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if your toddler refuses to eat do you offer anything else?

(22 Posts)
vnmum Mon 10-Sep-07 11:55:51

my DS is 21 months and recently has started to refuse to even try some of the meals i give him, he just refuses and starts to have a tantrum, then asks for pudding which receives another tantrum when hes told no.

should i offer him something else i know he likes or should i just take food away and he has to wait till next meal?

i dont want to turn him into a fussy eater who will think he can hold out long enough and get what he wants but i also dont want to starve him

Tortington Mon 10-Sep-07 11:56:49

nope - wont starve

LazyLinePainterJane Mon 10-Sep-07 11:57:38

He will not starve. He is testing your boundaries. Do not offer anything else, otherwise he will see that if he doesn't fancy what is on offer he can moan and get something he prefers.

Nothing until the next meal. It won't last long.

ruddynorah Mon 10-Sep-07 11:58:23


RubySlippers Mon 10-Sep-07 11:58:31

if DS doesn't eat his food or starts refusing/tantruming we take him down from the table

also, your DS won't starve if he misses the odd meal or two

snowleopard Mon 10-Sep-07 12:04:49

Not straight away, but if it's teatime I will wait a decent interval and then give him something before bed. (Something plain and dull, not a treat.) Eg last night he wouldn't eat his tea, asked for pudding, I said no, cue whinging, I distracted him with toys and ITNG and we played until bedtime. But just before bed I gave him a plate of apple and breadsticks which he ate up. Otherwise he wouldn't sleep well, which is unfair on him. And it may be that he is just not hungry until later (especially after nursery, where they get a lot of food). Sometimes I offer the same tea again later on and he eats it (if it's not something that goes cold and horrible).

If it's lunchtime, and he will be getting more food later, I say OK you're not hungry, no probs and take it away.

vnmum Mon 10-Sep-07 12:09:48

thanks, that is what my instinct was telling me to do but i just wanted to check. last night he refused his tea, had some milk before bed and slept through so he cant have been too hungry or he would have woke up in the night.

so i presume that if he has refused lunch, that he doesnt get any snacks even if he asks for them until he gets his tea at tea time?

Neighboursfan Mon 10-Sep-07 12:25:02

I was just about to post about the same problem - but my DS is only 16 months - is this too young to teach them that they have to eat what they are given?

evilreturns Mon 10-Sep-07 12:30:17

dd is 16 months - if she decides she doesn't want to eat what is offered then i take it away and she does not get anything else. however, if it is going to be a long time until the next meal then i will give her a small"boring" snack if she is hungry, though this will be a good few hours after the original meal.
if it's almost time for the next meal though, then she sits in her highchair and eats raw veg/fruit/bits of what we're going to have while i prepare it, though not enough to fill her up!
just keep calm and smiley grin

snowleopard Mon 10-Sep-07 12:53:14

weeelll vnmum, My DS would get a snack later if he refused lunch, but not instead of lunch IYSWIM. He routinely gets a snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon - again I try to make it healthy, not sweets or anything, maybe fruit, a plain biscuit with cheese, etc. So that kind of is his next meal. It depends on the child but if my DS went several hours without food he'd get into an enormous strop from the hunger, probably without realising why. So I just stick to the routine - if he refuses lunch, the next food is the snack.

vnmum Mon 10-Sep-07 15:00:08

snowleopard, thanks, my ds would also get into a strop if hungry but i didnt want to be inadvertently causing myself a food issue so i will let him have his snack which is usually fruit or cheese and then wait for his tea.

thanks again

Wolfgirl Mon 10-Sep-07 15:11:52

It is the whinging though - eh! on and on and on and onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn! You gotta really stand yer ground else the battles will continue into their teens!

I can sit with my 3 year old (nearly 4) for over an hour at lunch time - insisting he eats what I give him. Dickensian? no! training in the art of appreciation, reality, boundaries and tolerance me thinks.

all the best - will be thinking of you smile

CrookshanksinJimmyChoos Mon 10-Sep-07 15:13:53

Oooh this is interesting. My DS refuses meals quite a lot, which is disheartening as I make most of them from scratch and put a lot of thought into them - he looks at my chicken curry as if I've put cat shit on his tray! sad

DH always says take it away and don't offer pudding as he's got to learn, but I end up trying to tempt him with other things as worry he will go hungry! Very relieved to read the tips here and that I can actually take it away and not offer anything else at that time!

Wolfgirl Mon 10-Sep-07 15:15:52

cat shit - funny!

snowleopard Mon 10-Sep-07 15:20:22

tbh Crookshanks, I save the lovely homemade meals for when I know DS is hungriest. If he seems unlikely to eat much, I'm more likely to make a picnic type tea (bits of bread, cheese, fruit, salad, hummous etc) or baked beans or even blush Bob the Builder Spaghetti. <gets coat>

If I make curry or stew or soup for him, I make loads and freeze it in bags for instant meals. It's just so disheartening cooking and then scraping it into the bin.

CrookshanksinJimmyChoos Mon 10-Sep-07 15:28:56

My DS is unpredictable as to when he will/wont eat - I end up with quite a lot in the bin!

He loves pasta shells so I tend to make lots of different things to serve with the pasta shells to ensure he gets all his nutrients...then worry he's eating too much pasta! lol! The whole feeding issue is hard work and does stress me out!

I made him lovely homemade burgers, cut into pieces with low salt/low sugar baked beans and sweet potato wedges...he ate about three beans, threw the wedges on the floor and gagged at the burgers......<sigh>

vnmum Mon 10-Sep-07 15:29:37

i know what you mean about the homecooking. last nights tea wasthe first ever fish pie ive made from scratch, sauce and all. it took about 2 hours with all the prep and hes refused it twice even though he likes everything in it.

the other thing hes doing at the moment is insisting on using big forks or spoons(ours) or us feeding him halfway through. is this another boundary tester and if so whats the best advice? i saw on supernanny last week a 3 year old doing similar things and she said it was boundary testing and mum shouldnt feed him but is it the same for my DS who is only 21 months or is age not really an issue?

snowleopard Mon 10-Sep-07 15:34:10

We get the wanting to be fed thing as well. my HV said I shouldn't give in. I say "oh dear, DS can't have that yummy tea because he won't hold the fork like a big boy. Cow will have to eat it instead." Then i make cow (his fave toy) nibbble at the tea. That seems to work but on reflection if he's doing it to seek attention, it's working...

CrookshanksinJimmyChoos Mon 10-Sep-07 15:34:22

DS is only 16months old so I wouldn't know about cutlery issues - sorry.

Should imagine its a boundary thing though....I daren't give DS any baby cutlery...he picks it up on the spoon and flicks it on the wall! I just plonk it on the tray...much to my mother's amusement and query of 'when will you teach him to use cutlery' if I didn't have enough mess to clear up! lol!!

ELR Mon 10-Sep-07 15:45:21

i would offer the food if he doesnt eat it take it away and give usual pudding with no fuss i would stick to fruit and yogurt though! ds often eats pudding first then dinner or half and half

mytwopenceworth Mon 10-Sep-07 15:47:51

I used to, with ds1. PFB and all that. grin Not any more though, oh no.

I know what they like and if they don't eat something I know they like, just to be bloody minded..... tough. And pudding after tantruming? HAHAHAHAHAHA! bring it on!

But I'm a hard old cow grin

With new stuff, I introduce them gently, I made stroganoff with fettuccine the other week and neither of them liked it. But that's ok. I'll serve it up again in a few weeks. Eventually they'll crack. wink

I do try to bear in mind that we all have times when we fancy X or don't feel like Y. When they are older, like mine, you can give them choices, (eg do you want pasta or sweetcorn) but your ds is a bit young for that.

My advice would be don't battle with him.

Remove the food without comment.


Offer it again 10 minutes later.

If it's still a no, throw it away and serve a meal normally at teatime.

Eat with him. Family mealtimes are good for encouraging kids to eat.

Offer wide variety of foods.

Cook with spices, don't have food very very bland, start getting him used to different flavours.

Make it look fun - a sandwich that looks like a pig, for example.

I could go on, but this is already an essay. grin

ELR Mon 10-Sep-07 15:48:38

ds is 22 months he uses big knives and forks as this is what he wants as he sees dd who is 5 sometimes i feed him the odd mouthfull if i dont think he has had enough same with dd

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