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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

20month old wont eat meals

(20 Posts)
birchykel Sat 16-Mar-13 23:04:45

I only give her small meals these days knowing she won't eat much anyway, my oh isn't always this strict he can sometimes be laid back and just let's her get on with it. Thing is its difficult isn't it, she may not eat her meal but then would have a yogurt so think it is more fussiness, but then yes maybe if she doesn't eat her meal in future I should take it away and of she then wants something else to eat offer her dinner again?? I have a ten year old daughter too so you would think I would know what to do but they are two completely different girls and they don't come with manuals unfortunately!

We are relaxed around her, the more I fussed then the more she would make a fuss, so I just make conversation with the rest of the family and her of course and if she does tuck in then ill let her carry on and if she manages to eat a fair bit I praise her loads. I'm sure as she gets older she will get better....I hope lol.x

butterfingerz Fri 15-Mar-13 23:00:29

It's difficult though because they can't communicate well at 20 months so you're just second guessing what they want. They don't see their lack of eating as a big deal like we do!

I tend to err on the side of being relaxed (trying to be!) and let them decide how much they eat. If you try and enter into a battle, I don't think you'll ever win. Ultimately, its their body, the only choice we have is in deciding what's put in front of them.

I actually find my son eats better when I totally ignore him instead of trying to cagole him which I sometimes did. Also, at that age, they may do better with 5-6 very small meals rather than 3 bigger ones.

nancerama Fri 15-Mar-13 10:15:35

I think there are gentler ways of letting her know there's no other option.

I'm all for not pandering to dietary whims - I won't cook several different meals - you eat what is offered. If DS isn't hungry though, I just say "not hungry? Never mind" and take the food away. If he drifts into the kitchen 10 minutes later though asking for crisps or yogurt, I tell him he should have eaten his dinner.

I wouldn't force him to stay in his high chair or demand that he clears his plate. To me that turns it into a battle of wills and I worry that he may refuse food even when he's hungry just because he fancies acting up.

It's a good thing to let your child listen to his/her body and to eat if hungry.

birchykel Fri 15-Mar-13 10:06:52

Thanks for replies, she will eat things like bread sticks or any thing bread based really. At the moment I do think it is fussiness rather than anything to worry about, although having said that I have cut her milk intake during the day so she only has milk in morn and before bed now and snacks are limited to one mid morn being a piece of fruit (if she will eat it) or breadstick, my thinking was that she would be more hungry at meal times but no she may have a little bite but either throws it or refuses it.

My oh like I said before is determined that we need to show her that she can't be fussy, he takes her food away and let's her sit in her high chair till she takes a mouthful, it did work last night and she ate afew mouthfuls. He sees this as we have won a little control back and she knows that she can't be fussy.
Me on the other hand just dont know....I don't want to upset her. Maybe that's the problem?


allag Thu 14-Mar-13 11:13:55

Birchy, does she like pasta? my DD, generally a good eater, went through a phase around that age of just eating cereal (only cocopops!!!) and plain pasta with a bit of butter. most kids who are fussy seem to like that, whether warm or cold. and she could pick it with her fingers if she dislikes "meals". Is she not even fussed with sweet treats like ice-cream? my DD in a fussy phase would have ahd an unlimited amount of that if allowed, so if your DD is not even fussed by treats I would also get her checked. I guess fussiness versus a poor appetite is an important distinction. Former completely normal, latter worth taking more seriously to be on the safe side.

abbyfromoz Thu 14-Mar-13 08:30:28

Mine is a picky eater..22 months. She has:
2 pieces of toast
(Sometimes) a banana or nectarine
Yogurt (only petit filous)
(Sometimes) some of my wheetbix
Watered down juice

Snack (biscuit or raisins)

Cooked meal... Usually chicken & corn or pasta or rice based dish
Water or watered down juice

Same as lunch or picks at what we are having...

Bedtime milk

She used to snack more but i found not giving her the option she is hungrier at mealtimes and will eat a better portion HOWEVER she barely eats any veggies unless i puree them into a ragu so she doesn't see what she's eating! They all have phases of not eating.... For Dd especially this is when she's feeling poorly/sore teeth etc

Still looking for the solution confused

nancerama Thu 14-Mar-13 08:11:47

Most kids go through phases of not eating. DS refused to let a single morsel of solid food past his lips until he was 13 months old - he's getting better now at 21 months and will try most things but doesn't have a huge appetite and rarely snacks. When we get into a good rhythm of 3 meals a day of quite a balanced diet a bout of teething seems to stop us in our tracks again.

Whilst some children chew when teething, others can't bear to have anything touching their gums and some revert to a mostly milk diet for a week or two. It can be the same if they are coming down with a cold also.

I usually serve DS's meals on one of those plastic "prison plates" with different holes. I put different foods and flavours in each hole and let him pick and choose. Sometimes he eats everything, other days just the veg and fruit or only meat. I also give him his pudding and then re-offer his main. Sometimes he likes a pudding interval mid meal! I don't force the issue - if he doesn't eat, I take the food away and don't offer an alternative. It's probably just a phase. If it goes on for more than a couple of weeks though, get it checked out.

birchykel Thu 14-Mar-13 07:43:40

Thanks butterfingerz. My other half is different to me he thinks she should eat and he sometimes makes her sit there till she eats at least two mouthfuls. He reason is because he doesn't want her to get into a habit of not eating and becoming fussy which I can see his point but I think if she's hungry she will eat.?

butterfingerz Thu 07-Mar-13 21:56:14

My 21 month ds is a picky eater, he's slowly getting better, its been a very slow and laborious journey to this point though. I was overwhelmed with joy when he ate half a fish finger the other day! He has his safe, familiar foods which I offer lots of and I'll offer new foods alongside the safe foods and I leave it up to him. And only offer small portions so theres not much wastage. He prefers food he can feed himself or pick up, simple foods, he wouldn't go for example foods with lots of sauce like a lasagne or curry. He's still heavily breastfed and has been really slow to cut back but my dd, now 4, used to guzzle cows milk up until the age of 2 as well. Once they reach 2 I think they become a bit more adventurous and interested in food, at the moment its a chore that gets in the way of playing.

birchykel Tue 05-Mar-13 21:30:19

Sorry was meant to ask if their was any other symptoms? If u don't mind

birchykel Tue 05-Mar-13 21:29:46

Oh prayingforbeatrice I am so so sorry, how awful. I really hope your LO gets help and gets healthy again very quickly. Sending hugs and best wishes.


Praying4Beatrice Sun 03-Mar-13 09:46:12

Hi birchy. I didn't want to say as it's so rare and therefore so unlikely to apply to anyone else. Also, so horrible. It's hepatoblastoma, liver cancer. We found a lump in her tummy. When we saw the scan and saw how squashed her stomach was, we realised that that was the cause of her tiny appetite. I hadn't been worried because my eldest was a poor eater as a toddler as well (and is now a lovely tall 12 year old).

All the best.

birchykel Sun 03-Mar-13 07:15:40

Prayingforbeatrice - I am so sorry to hear that your LO is poorly, what is wrong? And what are the other symptoms? If you don't mind me asking?

She is eating cereal and odd bits like a rusk biscuit or beans. Yesterday she did eat the bread from her sandwich just took out the insides! I didn't make a fuss just gave her some fruit after like I normally do although she only a little of this which is not like her, having said that she did have some grapes in the evening and ate the lot so maybe I'm worrying too much and focusing more on the fact evenings she doesn't eat? Infact she had no dinner last dinner only her bedtime meal an hour after grapes.

I think I am so use to our routine regarding milk, it's like a habit in the mornings to give her some. She is use to having something as soon asa we get up,so maybe this week ill just try her with cereal first thing and leave out the milk in the morn.
I am pleased that I'm not the only one who's child is still using a bottle for milk, I'm not sure when to just take them away and let her deal with it though?
It's all guess work hey.

Thanks for advice everyone.x

RandallPinkFloyd Sat 02-Mar-13 08:50:14

MtyDS is 19mo and very rarely eats his proper evening meal.

He has decided that after eating fantastically until 2 months ago that most hot food is now unacceptable.

He's also become very fussy with what cold food he will eat. Quantity isn't a problem but variety definitely is. I'm lucky in that what he will eat is pretty good stuff but it does get blooming frustrating at times!

I don't have a problem with milk luckily. He'll drink as much as I give him but never asks for it so just has the odd bit during the day. He hasn't had a bottle or bedtime milk since he was 8 mo but that's only because he had a horrible rotavirus and didn't have any milk at all for almost a week. Once he was better he'd got used to settling without it so it seemed pointless to go back to it. He just went straight to free-flow beakers.

Up until then though he'd always fed to sleep at night and guzzled as much milk as he could get his hands on so I don't doubt that he would very probably still be doing that now if he hadn't been so ill.

I'm just seeing the food thing as a faze and ignoring it. I give him things I know he likes for breakfast and lunch and just put something a bit more controversial on the side. If he eats it great, if not it goes in the dog.

As regards his main meal I just put it in front of him, leave it for 10 mins or so, and if he's just flapping at it take it away and give him his banana (which he has every day after his tea regardless of how much he's eaten). There's only one meal he will reliably eat so he has it 2-3 times a week mainly just to keep him in the habit if eating a hot meal iyswim.

The milk your DD is drinking may well be filling her up a bit too much but it's also full of stuff she needs so it's not necessarily a bad thing. I'd just reduce it slowly and see what happens. Hard to remember at times I know but they're still only babies, she'll get there.

Praying4Beatrice Sat 02-Mar-13 08:27:46

I don't mean to worry you as lots of children are poor eaters, but a small appetite can be a sign of something more serious. I would see your GP.

My dd has a serious disease which affects 1 in a million children but, in retrospect, one of the very few signs there was something wrong was her tiny appetite.

MrBloomsCherry Fri 01-Mar-13 12:32:21

Just to add-the milk for us is still a bit of a sleep cue and part of sleeping routine which is another reason we use the bottle still.

Have offered milk during the day in her cup but she won't drink it.

MrBloomsCherry Fri 01-Mar-13 12:30:17

Mine doesn't have milk in the mornings.

And we still use a bottleblushshock it's just comforting and she won't have it forever. Teeth are fine etc so it's jot a problem.

Juice/water is in a tommee tippee non spill beaker with a rubber straw on it. Took a few tries for her to get the knack of it originally but had it sussed in a couple of mins. She was very proud of it the first time I passed it to hersmileall bright colours etc

Also all my dc just pick at breakfast. None really eat much first thing. Which is why I offer a snack about nine/ten ish. Other dc picks at breakfast but eats a piece of fruit ora granola bar while we're walking to school.

I have to say I've been quite lucky that mine are good eaters. But they've all had episodes of fussiness/refusing food etc. I leave them to it one the whole. No dc has ever starve themselves to death!

birchykel Fri 01-Mar-13 12:10:17

Thanks ill give it a go, she use to love all kinds of food.
With the evening meal I have been letting her leave it but I keep on the table and if she asks for food then ill direct her back to her dinner but she hasn't even asked for other food. She is a little funny with textures she may lick something and then not like the feel so won't bite it.
Ill try and and just go with it for now.
Do you give ur little one any milk when u first get up? I'm thinking I should cut that out? Also she will not drink milk from a beaker or a cup which I think she should be doing by now. Any other drink she will use cups or beakers though. So difficult.

Thanks again for advice.

MrBloomsCherry Fri 01-Mar-13 07:18:28

My 20 mo has
A bit if cereal about 7 ish
Toast/scotch pancake/banana about 9
About 5oz milk
Small sandwich, chopped apple, raisins, maybe a biscuit about 1 ish
Pancake/tea cake/crumpet about 3.30
Dinner and pudding about 5
9oz milk 6.30 ish
Gallons of water/juice all day

I would maybe cut out a little of her milk to see if her appetite increases but if she's growing we'll and is happy then maybe just take her lead for a little while.
There are days when mine won't eat much at all.
Maybe write down everything she eats for a couple of days. You might be surprised what she eats.

Also make sure you're being very relaxed about it all. Making a fuss may put her off or make her anxious or she may like the attention. But overall I'd say go with the flow for now.

birchykel Fri 01-Mar-13 07:07:37

Pretty much just that really, she eats a little cereal and sometimes toast. As a baby when weaning she ate fruit,veg etc made up from myself but lately she would rather go without lunch or dinner and just have her bedtime milk. She used to love cereal, bread based meals but even that is becoming hard to get down her. Am I worrying too much?
She will drink milk till her hearts content though. I only give her some in the morn and before bed and the occasional one during afternoon about 3pm if she asks for it and because she won't eat lunch I guess I think I better let her have milk.

Any advice would be great.

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