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18 month old won's eat and is miserable

(13 Posts)
ncayley115 Wed 03-Aug-16 12:15:34

We have a much wanted 18 month old little boy who refuses to eat. Occasionally he will pick up a spoon and eat a few mouthfuls but he's just not really interested - he would rather be playing. He used to eat any fruit but now will only eat strawberries. Mealtimes are a total battleground. I've tried just taking the plate away calmly but he's more than happy not to have to eat. I give him lots of positive attention when he does eat something . I don't shout at him if he doesn't.

He prefers to be fed rather than feed himself although he can do this. We cant eat with him as we are at work full time and his daddy doesn't get home until 6.45pm and he is asleep by 7pm. I do eat breakfast with him at the table but this doesn't work either. I have to distract him with toys and books to get a mouthful of food in. Otherwise he clamps his mouth shut and pushes your arm away. He does this with my parents too who have him 2 days a week and even at nursery sometimes. I am at my wits end. I am weighing him to see if he's losing weight. He's never been a chunky monkey - on 9th centile and stuck there.

Also at the moment he is so miserable. he will stand in the middle of the room and cry like his heart is breaking - over nothing at all! Every little thing is the end of the world. Is this a phase? I am so depressed about the situation. All advice appreciated!

BusStopBetty Wed 03-Aug-16 12:20:14

First thought would be teeth or ears? If they're fine speak to the health visitor about feeding issues.

ncayley115 Wed 03-Aug-16 12:23:00

He has all his teeth bar his second premolars and he doesn't seem troubled by his ears. The HV s here are not good - they never respond to answer machine messages.

splendide Wed 03-Aug-16 13:27:56

I would say get him to the GP and get them to look in his ears just in case.

ncayley115 Wed 03-Aug-16 13:50:45

I'll get my mother in law to have a look at the weekend as she's a retired GP. My mum even gave him calpol yesterday but it didn't make any difference. x

JinkxMonsoon Wed 03-Aug-16 13:58:08

Read "My Child Won't Eat". It explains why babies eat less around 12-18 months (it's because their growth rate is slowing) and why our expectations of how much a child can eat in one sitting is often way off.

If he's not underweight or losing weight then it might be worth taking the anxiety out of mealtimes and letting him eat as little as he wants.

My daughter was a great eater and it all went tits up around 18 months. The number of foods she was willing to eat got smaller and smaller and smaller. She's now nearly five and still a shit eater, but I can't force feed her a healthy diet and so I don't. It gives me no satisfaction at all, seeing her eat such a limited diet, but I've accepted that I can't change it and it's up to her.

middlings Wed 03-Aug-16 14:02:56

How much milk is he still having? Is he really hungry? If he's a little one anyway, he mightn't be.

DD1 was a bit like this and now at four is a good eater but is sloooowwwww (a bowl of cereal can take a good 30 minutes) and doesn't eat a vast amount. Her 16 month younger sister (who weaned beautifully) went horribly fussy at 13 months and is only now starting to eat better at almost three although is often "hungry just for a biscuit"

ncayley115 Wed 03-Aug-16 14:04:37

Thank you JinkxMonsoon. My son has never been into food at all - even weaning was a total nightmare! I'll get the book! x

ncayley115 Wed 03-Aug-16 15:04:02

middlings he has a beaker of milk with his breakfast - doesn't always drink all of it and then 120mls at 10am and 2pm (doesn't always drink all of it) and then 200mls before bed. Last night he only drank 10 mls so was up at 2am crying for milk! Nursery say they don't worry if he doesn't eat as he is still having his milk. But I'm reluctant to drop the milk because its the one thing he loves and at least there's calories and vitamins in it - he has formula before bed.

Yeeyeelovesraaraa Wed 03-Aug-16 15:09:29

Was just about to ask same as middlings about milk? That can really affect appetite.

The book is helpful. Wont tell you how to make him eat more, but makes you rethink your reactions. Try not to stress - he will pick up on this & it then becomes a battleground. Does he eat finger foods? My kids much prefer to feed themselves - maybe putting a few bits in a bowl for him to help himself while playing might help?

BusStopBetty Wed 03-Aug-16 16:05:46

I'd say the milk is filling him up then. I know you're concerned that if he doesn't have the milk he won't have anything, but if he's not hungry he won't eat. It's a bit of a vicious circle.

scrumptiouscrumpets Wed 03-Aug-16 18:20:37

That sounds like a lot of milk at that age. I'd reduce his milk intake and leave him only with his morning and evening milk, and stop stressing about mealtimes - and distracting him to get a spoonful in is definitely stressing. Seeing as he isn't losing any weight, he is getting enough calories and nutrients. He is on the small side, so he won't need a lot of food - you may have to adjust your expectations of how much he is supposed to eat.

middlings Wed 03-Aug-16 19:33:04

I'd even also drop the morning milk. Does he have cereal or porridge or even yoghurt? He'd be getting his dairy that way.

I was reluctant to drop DD1's milk for the same reason as you but when I did it did make a difference. Also remember you can add dairy to his food. Cream cheese went into pretty much everything until she was 2!!

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