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playing with/throwing food

(13 Posts)
sunnie Sat 24-Jan-04 23:35:48

getting food into my 17 month old dd has become a challenge of epic proportions. she always used to be a good eater but for the last couple of months she seems to view every meal i give her as something to be squished, squashed and thrown about. she won't let me feed her and wants to do it herself but gets bored after a couple of mouthfulls and that's when it gets rubbed into her hair and played with. i've had to resort to feeding her with a glove puppet the novelty of which is on the wane. eating out or at other peoples houses is stressful as other children her age that we know seem to have much better table manners and their mums don't end up covered in the dish of the day. It's not just mushy food - she pulls finger food (sandwiches/fishfingers etc) to pieces and throws that around too. I've tried changing her eating environment from high chair to booster seat at the dining table - even her own little table and chair (disaster as she just gets up and walks away!) - but this hasn't woked either.i've stopped snacks between meals hoping that if she's hungrier she'll eat more - doesn't work. i've tried ignoring it and pretending that i'm not bothered but then after a few days I give in worried that she's wasting away. does anyone have any tips or can tell me how long this phase typically lasts.

misdee Sat 24-Jan-04 23:50:54

have u got my dd there?

thats the things she does atm too. i can get her to eat yoghurt and porraige but thats about it. everything else ends up on the floor or spread about the tray. she has started eating better recently, but most days its hit and miss as to weather she will eat. apparently babies/toddlers only need a few spoonfuls of food a day but i know somedays a few spoonfuls isnt enough to keep us mums happy.

twiglett Sat 24-Jan-04 23:53:43

message withdrawn

Evita Sun 25-Jan-04 11:44:54

It's a pain isn't it? Have to admit the glove puppet idea amused me. Mostly because it reminded me of my sitting with a spoon in one hand blowing bubbles with the other hand ...

My daughter's 15 months and is just the same, except she has been for ages. What I find is that some days she does better than others so I kind of hold onto that. To me it seems as though she is just thoroughly bored with eating.

polly28 Sun 25-Jan-04 23:46:26

God this is my ds16mos exactly.I watch him potter around the house and spoon food into his mouth whenever he passes,depending on the speed.He hates to sit in his highchair now,and will sometimes be fed whilst sitting on a lap but not very often.He has also become much more picky and would live of fruit if he could.It's a difficult phase but a phase nonetheless,can't wait until it's over.

incywincy Mon 26-Jan-04 01:09:25

My ds 17mths does this too, however he will eat if distracted by something else (or if its chips). But even with his favourite chips its eat 2, feed mummy one and throw the others up in the air. I don't worry too much as he's full of energy and growing. He is also more likely to eat if we eat together at the dining table.

sunnie Tue 27-Jan-04 11:51:10

thanks for all your comments - glad to know this is a common phase. Also very reassuring to know about the seven table spoons - I'm sure we just about manage to scrape that together (even if it is via the floor/walls/hair etc!).

twiglett Tue 27-Jan-04 11:52:09

message withdrawn

oliveoil Tue 27-Jan-04 11:57:56

This is my dd at the mo to a tee, she is 15 months. She used to be a really good eater, absolutely anything at all would be gulped down, now its sandwiches (yep, peels them too), grapes, cubes of cheese or else its mouth shut, head shakes from side to side and she tries to hit me in the face! Lovely.

I try to ignore it but dh gets a bit worried. Will inform him what you said twiglett and try to ride this phase.

Evita Tue 27-Jan-04 21:11:55

I've been trying to work out how many tablespoons of food my dd gets in a day and I think it's realistically probably about 3-4. A meal for her at the moment consists of maybe 5 pasta shells in sauce, a square inch cube of cheese and 1 floret of broccoli. That's a pretty good meal. Or she might have half a potato waffle, half a fish finger and 4oz milk. Rubbish innit?

Jop43 Fri 30-Jan-04 09:46:56

I'm sure I saw one of those taming toddlers programmes on Discovery Health that basically said, when they start behaviour like this to take it away from them and not give it back. They will soon learn that throwing food only means they go hungry.

I don't know how realistic this is though. Haven't done it myself. I suppose you could always try giving them a snack later just to make sure they get some food. But when they are at the table for a 'proper' meal take it away and end the meal if they throw?

Evita Fri 30-Jan-04 20:40:23

I know people say just take the food away and that classic 'they won't starve themselves' but my daughter eats so dreadfully little I can't bear to take it away. And when I've tried that she doesn't make up for it at the next meal. And she does lose weight. So I have to keep trying. Though I will NEVER force her to eat and I do always give up if she's wriggling in her chair and beginning to protest verbally.

steppemum Sat 31-Jan-04 02:43:39

my ds is 13 months, and just starting to do the play with food thing. I guess we've decided what we find acceptable and what not, and we are enforcing a couple of rules. eg, he only eats in his high chair, that way the rest of the house doesn't get covered in food, and it is all containted, plus, he associates food and place.
I also hate the tip the plate over your head routine, so when he does that, I take the plate away and put his finger food piece by piece on his high chair tray. He hates that because he likes to play with the whole plateful. After a few minutes I give hime the plate back....until he puts it over his head. He is gradually learning that if he wants to play with the whole plate, he mustn't tip it over his head.
I do let hime play with his food on his high chair tray as much as he likes (half an hour of spreading jelly everywhere was very entertaining for him, and peaceful for me! I think playing with food is part of learning about it and enjoying it, so I try and let him do it, but have a couple of rules, so that he knows it isn't a free for all.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, decide which bits are important to you, and enforce those, and let the rest go. I agree with twiglett, I think you can exhaust yourself trying to make it into a game, once she's had her food there for 20 minutes (or whatever) what hasn't been eaten isn't going to be eaten, so call it a day.

I know for myself, that the more stressed I get, the more he mucks around with his food, I think he knows that he is having that effect, and since I decided what I am happy to let pass, we've both enjoyed meal times more.

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