk from 9 months (go on health authorities shoot me) although not as a main drink, like I said, he still had breast milk til late on. he does like his milk though I have to say. He has at least a pint a day. Usually a cup in the morning and a cup in the evening now. Sometimes he has one in the day too. Also, before anyone says anything, cutting back on milk made no difference to how much he ate either.

If the energy is there I wouldn't worry, certainly never any concern for my DS there.

Not only does he not eat a huge amount, he is very very fussy. I tend to ignore it now to be honest and just put everything on his plate anyway. If you offer him something, he will always try it (unless he is in a bad mood/tired), even if he then spits it out.

He has always always hated carrots, right from being tiny. I mostly made food for him but sometimes I would give him a jar, but he never ate them as they always contained carrot! In the last fortnight, he has started eating raw carrot, so a break through there!!

I can't do anymore than I do, he doesn't eat cake or biscuits or hardly any chocolate - not because I don't let him (I have no hangs up about any food, everything in moderation) but he just doesn't like them!!

If you are as chilled as you can be, it will come through in him too. I weighed DS today at home and at 2 yrs and almost 2 weeks he is 24 and a half pounds!! I had a look and when he was 13 months he was 2lbs 11, so at min he is Still in the weight range for some rear facing car seats grin
Hope you are ok smile

maxybrown Sat 26-Sep-09 21:19:23

That would be 21lbs at 13 months lol, rather than 2lbs oops!

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