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My 3 year old won't eat anything except fish fingers - please help I'm desperate [sad]

(18 Posts)
Loobyfly Tue 04-Aug-09 20:16:19

My little boy will be 3 in September. He used to eat anything really happily but over last 6 months has really gone downhill. He will eat cereal and bread products for breakfast which is fine. He eats sliced sausage and mango for lunch, refuses anything else. Dinner will not eat anything except fish fingers. I have continued to serve him normal dinners with the rest of the family. When the plate is put in front of him he starts to cry and says he doesn't like it. He also says it "has bits in", "is dirty" or "broken". His behaviour is getting quite phobic and extreme. I'm very distressed about it as he is so thin and you can see all his ribs. I give him a vitamin and iron tablet every day but would really love him to eat a varied balanced diet. I also have a 4 year old girl and am 17 weeks pregnant. Any advice would be gratefully received, thank you.

giddykipper Tue 04-Aug-09 20:21:15

Bumping for you because I can see DS heading in the same direction

ministryofsleep Tue 04-Aug-09 20:25:56

read this - it really helped me when DS1 was eating a really restricted diet - he was and still is very fussy but will try new things much more readily now that mealtimes are more relaxed.

nellie12 Tue 04-Aug-09 20:28:46

I also find that if ds has a big breakfast or brown bread he can happily live off it for rest of day - enabling him to pick the nice bits.

puffylovett Tue 04-Aug-09 20:34:38

Similar issues here. Peseverance and a relaxed attitude is the key I believe !

DS got a HUGE round of applause the other day because he ACTUALLY ATE A BIT OF CARROT. So he then followed it by eating some parsnip. AND some mashed potato. I nearly fell off my chair in shock. He's never ever eaten any veg other than pulses.

I know what you mean about the ribs = DS is also very thin but energetically he's fine, and developmentally he's doing great. So I make a huge effort to chill and just keep offering him the food in the hope that one day he'll grow out of it.
Oh and the other thing is NOT to make an issue out of him refusing anything. Just keep putting it on his plate - if it doesn't get eaten, so what !
Keep your chin up... it's hard, I know !

poshtottie Tue 04-Aug-09 20:44:34

My ds is the same but since I have been more relaxed he has got slightly better. Has even tried a couple of new foods recently though would be happy with spaghetti hoops and ice-cream if I let him.

He ate an apple the other day and I couldn't believe it.

Squirdle Tue 04-Aug-09 20:52:00

I have been where you are and just wanted to say it does get better. DS2 hardly ate anything from aged 2 til fairly recently. He is now 6 and has improved so much in the last 6 months to a year. He eats so many different things now. Had you said he would do this a year ago, I'd never have believed you!

A relaxed approach is definately the key. Also we have found cooking with DS really helps. He wouldn't touch mashed potato until a few weeks ago, despite us telling him that it was essentially the same as the inside of Jacket potatoes and roast potatos, which he loves. So DH made them with him and told him that as a chefs treat, he could stick a spoon in the pan and try before they dished up...he loved them!

He now eats things like cous cous and gnocchi!

I do feel that as he has become older, it is easier to get him to understand that he may like some foods if he tries them and I know that 6 probably feels like a long way off for you...but keep perservering.

DS3 aged 4 has become fussier recently but as he will clear a fruit bowl, I'm not worrying so much.

It definately makes it worse when DH gets stressed about, but he is trying hard not to now and he actually has more success in getting them to try things than me. We have agreed that he should do this while I am out as small people do like to play parents off against one another and I am more likely to give in simply because I want them to eat something.

amidaiwish Tue 04-Aug-09 20:52:50

don't stress about it, it's probably just a phase.
have you tried making your own fish fingers so they are as healthy as can be? i also think the M&S frozen ones have more fish to breadcrumbs than Birds Eye/others.

when mine are going through a fussy phase i just make sure everything that they do actually eat is really good and cut right back on any drink that's not water and every snack is healthy.

not much more you can do, it will pass but don't turn it into a fight.

Squirdle Tue 04-Aug-09 20:53:28

We do the massive praise thing too. We also did a star chart for 'trying new food'. that really worked and they have earned a trip to Legoland this summer for filling them.

amidaiwish Tue 04-Aug-09 20:56:05

oh yes reward chart, stickers, treats. all positive. no getting cross!

puffylovett Tue 04-Aug-09 21:01:45

someone said to me the other day that we should avoid the 'good boy' connotations involved in trying new food. As the assumption is then that by refusing, they are being naughty. Not sure about it, but it made me think ! Am opting for the phrase 'clever boy' now instead, just in case !

MegBusset Tue 04-Aug-09 21:19:36

I have a v similar 2.6yo. Lives on fish fingers and have recently got him to try alphabetti spaghetti but normal adult hot meals - forget it.

He just doesn't seem to like the taste or texture of most food, particularly if it's in a sauce/mixed up. He even refused jam on toast yesterday because "it's a bit sticky" shock.

Luckily he does eat cheese, cereal, bread and most fruit (and peas and sweetcorn) so his diet is healthy if very limited. But it is hard not to worry. I can only hope it will improve as he gets older.

Loobyfly Tue 04-Aug-09 21:29:01

Thank you to everyone who has replied. It's really reassuring to know that there are other toddlers out there who are just as bad. I'm going to try not to worry so much and be more relaxed at meal times.

Will definitely try making my own fish fingers and perhaps see if a reward chart does any good. Also going to read the "My Child Won't Eat" book and see if it comes up with anything else.

Thank you for your help.

fivecandles Wed 05-Aug-09 21:25:57

Tany Byron is really good on this. Did you see the House of Tiny Tearaways programme? There's a book that goes with it.

Do you think you might be contributing to ds' anxiety. Do you set a good example by sitting and enjoying your food with lots of mmms or do you hover anxiously and do lots of wiping and cleaning?

Is he (and you) comfortable with getting mucky in general? Because that's important.

Have you tried food olympics, the making faces thing and the sports commentary 'And now ds has got the carrot on the fork and I don't believe it's a goooaaaall' sort of thing. Also, the,'Now, while I get a drink of water I really hope that ds doesn't eat a fork full of beans. I really, really hope he doesn't put that in his mouth' then you turn round and of course he has.

amidaiwish Wed 05-Aug-09 21:35:46

i also highly recommend the "no, this isn't for you, you wouldn't like it, yuk yuk while you do not-so secret yum yum, no i mean yuk yuk faces"

well it works for DD2 but she is nearly 4!

geordieminx Wed 05-Aug-09 21:38:24

Could you take him to the supermarket and let him pick some things himself? Anything really...

lackenstrand Wed 05-Aug-09 21:41:20

Don't make a big thing about food (hard, I know). Sounds like he is looking for attention and let him have it - in spades - though not around food. Keep producing the usual dinner and if he doesn't want it - give him toast, some one thing other than fishfingers that you know he'll eat. Then ignore the eating and set aside a time for reading him a book just for himself.

puffylovett Wed 05-Aug-09 22:04:14

Ooh I luuuuuurve Dr Tanya. she's the reason I am so calm around DS and his picky eating.

Guess what ? Yesterday DS ate BROCCOLI ! and today he ate carrots and peas !

I may have a heart attack grin

So you see there is hope..

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