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17 month old 'picking' or refusing meals-any advice?

(13 Posts)
Mirage Mon 07-Feb-05 15:01:01

DD is driving me crazy at the minute with her fussiness.She is 17months & until now has been a fairly good eater.In the past week her food intake has dropped quite dramatically & she is either eating a few mouthfuls & pushing the plate away,or refusing to eat at all.

Breakfast used to be 3 weetabix-now we are down to 1.5 if I'm lucky.
Lunch is usually refused point blank.
Tea,again she will eat a few mouthfuls & cry to get down from her highchair.
She won't eat any fruit but grapes & doesn't even finish her yoghurts any more.She won't let me feed her either.

I'm pulling my hair out trying to get her to eat more,but she just shakes her head at me & whinges.Of course as soon as she is down from her chair,she goes & points to the biscuit tin,whining that she wants biscuits.So far I have refused to give her anything else if she won't eat her meals,she has to wait until the next meal.Should I be doing this?I don't want her to be hungry,but neither do I want a child that knows that if she makes enough fuss,she'll get her own way.

She only has water to drink during the day,so isn't filling up on juice or milk,but she does have a beaker full of milk before bed & I leave one in her cot when I go to bed & it is always gone by morning.Could this be killing her appetite? Maybe I'd be better to give her water overnight?

Any opinions/experiences would be welcome-I'm not sure what to do.

woodpops Mon 07-Feb-05 15:12:27

Carry on doing what you're doing. Sounds harsh but she'll eat when she's hungry. 1½ weetabix is still a fair amount. I'd also stick to my guns with the biscuits. Perhaps move the tin to somewhere out of sight so she can no longer ask for them. Or perhaps try eat this little bit and then you can have a biscuit.

yingers74 Mon 07-Feb-05 15:21:46

hello mirage, sounds a lot like my dd when she was around that age. As woodpops says you have to just keep going. Try having a meal at the same time as her as that might encourage her to eat a bit more. But if they are refusing there is honestly little you can do. take it away and let her play for another half hour then offer it again and if she continues to refuse move onto fruits and yoghurts, if she refuses that then just assume she is not hungry and try not to worry.

LadyPenelope Mon 07-Feb-05 15:24:26

Poor you Mirage. It's exhausting isn't it ... although it's probably "just a phase", it doesn't really make it feel any better. I think what you are doing sounds great. I wouldn't battle over the meals - if she won't eat it, then just let her get down. Definitely don't give into the biscuit tin. And don't let her see that you are irritated. Just move on to the next part of the day. (If she really is hungry later, then a few hours before the next meal you could give a couple of pieces of apple to take the edge off. )FWIW, I'd stop leaving her milk in her cot... just water in case she's thirsty. It may be killing her appitite but even if it isn't it's probably best to break the habit for the sake of her teeth. Also, from what I remember their food requirements do drop during 2nd year - so she probably doesn't need as big a breakfast as she used to. It's also much more boring to sit down and eat than run around playing! Sometimes it helped if I sat and ate with dd (she'd want some off my plate) but sometimes that didn't make any difference. My dd (now 4) went through phases of not eating ... never helped to battle over it (you cannot force them to eat!). She's a tall, energetic, happy, healthy 4 year old and has a good appitite and range of foods - just other phases I have to contend with!
HTH and good luck!

oops Mon 07-Feb-05 15:53:48

Message withdrawn

NotQuiteCockney Mon 07-Feb-05 15:58:29

They really really cut down on their food around this age, from what I remember. Babies eat a lot more in their first year, and the first part of their second year, than they do later.

You're absolutely doing the right thing by not letting her fill up on biscuits. As long as whatever's offered is healthy and nutritious, she'll eat as much as she needs, which is probably less than she's been eating up until now.

DS1 went through phases of eating four weetabix - I'd never get that much down him now, and he's 3! And children do seem to be able to subsist on one or two meals a day, much more than we can.

So please don't get stressed, don't worry about it. No 17-month-old has starved herself to death out of sheer willfullness.

muminlondon Mon 07-Feb-05 16:27:40

This has happened with my dd when she's teething or coming down with a cold. You're not giving too much milk by the sound of it. I'm really impressed by the 3 weetabix, by the way - at that age a reasonable portion is 1/4 to a 1/3 of an adult portion. If dd's eaten two meals in a day that seems to be enough for a healthy weight gain.

Otherwise, I've tried lots of things to appeal to her sense of novelty - different cutlery/plates, different coloured finger food in different shapes (but not too much at once), letting her think she's taken food off my plate or fork as a game. Or just give as much of the food group she's refusing (carbs/protein) in the form of a snack when she can't resist it. Beyond that there's nothing you can do that you're not already doing, and sooner or later her appetite will overtake any bid for independence (although you may never be able to feed her with a spoon again).

purpleturtle Mon 07-Feb-05 16:31:06

So long as she's happy and active, I'd just say Don't Worry!

MrsBigD Mon 07-Feb-05 16:43:52

had no time to read through the other posts so if I duplicate I do apologise...

As long as she's alert, active and happy in herself (except for of course when supposed to be eating) and not loosing drastic amounts of weight I wouldn't worry.

DD never was a good eater from day 1, and around the 12 month mark I was ready to throw in the towel, especially when the HV referred us to the Paediatrician at the hospital because dd wouldn't 'sit down and eat 3 square meals a day' and was very slight in build.

2 years down the line dd still isn't a brilliant eater (I get exstatic if she eats 1/2 slice of toast and 1/2 a banana for breakfast) but it's gradually getting better and since starting nursery 2.5h a day she seems to be getting a bit more of an appetite.

My advice is... don't fuss about it. I usually offer her something and if she refuses just either take it away or if she protests (only she knows why!) I just leave it on the side and she might eat some or not. I just gave up worrying and trying to make her eat as that didn't get me anywhere anyway except for reaching for a big bottle of vino in the evenings!

Mirage Mon 07-Feb-05 21:39:24

Thanks for the response everyone.It does seem that I'm not alone .

I hid the grapes & biscuits before offering her her tea.She poked it around & whinged,so I took it away, made her some toast,gave her some plain pasta & some bits of apple.She ate everything but the apple,so we have had some progress.

Your experiences have helped me behave a little more calmly to mealtimes.I have to admit that being 23wks pregnant,I'm not the most rational of souls at the moment & have a tendency to over react to things.I keep having nightmares about trying to feed a screaming newborn whilst dd sits in her highchair refusing everything I dish up.Arghhhh!!!

No doubt she will be over this & it will be something else by the time the new baby arrives.

Mirage repaets to herself,the mothers mantra 'its only a phase,its only a phase'.

Shes only got water to drink tonight-I'll keep you posted as to what happens.
Thanks again.

Surfermum Mon 07-Feb-05 21:54:02

The refusing the meal then wanting a biscuit is a killer isn't it? I've noticed that dd (20m) is becoming a little more assertive in what she eats and doesn't eat. She used to eat anything she could get her sticky little mits on until recently. I have to keep pudding hidden now as once she sees it she pushes the dinner away, and she's starting asking for yoghurts and biscuits instead of what I'm giving her.

It's hard too to know sometimes if they're ill, going down with something, teething or just trying it on - and I've often got it wrong then felt guilty, although refusing a yoghurt is a sure sign that I need to get the Calpol out ready.

MrsBigD Tue 08-Feb-05 07:32:22

mirage - one thing I forgot to mention... since I've had ds (5mo) dd's food intake also seems to have picked up a bit

So when your new bundle arrives don't worry... your dd might turn into a 'food thieve' too and start eating properly again, well or at least babies mush as my dd does. She loves feeding ds so it's 1 spoon for ds, 1 spoon for herself. Hey I'm not complaining, it's food!

Kittypickle Tue 08-Feb-05 08:01:24

My up to now fantastic eater (DS- 17m) is going through a similar phase and like yours only has water throughout the day. He has taken up throwing his food on the floor to feed the cat as a hobby as well.I'm totally ignoring it, the minute he starts the food it goes away and that's it until the next meal unless he seems really hungry when he might if he's lucky get an apple. DD has been a horrendously fussy eater since the day she was born, so I'm well past worrying but remember what it felt like first time round.

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