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Help me get through mealtimes with my (once happy eater) 16 month old

(6 Posts)
SuperDuperTrooper Tue 07-May-13 21:35:32

I can't take much more of mealtimes with my 16 month old DS!!!! Please offer some advice and thoughts to help me understand what's going on and help stop me getting cross with him - which happened today and I feel horribly guilty and very aware that this will only make matters worse.

For weeks now, though feels like years, he has become incredibly fussy. Foods that were firm favourites won't even pass his lips. Trouble is its not even that predictable as one day he will eat a certain food but the next day won't. So I'll prepare something and he may or may not eat it. Spoon fed and finger fed makes no difference and are equally as unpredictable. The only meal that goes reasonably well is breakfast which is usually cereal with fresh fruit in it.

He used to eat so well and so happily. He now spits out food, clamps his mouth shut and shakes his head if I offer something he doesn't want. I know he is hungry as, if I get him an alternative he is happy with, he wolfs it down. I'm not giving snacks apart from a small bowl of fruit in the afternoon.

I don't get it and I can't bear it - it really stresses me out. Please help!

QTPie Tue 07-May-13 21:48:11

Hi

You are right in the middle of prime teething time (although they are all slightly different, my DS's prone teething was 13 to 19 months - eating was all over the place and so was night time sleep and early rising... At 19 months, he stopped teething and everything went back to normal!).

So hang on there: it is teething and to be perfectly honest - no matter what you do - I don't think that you will "solve it" short term... You just need to "survive it".

Tips:
- look at what he eats over the course of a few days (not one meal): providing he is eating a reasonable amount and there is reasonable nutrition, then you are fine.
- is the problem generally dinner? Is breakfast and lunch generally ok? If so, then he is eating ok.
- have you thought of vitamin drops in the meantime?
- do not make an issue of it or take it personally. Work out your game plan and stick to it. Take away uneaten food without a fuss.

I have always been "no fuss, no alternatives": I provide a meal, I serve it, what is not eaten is taken away (and put to one side incase it is requested later). I will give dessert (only fruit) if the main isn't eaten, but that is it. DS used to request a snack after refusing his dinner, but I just get his plate back and say "if you are hungry, then you will eat his dinner". If he refuses then fair enough, but no snack. This is my choice of how to do things and works well for us.

A child will not starve himself, but there are times that he will not want to eat. Personally I have not wanted to go down the "scrambling around with keep trying things until he will eat" route).

SuperDuperTrooper Tue 07-May-13 21:56:02

Thanks for your thoughts. Very much appreciated!

Both lunch and dinner are problematic.

I thought teething may be a problem here but it just feels never ending and my control of my patience is wearing thin! He has had the 4th molar coming through recently and it has been very slow to come through compared to the other 3. Just 8 more teeth to go!

I have been offering him an alternative as I can't bear the thought of him going hungry. I have only ever had to offer one as he has normally accepted that readily. Perhaps that's to the best thing to do?

SuperDuperTrooper Tue 07-May-13 21:56:56

I will look into vitamin drops. A these easily obtainable for children?

QTPie Tue 07-May-13 22:20:00

Honestly, teething does feel as though it will go on forever and you may well have a bit to go (or has he got his canines yet?)... I love being a mum, but just about every time you think you have it sussed, they throw something new at you wink

Do what you feel comfortable with (i would keep it plain - toast and butter or crackers or similar) - it is up to you to come up with your own game plan. But learn to cope with refusal: it will probably happen a lot and you just don't want to make it a game or an issue. As for what you give for lunch/dinner, then keep going with the variety: some days he will eat, others he won't. In about 3 months time (when hopefully teething finishes), he will eat most things most of the time.

Good luck. This is very very common and you are not alone.

QTPie Tue 07-May-13 22:21:10

Vitamin drops (well syrup), for under 3s, should be available from all pharmacies and reasonable sized supermarkets.

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