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11 month old, food's a mess and I'm turning into my mother- help!

(14 Posts)
LionsnTigersnBears Sat 11-Jun-11 19:37:08

My dd (1 yr old in 2 weeks time) is driving me about up the wall at mealtimes. Apparently at nursery she eats well, pretty much wolfs whatever she's given. At home it is another kettle of fish altogether. With finger foods she repeatedly tests the amazing powers of gravity by gently dropping bits from the highchair ("yes dd gravity works in this part of the room too"). Food presented on a spoon most often leads to her assuming a face like an inflated bullfrog, arm up in the air, body rigid, clearly signally 'Hell, no". Mostly wont take formula from a cup so we are still on bottles during the day and breastfeeds first and last thing (which is a whole other thing that needs to stop but I don't know how to).

Meantime I'm turning into my mother - 'well you can't get up until you've eaten it" "at least try it!" "I spent ages on that" All phrases that I've come out with that I swore I wouldn't do. I can deal calmly with breakfast and lunch refusal but by the time we get to dinner, we're on three meals, two snacks, prepared and rejected, and I know my night's sleep is riding on her eating something so she doesn't wake up starving at 1 am, I'm not doing so well. I am beginning to loathe mealtimes and I'm sure she picks up on this. Why will she eat at nursery and not home? Its the same whether I use home cooked food or bought pot meals. How do I get her off bottles? How can I find the fun? Any help hopefully karmically rewarded smile

Choufleur Sat 11-Jun-11 19:58:10

Maybe because it is more relaxed at nursery? She'll pick up on your stress.

Try not to make sure a big deal out of it. If she drops food on the floor then just leave it, don't fuss just give her another piece.

I wouldn't worry about getting her off bottles for milk at this stage. Will she drink water out of a sippy cup or similar?

VeronicaCake Sat 11-Jun-11 22:18:25

I think you need to give up on second guessing the sleep/hunger relationship. It is way more complex than more calories in = more sleep and for as long as you are panicking that your sleep will be disturbed if she doesn't finish her tea mealtimes are going to be fraught and horrible. My extensive research (n=1) has taught me that DD can have hungry days where she'll eat like a gannet and still wake for a feed at 2am and days when she licks a banana and sleeps for 12 hours.

Other than that it really is as simple as not making a big deal of it. At the moment you are stressed, she probably picks up on that but doesn't really know how to handle it, mealtimes are confusing for her and unpleasant for you. If you breathe deeply and resolve to be calm then at least one of you will feel OK. Leave stuff on the floor if she drops it. Take her down if she doesn't seem interested in eating regardless of whether or not you think she has eaten enough. And only serve her food you are having anyway so at least she isn't rejecting anything you have spent extra time on for her.

LionsnTigersnBears Sun 12-Jun-11 19:16:18

Thanks Choufleur and Veronica,
today I got her to drink a little milk from her cup, but usually its no go at all. I guess I am just getting all kinds of stressed out about it. It doesn't help that I don't tend to eat either breakfast or lunch myself so she has a pretty bad role model for a mum sad

anyway thanks for the encouragement, it helps!

GetThePartyStarted Sun 12-Jun-11 19:28:36

Food and eating can be really stressful and emotive, and it is really frustrating to see food you have slaved over not being eaten, and worrying to think your child isn't getting what they need. However, if your dd is eating well at nursery, it seems that the stress and upset that you are feeling is making her not want to eat for whatever reason, so you need to find a way to change how you are approaching mealtimes (easier said than done I know!)

In my experience, babies (and children for that matter) almost always eat better at a table with other people that are eating the same stuff. Could you try sitting down at the table with dd and eating a little bit of whatever you make for her (or whatever you would like to eat and give a bit to her) - it really does seem much less stressful and loaded when you can ignore them and eat your own food and pretend you are not interested in what they way at all. At nearly one they are clever enough to know that throwing a meal you made them on the floor is pushing your buttons and it's all a bit of a game.

And maybe try going to somewhere baby friendly for lunch with some friends with babies the same age? Honestly, it does work wonders and even if she doesn't eat more, at least you have had a chilled out time with other mums who have almost certainly had exactly the same thing happen! Worth a try.

Once she is eating a bit more she'll cut down on the milk naturally.

Zimm Thu 16-Jun-11 18:53:20

Hi Op,

Just to say you are not alone - my DD is 10 months and also like to throw finger food on the floor and refuse s
the spoon. I am worried she will starve at nursery at this point!

MamaChocoholic Fri 17-Jun-11 19:35:34

I can't recommend enough the book "my child won't eat". it explains how little small children really need to eat (and I think it actually decreases just before 1yo iirc). it explains how children know how to eat to appetite, and if we offer a variety of food over a week, and just allow them to eat what they want, with no consequence for not finishing, then a child will eat what they need. it reminds you to look at your dc: are they lethargic, losing weight? if not then they are not starving smile

table manners are a whole other subject but I think they learn them best by eating with you and following your example. I have learnt from my 3yo that when he develops a new habit I can either make a big deal out of it, with significant and consistent consequence each time (which I do for climbing on his baby brother) or ignore it (which I do his sing song "coo coo noo noo" which drives me up the wall). but the best way to encourage it is to make a big deal with a variety of reactions, which I used to do for not eating ("try a bit or ...", "please try a little of this lovely ..., just a little, pretty please", "choo choo! train approaching!"). I think sometime after he turned a year, when I knew he clearly understood instructions, I used to make him clear up anything he threw on the floor before he could play after dinner, which worked well to stop it.

Zimm Fri 17-Jun-11 19:43:37

Sounds great - shame about the price on amazon!!! - are they serious?

Zimm Fri 17-Jun-11 19:44:41

Even the cheapest used copy is thirty pounds???

Zimm Fri 17-Jun-11 19:51:24

It's out of print in English, this is why...anyone want to sell me a copy???

smearedinfood Fri 17-Jun-11 19:54:17

1. Chill
2. Dettol Wipes are brill
3. I picked up a copy of the baby led weaning book second hand and now my 10 month old just does his thing in the high chair while we eat and we are cool. They are good at copying the grown ups

CMOTdibbler Fri 17-Jun-11 19:57:12

I think you need to start eating three meals a day tbh - how is your relationship with food ?

MamaChocoholic Fri 17-Jun-11 20:04:20

Zimm wow, didn't know this! Stupidly expensive, sorry. I borrowed mine from a library.

mousesma Fri 17-Jun-11 20:04:57

My DD is 1 year in 3 weeks and is also going through a phase of refusing to be spoon fed. She will finger feed but only small amounts and gets distracted very quickly. I've found that it helps to eat with her and either try her food or let her have some of mine. Yesterday we ended up swapping lunches because she took a fancy to mine. I also sometimes put some of the food just out of reach so it becomes more interesting and she'll stretch to reach it because if she's thinks she's not supposed to have it then it's irresistable smile

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