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Food at nursery

(17 Posts)
Lilipot15 Sun 24-May-15 11:36:44

Hello, I posted a fairly long post in chat but possibly the wrong place to post.

My 15 month old DD is settling into a new nursery as we have moved house. Previously she was with a childminder and ate really well there with children of a mix of ages. The childminder was pretty flexible about another toddler who wasn't such a good eater.

DD is becoming a bit more stubborn about what she'll eat, particularly at breakfast, and to compound things she has food allergies so is a bit limited as to what she can have. I usually end our breakfast at home with fruit, eg. Satsumas, with some banana if she's not taken much cereal.

At nursery they are only given toast and/or cereal. I had been assured by the manager that she wouldn't be left hungry, but when I collected her after lunch the other day she'd had one spoonful of cereal, no lunch and only then did they give her the banana I'd said she'd eat if not eating otherwise. Despite being shattered she wolfed down a big lunch at home with me.

The room leader said to me that they can't give her alternatives as the others all eat the same food. I can see this point of view, but equally she can't be the only one to be a bit fussy between 1-2 years old. Is it normal that nurseries let kids carry on with such little food? It can't be good for mood or energy levels.

I don't want to fuss too much, but I am finding this whole settling her in business a challenge. I haven't warmed to her keyworker (the room leader) who pretty much ignored us when we arrived one morning, and have asked for my DD to get to know other members of staff too who seem a bit more nurturing, so I'm worried I've already ruffled some feathers.

I wondered what others experiences of nurseries dealing with food and amounts eaten are - I guess if she is starving she will eat, and part of it may be that she's not feeling secure there yet. I've checked that it's not just that they're expecting her to feed it all to herself - she's just getting the hang of cutlery.

Thanks in advance.

Lilipot15 Sun 24-May-15 11:40:32

Ps and the reason I haven't placed her with a childminder is that we're new to the area, so I don't have any childminder recommendations and this nursery came highly recommended. I am trying to persevere with this new placement as it took time for her to settle with her first childminder and she was very happy there once settled.

meerschweinchen Sun 24-May-15 11:46:52

If she's still settling in,I guess they want to give her a bit more time perhaps? I can see the logic behind that. But, saying that I have one v v fussy child and nursery were so worried about him not eating anything all day, that I started providing food I knew he would eat, and they were happy to give him that instead. So I'd be surprised if they are completely inflexible, but equally if they want to wait a bit, I don't see the harm in that.

Saying that, it sound alike you had a great childminder and this nursery doesn't sound so great so far. Maybe leave it a bit and see, but if your fut reaction is that they aren't all that nurturing, I'd contemplate moving her. I speak as someone who left her child at a nursery for too long before moving him sad

Lilipot15 Sun 24-May-15 11:55:09

Thanks for the reply. Everyone but the room leader makes me feel that they are nicely nurturing. And I'm hoping that she is just one of those who is a bit awkward in front of parents and actually fine when we're not there. I have seen her reading a story to DD sat on her knee. The food they provide doesn't sound that different to what I'd do at home (probably better!) so I'm hoping it's just settling in jitters, plus as she's getting older she's getting a bit more wilful about what she wants (apparently I survived on cheese sandwiches and yogurt for some time as a stubborn toddler!).

I know I'm anxious about leaving her and really struggled leaving her with the childminder which worked out great in the my DH is just reminding me of how I was about this and to keep persevering (it's only been 2 weeks).

Meersch - did you move to a different nursery or did you find a more home-based setting? And how long was too long before you moved your DS?

UniS Sun 24-May-15 12:01:10

I'm not sure what else nursery could have done. Breakfast, child eats a little , nursery staff don't know if they have already had breakfast at home or just don't want what's on offer. Lunch time comes and same child doesn't eat what's on offer, so is given the bananam mum said they could have if they didn't eat. Child is being collected in next hour, parent is being told what child has eaten so can chose to give child some other food.
DS went through a phase of not eating nursery lunch, he would eat snack at nursery but not cooked food. Wasn't a big deal, he was just a but more hungrey by dinner time.

Lilipot15 Sun 24-May-15 12:15:21

It was made clear at drop off that she hadn't had breakfast at home.
Is it normal then that kids are just left without food at nursery if they don't eat what's on offer? One spoon of cereal doesn't feel like enough to get a child through a four hour session when snacks are not offered. Maybe I'm being too precious about it but I know how rubbish I feel when hungry!

UniS Sun 24-May-15 12:32:27

Its a child being " maybe" a bit hungrey for a couple of hours, its not with holding food or starvation or cruelty. See how it goes for a few weeks. If you want her given a banana at breakfast say so, and say so explicitly. If you want her to be given a drink of milk at breakfast regardless of how much she eats, say so.
Nursery keep children safe and occupied, but the staff are not you and don't know exactly what you would chose to do in every situation.

Lilipot15 Sun 24-May-15 12:37:21

UniS my concern is that I had asked them to give her fruit after breakfast if she didn't eat the cereal - the room leader said they couldn't do this because of the other children. Presumably by the time she then didn't eat the next meal they decided she should have it.
Perhaps my expectations are too high. It's really difficult to know what I should be expecting, in a new town with no-one except my DH to talk to about it and he thinks I should just be patient, he's probably right, but I'm struggling with the whole thing. I feel it's my responsibility as her mum to make sure all her needs are met and I'm finding handing this over to people I don't know well a real struggle.

Littlefish Sun 24-May-15 16:25:08

I think, given what you have said about your own feelings about leaving your dd with other people, that you would be better off giving notice to the nursery and going back to using a childminder, or find a nanny who can give her one to one care.

Lilipot15 Sun 24-May-15 16:52:50

Littlefish - do you think my anxiety is excessive for starting her in nursery, or do you think my expectations of what nursery can offer are too high? Am not disagreeing with you, genuinely interested.

Littlefish Sun 24-May-15 17:06:07

A little bit of both perhaps Lilipot smile. The thing abut a group setting is that to a certain extent, at times, children are treated in a similar way. It wouldn't be possible to treat every child individually all the time, although I know that many good nurseries try to follow children's routines as much as possible.

I don't think the nursery was unreasonable in not giving your dd the fruit after her cereal. She had eaten some cereal, not refused the whole lot. At lunchtime, they realised she was refusing the food again, so gave her the banana. That all sounds reasonable to me.

I think we all find it hard to hand our children to someone else to take care of. I'm a nursery teacher, but wholeheartedly believe that young children should be in a home environment (be that home with parents, nanny or in a child minder's home) until they are 3. I know that many people have wonderful experiences with nurseries for children of a younger age, but I just don't think that a group setting, even with high staff to child ratios is the best environment for our youngest children.

It sounds like you are very unsure about your dd being at nursery. Did you feel the same way when she started at the childminder?

Lilipot15 Sun 24-May-15 17:31:40

Littlefish, I did really struggle with her starting at the childminder too, even though she was recommended, I warmed to her quickly, and I had friends who saw her at the school gates who could report to me that she was happy! I'm an anxious first time mum, most of my friends have older children and virtually all used nurseries.

The change to a nursery seems like a big one, but it was partly prompted by a blip in supervision with her food at the childminder resulting in a hospital trip - the nursery seemed much more rigorous around food allergies.
The childminder worked to her max ratios as far as I could see with several before and after school children but it was a homely and friendly environment.
I think we will give it another couple of weeks and see how it feels - she is only doing max 3 mornings a week. I'll get DH to do some of the drop-offs and collections next week as he is off work, and see what his feelings are.

trilbydoll Sun 24-May-15 17:41:13

The other problem is sometimes toddlers just don't eat, so although I agree with you that a spoonful of cereal is not enough, DD has survived on similar quite a few times!

Give it another few weeks, I've found that DD learnt that no alternatives were forthcoming, and that food was at set times at nursery fairly quickly. As a result, she eats loads at nursery she wouldn't touch at home.

Lilipot15 Sun 24-May-15 18:12:41

Trilby, yes, I see what you say. I suspect I'm panicking a bit as I have always been so grateful that she has been a great eater of what she can eat, so when I hear she hasn't eaten I've probably become too worried.

CommonplaceMagic Sun 24-May-15 18:19:04

How long has your DD been at nursery? I remember when my DD started at just over 2. For a good couple of weeks she ate very little at nursery and I was getting quite worried that she never would. Then she started eating a bit more and now 18 months on , wolfs down everything they give her. So your DD may just need a bit more time. Most nurseries cannot offer an different eating plan for each child - it simply isn't workable. Most children (like my DD) will eventually eat the food they are offered if they are hungry.

But if you are unhappy with the nursery's approach, then you can move her somewhere where you feel more comfortable.

Christelle2207 Sun 24-May-15 18:31:34

My 21mo (at nursery for a year) is very fussy, in the early days ate very little at nursery. However he has now got the hang of the fact that what there is at nursery is what there is(no alternatives and I'm happy with what they offer him) and the peer pressure encourages him to eat.
He now generally eats everything given to him at nursery, whereas at home he's still fussy!

Lilipot15 Sun 24-May-15 21:35:26

Thanks for the replies. It is very early days yet, only 2 weeks. I think my own anxiety and feelings are focussing on the eating when it may be a wider issue about whether or not I want her in nursery or with someone in a home setting. Lots of stuff to think about but I shan't make any rash decisions.

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