What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbookFind out more
At my wits end with DS fussy eating(16 Posts)
I really don’t know what to do anymore, he used to be such a great eater as a baby/toddler eating all sorts of sorts of food, trying everything we gave him till about three when he started getting abit fussy we though it was just a phase and carried on offering our Usual meals and hoping he would get over it but he’s nearly 4.5 now and he’s worse than ever every mealtime is a nightmare he will literally starve himselve rather than eat what ive cooked he hates things he used to love. The list of things he actually like is growing smaller daily. I need help!
Sorry for the horrific spelling mistakes and grammar
That sounds like a nightmare. Mealtimes can be incredibly fraught. I know that I've stood over my child (literally) and then wondered why they wouldn't eat! Is he at nursery, school, or a childminder - if so, what happens there? What's he like if other people are there? I found my DS was much better with others and that, frankly, I was not helping (not that I am suggesting that's what's happening with you). What does he eat? Mine would eat: fish fingers, pasta, fruit and not much else. Starting school helped with mine - eating with all the others at lunch time just made him get on with it. Good luck and I hope that someone with better advice comes along!
What will he eat? Focus on that, and don't worry about other stuff. My youngest would also starve himself rather than eat something he doesn't like/no longer likes - I understand your despair - but his "fussiness" is down to a combination of factors, and he's not doing it to be naughty or disruptive or seeking attention, so I have learnt to stay calm, not push anything, and go with what he will eat, even when it's v restricted (at one point it was solely porridge, bananas, and plain dry wholemeal toast).
As long as he gets some calories in, he will survive.
No advice but hand holding. Wish I had the answers as my girls are very similar. Hardest oart of parenting for me.
for you x
You're not alone.My dd was brilliant as a toddler ..ate everything... now she's a nightmare and she's 7 but you cant make a child eat can you? we've given up worrying about it. She tends to have various versions of the one meal she likes the most on most occasions and she has a child's vitamin each day as well. I keep telling her she will get bored with what she eats one day and will try new things. They say that getting them involved with making food sometimes makes them try new things - we did this with homemade pizzas on wraps and now she loves them. Don't stress about it though...easier said than done I know...
How long does he "starve" himself for? Is very very underweight?
Its fine for a healthy child of normal weight to miss a meal. Your job is to provide the meal and put it in front of him. He will eat if he wants to. Then take it away without comment.
If he eats nothing at all for 7 days straight then you may need to reconsider but generally they'll eat once you stop stressing about it.
I read an article when my DS was around that age that said you get to decide what and when to provide food and they decide whether and how much they eat. Remembering that helped me stop with the coaxing/stressing which helped. I just served him the food, some of which I knew he did like and if he complained about any of it, I'd just very calmly say "don't worry, just don't eat it'. I always suggested he try things and if he did, I praised him and he has gradually improved. Can you always make sure there' something he likes (even if bread and butter or plain pasta) on his plate? I'd give DS a bowl of porridge if he didn't like the dinner I'd made and he has always had a big cup of milk in the evening and morning which helped me feel better that he was getting something. It is really hard though, I hope things get better for you.
My dd is the same age. She also has coeliac which doesn’t help. She eats toast, bananas, apples, pasta with tomato sauce (or homemade veg sauce), pears, raisins. That’s all she’ll eat. She’s autistic so some of it is probably sensory. She used to be a fantastic eater. I try her with stuff but have reached a point where I won’t make it eat as it’s so stressful. I’d say go with the flow. I know someone who ate only cheese sandwiches growing up. He now eats a lot more.
Have you tried offering something he will eat along with the things he’s fussy with? So if he eats chicken nuggets, give him a couple along with his meal.
You have my sympathy. My DD has been very fussy since she was about 2. She is getting better but she would still rather starve than eat some foods.
You know what? It almost stresses me out too much just reading this.
I too have a difficult eater. Neophobia is the label as opposed to fussy. She is nearly 11. Things have never improved. Only the children will change if & when they want to.
The only advice I can give you after nearly 9 years of going through this is.........give up trying!! If your child is a healthy weight and genuinely not starved they will be fine.
Every day my daughter will eat just plain pasta/rice/cheese & some fruit or veg (apple, cucumber, raw carrot) under duress. However, she has had supplements in the past & I make sure she is healthy by giving her vitamins and importantly, iron!!
I’ve not given up on her & my dying wish is that one day she will enjoy food but we are all happier now that we don’t stress so much over mealtimes & what she’s eating.
Mealtimes are a very stressful time of the day for a parent with a fussy eater, you must really try to relax.
My daughter is healthy, fit & plays so much sport. You wouldn’t believe that she exists on mainly carbs & fat.
Only the child will eat when they want to, not because we have made issue about it (& believe me it has occupied too many hours of my life with worry) and that they can see reason.
Please dear OP & other parents going through this, let up a bit. Just for your own sanity. It doesn’t mean that you don’t care. Best wishes to you all
I was a very fussy eater as a kid (would have a dessert instead of a main when we went for family meals etc), and my 13 year old nephew is exactly the same now.
I did grow out of it. As long as he's eating something for now
My dd is fussy and I've found a couple of things have helped.
She likes to be given choices about what she eats which is understandable as most adults do. I have 3 lists and there is something she likes on each list. The first one is protein, so fishfingers, sausages, ham, chicken, omelette. The second is carbs, so waffles, chips, mash, rice, pasta. The third list is fruit and veg so raw pepper, cucumber, grapes, peas. She chooses one thing from each list so I know all the food groups are covered. I have sausages etc in the freezer so it's easy just to cook what she wants without loads of waste.
I also bought a thali plate on the internet. She seems to find keeping the foods separate easier.
I also found that she likes blander food which is often the value stuff rather than 'taste the difference.' Oh and definitely try not to stress, it's not worth it in the end. Sympathies though, it's tough
I agree with pp , you need to be very laid back and stop stressing about it , they will only change when they want to . My dd was always very fussy ( and coeliac) and it’s only since she was about 15/16 that she has started to be more open to trying things , although she still only eats veg in sauce / soup . Just give the child something they will eat , even if it’s the same thing every day alongside some new stuff but don’t make any kind of fuss about them trying the new stuff .
It's best not to make a big issue of it, even though you must be worried. The child is much more likely to try something new out of curiosity in a relaxed atmosphere.
Keep providing healthy food and encouraging a little taste of anything new, but don't scold or bribe - that will only create extra emotion and tension. Demonstrate eating a balanced diet yourself, and try to eat together so they see your example.
To avoid waste, prepare meals that are 'mix and match' rather than one-pot dishes - so everyone can take as much of each component as they want and leave what they don't. That way you won't have to prepare an entirely separate meal or cook something that will be completely rejected.
Join the discussion
Please login first.