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Come and give me commiserations or hope if your toddler is/was a crap eater

(20 Posts)
ElphabaTheGreen Mon 29-Dec-14 15:52:30

I did BLW with DS1, full of the hope and promise that it would turn him into a hearty and adventurous eater like me.

Fast-forward to 2y7m and all he will eat are beige things. And chocolate. I hide veg, I chop it into sub-atomic portions, I grate it, I go out of my way to not make mealtimes a big deal or a battle and not make his constant finding and spitting out of anything nutritious obviously heart-sinking. But he still will only eat minute portions of nothing but carbs. Except at nursery where he'll eat pretty much anything hmm (Hence I'm pretty sure there's no sensory issues - he's just picky --like his bloody father--)

Christmas Day was...underwhelming. He ate a chocolate Santa from his stocking, a little bit of ice-cream, two oatcakes with peanut butter and a banana. That was all for the entire day. He was offered Christmas dinner (bit into a carrot, spat it out, gnawed but didn't swallow a piece of Turkey, licked a spoon of mash, threw a roastie on the floor and said 'Yyyyyyyuck!' to the sprouts) and scrambled egg with stollen (ate a crumb of each). I don't even have the reassurance of vitamin drops as he spits them out.

I'm pretty sure I'm doing everything I should be to encourage good eating and prevent food issues, but I need to hear others' tales of toddler eating woes to feel less of a shit mother, please.

Coyoacan Mon 29-Dec-14 15:57:46

I only had the one and she was a dreadful eater but chubby so everyone thought she must eat really well. I finally had to start making her eat, at around the age of your child, when her hair lost its shine and her skin started to look really grubby.

She was really difficult with food until she was almost nine and then her appetite picked up and she slimmed out.

MonstersIncq Mon 29-Dec-14 16:05:13

Keep going! My DS was the most fabulous eater. Had such fun taking him out, making new things to try. Then he started nursery where pudding is unlimited and brought out along with the main meal so they are staring longingly and ignoring their proper food. Couple that with a new baby so me having no energy to try and be creative and things majorly spiralled. I also think it was a bit of a control thing as he was a much better eater with others. We are now sort of back on track. He's not as he was but definitely better. All I can say is just keep offering and offering. Even though it seems wasteful I really do think it is the way. Last night DS helped himself to three pieces of broccoli and I silently screamed with happiness. Also stop thinking about health and start thinking about exploration. I was desperate to get veg etc into him so avoided unhealthy foods but then decided I just wanted to get him excited about flavours so started trying to get him to try things like olives that offer nothing nutritionally but are interesting. Also all the obvious ones like trying to sit round for a proper meal as much as possible, no snacking etc. and going shopping. My DS really wasn't keen on meat, even back when he was a great eater. We've started going to the butcher together and talking to the butcher etc has really helped. I know these are all obvious things that I'm sure you've tried so sorry if you have. But don't give up, it will one day change. Cut yourself some slack once in a while but also don't fall into the trap of ok fine we just eat plain pasta now because then it really won't change. I know a twelve year old who says 'no thanks I'm fussy' to ANYTHING she is offered.

MonstersIncq Mon 29-Dec-14 16:07:35

PS my DH is picky too like yours. Do not let him ever ever ever say anything in front of your DS. My DH's whole family are very vocal about things being disgusting rather than I don't like it but I accept that others do.

306235388 Mon 29-Dec-14 16:12:09

Ds lived on Cheerios, cherry tomatoes and cheese for about 3 years.

He's now just turned 8 and eAts like a horse. Typical menu for a week would be porridge/cereal/ eggs and bacon / baked stuff for breakfast, baguettes or salad for lunch and salmon / burger / macaroni cheese / pizza / chicken / turkey for dinner.

It's a world away from a few years ago and I'd honestly never have thought it possible.

Moniker1 Mon 29-Dec-14 16:19:47

2 oatcakes with pnut butter and a banana is pretty good, if not a lot.

I was brought up in the 60s and then fruit and veg was seasonal and we ate mostly meat, eggs, bread, butter and potatoes. With some baked beans, veg with Sunday lunch and the odd apple or orange, carrots in stew. We were very healthy on that. Plus we had cod liver oil capsules.

I wouldn't panic.

(we also didn't snack or drink sweetened drinks or eat much sweet stuff)

ElphabaTheGreen Mon 29-Dec-14 16:35:23

He never gets anything but water or milk at home to drink - juice is only a treat when we're out at the weekend.

He might get offered a piece of fruit between meals (e.g. he's having an apple now while he watches Peppa Pig with my DM...but the skin has to be removed hmm) but otherwise I try to keep his eating within a meal so he'll eat something that's not just carb nibblies. He just takes so long to eat what little he does that it's like he'd graze one meal into another if I let him. I try to casually start clearing the table after about 45 minutes and he might shove in a few extra bites then say, 'All done!' leaving a tidy little mound of carefully removed pasta sauce next to some partially nibbled bits of penne. confused

Bugaboom Tue 30-Dec-14 17:50:37

I was just scrolling through this topic looking for someone else trying not to scream at dinner time! I have a 2.5 year old who is refusing dinners (but eats everything at childminders). He used to be great then went downhill about 6 months ago. He picked up again about a month ago but the last week takes one look at dinner and says yuck. He'd happily graze all day on toast, bananas, yogurts, crackers and raisins. I need to get stricter about the snacks but even when I did this, it didn't make a huge difference to dinner times.
I have to really try not to show my frustration or go down the bargaining route- it doesn't work and only ends in tears (his and mine)!

ElphabaTheGreen Tue 30-Dec-14 18:29:26

Yep. If baked beans ever get declassified as a vegetable, his intake of that food group will drop to zero.

Toast, cake (plain chocolate or vanilla), biscuits, chips, rice picked out from around anything colourful, pasta carefully avoiding the sauce, bread, ice-cream, chocolate, baked beans, grated cheese, porridge, maybe Weetabix if he's in the mood. Those are the only things he'll eat in any quantity. Will also eat grapes, the odd banana and the occasional apple with the skin removed. And ham. Nice, salty, processed cheap fucking ham.

Then take hours to eat them.

Bizarrely, he loves pesto. confused

I have to hide 'what did your toddler eat today' threads because they make me want to weep.

Coyoacan Tue 30-Dec-14 18:32:51

That sounds so much better than anything I managed to get my dd to eat, OP. I remember thinking that if only toothpaste, soap and salt were nutritious I wouldn't have any problems.

ElphabaTheGreen Tue 30-Dec-14 18:34:41

Since toothpaste is mint-flavoured, does that mean it has mint in it and could feasibly be a vegetable?

[hopeful emoticon]

wasabipeanut Tue 30-Dec-14 18:59:24

I feel your pain. DS1 and DD (now 7 and just about to turn 5 respectively) have always been good eaters. DS1 has never been a huge meat fan but eats loads of vegetables, pulses, fruit, dairy - has a great range. DD complete opposite, she pretty much has an Atkins type diet voluntarily but still eats plenty of veg but just not fussed about bread, pasta etc,

I'll be honest and say that because we both love food and value relaxed, family mealtimes I considered us in some way responsible for our children's reasonably non fussy eating habits.blush

And then came DS2. Refused to touch anything other than milk until gone 7 months then weaned reasonably well. Thought I was home and dry but no - he's been systematically eliminating foods ever since. If it's not beige he probably won't eat it. He cries, shouts "no" and just pushes his plate away. Some days he'll eat a but of fruit, some days he won't. Anything green is refused and eats orange veg around 50% of the time its offered. The only guarantees are toast and plain pasta. And baked beans.

I try to carry on regardless and just keep offering and not getting upset by it does piss me off and worries me.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 30-Dec-14 19:06:53

It is grim. I had one fussy one and one easy one, it was nothing that I did differently. The non fussy one I was able to BLW, I tried with the fussy one but panicked when I realised that he wouldn't eat anything if I left it up to him. I think now I probably should have just let him go at his own pace but I had my HV appalled anyway because I waited till six months hmm

They are both pretty similar eaters now, not the best but ok. Hang on in there. We care so much about good food in this house we rear and butcher our own meat, grow lots of fruit and veg, juice our own apples etc. Still didn't stop the beige food consumption.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 30-Dec-14 19:08:00

I remember one meal time when I had to stop myself from throwing the plate at the wall. It is soooo frustrating.

wyamc Tue 30-Dec-14 19:15:14

I had one who wouldn't eat. My advice would be leave healthy things out on plates e.g. baby tomatoes, cubes of cheese, cucumber and carrot sticks, bread sticks, fruit.

Offer dinner in bowls on the table for them to pick things out. The competition is helpful.

Your aim is to get calories in and gradually introduce more things. Take the pressure off.

Sign them up for as many lunch clubs as possible - peer pressure is great.

But we found the worst thing you could do is follow the advice to sit them in front of a mixed meal where they couldn't identify what was in it then offer them nothing else.

I have a nine year old who ate near to nothing aged 2. Now eats meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, pasta, rice, all dairy - pretty much everything. Hates raisins but not much else. I think the secret for us was not to force it. To offer it as identifiable food (i.e. not smothered in sauce) and not make a big issue if they didn't want it.

Obviously don't give them chocolate and coke instead. But leave healthyish things out for them to try. We never refused yoghurt for example.

HappyGoLuckyGirl Tue 30-Dec-14 19:28:29

18mo DS eats baked beans, toast, potato ash, pitta bread, rice crispies, crackers, yoghurt. Sometimes will tolerate pasta, rice, chilli/bolognase.

Refuses all bloody veg/anything vaguely nutritious.

But of course loves anything sweet.

I feel your pain.

TarkaTheOtter Tue 30-Dec-14 19:34:18

It's a phase, or at least it was with dd. She's nearly three now and much better. Still not keen on mixed up (wet) foods and meat but eats a wide array of vegetables. I feel like she eats a healthy diet now even if she is still fussy. I didn't really do anything to change it just kept offering a variety.

nooka Tue 30-Dec-14 19:37:14

Just to give those struggling now a bit of hope, my dd was incredibly picky as a toddler but is now really quite an adventurous eater. She is 14 and I can't remember when things changed, but they did smile

Her issue was I think mostly about texture and surprises. So as an example she would eat plain boiled potatoes, but if I gave her mash she would scream and refuse (now she is our champion mash potato maker!). Anything in a sauce was quite clearly just evil, and specks of herbs or anything else not easily identifiable and separable was also a major problem. I really enjoy cooking and found it really upsetting but in the end the only real way to manage it was to serve very plan buffet type meals, so no pasta with sauce, pies, stews or anything combined (sob) just plain meat, potato, veg and let her help herself. She ate a lot of cheddar, broccoli, cucumber, red peppers, plain pasta, white bread, and cheap ham (easy texture) and not much else for a couple of years, but it took out the fighting and stress and over time she tried and liked new things.

ElphabaTheGreen Tue 30-Dec-14 20:44:07

Oh! Brown sauce. He likes brown sauce. I forgot about that. I can rest easy now. hmm

I sneaked some very finely chopped - you might even say minced - prunes into his porridge this morning. He ate slightly less than half of it. In 90 minutes.

Glad to hear it isn't just me.

ch1134 Tue 30-Dec-14 22:11:44

Remember they have tiny tummies. Don't offer large portions. I was an incredibly fussy eater as a child, and am now a very very healthy adult. I remember the panic when faced with a plateful of food that I believed I could not bring myself to eat.

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