Parents of (ex) fussy eaters - please share your experiences and give me hope!(17 Posts)
DS is 15 months old and a fussy eater. He eats most kinds of fruit, bread, pasta with tomato sauce, yogurt, Weetabix and Hipp carrot&beef, which I keep giving him because it's the only kind of veg he'll consistently eat, and the only kind of non-dairy protein he'll have. Some days, he will also have cauliflower.
He won't taste anything new. Mealtimes are always the same: I put a plateful of whatever I'm having in front of him, and he'll proceed to throw it on the floor (sometimes, he'll bring it up to his lips without tasting it and then throws it on the floor). Some days, when he hasn't eaten a thing, I resort to a bottle of milk. Otherwise, he fills up on the usual banana, slice of toast etc. at the next meal.
He is on the 50th percentile for weight, so clearly getting enough. Nevertheless, I am finding it really hard to stay relaxed at mealtimes, and today at lunch I felt like crying because I offered pasta and cauliflower, but he still just threw it all on the floor. I don't know how to react when he throws things on the floor - he has done this since I first offered him finger foods and my stance has always been to ignore it. Lately, I have started taking the food away, which usually means that the meal is over after 15 seconds. Nothing seems to make any difference to his behaviour.
I am getting so frustrated by this and don't know what to do. My heart sinks whenever I put the plate down in front of him, and I'm worried he is picking up on this. I'm sick of cleaning the floor after every single meal. I feel embarrassed when I see other mums with their little ones who may not be fabulous eaters, but at least don't throw their food around. I don't know anyone who has a baby with such a restricted diet.
Does anyone have any encouraging tales to tell? Or advice to give?? I'd be very grateful for any ideas and stories of fussy eaters who grew out of it!
I am going through the same thing. It is a constant battle to feed him nutrients! Mine will not eat fruit or veggies (and many other foods). I have to puree veggies and hide them in pizza sauce, grate carrots/courgettes and bake w banana bread etc. I used to be able to give him smoothies w hidden veggies, but he stopped drinking those My advice would be, keep trying and thinking of new ways to get him to eat foods. It seems a lot of kids have this...even though you may not feel like it. My first born eats everything! So frustrating w a picky eater. Esp when you have to make different meals for them!
I think it's quite normal around this age for them to start being fussy as they realise they now have a choice whether to eat it or not whereas a baby they'd eat whatever we spooned in their mouths.
Offer different things making sure there's at least 1 or 2 things on the plate he will definitely eat. Try and encourage him to try new things but don't make a big deal of it of he says no. Just because he's refused it today doesn't mean he'll refuse forever.
My ds was exactly the same it wasn't until he was in nursery and then school dinners he tries new things after watching his peers eating different things.
My ds is now almost 9 he's still a fussy bugger as he prefers to snack than eat an actual meal but he does snack on a decent variety of fruit veg and salad. Eating out however is a nightmare he refuses to try anything he'd normally eat at home but that's a whole other issue
Thanks for your replies. I am desperately hoping he stops throwing food around before he starts nursery in September. If he doesn't eat there, so be it, but the throwing food would be very embarrassing for me.
As for trying new things, he just won't, I keep offering them but he's not interested. I really hope it's just a phase, even though he has never shown much interest in food since I started weaning. Apparently, my sister existed on milk, bananas and yogurt for the first 18 months of my life and then slowly started eating normally, so there is hope! Perhaps fussy eating runs in the family
I'm 35 I was terribly fussy as a child , seriously limited . I can say since my around 15 I ate almost anything and still do . :-)
Don't worry about nursery. They've seen it all before and odds are that peer pressure will make your DS more adventurous in his tastes. DD (3 yo) has gone through many phases of fussiness and there are still tons of things she won't eat, but I've realised there's not much you can do about it other than offer stuff consistently, eat together, don't take it personally and believe that one day it will get better.
Put less on his plate so there's less to clear up! So maybe two slices of banana, a cauliflower floret and three bits of pasta, and a teaspoon of something new then top up the bits he's enjoying.
He's still very tiny so don't worry about him chucking food around, he's not being naughty.
Nursery will be great for him, my fussy ds1 ate lots more at nursery then at home. Are you giving him vitamin drops?
DS is 18mo old and I feel your pain. He used to eat anything but he is gradually refusing more and more, I've had so many 'at least he eats X' moments only to find the next day he no longer eats X. Peas are the only veg he will touch. Recently he seems to be turning up his nose at tomato-based sauces, which wipes out spag bol, pasta etc which used to be his favourite.
I am only a few refusals away from his diet being banana and toast
I'm going through the exact same thing. My LB is 14 months & is a nightmare when it comes to eating! He eats 10+ month jars, will happily eat a digestive biscuit or 2, yoghurts & he will eat a whole orange! But he won't eat things that we eat (spaghetti bolognese, cottage pie, pasta etc) no matter how much I mush it up, if I give him a sandwich he'll chew it a little then spit it out & throw it on the floor! I absolutely dread mealtimes because it takes ages & ends with us both being upset!!
I had some success when DS was little with sitting down at a mealtime with him and only having food on my plate. I would eat with enjoyment and wait for him to ask for some of it. Then I would give him no more than a couple of mouthfuls on his own plate and keep eating myself until he asked for more.
I am the mum of an ex-fussy eater!
My DS was a wonderful baby to wean and then a terrible toddler to feed and sadly this went on for a few years. Pretty much the only thing he would happily eat was pasta either with a tomato based or cheesy sauce so I just tried to get whatever good stuff I could into that. Lots of puréed veg got hidden in sauces and puréed meat too because anything that required chewing got spat out.
My advice would be (and I know it's hard because I failed at this!) don't stress about it too much. A huge number of toddlers go through phases of eating a very limited number of things. And when you look at what he does eat, it's not that terrible. He's getting a good amount of fruit and veg, he eats a bit of protein, dairy and carbs. He won't be doing badly off that diet.
My other advice would be don't put too much effort into cooking nice meals for him because you will only feel more frustrated when they are rejected. I did this for far too long and couldn't help but take it personally. Without wanting to fill you with dread, my fussy eater took years to become a better eater (he's 7 now and we've been seeing a notable improvement for the past year I'd say). People always say to offer new foods but from my experience this never went well. I would give him something you know he will eat plus one thing on the side that is new or he doesn't really eat, because one day he might just try it.
My mantra became "My job is to provide good food, not to make him eat it...that's his job". No healthy child will starve themselves. My DD is 3 and eats a much bigger variety of food than my son did at the same age, but not very much volume wise. But she's happy and healthy and has bags of energy so I figure she's fine. Frankly when you're a toddler, everything is more interesting that sitting down and eating. Try not to make it a battle of wills and I would also encourage him not to point out the stuff he doesn't like...I always say to eat the things you do like and leave the things you don't. But I don't need to hear about 'yucky bits' because it's rude!
My son has very gradually over the past 18months become a better eater and eats a wider variety of food. Over the past 6 months he's improved massively. He's also better at trying new things which he used to be terrible at. I wouldn't say he's a great eater but I certainly don't have the problems feeding him that I used to.
Sorry for the essay. I remember this so well and I really feel for you. I used to think it would never get better but it has and it does.
Also, I used to find that my DS ate better when distracted. It's probably not something you want to encourage, but he did some of his best eating in front of the TV! He was so engrossed in what he was watching he barely noticed when I slipped a mouthful of food in!
As he's got older (probably not effective with toddler, but just in case it helps someone!) one thing that has worked well is that if he's struggling to eat his meal/pile of veg, I get him to pile it together and then split it in half. I then give him the choice of which half he eats. I guess it gives him some element of control which he likes and he will sit there and eat the half that he chooses.
My 4yo now eats brilliantly, for example dh, made salad for lunch and ds tried all the veg, and decided if he wanted it on his plate, this included spinach, tomatos, radish, peppers, pine nuts, beetroot, onion (he tried it and it didn't go on his plate)
If you had told me he would be doing this last year I would have laughed at you. I tried everything, eating with him, using the I pad, offering pudding. Eating one mouthful of dinner then one of yoghurt, yelling at him. Making him sit at the table till he ate it or bed time. I had a little success singing songs when he was eating something and stopping when he wasn't. Nothing really worked, or worked for long, suddenly one day last year he just started trying things so it must have been a combination of everything. Or maybe something someone said at nursery.
I heard a woman talking on the radio and she said that there is a good evidence base showing that offering children tiny amounts of something, like a small pea size, increases the range of things children will eat over time. Also, lots of parents will stop offering something new after several rejections, but keep offering over and over and they will get there eventually ( a dozen tries is average before they take it, apparently.
Thanks for your posts everyone, especially NewYear. I have been sitting down at every meal with a full plate this last week, DS only gets a piece of bread and butter (I didn't have the nerve to not give him anything).
Most meals, he'll want what I'm having, I give him a couple of small mouthfuls, and the incredible thing is that he's actually done some tasting over the last week! I think a plate that was already full of food just confused him. He probably feels more in control now.
He didn't like most things he tasted, but we have managed to add sweet potatoes and carrot sticks to his diet in just seven days. I am over the moon! I would never have thought of this myself, thanks NewYear
I see that the thread has moved on and you've had some success which is great, hope it continues!
Wanted to add that my DD who is 4.5 and was v fussy is now getting much better. She will try things now, which was always our biggest battle. We kept reinforcing that she didn't have to eat it if she didn't like it, but that she did have to try it. In the last week, she's tried spring rolls and prawn crackers ( Chinese New Year) and Pancakes - it may not sound a lot but this would never have happened a year ago! School has helped a lot, as has growing up, I guess. She's still quite fussy, but the repertoire of foods she will eat is much bigger now. Still not a massive fan of veg but that seems to be a texture thing so will eat it in pasta sauces/bolognese/casseroles etc.
It used to really frustrate and worry me when she wouldn't try anything or go through fussy phases but she's thriving. She hasn't got a massive appetite and we make sure she has a multivitamin every day as well as a decent amount of fruit & veg, even if it's not in it's purest form.
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