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Feeding a 3 year old. Aaaaaaagh.

(14 Posts)
GuessHowMuchILoveGin Wed 14-Sep-16 19:07:01

Not sure where the best place for this is, so bear with me.

I am going spare over DS1 and his eating habits. I just don't know what to do and any help or advice would be very welcome.

I feel he has a very limited diet and has a complete unwillingness to try things. He would exist on a diet of bread and ketchup if I let him. I love food and cooking and usually cook from scratch... He will eat cereal, pasta, soup, cheese, baked beans, scrambled egg. He eats no meat - it is always refused, but he loves bread - lots of it. If there isn't bread with a meal he cries until I give it. I know all the advice is not use use food as a way for getting the treat they want, but I can rarely get him to eat anything unless it's with the promise of bread. Fruit-wise he will eat bananas until they come out of his ears, satsumas, occasional apples and grapes.

I feel terrible - like I am failing him by not giving something he will eat, and I feel responsible as I went back to full time work after a year and DH looked after him mainly, and he's not very inspired in his cooking or lunches. I'm now on maternity leave so have the chance to do his food myself.

Is this totally normal? Do I just ride it out and continue to give the meal we have, which is usually things he won't eat? Do I give bread with the meal even if he won't try the rest? I just don't know... And please tell me to post somewhere else if you think it would be better.

Msqueen33 Wed 14-Sep-16 19:10:32

I have one of these. She was diagnosed with coeliac so has become quite good phobic even for stuff like beans on toast and nuggets. Her diet consists of milk, cereal, bread, yogurt raisins, Apple, banana, melon, occasionally pasta and freakin egg whites. She use to eat pretty well. I too feel awfully guilty. Middle dd is six and doesn't especially like meat. Eldest is seven also has coeliac but thank god eats well and eats all meats. I just thank god the middle dd eats fruit and veg. Keep persisting. I try to limit snacks but it's not doing much good. I figure the three year old will eat when hungry.

GuessHowMuchILoveGin Wed 14-Sep-16 19:14:58

Forgot to say, he is three.

GuessHowMuchILoveGin Wed 14-Sep-16 19:17:42

Thank you. It is just such struggle every day and I really try not to make a big deal of it to him but just to keep offering every day.

Blondie1984 Wed 14-Sep-16 22:02:15

Try reading "First Bite" by Bee Wilson - there are some really great ideas in there

roseteapot101 Wed 14-Sep-16 22:28:14

my daughter was just the same i gave up begging or getting upset i would cook what ever we were eating and placed the plate in front of her.I didnt get mad or angry we just ate dinner if she did not eat we did not get mad just carried on,never offered a alternative.

if she preferred a unhealthy food like chocolate i would restrict it to once a week.When she started asking for squash instead of water i started only offering it once a week.

i did try to find ways to improve with meat she didnt like it much.Then i found it was the texture.Something like pulled pork in the slow cooker she was happy with or minced meat in a sauce

i learnt to hide veggies in her pasta sauces and curry sauces she liked but still offered whole veggies along side

shes 5 and only just started tasting potato's and carrots again

You dont have to worry they wont starve them selves if they are hungry they will eat.Just let go of the stress and let them decide if they wish to eat

i make sure to cook something she likes to eat at least twice a week that way i am sure shes eating a good diet

Lookslikerain Wed 14-Sep-16 22:37:27

Hi OP. My 4yo DD is the same. Weaned beautifully, ate everything until around 18 months when she slowly reduced down the list of acceptable foods.

I've no helpful advice but don't mind sharing our situation in solidarity. smile

DD mainly lives on wheat (bread, toast, weetabix, plain pasta, crackers, pancakes.......), apples, bananas, grapes, cheese, fish fingers and chicken nuggets (but only homemade ones hmm).

She is phobic about trying new things. And if you can, by some miracle, get her to put something different in her mouth, she immediately gags. We've tried asking, pleading, bribing, making her go hungry. None of it works so we've given up. I know they say that kids will eat when they're hungry, but not all of them do. She once went almost 24 hours with no food because she didn't like what I'd made and I didn't offer an alternative. I couldn't bear the thought that she'd remember her childhood as always being hungry, or going to bed hungry because she was too scared to ask for food in case we said she should have eaten dinner etc. Now we just give her something she'll eat. So instead of pork stroganoff for dinner tonight she finished her crackers and cheese from lunch and had some grapes. I know it's not how a lot of people approach fussy eating, but we've been dealing with it for 3 years now, and I just don't care anymore.

My DS2 is 18 months, and swiftly going the same way as DD, which is crap, but has made me realise that we didn't do something wrong with DD. I blamed how DH and I had weaned her but now can see that it's just them, which does make me feel better.

Lookslikerain Wed 14-Sep-16 22:39:31

Oh, and a good multivitamin and fish oil makes me feel slightly less shit about the whole situation too.

WorkingBling Wed 14-Sep-16 22:48:32

I honestly think that most of the time you have to try to let the stress go. From
Your post, while his diet is not particularly varied he is eating a range of foods that include proteins, vitamins and calcium even if there isn't much variety within that.

I would keep trying with new things but accept the current situation at the same

I do think most of us worry too much about this. As long as you aren't offering chocolate and crisps instead I think we underestimate how sufficient a child's diet is.

For entertainment value, you could try introducing ciabatta or focacia with things on? Onion, tomatoe, spinach etc? smile

Also, you say he eats soup and pasta - can you vary these to offer different types and different sauces?

AtleastitsnotMonday Wed 14-Sep-16 22:58:02

How is your son health wise? Does he seem to be doing ok on his limited diet or are you concerned he is suffering? Looking on the bright side you are covering the food groups pretty well, you have carbs, protein and fats in the beans, eggs and cheese vitamins from the fruit, beans count as one of your 5 a day, yeah he could do with more veg and you would like him eating meat but I think for the moment you can afford to cut yourself a bit of slack and take the slowly slowly approach.
Is he fussy when eating the above ie is it any bread product or only 1 type, how about soup, will he have any variety there? Soup is a good one for hiding veg in. Will he have any form of sauce on his pasta? When he has bread is it just plain or will he have anything on it? I think at three you could get him on board and a bit more relaxed by letting him help in the kitchen. Start with what you know he likes. He likes bread, he likes cheese, help him to grate cheese put it on the bread and show him it going under grill. So he has 'made cheese on toast. Next time do the same but on a wrap, then build toward pizza, maybe even getting to add toppings. Just really getting him to chill a bit around food.
What happens if you take him to a restaurant.

GuessHowMuchILoveGin Wed 14-Sep-16 23:43:26

Thanks for the replies. I really appreciate them.

Will have a Google of First Bite.

He is skinny but has bags of energy and is pretty sparky so I think he is probably doing OK.

Soup can be anything blended so I have been making carrot, butternut squash, celeriac with all sorts of secret veg in. Likewise pasta sauces as long as there are no big bits in. I guess it just seems restricted and I suspect it's a texture thing despite my best efforts with baby led weaning. I would just love him to eat some vegetables but I probably just need to chill out a bit and it will come. I will definitely try involving him a bit more in the making to see if that helps.

At our NCT group many moons ago, we were encouraged to share something we were looking forward to in the future. I always loved preparing food with my dad and said I was looking forward to exploring food with my child. <hollow, bitter laugh> wink

It's good to know I'm not alone.

WorkingBling Thu 15-Sep-16 07:04:03

I was determined to share cooking with my children. Ds, aged 5, is completely uninterested and always has been (although quite likes helping make anything with chocolate...). Dd, aged 18 months, already loves to "help". Throwing the pasta in the water is her absolutely favourite thing currently.

I can only assume it's personality as much as parental input.

GuessHowMuchILoveGin Thu 15-Sep-16 07:18:06

Thanks, working that's lovely to hear.

<eyes 3 month old DD hopefully>

roseteapot101 Thu 15-Sep-16 08:32:09

i learnt to add carrots and red bell peppers to pasta sauce by before using the chop tomato's in the sauce i chucked them in the food processor with a grated carrot and de seeded bell pepper till smooth

i did the same for a tomato based beef curry

for a cheese bechamel sauce once i added the cheese i add fresh pureed spinach stirred for a few minutes whilst hot.

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