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22mo started being difficult at mealtimes

(12 Posts)
sleepcrisis Thu 11-Apr-13 20:37:45

Help me nip it in the bud!

Have spent last year feeling so lucky that he was such a great eater. Ate meals with such enthusiasm.

Last few days he has just been really difficult. He doesn't have many words but when he is confronted with dinner he points towards the cupboards and yells 'more' which usually means snack or biscuit or just 'something else'. I am not giving in and serving something else, but I have (against my better judgement) been distracting him somewhat and spoon feeding him. I hate it, I feel like its wrong for him to eat a meal without really being aware/eating out of choice.

I am not force feeding him - he opens his mouth for the food - but only while reading his fave book or listening to his fave CD. Or pouring water from one cup to another.

But it's far from ideal and I really want to nip this in the bud before it becomes a problem.

He has always been a huge eater, snacking all day and still eating his meals. Its come as a bit of a shock, although I always knew it was bound to happen sooner or later.

So what do you suggest?

Misty9 Thu 11-Apr-13 20:54:00

Hmm, having been the parent of a fussy small-appetite eater since weaning, I've kinda gotten used to this behaviour - and usually try to trust him to know when he wants food (or not). If he refuses his dinner (and it's something I know he'll eat normally) then I offer cereal or toast, as well as yoghurt or fruit as usual.

Sometimes he refuses everything, in which case I make sure I feed him more milk at bedtime! We occasionally go down the route of 'whatever he'll eat' but we try to avoid this. I've noticed that ds (19mo btw) seems to know what he needs, e.g he'll go mad for carrot one night, then carb load the next, so I think they know what they need more often than not.

Hope some of my waffling was helpful! smile

Misty9 Thu 11-Apr-13 20:56:21

Oh also, sometimes if we ignore him enough and just eat our own, ds will start eating his. Dh learnt the hard way not to eat ds' dinner the minute he showed no interest! He just seems to take a while to warm up sometimes.

HappyAsASandboy Thu 11-Apr-13 21:09:24

We have just been through something similar. My DS wouldn't eat anything except yogurt unless he was sat on [insert favourite persons name here]'s knee, or spoon fed, or it was precisely the right grade of "not hot". Yawn.

I made everyone who feeds him go cold turkey all at once. No knees, no aeroplanes bringing food to his lips, no extra puffing because "he has to have something". Entirely normal dinners served with no fuss, no pandering, no alternatives and no discussion.

It took about 4 days of him not eating anything. He drank gallons of milk in those days, and limiting the milk was going to be my next step, but now we're back to days when he eats everything and days when he eats some things. Fair enough, I think. But no pandering!

I don't wothd pudding if he won't eat the main though, as I really don't want to use food as a reward or punishment. If I was going to offer pudding then I do so regardless of what's been eaten.

Piemother Thu 11-Apr-13 23:25:30

Happy is v wise (I will remember that post for dd2) is also his age. Dd1 did all that nonsense around 2 it's because they are learning to push boundaries and all that. It will pass

HappyAsASandboy Fri 12-Apr-13 02:20:07

I agree, it's all about boundaries. Poor kids have so little control over their lives, so controlling what they eat is one way of asserting themselves.

I just saw all my typos blush Most seem workoutable, but I meant I don't withhold pudding, I just carry on as normal!

This too shall pass ...

sleepcrisis Fri 12-Apr-13 13:20:57

Thanks for the advice. Am trying to ignore and leave him to get on and eat. He's mostly fine if it's food he can eat with his hands - mainly pasta. Or occasionally pizza. It's the spoon he hates, which means lots of our staples are being rejected - shepherds pie, fish pie, curry etc. But I will bear this thread in mind - no pandering!

And yes, I am sure it's his age, I have other threads on the go re his behaviour generally and tantrumming!

Jojay Fri 12-Apr-13 13:28:54

But he should be able to feed himself shepherds pie etc by now? My twins are younger than your Ds and can feed themselves beautifully with cutlery (when they choose too, they can also redecorate the kitchen with it if they're in the mood)

It sounds like he wants control over what he puts in his mouth - fair enough at his age. I'd give him a spoon and a fork and let him get on with it, whatever the food. You may have to accept some mess for a bit but he'll eat better in the long run I promise smile

Piemother Fri 12-Apr-13 13:33:04

ditch the spoon - seriously if thats all hes objecting to. he will learn cutlery at some point anyway - mine did. i blw so i didnt do spoons but i defintely read in a few places that toddlers will eat anything they can feed themselves.

sleepcrisis Fri 12-Apr-13 13:39:45

yeah I will have to ditch the spoon for now I guess, but no way in hell I'm letting him eat Shepherds pie with his hands. Actually I very much doubt he would anyway.

jojay he can use a spoon, although certainly not 'beautifully' like yours. Its very slow, measured, messy and frustrating for him, esp when very hungry, which makes his mood even worse. He objects to food which needs cutlery, whether I'm feeding him or not.

The most success we've had this week with cutlery was me loading and lining up 4 spoons at a time and then wandering off to clear the kitchen and leaving him to it. But even then he got bored of it after a while. I think he likes the speed at which he can eat pasta smile

notso Fri 12-Apr-13 13:55:17

'...toddlers will eat anything they can feed themselves.' I wish DS2 had read the same books as you Piemother grin

HappyAsASandboy is right you just have to be not bothered. Some days DS2 eats virtually nothing, other days he asks for a second helping. I do admit to serving 'safe' foods 3 or 4 times a week but other than that he just gets on with it.

dizzy77 Fri 12-Apr-13 14:02:15

Sleep my DS is the same age as yours and only just "got" spoons after blw (I'm poised for food refusal everyday especially as he know is aware where the biscuits are kept [hmmm]).

I found serving shep pie etc in a little bowl on the side, or on a divided plate, helped him get less frustrated as he could push against the sides and learn the technique. We still had several weeks or flinging cereal over shoulders etc to get here but after experiments, decent deepish teaspoons or metal child-sized cutlery with good bowl depth have been more successful than plastic baby spoons or even the metal tommee Tippee ones.

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