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Ex not onboard with healthy eating

(23 Posts)
HystericalMe Wed 08-Jun-11 22:20:54

I have been apart from my DSon's Dad for just over a year.

We always had the problem that when DS was fussy about food, his Dad would give him apple juice, crisps, sweets, ice lollies and any junk to the extent that after a day at work I'd come home and know DS had eaten totally and utter junk all day. Biscuits, chicken nuggets, chips and bread with nutella on, my DS's Dad is very impressed to tell anyone his son has eaten in one day.

This was a problem then. Now, the nursery are saying we all need to do the same thing, no junk food, just healthy main meals and healthy snacks.

Ds is a fussy eater to the extreme. Now I've just got an email from my ex telling me he gave DS chocolate cereal, pancakes, cake, and nutella sandwhich. I couldn't believe it. He was emailing me to tell me how he hadn't given DS any snacks!!! We've emailed a bit, I replied saying the nursery mean offer things like cereal, fruit, maybe a sandwhich for lunch with cheese and ham in, and dinner with meat, veg and possibly rice.

He has come back saying children need sugar. This has been going on for so long. I don't seem to be able to educate him. He is undermining my attempts to feed him right. And the nursery's attempts.

So, I have offered DS chicken, rice and veg and some cheese for dinner. He only ate the cheese and he is asleep now. Tomorrow I hope after a full day at nursery he will have tried some of the meals. I just don't know what to do about the time he spends at his Dads. (Two days a week and two nights)

HystericalMe Wed 08-Jun-11 22:29:21

Help please.

WishIWasRimaHorton Wed 08-Jun-11 22:33:34

i think you just have to feed DS what you believe is right when he is with you. since his father has parental responsibility, he is entitled to feed him whatever he likes. not great, but there you go. your DS will soon learn that mummy's house = one type of food; daddy's house = another.

my 2 walk into their dad's house and expect (and get) sweets and chocolate as soon as they arrive. same when they get in his car, as there are always sweets in the car. they do not expect or even ask for sweets / chocolate with me as i never have any (i eat it all first grin)

it's hard but ... it's just one of those things.

GypsyMoth Wed 08-Jun-11 22:34:35

since when has a 'nursery' been a third parent??

so what DOES he eat when with you? and at nursery? does he eat with you? it sounds like he's eating loads at his dads,the wrong stuff yes,but he's eating

niceguy2 Wed 08-Jun-11 22:46:12

I agree with WishIwas & Tiffany.

You have to understand that just because you are implementing a healthy eating regime, does not mean your ex must too.

And nursery? Well sure they mean well but ultimately it's up to the parent's isn't it? And your ex is a parent too.

I'm sure you feel strongly about this right now but trust me, in the greater scheme of things you will have bigger fish to fry. Save the battles for when it really counts.

HystericalMe Wed 08-Jun-11 22:55:23

Really? Because I'm trying to see if he is hungry he will try to eat new foods. He eats dry foods like oatcakes and break and cereal. He also eats peeled apple and some fish.

So what do I do about the nursery then.

They'll let him go all day without eating.

I have been so upset when my son says he is hungry.


HystericalMe Wed 08-Jun-11 22:55:40


GypsyMoth Wed 08-Jun-11 22:59:05

he will learn to eat whats offered,when its offered!! id he;s hungry enough,then he will eat

HystericalMe Wed 08-Jun-11 23:04:07

But that is my point, if two days a week he gets non stop JUNK, then the rest of the week he gets healthy food, he looks at the normal food as poison. It's not as easy to eat as a pack of chicken nuggets followed by maltesers washed down with some apple juice, and he wont touch anything practically for 5 days. Except cereal.

GypsyMoth Wed 08-Jun-11 23:14:36

i dont see what you can do about it tho? the other parent is equal,and chooses a different way

in an ideal world and all that.

Graciescotland Wed 08-Jun-11 23:29:58

A friend of mines had a similar situation and got a friend (big bloke - player) to take her DS to the park regularly, lots of ball kicking/ positive reenforcement about exercise and healthy eating. Sounds naff but it really worked her DS became quite pious about what he should eat, Ex was a bit difficult grin but he got there.

Do you have anyone you could ask to do something similar? If not I'd encourage loads of physical activity/ team sport, so he's burning through the sugar his dad feeds him.

cestlavielife Thu 09-Jun-11 11:11:06

how old is DS?

is fussy eating his only problem?

if he gaining weight and height appropriately? is he otherwise healthy?

is his speech and other development ok eg play and imagination skills? how is he socially?

if no other issues then let it go as others say - children will not starve themselves. he gets at least 50 % of tiem with you with healthy food.

no point winding yourself up into battles with ex - when he with him ex is in control

unless there is some fundametnal health issue eg growth etc and you need to see community dietician then let it go

Smum99 Thu 09-Jun-11 11:24:28

Assume your little one is under school age? really wouldn't stress too much at this stage. Children will go through stages, it is better if they can eat healthy meals but just accept that it might not always happen. My DSS was only ever given chocolate for breakfast by his mother (who he lived with most of the time). He was low weight for his age and it was concerning but we just continued with a healthy regime when he was with us. He's now a teen and makes good choices for himself. He knows that food can be healthy and enjoyable, and now asks his mum for healthy food and asks her to buy cereals. The same will happen for you.

In a few a years you'll long back and realise this was a non issue

WishIWasRimaHorton Thu 09-Jun-11 16:54:33

sounds like you are trying to make changes to your DS's diet now, and are following nursery's lead in trying to feed him 'healthily'. this is great and if that's what you feel is right for him, i'm sure the vast majority of people would agree with you.

the fact his father chooses to continue to feed him junk is his choice. you feed him what you consider to be healthy food, and he gets fed 'healthily' at nursery. then when he's with his father, he gets whatever he deems fit to give him.

is it ideal? no - of course not. but at least he will be exposed to a healthy diet the majority of the time. and he will learn that the diet he gets at mummy's is different from the diet at daddy's.

unless he has other issues with food and eating. some children have genuine phobias about food. other children have sensory issues or can't chew or eat foods of certain textures etc. if it's simple toddler faddiness, then push through it. if you think there is a more deep-seated issue, then speak to a GP or HV.

evolucy7 Thu 09-Jun-11 18:20:30

I have a similar issue with my ex, my DDs are 4 and 5, and I have to say I think eating loads of crap for nearly a third of the week is not good, I don't agree that it is not important to try and address this now. How old is he? With my DDs I have been very clear on what heathly eating is, they get the same healthy message from school and they are now old enough to understand. They will tell Daddy what they want to eat as it is healthy, he now actually buys more fruit and veg and gives them healthier foods far more often. I would say to keep on offering the healthy stuff with the Nursery and I think when your DS is old enough he needs to be well educated in healthy eating so he can make his own choices sooner rather than later.

balia Thu 09-Jun-11 18:27:49

I think the worst thing you can do is get anxious about food/eating, DC's pick up on it. We have this problem the other way around - not exactly with junk food but with very limited diet at home and DSS is a timid eater (doesn't like to try new things) but he's quite happy to eat a variety of healthy meals with us.

If he won't eat when he is hungry I'd say there were other issues going on. Two days a week of 'junk' shouldn't have that much effect.

Meglet Thu 09-Jun-11 21:03:46

Can nursery speak to his Dad? I'd be angry if someone was messing up my DC's diets with junk food.

HystericalMe Thu 09-Jun-11 23:07:37

He has never eaten the healthy food i offer, it's a nightmare. This is since he was one. Before that he had been eating healthy food. When his Dad started giving him packs of crisps and biscuits that was when he became really suspicious of other foods.

I have watched the programs and read the books but i do naturally let him play with and prepare his own healthy meals. And the 'he will not starve himself thing'... Yes he certainly does go to bed hungry. Sometimes at the weekend we cook a cake so i can get some fruit into him, sometimes he eats apple, mostly he eats cereal and bread.


rubin Thu 09-Jun-11 23:18:18

I feel for you HystericalMe. I believe strongly in giving children a head start with a good balanced diet & fully support my childrens' nursery in their promotion of healthy diets. I would be very upset if my EP was feeding our DSs lots of junk food. Thankfully it's the one thing we, EP & I, agree on - feeding our children good food. It sounds though like you're going to have an impossible battle with him & I think you're just going to have to concentrate on the time your child is with you.
Have you tried finding recipes for fun & nutricious meals that might help your child to eat more & healthier when with you. There's a lot of choice out there.
Try not to get too upset though. It will come right, try to be patient.

cestlavielife Fri 10-Jun-11 10:04:56

my dd was also stubborn enugh to not eat at all - but he wont literally starve himself - he will seek out food to keep going.

what about milk? that's protein and calcium...

equinox Fri 10-Jun-11 16:20:09

Just as an interesting point I grew up with all sorts of cakes sweets and biscuits mostly homemade I must admit but it didn't affect my tendency to veer towards healthy eating as I developed as a teenager.

I just don't think we knew all about this healthy eating growing up and we are only much more conscious of it now which is of course an excellent thing.

However it does make me realise how much we naturally gravitate towards our own preferences as we grow up and disregard what we were fed on by our families. If children are eating different diets at diffferent parents at least they are experiencing both ends of the spectrum and can decide where their preferences lie later!

gillybean2 Fri 10-Jun-11 19:08:33

Is he's thriving? That's what matters most.

If he's eating plenty of cereal, with milk on, then you shouldn't worry too much. Cereal as a snack is fine. If it can be non choc/frosted so much the better.

The other things you mention are that awful either really. Maybe a few tweaks could be suggested though. Your ex is obviously trying and thought he was doing right but you're throwing it back at him without really being positive or giving helpful advice.
How about trying to put a positive spin on it
"It's not ideal but I guess it'll take a bit of time to get ds there. I know you're trying and we need to work together on this. Do you think you could try xyz cereal instead, the chocolate/frosted ones are best avoided and he's been eating rice crispies/shreddies/weetabix etc here with no problem. Pancakes great (flour eggs milk sugar - what's the issue with them?), just have to be careful what you put on them. He might like yorkshire puddings which are the same ingredients, shall we try them? Cake is fine as a treat, was it fruit cake? And a nutella sandwhich is fine. Nursery is suggesting we try ham or cheese though..."

Can you get some literature from the health visitor or school nurse? The nursery should be able to point you at how to contact the local school nurse. Then your ex can see what you are trying to achieve.

as to his fussyness - Have you tried other kinds of fruit other than apple? My ds is also a fussy eater but he loves melon, mango, grapes, cherries (remove pips first), strawberries and raspberries. All of which he eats till they're coming out of his ears. Ok so they're sweet in taste, but they are fruit and will extend his tastes a bit hopefully.

My ds also liked things like cream crackers with butter on and philadelpia with breaksticks and eventually carrot to dip in it. You might find that he takes to this kind of thing as he likes bread.

mrscolour Sat 11-Jun-11 20:32:26

My dd was a fussy eater as a LO and I used to get so stressed about it I think I made the problem worse by watching over every mouthful. I start to loosen up a bit when I realised she would eat things for the childminder and more so after I had ds and stopped fretting so much over her. My policy became to keep offering her different foods but always ensure that there was something on her plate I knew she would eat and eventually after many attempts, she might try the new food. Now (at 4) she eats pretty well - still a bit of a fusspot but not a worry.

It sounds a bit like nursery are making you feel more stressed about the situation. It is not up to them to tell you how to bring up your son - it should be the other way round! If you are not happy that your son will not eat anything, could you suggest that they offer him some toast or something else reasonably healthy just to ensure he has something. You employ them to care for your son and you have the right to have a say in how they do that.

As for his dad, there's not really much you can do. You can make suggestions but you might have to just accept it. Most normal parents have the odd day when healthy eating lapses so you might just have to accept that those are his unhealthy days. My ex lets my dd choose what they have for tea which I totally disagree with but there's not much I can do about it. Also, perhaps you are just feeling frustrated with this situation and want to blame your ex as you are annoyed with him over other things. Sometimes, when my ds comes back from his dad's and won't settle for bed I find myself blaming my ex when it probably isn't really his fault.

Do understand your frustration. My ex seems to set out to contradict any decisions I make about parenting and it does piss me off!

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