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Dilemma over extremely fussy eater - sorry long

(11 Posts)
desperatelyseekingsleep Sun 17-Aug-08 09:02:20

DS1 has become increasingly picky about his food over the last few months to the point where he only eats a limited range of foods and everything has to be separate - no sauces etc. We've also recently hired a nanny for 2 days a week so I can go back to work. She's brilliant, but very much believes in home-cooked food/children eating up what they're given etc. This is creating terrible mealtime scenarios with DS1, with him ending up getting increasingly distressed (but not eating anything she cooks - her meals all tend to be casseroles/hearty soups etc, ds1's most loathed foods) I've only witnessed 2 mealtimes and dh has witnessed 1 and we both found it really upsetting. Should I just let the nanny and ds1 get on with it in the hope that she'll persuade him to eat, or will these stressful mealtimes just lead to him getting a "thing" about food. Or should I have a word with her and try and get her to lay off him a bit? I'm afraid I've just not made a fuss about him not eating, I just cook very plain foods that I know he'll like and let him eat what he wants. Have I done the wrong thing? Any similar experiences out there?

Tapster Sun 17-Aug-08 17:47:16

How old is your DS? My DD 21 months has never eaten a sandwich/casserole/soup in her life - loathes them. She also eats only plain food, quite common for toddlers and young children.

The medical consensus now seems to be let them eat what they want and they will grow even if it seems they only have an intake of very limited foods.

You are paying your nanny, she needs to cook him food he wants to eat (or what you want him to eat) not what she wants him to eat. If you and your DH are upset by your sons mealtimes with your nanny goodness knows how upset your DS is.

I think you know the answer.

objectivity Sun 17-Aug-08 17:52:31

I think you should not prepare bland foods because that is all he will eat but neither should anyone force him to eat what is served.

pointydog Sun 17-Aug-08 18:18:45

You've not done the wrong thing by cooking plain foods. However, now you have this nanny situation. Does the nanny have any plain, sauce-free foods in her repertoire? Have you spoken to the nanny about food, and how she rates the chances of ds eating her food any time soon?

zebedee1 Sun 17-Aug-08 19:29:50

DS - 15 months- has in the last couple of months turned into a fussy eater, made worse by the fact that his molars are coming through! After a few fraught mealtimes I've decided to feed him what he will eat rather than have confrontation and tears. I do make sure he has a healthy diet though, and try to add 1 hated food in with something he loves so I puree vegetables into his favourite pasta sauce and hide little cubes of meat in his mash! He loves toast so I spread it with hummous or cream cheese.

You have to be happy with the care your DS is getting from his nanny and it sounds from your post like you are not. Ultimately you are her employer so if you want to tell her to feed your DS differently then you should do.

Just an idea but have you tried paying him no attention at mealtimes, giving him a spoon or fork and letting him get on with it? My DS decided at about 13 months that he didn't want to be spoon fed anymore and will only eat what he can shove in himself. Hideous mess but he eats more this way.

Jewelsandgems Sun 17-Aug-08 19:54:48

I think not making a fuss, and making things that he likes 5 days out of 7 is right way to go. Maybe 2 days - the days when you are there - try a different meal? I have the Annabel Karmel books and they are really good and there is lots of fun food. Ultimately, you do not want him to dread mealtimes, or he will never be a good eater - you want it to be enjoyable!

I would have a word with the nanny and ask her to abide by his wishes. And maybe if you yourself try a different dish and he likes it, you can then tell the nanny to add this to the food she cooks when you are not there.

Agree that it may be a good idea to give him a fork and let him have a good himself - with lots of clapping and cheering when he takes a mouthful - and see how it goes.

Good luck!

scanner Sun 17-Aug-08 19:59:52

Sorry, but I don't agree with the majority here. I think that children are quite capable of understanding the different people do things differently. My opinion is that to only offer him foods he'll eat isn't a good thing, I'd introduce new foods regularly and remember that children need to have tried something many many times before they begin to like it. So given the situation I'd let the nanny do her thing, I bet in the end he'll eat her food and you can then gradually introduce some of her meals into your plans.

Tclanger Sun 17-Aug-08 20:21:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tclanger Sun 17-Aug-08 20:23:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OurHamsterisevil Sun 17-Aug-08 20:54:48

I think the nanny should follow what you want to do, and your child getting that upset at mealtimes is not going to help him try new foods.

desperatelyseekingsleep Tue 19-Aug-08 15:40:24

Thanks for all the useful advice guys. I have had a word with the nanny and together we've decided she will continue cooking her type of food(which is delicious, by the way)but she will only offer ds a very small amount and if he doesn't want it, won't force him. My gut feeling is if he's never offered varied foods, he'll never eat them, so it's best to at least try... will keep you posted on how it goes - at least now I know he won't get distressed which was the thing I was most upset about. DS1 is 3, by the way, and has a brother aged 1 who so far eats really well!

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