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Fussy Eater(23 Posts)
LO , just turned two refuses food. Has been with me for a long time, contact has now been reduced to once a month with BM.
All she ate yesterday was cake (contact), a banana and raspberry pieces in yogurt. She was awake between two and four am, I'm assuming cos she was starving.
Today she has eaten a pouch of fruit puree and refused cereal and toast. She refuses home cooked meals and I can usually persuade her to eat one shop bought toddler meal a day. She has refused this at lunch time, and is now munching on cold sausage, also refusing beans.
What to do? Let her go hungry? I have been filling her up on milk previously but can't continue to do this. HV and SS know about the situation but are not worried. I am not worried as such only frustrated. She is a healthy weight.
She just constantly asks for cake.
Disclaimer: she does eat fruit for me, but not much savoury unless its a sausage roll or pizza.
If the HV and SS are not worried then maybe it is ok. Maybe she eats when she's hungry and if she has a toddler meal and is eating a sausage then perhaps that's enough. Maybe she was up 2-4am because contact disturbed her. I hope someone can give some advice.
Mine only wants chicken, she does eat a lot more variety of foods now, but still she craves for chicken - and when I let her have it (I discourage it) she eats it like an animal, between her fingers and gnawing on the bones until there's hardly anything left...
Have you tried making healthy foods into smiley faces, or fun characters.....or try cutting a sandwich into some shape that will appeal? Maybe cake-shaped?! Apparently, fussy eaters have to be presented with something up to 15 times before they will try it. Don't let her know you're bothered by it all though....good luck x
Thanks Gymbob and Roshbegosh.
I am getting support from a health care assistant which has given me 'permission' to let her go hungry iyswim. If she refuses lunch, she can't have anything till tea etc.
Today she's had cheerios with my DD for breakfast. Lunch time I gave her animal potato shapes, tinned spaghetti and sausage. Not the healthiest but running out of ideas. She ate three potato shapes and nothing else. She's had yogurt covered raisin as a snack in playgroup.
Tea time we were having new potatoes, carrots and beef pie. Refused to even try it. Tried mashing it. Tried adding gravy. No go. So as per advice, I put her down (after everyone else has finished to much praise) and she is now sitting on the sofa, ratty as hell.
Is it already a control thing? She is 29 months old.
Oh and yes, have tried sandwiches cut into shapes. Have considered sprinkling fairy dust on meals (food glitter)
I've tried getting her involved with the prep. We have a sticker chart. I try to give her a choice of two where possible, toast or rice crispies / ham or jam sandwich.
I would be getting worried too now, but you can't force her to eat. At least a child's chewy vitamin would help with malnutrition but it is baffling. Can you bake a cake that is healthy? Sorry not to have any great ideas, hope someone does.
How long has she been with you? I supervise FCC and this can be a common issue, particularly where the children have been exposed to a limited diet due to neglect/ chaotic lifestyle when with birth parents. I have seen a regression in behaviour and food intake during traumatic times such had poor contact, stopping of contact etc.
Sounds like the advice you are getting is pretty good. Would she responded well to a buffet style breakfast/ lunch where she could choose her own food ( from a limited choice). For example for lunch have crackers, cheese, grapes, ham, chicken, a wrap and yogurt? Done children respond well to this as they feel in control of something?
How long has she been with you?
Little ones don't have much control over their own lives, and feeling in charge of their own food intake can provide much-needed certainty when everything else seems stressful and changable.
You don't really need to worry about variety at this stage. Adults prefer a varied diet but youngsters like familiarity. There are plenty of adults around who will tell you about a very restricted diet they had at some point or other in childhood. Personally I ate nothing but weetabix for nearly 2 years between the ages of 1.5 and 3.5. Having identifed a small number of non-sweet things that are always accepted (i.e. sausage roll and pizza - you can see if you can find/make low-salt versions if you are worried about processed food and can hide pureed vegetables within the sauce of the pizza and the sausage of the roll), let her have that at every meal for a bit, temporarily stop trying to persuade her to eat other things for a bit to give her a break from pressure to try other stuff. Then during that respite from persuasion, do everything you can to ensure she feels loved and secure, to boost her confidence. Hopefully after a while she will feel less as if she needs to exert control over her food intake and confident enough to slowly slowly try other things and expand her diet.
Thank you all for your responses. She has been here for 18 months. At the beginning she was seeing parents five times a week and given crisps and chocolate willy nilly all day. This went down to once a week where she wasn't eating tea with her siblings but allowed to play while the sat down. She was then given cake regardless of not eating meal. ( support workers report)
Now its down to monthly contact but the conditioning has happened - If I don't eat my tea I'll get cake anyway.
I am convinced that she has an aversion to foods that has touched the sauce in beans or hoops. I can however convince her to eat a pre-prepared toddler meal if I feed her.
I will try your advice and see how I go.
This might sounds crazy (and I have no experience with fostering but I'm a nanny so lots of experience with children this age)
Could u try a plate with different sections? Bright colourful with pictures underneath? Do u feed her or does she feed herself?
A little one that I used to look after used to refuse good every Monday as that was my first day after the weekend when he'd had mummy and daddy all weekend! It was his protest!! I used to put lots if small bits on his sectioned plate so none if it touched. I'd ignore him when he was refusing but as soon as he was looking at his plate interested I'd big up the praise. I also use to feed him to begin the meal (I think he liked the attention and feeling special) and then by he end I'd put a mouthful (very small so not overwhelming) on his spoon and he'd do it himself. Cue more praise!
I'm sorry if you've already tried this, but I hope that it may help a little.
That's great advice! I'll certainly look for plates with different 'sections.'
I think I may have found a pattern to her eating. She will eat some breakfast, refuse lunch, she'll be persuaded to eat tea if spoon fed and a predictable toddler meal, and she'll have something small before bed with milk.
I have decided to contact the LAC nurse tomorrow. I want something down on paper to say I have tried and tried and this is what the advice is.
Only then I can stop stressing about it.
toddler foslings can be a real challenge cant they - our LO needs to control food and drink. We recently introduced him to Tomato Soup - now its all he will eat for lunch and he chugs it down like a starving waif. A couple of weeks ago, it was only yoghurt. Sometimes he will demolish carrots, other times he will not touch them. Sometimes peas, sometimes not. Always sausages. The other day he decided he liked fried egg and toast soldiers. Now he wont touch them.
I feel like a failure
A failure in this department at least cos everything else is fine an' dandy
Panadbois- please don't feel like a failure- children do this for their birth parents too!
I have an incredibly fussy eater (in fact, I think he's getting worse with age, not better)... today he's eaten 1 tablespoonful of baked beans, a few pieces of dried mango, a scoop of mint choc ice cream, and 3/4 of a v small margharita pizza . All day and about a litre of water.
Oh, and he's 4.5, not 2.
Just keep offering nice, healthy food, no fuss. If she eats, great, if not, take it away without comment. Perhpas have a fruit bowl that she can reach things from if she realises she's hungry?
Mine just doesn't see food as important- playing is far more important than eating to him!
Thanks all, it's reassuring to hear I'm not alone
Hi i have a very fussy DD we have just recently been discharged from the dietician as she would gag and vomit at any new food we introduced! She is the same age. The dietician's advice was always put one thing you know she likes on the plate eg the sausage roll as well as whatever you are are eating. If she only eats the one thing it doesn't matter as as least she has smelt the food, maybe touched it etc. gradually she should progress to actually tasting the other things especially if she sees you enjoying them. Fresh juice is a good way to get fruit in plus ice lollies made of juice.
She also recommended that if for example you want the LO to eat broccoli then serve up a small piece every day for a few weeks, as someone else said children like familiarity.
The dietician's parting message was that it is more important to get calories in at this age for growth and development and worry about the rest later. If this comes in the form of ice cream every day then just go with it, kids are stubborn and wont eat unless they want to so its a battle they will always win. Please don't think of this as a failure, you sound like you're doing a great job
I forgot to say that if she is quite petite too then her appetite might just be naturally small, she might be better with frequent small meals so as not to get overwhelmed. Sorry if that sounds stupidly obviously, I'm sure you have already tried these tricks but just thought i would mention it in case it helps
Thanks Hidden. Will definitely try out all your suggestion.
The other advice i was given last night was to swap her last two meals, so she's having a slice of toast for tea, and a portion of what we're having with us at supper time. I'm not convinced this is going to work cos she will go to bed hungry and will be waking me up in the night. I'll give it a week.
Its taken me years to go from "I only eat effing sandwiches" to being eaten out of house and home!
My only advice is be patient and don't beat yourself up about it. I do wish I'd had this opportunity of knowledge share at the time, lots of great tips and tricks here
Good luck x
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