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I feel sick with myself.... another terrible lunchtime with a 14month old

(17 Posts)
bbface Thu 13-Oct-11 12:37:07

I do not deserve my DS. How the hell can I lose it with a 14 month old?

Background is that my DS used to be a great eater. Now refuses pretty much everything and throws it, or swallows it for ages and then spits it out. I have tried so many types of food, if he shows the slightest interest - I get excited and do again - but chances are he then hates it.

We have a wonderful relationship outside of feeidng times. God, I adore my boy. But during meal times I am so short-tempered. I really shouted at him to "STOP THROWING THE BLOODY FOOD". I threw the plate of food on the floor (for god's sake, am I the child in this relationship?)

He is very off with me. Not my imagination, he really is. I don't blame him.

Any tips please? I won't be sensitive, please give my your opinions.

SpottySlippers Thu 13-Oct-11 12:47:54

Poor you; I have a DS who is 13 months who went through a picky eating phase a couple of months ago, as have DD1 and DD2 when they were babies. I think he could be reacting to your negative (sorry!) attention. Do you sit at the table with him and have your lunch? You could do this, praising the good behaviour and ignoring the bad. I would remove his leftovers when you have finished your lunch and that is that. It is hard when they eat very little, but he may make up for it at tea time. I would also limit any morning snacks you give to make sure he is hungry. HTH.

Pancakeflipper Thu 13-Oct-11 13:02:01

Ah the battle of meal times. It's emotionally draining and worrying. My youngest is and was brill at meal time control.

You have to remember he will not starve. They will eat when hungry. If he has snacks in the morning, stop giving them. Don't think "oh but if I stop the snacks then he'll not eat anything all morning/ afternoon."

He has control of meal time. He can see you getting all emotional and wound up. He gets loads of attention. Ok it is negative - but it's still attention. He's sat there thinking "Me, me, me, me..."

I would spend no longer than 10-15 mins at the table if he's not going to eat it. You eat with him and when you are done and he's piddling about, you take him out of his chair. Ignore his protests and onto next activity. Clean up with no emotion.

You prepare things that he likes the ingredients to. But nothing that takes you ages to prepare so you don't get upset when you scoop it in the bin.

If he eats his food, he gets a pud. If he doesn't then he doesn't get a pud

It took 2 weeks for my youngest to get the message. And he got heaps of praise when he ate a meal with no fuss and drama. And then he got the same pud as his big brother and thought it was wonderful.

Every so often my youngest ( he is 3) resorts to this behaviour and I just have to ignore it and go back to calm detached tactics.

It's horrible. I used to cry in the kitchen at the worry of it. But once I took control I felt loads better.

Shakey1500 Thu 13-Oct-11 13:03:04

He is almost certainly picking up on your feelings. I totally understand how frustrating it is, I had this with my ds around the same age. He would refuse almost everything. Eventually I had to change my approach. FWIW here's what I did

I didn't sit with him at the table, it can put pressure on them to eat.
I stopped "hovering"
Instead I "pottered" around the kitchen glancing out the corner of my eye now and then.
I put on a "I'm really not bothered if you eat it or not" face, even though I felt desperate inside.
The food would get plonked down with a blasé attitude.
I would ask him casually to try it, then leave him to it (see "pottering")
If he refused I would tell him "Ok, well, I'll leave it there another 5 mins, then take it away" If it wasn't ate, away it went.

I did go through a stage of giving him more or less the things I knew he'd like as 14months is still very little. I'd encourage him to "help" me make the food, didnt always work and he'll be no Jamie Oliver as he had zero interest!

Regarding the food on the floor, let it go grin it can be picked up/cleaned. One less thing to deal with at the time. As I said, he's still only young so probably not quite at the "let's wind up Mummy" stage and obviously needs to eat something but it's really easier to decide NOT to get stressed, as it really does make it feel worse.

And if all else fails, there's still the "this too will pass" mantra to fall back on.
Good luck

AppleAndBlackberry Thu 13-Oct-11 13:28:54

My 26mo was not a great eater at that age, I worried about it a lot and then I realised she just didn't need as much as I thought she did - she was putting on weight and growing fine so she must have been getting enough. But she really only ate two meals a day and ate almost nothing for the third, maybe a piece of fruit.

I try to be very neutral about food, it's put in front of them and anything they don't finish goes in the bin. I didn't worry about throwing at that age, just ignored it as I didn't want mealtimes to become a battle. I encourage trying all the food but don't require a particular amount to be eaten.

After the main course or sandwich is finished with (eaten or otherwise) I would then offer fruit or yogurt or both. I know other people don't do this unless the main course is eaten but it works for me and also means that if they genuinely don't like the food they still eat something. I don't offer anything sweet either after a meal or between meals if the previous meal wasn't eaten, but I occasionally do if it was (e.g. cake, biscuit, apple crumble etc ).

I also do give snacks at 10 and 3 because I think if they go a long time without eating at this age they get grumpy but again if the previous meal wasn't eaten the snack is something healthy like a banana or raisins or the uneaten sandwich.

So I don't worry too much about how much is consumed at meal times, I just offer healthy food 5 times a day, take it away if not eaten and try not to get into a battle over it.

katyjkatyj Thu 13-Oct-11 16:22:10

Hi bbface - I know how you feel, I used to feel so so guilty when I'd lost my patience with ds at that age... I agree with pancakeflipper, make stuff that is simple for you. One thing that made me feel upset, was the time and effort I was putting into trying to make fun/ healthy/ varied meals, which were then just spat out! Luckily the phase didn't last long at all, but even a week feels like a lifetime when it's something that is becoming a big deal for you.

I'd keep the foods simple, present them, leave them and then take them away if they're untouched (or 'touched' but not eaten!) The more I made it an issue, the more ds sensed it, I'm sure.

bbface Thu 13-Oct-11 18:15:44

Thanks so much for your messages and support.

Just finished dinner, disaster. My head is pounding. I actually think something might be up... the endless chewing, followed by the inevitable rejection. I tracked what was actually swallowed... one single teeny tiny mouthful of cheesy potato tortilla, and three minute sqaures of cream cheese on toast and 5 mouthfuls of a yoghurt. I so wanted him to eat smething I have just given him a finger of hot cross bun which he is wolfing down.

In the middle of dinner I actually abandoned the table, turned on my laptop and read your responses.... it helped actually.

No shouting, but an internal scream everytime he spat out the mouthful (>50 times).

I think I am going to take him to the docs?

Any food suggestions? At this point, I don't give a damn about veggies, I just want to get substance inside him

Thanks

BlackCatinaWitchesHatonaBroom Thu 13-Oct-11 18:42:25

Meal times are difficult with any child IME. I have a 2 year old and 8 year old.
The 2 year old seems to hardly eat anything but she is growing fine.
The 8 year old always leaves some of his dinner on his plate, tonight he has left all his peas and potatoes.

When they are as young as yours it is hard cause you make them nice food then they throw it on the floor.

As for the not swallowing/spitting it out, it is probably best to check it with your doctor or health visitor but it might just be an attention thing.

I do give snacks just because I would rather know they have had something.
My dd loves yoghurt as a snack. also how about them Farleys rusk biscuits.
And sometimes I end up giving my 2 year old cereal at bedtime cause she hasn't eaten much.
HTH

TheArmadillo Thu 13-Oct-11 19:24:53

Unless he is getting faint, has no energy or is losing weight then you do not need to worry about how much he is eating as he is clearly getting enough to sustain himself. They can survive on 3 small mouthfuls and fresh air a day or at least so my 2 have always claimed wink. More seriously when my ds (7yo) was about 18 months he ate almost nothing (maybe 1/2 piece of toast every 2 days) and was still ok - they can survive on ridiculously small amounts of food so really don't get yourself in a stress about it.

I have found that giving them a plate was always a bad idea as it was just a missile - I put food directly on the high chair tray. I also find dd (14 months) is better if I give her one or two pieces of food at a time and then another one or two when she has finished them (though you have to hide the rest or she insists on it just to fling it on the floor). Also not paying her attention when she flings stuff, just ignore (ds finds it hard not to laugh at her which makes this harder).

I do give her pudding in an evening even if she hasn't eaten much to get a few extra calories in her plus ds is having it and I think she's too young to understand pudding only if you eat your main.

The most important thing overall is not to worry - that will make you worked up and there is nothing to worry about so far. His behaviour is standard, he's not struggling with lack of food so its all ok. Ignore him and clear up when he's finished.

TheArmadillo Thu 13-Oct-11 19:26:12

Most kids I know have done the swallowing/spitting out thing, my dd does it particularly with pepper. It's not a problem.

mrsravelstein Thu 13-Oct-11 19:32:00

i have 3dc (10, 3, 1) who all have gone through, and in the case of the youngest still go through, phases of being unbelievably awkward about food - dd will wolf down handfuls of salmon risotto one day, and 2 days later spit it out while saying 'no no no' and looking outraged that i've served her something so poisonous.

ds2 takes an hour to eat his supper every single day, though in fairness he eats happily enough these days, just very s-l-o-w-l-y which makes me want to scream.

my solution to all of this? i put the food on the table. i mooch around the kitchen with a glass of wine. if they eat it, lovely. if they don't, so what, they'll probably eat tomorrow. i have trained myself to just NOT CARE and not judge my parenting by whether or not they eat a meal.

Magneto Thu 13-Oct-11 19:35:01

grin op I think you have my baby wink

I am going through the same battle, ds 14 months will eat any kind of crap but actual food is ignored, screamed at then thrown on the floor! These replies have been very helpful by the way.

FoxyRevenger Thu 13-Oct-11 20:44:52

My 16 month old is having a bit of a 'grazing' phase and seems to be eating less.

Her big thing is chewing something for ages, then she seems to get bored and just lets it drop out of her mouth.

I just IGNORE and encourage her to try another bite.

bbface Thu 13-Oct-11 20:52:21

You have all been brilliant - thank you.

Anyway, I feel like the lowest of the low. After his nighttime bottle my DS threw up a huge amount... entire 8oz bottle plus all of dinner. He obviously was feeling a little off today, which is why it was particularly difficult. My darling boy was feeling nauseous and who wants to eat when they are feeling nauseous??

I can't wait until tomorrow, I plan to start the eating thing afresh. I really have taken on board what some of you have said about basically chilling.

Thanks again

MamaChocoholic Thu 13-Oct-11 21:07:41

glad you are feeling better. also, food intake slows down dramatically around one year. they actually need to eat less than they used to. look at the growth chart in your red book and you'll see how much they grow from 0-12mo compared to 12-24mo. if my 12mo eat one good meal a day, I guarantee they won't eat almost anything else. today they had lots of cornflakes at breakfast (about a handful between them), shared a banana and a slice of cheese on toast for lunch and threw their tea on the floor. and I think they ate more today than I've seen them eat in weeks. they're still growing, still have lots of energy, so I know I have to sit back and not interfere, hard though it is.

sleeplessinderbyshire Thu 13-Oct-11 21:12:42

my dd is 26 months and we still struggle. I'm trying to be very calm, occasionally offer new stuff but after a week of cold turkey fasmily meals or nothing (removed calmly after 15 mions of not eating) she had great manners but still never ate anythign except breakfast and was up half the night (I didn't give her milk just a quick cuddle and back down) she now sits there looks pokes and says "I can't my so sorry mummy I get down now" if ofered anything that's not toast and peanut butter, shreddies, porridge or petit filous but at least she's poliute. she's growing well active and happy so I am just waiting for her to grow out of it

Pancakeflipper Thu 13-Oct-11 21:22:57

hh bless him. No wonder he's been a handful today for you. Hope you have an uneventful night and he feels better very soon.

Let whatever is upsetting his system get out and then next week stare him straight in the eye and say "right sunshine. No messing now... I have got a team of mummies behind me and I am calm and in control."

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