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I need help to get my son to eat :(

(20 Posts)
Eddas Wed 07-Oct-09 17:33:06

DS is 2.6 and only eats a limited amount of foods. I really need some help as I am at a loss as to how to get him to eat. He won't even try most foods.

He sits in tears at dinner timessad and I've come to thinking that it's somethng I've done. and I need to fix it. Basically he hasn't even tried most foods so it isn't that he doesn't like them. I'd be happy atm for him just to try the food I serve up. I do try not to make him a special dinner, but sometimes, for ease and a crying free dinner I do just that.

He'll eat breakfast quite happily(porridge/weetabix/other cereal)

For lunch he'll eat toast,although that can be hit and miss.

He'll eat yogurts. he eats fruit but only if he wants it. Veg, well never tbhsad

He does still have milk morning and night.

He does eat biscuits/crisps anything people on here would say is bad, and yes I think I may have fallen into the 'well it's all he'll eat so i'll give him that' trap, but don't flame me, I really just want him to eat something.

He does drink juice.

For Dinner, if it's not fish fingers with waffles/chips then it'll generally not get eaten. He will also eat noodles.

I did start reading a long thread about children and eating but I'd really love to hear from people who have had a child like my ds and managed to sort it out.

Many thanks for reading, I just hope someone can helpsmile

RealityBites Wed 07-Oct-09 17:46:13

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RealityBites Wed 07-Oct-09 17:47:19

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colditz Wed 07-Oct-09 17:49:56

he's just being a fussy two year old.

For each meal give him one thing on his plate that you KNOW he will eat, and on the rest of his plate put whatever you like. If he floods with tears at the sight of unfamiliar food, don't sit with him at meal times, let him get on with it while you potter. If after 20 mintues he isn't eating, end the meal, nothing else until the next meal (and milk is a snack, rather than a drink in this situation), and dish the next meal up with a smile.

Repeat ad infinitum.

Ds1 improved when he was 4.

Tortington Wed 07-Oct-09 17:50:44

unless he has a disorder - for which you should see a doctor - then the child will eat

if you ofer him something at tea time and he doesn't eat it - with no fuss and no coaxing just calmly remove it. and let him sit whilst you finish your meal.

after that he gets nothing
no biscuit, crisps, cereal or any supper - he goes to bed at normal time.

the child will not starve - it is a basic instinct.

soon he will learn if he doesn't eat at tea time - he doesn't eat - simple.

of course there are foods that we all genuinley don't like.

the issue is control wrapping mummy round finger, lots of attention - its the way a 2yr old can get a power trip

StealthPolarBear Wed 07-Oct-09 17:54:53

edda, you have my son. give him back!
Cereal, toast, juice, fruit (fresh & dried) and rice., not noodles. plus as many biscuits crisps and sweets as he can lay his hands on!
And this is an improvement!!
TBH i vary between stressing and wanting to 'fix' it to thinking it'll allwork itself out. atm he does eat rice withwhatever (chilli/dahl) i mix in and most of the time cottage pie
willread this thread!

MegBusset Wed 07-Oct-09 17:57:43

My DS1 is almost exactly the same. Well, he will eat cheese sarnies at lunch, and his dinnertime repertoire, alongside fish fingers, includes chicken dippers, peas, sweetcorn and alphabetti spaghetti.

I have given up worrying tbh. He loves fruit and yoghurt, eats like a horse at breakfast, and is fit as a flea. Once a week we all eat dinner together so he experiences the social side of eating -- he loves this but never ever eats anything!

mankymummymoo Wed 07-Oct-09 18:00:43

Try making carrots/pumpkin/butternut squash/parsnips in chip shapes and see if he will eat that. what does he have with the noodles? can you puree brocolli/peas/tomatoes to have with it?

i really wouldnt worry though, tastes change. as long as he is healthy.

MegBusset Wed 07-Oct-09 18:06:53

One thing I have done is tried to familiarise him with lots of food -- even if he won't eat it -- outside of the stress of the dinnertime situation. Eg looking at food in the supermarket, play food, watching Big Cook Little Cook. So he learns that food is fun and for eating. I hope that when he is ready, he will be able to try more things without fear.

waitingforbedtime Wed 07-Oct-09 18:13:13

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt and still go back for day/weekend/month trips now and then!!!

Firstly, it is normal. Second of all, just tell yourself youre not going to stress for the next 2 weeks (or whatever) then set about letting him have what he will eat which is healthy and familiarising him with different foods. Whilst I would recommend that you stick to set meal times (and cut sncacks if need be) I would also say offering 'play with food' at other times takes the pressure off and you never know he might just try something.

Try various things from chocolate crispies to making fishcakes with him ; you never know if it'll work do you and havent lost anything if it doesnt!

Basically though just completely and utterly ignore the non eating, no cajoling, no getting cross, no reference to it AT ALL. IMO it is better to let them down from the table without eating than make them sit because it is good manners whilst they scream and cry and get negative associations with the whole process.

Good luck x

MegBusset Wed 07-Oct-09 18:19:04

Custardo -- I don't think it's always as easy as power/control issues. DS1 has multiple food allergies and eczema which made weaning him v difficult -- even to touch a lot of food would make his hands red and inflamed. Luckily it's a lot better now but I think it has left him feeling more secure with v familiar food (plus some normal toddler stubbornness thrown in!)

mrshibbins Wed 07-Oct-09 18:20:11

big very useful thread on this here:

Can you lot help me with a new strategy for mealtimes because the whole experience is becoming utterly objectionable for all concerned

Eddas Wed 07-Oct-09 18:29:26

In my ds' case I think it is a power thing, but tbh I wouldn't know if it was alergies as the little monkey won't even try thingsangry he literally sits down and cries if it's not fish fingers <<sigh>> then pushes his plate away.

Thank you all for your re-assurance that this is normal, and that it should end. I have been trying this approach, but I need to get even more strict and cut out the biscuit with his bedtime milk. Also, I'm gong to try no snacks unless fruit. That's my fault though as i'm a terrible eater so it's no wonder he is. Hopefully it will make us both eat more fruit and veg.

I also think the idea of getting him doing some 'cooking' is a good one and I may well do that.

And, I will definately start doing home-made chips so they are at least healthier. We do homemade potato wedges sometimes but not chipsblush

SPB nope he's definately minegrin yours is a whole 2 weeks(ish) youngergrin Kinda nice to hear you're having similar issues IYKWIM smile

Tortington Wed 07-Oct-09 18:50:37

meg - that's exactly why i first qualified my statement with the doctor comment

obviously not going to apply if your child has allergies is it?

Carrotfly Wed 07-Oct-09 18:59:09

Eddas, your little boy is just like mine !

Breakfast is great, weetabix, porridge, potato cake, shreddies, croissants, basically anything.

Fruit is easy, peas (fresh from the pod only.. heaven help me when we get to the end of the crop) raw carrots and thats about it in terms of veg.

Yoghurts and some mild cheese.

I just keep hoping this willl pass... but its been a year now sad

HerbWoman Mon 12-Oct-09 13:30:58

I've had two different types of eating issues with my kids. When DD was 2ish (now 9) she went through a phase of refusing meals. That was a power thing and in the end I got real tough. No snacks, no substitutes. If she didn't eat tea she would go to bed hungry and when she woke up crying in the night, I'd tell her that she should have eaten her tea. Within less that 2 weeks she was eating normally again, and we've never had a problem since.

DS, on the other hand, was very fussy even as a baby - definitely hungry but would not eat anything until at 9 months in desperation I tried jars. They were the only thing (apart from wetabix) he would eat until he was 18 months. Eventually he added a few more foods, but the only evening meals he would eat were scrambled egg or fish fingers. Not too bad, until he had eaten them for so long that he started refusing even them. So again, I got tough (having already tried that and failed when he was 2ish). And many times he has gone hungry. But I figured that if he was going to leave it, he might as well leave the meal I was already cooking for everyone else rather than a meal cooked specially for him. He has gradually started eating more foods, and some things he will still only eat very small amounts of. But he is getting there. He knows the rules, and I don't make a fuss of him.

One bit of advice we were given by the health visitor (who are usually not very helpful at all) was to mix up the various foods that he did like. ie if he liked weetabix, as well as bananas, then put them both together. She said it might make for some odd combinations, but it gets them used to eating different textures/flavours with familiar foods.

Good luck, and stay positive. Whatever you do, you can't make him eat.

MrsMagnolia Mon 12-Oct-09 16:16:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

katechristie Mon 12-Oct-09 17:17:04

I found it useful when I read toddlers should eat on average around 1000 calories a day. when I added up what DS (2.7) had eaten, it did actually come to roughly this, even though it was things like cream cheese and bread sticks, a smoothie, toast etc. as long as he's taking in the calories in some form or another, then don't worry too much (easier said I know). I get M&S kids ready meals for the nights when we really just want to eat something he won't (e.g. anything with rice, meat dishes that aren't mince or sausage) and serve up veg alongside it. If I know he won't eat something doesn't like something, I just put a teaspoon amount on his plate, just so he keeps seeing it. Thanks to Charlie and Lola, peas are now also off the menu, along with sweetcorn (yellow peas), but I still serve up a tiny amount - if he complains I say no problem and take it off his plate (I spend many a teatime digging around to remove bits of mushroom out of pasta dishes!).

DD is 6mo and starting to look interested in food now and I'm hoping that as he sees her eating bits of veg etc. he'll become more interested himself!

Second what MrsMagnolia says re good quality stuff - we get innocent smoothies (they're always on sepcial offer at tesco and have really good dates, so we stock up) - he's only been drinking them a few months and I really didn't think he'd go for them, but the novelty of the straw got him hooked - I honestly nearly cried when he started guzzling!!! and buy yeo valley yogurts.

DS also loves to have a picnic at lunch time, so often I'll make sandwiches (only cheese) and we'll eat on DD's playmat in the living room. I always serve up bits of fruit after a meal now and sometimes he'll try a piece, but if he doesn't I don't make a big deal out of it, me and DH polish it off as I just put a plate of it in the middle of the table. (Ahh, weaning has improved out own diets somewhat!!!)

katechristie Mon 12-Oct-09 17:22:33

by the way, do you ever ask him what he wants to eat, giving him a limited choice? i started asking DS "what do you want for lunch today - beans on toast, cheese sandwich or fishfingers and spaghetti?" (oh and he'll go for heinz tomato soup too!) that way, he would say what he wanted rather than me serving one up and he didn't want it. I also eat the same as him for lunch, even thomas spaghetti and fishfingers! hmm

If you eat meals with him, can you have a little toy at the table for him or something? - if he eats on his own, a special table and chair for him? We mainly eat together, but somethimes if we fancy takeaway, I give DS tea early and he eats in the living room at his little table. Never thought I would allow my PFB a meal infront of TV but he loves it, so it's his special treat. (Not that I'm suggesting you let him start eating all his meals infront of the TV grin)

MrsMagnolia Mon 12-Oct-09 17:28:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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