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She just won't eat! Every mealtime is stressful and with floods of tears! Please help.

(109 Posts)
LoveYouForeverMyBaby Fri 05-Oct-12 14:36:09

Dd (almost 11months) pretty much survives on milk. That's it. I make her homemade food from scratch for one meal a day, and a punch for the other meal (plus breakfasts like museli, cereal, scrambled egg, toast, fruit etc). Apart from breakfast which she eats, she will not touch lunch or dinner. I have tried not giving an milk bar one morning bottle and she just screams as she is hungry all day and still won't eat.

She has been like this for 2 months now.

Hvs won't help me, they keep saying milk is their main nutrional until 12 months. Well we're approaching 12 months then what? This is a typical meal planner for us, what am I doing wrong??

7am 200mls milk
9am breakfast (toast, museli/wheatabix/cereal/scrambled egg, with fruit)
11am 100mls milk
1pm lunch (today was homemade grilled salmon, with humous, tomato, sweet potato, cous and pasta, with the following finger foods banana, melon, tomato and rice cake) all she ate was the rice cake
3pm 50mls milk
5pm dinner - an Ella's pouch or sometimes a homemade soup with bread.
7pm 150-200mls milk

So she has about 500-550mls of milk a day and solid wise a bit of breakfast and a rice came. Al day.

I eat with her, I make homemade food, I try to get her to be interactive, I try to make it fun, I try ignoring her to see if that makes a difference.

Nothing. Nothing works.

Everyone comments on how thin she is - she is the 75th centile for weight.

Please help me. No one will help or seems concerned but I think a baby approaching 1 years to just have milk and a rice cake in the day isn't right.

seventiesgirl Sat 06-Oct-12 08:27:28

Please try not to get stressed out about eating habits. Of all the foods you offered at lunch my 4yo will only eat cous cous, pasta, banana sad. He eats what I think is a limited range of foods although we try to introduce new ones; it's a slow and boring process but he's growing and his diet is balanced.

I was much happier when I made a conscious effort not to get worked up about it

rufus5 Sun 07-Oct-12 15:21:43

So so pleased for you OP, it is wonderful when you get a breakthrough like this. Be proud of yourself, you were calm and relaxed, and as a result the dining table was no longer a battleground.

Bear in mind that it is unlikely this is a magic fix and there will still be days (probably a lot of them) that your DD will refuse to eat. Just keep being consistent and calm, and gradually she will eat more and more until you eventually forget what it was like to battle every mealtime. My DD took about 6 months before she got to the stage of eating relatively normal amounts, but even now she still has days when she refuses to eat. No stress though, I know she'll eat when she's hungry.

Well done, keep up the good work!!

Eglantyne Sun 07-Oct-12 15:32:17

Could you change tactics? Teddy bears picnic with bits of finger food on the toy plates? Picnic rug on the lounge floor if it's cold. Out for a walk in the pushchair with a little pot of fruit on her lap? Worked for my ds. Feign nonchalence at whether she eats or not.

Eglantyne Sun 07-Oct-12 16:06:29

Could you change tactics? Teddy bears picnic with bits of finger food on the toy plates? Picnic rug on the lounge floor if it's cold. Out for a walk in the pushchair with a little pot of fruit on her lap? Worked for my ds. Feign nonchalence at whether she eats or not.

Eglantyne Sun 07-Oct-12 16:07:16

Oops, double post and time lap, sorry!

Eglantyne Sun 07-Oct-12 16:07:38


QTPie Sun 07-Oct-12 16:45:43


Sorry, have been trying to find reference to this, but does she ea the Ella's Pouch? If she does which pouches/stages is she eating? (some are just fruit/veg, but others are "meals" including protein)


cantmakecarrotcake Sun 07-Oct-12 19:50:13

Sounds like you're making good progress, OP. Well done.

Like so many others, I could have written your post. I battled for months asking the HV's what I should do and only got told to cut milk or offer finger foods.

From my experience, time passes and slowly things change. You'll have 1 step forward 2 steps back moments, but overall the progress is generally forwards.

I thought I'd share with you my latest trick... DD is a bit meh about protein so will often leave what's on her plate in favour of sweet corn usually. I give her whatever pudding would usually be (fruit/yoghurt) then put the bits of cut up sausage/fish finger in one of those nuby snack pots and let her roam around the sitting room eating them. It's big perfect table manners but it gets into her what she should be eating, so I'll deal with the manners later :-)

LoveYouForeverMyBaby Sun 07-Oct-12 22:37:15

Qt she eats the 10month+ ones... Last couple days she's picked at her non mush non spoon fed food and only eaten breakfast. Feel a bit disappointed but at least meal times are alot less stressful and hopefully her appetite will come back.

QTPie Sun 07-Oct-12 23:26:21


It could be a number if things: appetite is often effected by teething/illness.

I did traditional weaning: a good thing in our case as DS was a choker (not a gagger, a choker sad ) until 11 months. After 11 months he just clicked and we could do finger foods - hooray!

So everything was puréed. For ease I tended to do one Ella's pouch a day. For about a month, both lunch and dinner were both Ella's pouches (double stress of moving house and mum being diagnosed with lung cancers, then her biopsy's and major surgery). Before moving exclusively to homemade food and finger foods at 12 months.

I think with BLW - unless you get some super eater - you need a lot more patience. As someone else wrote, it is about "taste, textures, experiences" - not necessarily actually eating the food or even "nutrition" in those early months.

Traditional weaning, the control is more with the parent and less with the child (which is why many prefer the idea of BLW). I think that you need a lot of faith to do BLW.

If your LO is eating the pouches, but not the BLW things, maybe that is just what they prefer at this moment in time? From what I understand, BLW avoids all purées - maybe half BLW, half purées is a little confusing?

I think it is important to choose a strategy, have conviction in your approach and then not stress - don't make food/eating an issue: otherwise it will become a longed term battle ground.

That is all theory, though.

Have you got LO checked out by a GP? Friend of minr's twin had silent reflux as little babies and it has continued to effect their eating until it was finally acknowledge - and they received the correct medication - at 2.5 years.

noblegiraffe Sun 07-Oct-12 23:32:50

Have you tried her with omelette again since that was successful? You need to determine whether she's not eating because she doesn't want to eat what you're offering or whether she genuinely doesn't want to eat anything at that time.

So, if she ate a rice cake for lunch one day, would she eat it again the next?

lovestodaydream Sun 07-Oct-12 23:49:39

Dear OP. I used to have exactly the same scenario- DS would start to get annoyed when he saw food and would either just push it away or throw it on the floor. I would invariably end up in tears (not so he could see) and dreaded mealtimes.
After he got to around 13/14 months I just left the baby plates/high chair etc in the kitchen and stuck to apple/pear purée and Ella's fruit pouches if we were out. At home I would just sit him on my lap in front of the tv and quietly stroke his hair til he relaxed. I would not even speak - after a while I would quietly begin nibbling bits of toast / pitta/ and letting my hand fall in front of us both, after a while (a week or so) he forhot to fight it and started to show interest in what I was eating and had a few nibbles. Gradually it picked up. But I stayed relaxed, in the tv room and just put bits of food in a bowl where he could get it. If he was engrossed in a programme I could sneak bits in his mouth. It sounds awful and sneaky, but I don't think many people could understand just how frightened I was at his lack of interest in food. He is now 3, still insists on 2 cups of milk a day and would have more if I let him, weaning for him was a sloooooow process. My biggest learning was to go at his speed and not the 'guidelines'. He will always find food boring and an effort, its almost threatening to him I think as its disruptive to playing! I've just learned the hard way to not discuss it with him or it becomes an issue - something in his small world that he can control and say no to. Your DD will get there too, just hang in there, you're truly not alone. Sorry that was so long! I rarely post but this really resonated with me.

lovestodaydream Mon 08-Oct-12 00:00:00

Oh god sorry realised you have had a breakthrough! Pls excuse me rambling - 3 days overdue and possibly a bit stir crazy lol!

LoveYouForeverMyBaby Mon 08-Oct-12 12:46:27

Thank you everyone, I could try the omelette again, maybe tomorrow. Today I have prepped yesterday's leftover (uncomplettly untouched) jacket potato with low salt and low sugar baked beans with cheese and curly kale, and for dinner I'm making a salmon fish pie. Going to keep ditching the highchair and spoons and let her try and feed herself - which is is more than capable of as she has been feeding herself since 5.5 months and stuffed her face with scramb,ed egg yesterday. She just seems to only want to eat at breakfast, and could quite happily refuse food all day until the next morning.

I've beeping try to eat from the same plate and putting her in front of the tv as well to try and distract her and make it less stressful but it just seems to be a case of she just doesn't like food after 9am sad

Getting her weighed on Wednesday will give you an update on food around then.

DairyNips Mon 08-Oct-12 12:48:28

I know it's super super hard not to worry but just keep going, stay consistent and view this as a long term thingsmile

LoveYouForeverMyBaby Mon 08-Oct-12 12:57:41

Thank you's do hard when you have been bought up to view food as fuel that your body needs to grow and develop to see your baby hate it so much makes you feel like you've failed......(deep breath) will keep trying to be calm and breezy about it and at least we had 1 major breakthrough.

amyboo Mon 08-Oct-12 13:04:59

I second wannabe - as hard as it is, try to just take absolutely NO notice of what's she is or isn't eating. Sit down with her, eat yours and ignore what she's doing with hers. At this age, I found that our DS (who had been a fab eater for the first 6-9 months) wanted to explore food a lot (ie, mash it around, throw it, etc) and also wanted to express an opinion a LOT. He'd been spoon fed, and once he realised he could have a say in what he was eating he ran me and DH ragged for about 6 months. We tried everything, and the only thing that worked for us was a) all sitting down to eat together whenever we could (for all meals) and b) completely ignoring what DS did or didn't decide to eat.

He's now 2.5 and is once again an excellent eater, but we had about 6 months of pure hell from the age of about 16 months....

amyboo Mon 08-Oct-12 13:07:13

Forgot to add that reading worked quite well for us when it was just one of us plus DS eating. We used to read from whatever was his favourite book at the time, while we both ate. It was just a way to keep things calm and relaxed, as (like you know) it can be really hard to stay calm when you're stressing about what they're eating all the time.

noblegiraffe Mon 08-Oct-12 13:17:49

I found I got less stressed about what my DS was eating when I started giving him a multivitamin every morning. Then I could concentrate on getting him to eat to satisfy his hunger instead of worrying about the variety.

Craftyone Tue 09-Oct-12 11:10:32

I’m late on this but how is she on cheesy recipes as they usually love cheese at this age. I didn’t see it mentioned in your post. I make cheesy fish pie with white fish or salmon and cauliflower cheese and freeze it in ice cubes, mix with veg, potato, rice etc. for those difficult times and if DS if having a bad day I put very small chunks of cheese in his food.

He eats the same mature cheese as us and I reduced his bottles slightly to compensate. His weight is average. Try not to get too upset and a handful of tomato sauce based spaghetti in his tray (with small chunks of cheese) is always a good one.

He would not eat so well if it wasn’t for cheese. Now he has plenty of meals without cheese but it was great at the beginning.

My dd had silent reflux and developed a food phobia. Unlike yours she also wouldn't have milk. I ended up on ADs when she was 10months old as I felt like such a failure because I couldn't get her to eat. Meal times dominated every day and were stressful times. I managed to relax a little as she got older and she ate a little better but by no means normally.

When dd was 20 months old I went back to work (full time). Dd was looked after by a friend with dc around her age and ate whatever they ate without any fuss!! So I try to get other people to feed her wherever possible grin. She is still picky at home (but not as bad) but she eats everything put in front of her at school dinners! (if she had a packed lunch she would only eat one type of sandwich on one type of bread and no veg..... And eat about 2 bites)

rattling Tue 09-Oct-12 15:59:14

I'm late to this, but it has struck a chord as I had such "trouble" with one of my sons. He is 3.6 now, still a pain about food regularly - even slightly under the weather he won't eat, and on top form he'll have a couple of days a week he won't touch anything but breakfast.

But I don't worry about it now because he has a non-ID twin brother who eats everything put in reach. I'd say over the course of a week he eats twice what Mr Picky eats. And they are constantly matched for weight and height. They just need (and take) different amounts of food.

The only breakthrough we had with him was discovering (accident - wrong carton came out of the freezer) that he likes quite strongly flavoured food. I thought that him not liking much meant that blander was better - but he loves a serious chilli!!

noblegiraffe Tue 09-Oct-12 16:18:49

My picky eater (aged 3) likes chicken curry and spicy fajitas! We end up eating them quite regularly.

LoveYouForeverMyBaby Tue 09-Oct-12 19:09:51

Anther successful day of o more highchair and no mush/spoons, dd ate two fishfingers (the Jamie Oliver and youngs ones these one seem to have less salt in them and are made with pollock fillet so am hoping they are not mcrubbish!) with a cheese and tomato sandwich, grapes and a banana. No fuss no screaming smile can't believe how well it's working.

LoveYouForeverMyBaby Tue 09-Oct-12 19:12:08

That was lunch, dinner she had a beef curry but didn't eat a huge amount of that, but I don't mind as much as long as she's eating a good breakfast and at least a decent lunch or dinner, plus milk. Before she was only eating breakfast and milk and bread, at least now I feel far more reassured she is eating and getting a bit of variety.

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