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I am at the end of my tether with ds's eating.

(14 Posts)
TeaCuresEverything Mon 25-Mar-13 16:41:58

I need help,

I've posted here before about his eating but its just getting worse.

He is 2yrs and 5 months old. He has always been a fussy eater but he used to enjoy eating and would eat a fair variety, he loved his fruits and veggies.

However it has got worse and worse and now all he will eat is cereal occasionally, and bits of cheese and apples. He goes to stay at my Dad's every other Sat night and I know he gives him crisps and biscuits. I've asked him to stop but I know he won't. He was like it with me and my siblings growing up too.

We've just had an hour long show down with me trying to get him to eat some fish pie and him refusing. He is now eating nutella on toast, just so that I know he's had something

I feel like I am failing. He used to like eating other foods! What do I do. He has a cough and cold at the moment which isn't helping.

LastTangoInDevonshire Mon 25-Mar-13 17:24:09

He doesn't eat what you give him. So you give him something else. And you wonder why he is holding out on you and playing you up?? Really?

You tell your Dad that if he continues to give him crisps and biscuits your DS will not be visiting any more.

You put a small plate of food in front of DS and make NO COMMENT WHATSOEVER. You give it 30 mins and take it away with NO COMMENT WHATSOEVER. You continue to do this no matter what fuss he kicks up, no matter how much he cries and begs. If he gets down from the table you take the plate away as before.

He will not deliberately starve himself. Do NOT give him attention at all when there is food on the table. Do not give in at all or you will be back to square one.

This has come up several times over the past few days and the advice is always as above.

Teachercreature Mon 25-Mar-13 17:41:50

Eating issues always tricky! My mum was forced to clean her plate as a child and loathed it. She was then way too soft with me and my brother when we were kids and we were the world's fussiest eaters until our twenties. Am amazed my brother didn't die of scurvy grin

As a result, I decided somewhere in the middle ground was where I would aim. With my DD we've always said she needs to taste new things but I haven't forced her to eat a plateful of it. This way she has been happy to try and now eats a wide range of stuff.

However she has occasionally "tried it on" with me too at times and I have done pretty much as LastTango suggests. It worked and I do agree it is best not to engage in arguments over it and also to set a time limit. Definitely do not offer an alternative, but you could start by giving him food you know he has eaten in the past to make it a bit easier on you and him.

However, I'd also wait till he is over the cough and cold until starting the tough love! When you're bunged all food tastes like cardboard...

Good luck!

jennybeadle Mon 25-Mar-13 17:46:40

What Last Tango says. Honestly it works.

You need to be consistent though, you can't be annoyed with your DF for offering him biscuits, then offer him nutella at home and think that that's different.

RalphGnu Mon 25-Mar-13 17:55:24

OP, I feel for you.

We have tried all the above advice, seen our GP, our HV, DS has been to see a child psychologist and DS (3) still only eats 5 different foods.

Sorry if that's a bit depressing for you, but he did only used to eat three so it's a small, slow improvement!

The 'advice', which is good advice by the way, I'm not knocking it, doesn't work for every child. DS isn't being naughty, or awkward, or trying to get his own way, or doing it for attention. He is holding out on me or playing me up. I have friends that think I'm a pushover and if I was just firm and did everything mentioned above, everything would be fine. DO THEY NOT THINK WE'VE BLOODY WELL TRIED!!!?

DS will now at least try different foods, but usually gags or vomits. So we give him what we know he likes because the alternative is he wakes in the night crying with hunger. We know this through bitter experience. Going to bed hungry doesn't make him more inclined to eat what I put on his plate the next day, no matter what. If we didn't give him what he likes, he wouldn't eat. It's as simple as that. So it's all very well being a bit sarcastic, but please consider that the advice doesn't always work and the sarcasm doesn't help, it just makes you a bit more despondent and chips away at your confidence as a parent that little bit more.

mommabee Mon 25-Mar-13 17:56:10

I sympathise with you my dd is very fussy doesn't have a varied diet at all which really worries me. I'm definitely going to try what LastTango has said thanks!! grin I know this is probably a stupid question but unless she eats what she's given I take it I shouldn't give her anything else ie. morning and afternoon snacks? Sorry to nab this thread smile

RalphGnu Mon 25-Mar-13 17:56:52

Can you tell it's getting on top of me at the moment? grin sad

anklebitersmum Mon 25-Mar-13 18:18:05

We sort of did what LastTango said with DSS although because we all eat together he had to sit at the table until everyone else had finished whether he ate or not. If he didn't eat, fine, but he has to sit with the family and 'be polite'. Nothing else until the next meal-when the same tactic was employed.

Worked a treat. He did all but 2 days..breakfast, lunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch, ate the lot.

mommabee yup..nothing else. No snacks, no treats, no sympathy food grin

Teachercreature Tue 26-Mar-13 11:48:30

First of all, RalphGnu and TeaCures, sorry if you have already tried this but I've just remembered a TV programme I saw where a child of five would literally only eat yogurt. It had gone on so long he had a major psychological block. They got him to eat other things in the end by making it a game they played together - they sat in front of a mirror with a bag of crisps and made funny chomping faces with their teeth, and the little boy had so much fun he was eating without even noticing. No idea if that will be any use at all but I thought I'd mention it!

Anklebiters yes we found the "social eating" thing really helped too. It encouraged my DD to eat all sorts of new things as she saw us with them! And yep, definitely no sympathy food. And we always used to say to her that "dessert is for hungry people"!

RalphGnu Tue 26-Mar-13 12:51:01

That's a great idea, Teacher, thank you for that! DS loves the mirror (vain little thing, can't think where he gets it) so I'm looking forward to giving it a go.

Teachercreature Tue 26-Mar-13 13:14:00

No problem! My DD also loves a mirror and used to strop in front of one to watch herself, such a drama queen...! A friend of mine has had a lot of trouble with her little boy eating so I sympathise - good luck smile

mummy2benji Tue 26-Mar-13 20:14:07

Hey there, I can empathise as my ds1 has feeding issues (he is 4) due to severe reflux as a baby, which resulted in a refusal to feed and 10 hospital admissions before he was 1 with dehydration as he just wouldn't feed - I was ready to murder the next person who said "he'll feed when he's hungry!" I'm a GP and have worked in Paediatrics so that was patronising and unhelpful to say the least. I can recommend the book "Just Take A Bite" which covers a variety of causes of eating problems and how to cope with them. It is tricky as of course kids can play you up and just want to eat sweet things that they like, or they can have an actual fear of eating and trying new foods, which ds has. We have made very slow but definite progress over the past couple of years - although he eats no veg, and the only fruit he has is two flavours of baby jars, he is slowly starting to try some new things. I started 'ds's big brave marble jar' as a reward for tasting something new - he started off with a jar with one marble in it, now he has about 7 marbles. When we get to 15 we are going to get a marble run. It also helps if he has helped to make the food - he has eaten some toad-in-the-hole and sausage pizza that way, and pigs in blankets (detect the sausage theme?!). It is a long slow road but it will improve - ask for as much help as you can. SureStart will do messy play if that might help and also a dietician might be useful. Also - don't knock Nutella... ds practically lived off that and yoghurt for a good while!

mummy2benji Tue 26-Mar-13 20:18:09

Also - don't compare your child to other peoples with regard their eating, it will only upset and frustrate you and cause you to have unrealistic expectations. And have a chat with your GP as it might be a good idea for him to have vitamins prescribed - ds is on Dalivit - if his diet isn't great.

jaggythistle Tue 26-Mar-13 20:25:22


I bought this book (on y kindle as it was cheaper!) and found it really helpful in understanding kids and their eating.

DS1 ate anything till about 18 months when it all went a bit wrong and at 3.5 is still very selective, but I have had some reassurance and good ideas from the book above.

Good luck - staying calm is the best but it is hard!

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