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3year old won’t feed herself

(31 Posts)
WishUponAStar88 Sun 12-Nov-17 09:21:36

My (recently turned) 3 year old refuses to feed herself 90% of the time unless sandwiches/ toast etc and it’s driving me up the wall! She used to but gradually it’s become more and more a battle at meal times. Not fussiness in terms of the actual food as she’s the same whatever the food is and just doesn’t want to eat herself.

Yesterday I gave up and told her she either feeds herself or didn’t eat as she’s too big to be spoon fed. She ate no breakfast, a normal lunch (sandwich/ salad/ fruit) and the tiniest amount of tea. This morning I spoon fed her cereal again blush as she wasn’t going to eat anything and worried about her not eating yesterday but should I just ride it out and let her get hungry?

Fwiw meals are all eaten at the table - breakfast/ lunch as a family, dinner generally just with baby brother as dh doesn’t finish work until later so I eat with him later. She chooses the cereals she wants from the shops (from a limited choice!) but still won’t eat them without a battle aaargh! She’s tallish for age and slim, a centile or 2 lower on weight than height but in itself not worrying as most of the family are tall any skinny.

Has anyone been through the same? Any advice?

WishUponAStar88 Sun 12-Nov-17 09:22:35

Eugh that was an essay! TLDR: 3yr old insists on being spoon fed how do I stop this laziness grin

Millybingbong Sun 12-Nov-17 09:27:04

Just stop. She wont starve.

wowbutter Sun 12-Nov-17 09:31:04

You literally said she ate the tiniest amount of tea. I'm guessing she fed herself.
But then you spoon fed her breakfast.
You told her no more spoon feeding, then caved.

Make a decision, and stick to it. She is old enough to be dressing and undressing herself, taking herself to the toilet for a number one alone at least, and feeding herself. My three year old has chores on top.

If you say no more spoon feeding, it's no more. You are now going to have to go through all that again.

wowbutter Sun 12-Nov-17 09:31:43

"Should I just ride it out and let her go hungry?" Yes! She's not a baby.

WishUponAStar88 Sun 12-Nov-17 09:35:22

She ate a tiny amount of tea with her fingers. I know I’ve massively backtracked and it was stupid. In all other ways she is pretty independent and does everything else you mention - gets dressed/undressed, takes herself to the toilet, has little chores (puts away all cutlery and her crockery from dishwasher, stocks up her brothers change box and tidies up etc). Must just be stricter I guess. Thank you.

LapinR0se Sun 12-Nov-17 09:42:08

I’m in the same boat. My 3 year old won’t eat unless I spoon feed her in front of a screen. Reaaaaaally bad habit that’s come from her having quite a large afternoon snack at Nursery at 4pm then not being properly hungry for dinner.
Am trying to stop as we have a baby coming in 4 weeks and I just won’t be able to spoon feed the 3 year old.
I also dress the 3 year old including underwear, shoes, the works. Maybe I should try and foster more independence blush

Crumbs1 Sun 12-Nov-17 09:44:02

No don’t be stricter just don’t make a fuss. If she eats she eats and if she doesn’t she doesn’t. Take away any sense of needing to control it.
Don’t fill her full of stuff if she hasn’t eaten her meal, let her wait until next meal.
Maybe give breakfast she can pick up in her fingers if she prefers this - cereal without milk, chopped fruit, toast and marmite or peanut butter etc.
Don’t feed her. Ever. Don’t do the whole persuasion thing.

Afreshstartplease Sun 12-Nov-17 09:44:51

Just stop feeding her. Id also try no pudding or snack unless she uses knife and fork.

lapin you need to stop too!

WishUponAStar88 Sun 12-Nov-17 09:48:56

No she doesn’t have snacks anyway unless at playgroup. Pudding is only ever fruit or plain yogurt which I’m reluctant to stop as she doesn’t drink milk so I worry about her dairy/ calcium intake. Glad I’m not the only one lapin, hopefully they they both start eating well soon, can’t be doing with her waking up hungry in the night!

LapinR0se Mon 13-Nov-17 07:57:16

DId not feed her yesterday and she had
Breakfast: porridge
Snack: apple slices with peanut butter
Lunch: tiny piece of ham and some avocado
Snack: pombears
Dinner: 3 peas and a sliver of chicken
Before bed: whole banana and cup of milk
To me this is just not enough food. If I had fed her with peppa on she would have eaten 3 times as much. But I know that we will have this phase to get through

Justanothernap Mon 13-Nov-17 08:27:49

I think baby brother might be the catalyst here. How old is he? How is she coping with him in general? My 2yo sees the baby being spoon fed & also wants to be babied. Personally I'd indulge her for a bit, but then I'd maybe try to make a bit of a fuss of her and try to do some one on one 'big girl' activities. Emphasising benefits of not being a baby. Leading on to at meal times oh your a big girl who gets to do *whatever big girl one on one activity she likes with you, only babies are spoon fed & so on.

Alternatively do you have any friends /relatives with kids similar age or older - bet she will want to be grown up with them & not spoon fed at meal times.

Good luck!

StinkPickle Mon 13-Nov-17 08:36:11

I actually can't believe people pander so much to 3 year olds!!

Of course you should stop feeding her. She wont' starve. She will eat when she is hungry.

Albertschair Mon 13-Nov-17 10:58:13

How much attention does she get at meal times if she feeds herself vs you feeding her?

If you are spoon feeding baby brother she probably just feels left out.

Can you give baby brother more finger foods? Or would you just focus more on him then? Maybe get her involved in feeding baby brother and eating her own food just like you do

And remember some meals she can eat very little as long as overall the food is going in. Some hungry days. Some not

MrsJayy Mon 13-Nov-17 11:05:51

She is probably feeling left out and it is an attention thing stop fussing over it give her toast for breakfast andhelp her at tea time give her a fork let her crack on and say can you manage that potato on your fork oh look you did it etc etc don'ttell her off and stop mentioning big girls do this and that .

Cutesbabasmummy Mon 13-Nov-17 11:30:09

I have the same problem. Its getting a bit better lately but he's just not interested in food and would happily go without.

fivefour3twoone Mon 13-Nov-17 15:28:46

When you all say a three year old can get themselves dressed and undressed you do mean up to a point don't you? My ds can't take a top
Off over his head nor put one on- I'm starting to think this isn't normal reading this?!

MrsJayy Mon 13-Nov-17 15:32:00

He probably could if he is getting helped though get his top on and off ? Tbf t shirts can be a total faff it can be quite tight

WishUponAStar88 Mon 13-Nov-17 19:48:14

I don’t think it’s an attention thing in relation her brother as it’s been going on longer than he’s been alive! One meal (lunch) eaten today hmm

In terms of getting herself undressed she can take everything off fine. Getting dressed pants/ trousers are fine (although sometimes back to front, tshirts/ jumpers it does depend on how tight the neck is. Zips/ buttons need help. Shoes get put on the wrong feet what feels like 90% of the time but will put them on/ Velcro’d up without any bother.

EvilDoctorBallerinaRoastDuck Mon 13-Nov-17 19:50:41

Does she have a new baby sibling? DS1 did that at 14 months when DD1 was born. I was bfing one and spoonfeeding the other.

WishUponAStar88 Thu 16-Nov-17 08:47:54

Eugh tried to post and it wouldn’t post grr.

I don’t think it’s the sibling as it’s been going on longer than that.

So 4 days of eating pretty much nothing but lunch. Absolutely no breakfast eaten each day. Sometimes no dinner other days the tiniest bit of veg eaten but nothing from the main bit of the meal even though it’s all things she likes and has often. She’s eaten Greek yoghurt after dinner as she doesn’t drink milk and with not eating cereals she’s not having enough dairy. I’ll give her another couple of days but then would imagine I’ll revert back to ‘babying’ her at some point which I really don’t want to do but this can’t be any good for her health sad

EvilDoctorBallerinaRoastDuck Thu 16-Nov-17 10:42:27

Give her a multivitamin. Apparently, left to their own devices and without the choice of crap, toddlers will eat a balanced diet over a week.

WishUponAStar88 Thu 16-Nov-17 10:53:06

Yes she has those chewable multivitamin sweets. What she’s eating is balanced at lunch it’s just so little to get her through the day. Although sleeping ok still she’s got bags under her eyes which I doubt is a coincidence. Bloody toddlers.

EvilDoctorBallerinaRoastDuck Thu 16-Nov-17 14:12:24

I'd leave her to it. If she's hungry, she'll eat. 😊

Ttbb Thu 16-Nov-17 14:14:38

We had a similar problem. We couldn't starve my DS into eating, he's got a very strong sense of will. We just put the spoon/fork in his hand and then made him put it in his mouth. Eventually he just got used to doing it himself.

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