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I need some advice about weaning

(23 Posts)
RattleAndRoll Mon 10-Aug-15 13:45:26

I'm getting so stressed out. Something's going wrong.
Ds is almost 1. When we started weaning he ate most things. Veg, pasta, rice etc. sometimes spoon, sometimes finger foods.

Now he will only eat a few different things. He will eat loads and loads as long as it's what he likes. So each day I'm torn between giving him what I know he likes and will eat, to fill him up or trying to tempt him with new things that he won't eat. Thing is the things he will eat are few and far between - corn on the cob, (but not sweetcorn?) cherry tomatoes, cucumber, any fruit, bready-type stuff of any kind (bread, rolls, crumpets, naan, pitta), cheese, weetabix, crackers, shredded wheat -- onion rings, garlic bread.-- That's it. Won't eat potato, pasta, rice, meat, veg. He will eat some proper foods if I put a blueberry on the spoon too. Eg earlier he ate a whole cow&gate toddler meal - with a 1/4 of a blue berry on each spoon. Tried without first and nothing. Tried with instantly ate it. Remove the piece of blueberry and he wouldn't eat it again. This is wrong I know, but it was sweet potato, chicken, and loads of veg so goodness for him that he won't get otherwise. As I said above he won't eat any of this.

At the minute I give him some of what we are having and something I know he'll eat as back up incase he doesn't eat what I give him. Thing is every night he won't eat what we have (unless we're having onion rings or garlic bread) so he ends up with bread of some kind. Will he eventually start eating what we are having?

Also I don't often let him play with messy food - for example spag Bol I'll try spoon feeding him, if that doesn't work give him a piece if plain spaghetti, then I kind of stop with the spag Bol and offer something else. Should I let him play with absolutely everything?

I've really messed up this weaning malarkey somewhere... I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing.

Anyone have any advice?
Thank you

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 10-Aug-15 20:17:16

The whole thing does sound stressful. What happens if you don't have a backup? If you were given a strange found, that you weren't allowed to touch and weren't sure of its flavour and knew that you could fill up on your favourites if you refused it, how willing would you be to eat it up? smile

ShipShapeAhoy Mon 10-Aug-15 20:35:14

You haven't messed up, it's so hard. For me it's been the hardest part of being a parent so far.

Maybe you could try not offering something else unless he genuinely doesn't seem to like whatever the food is on offer. Otherwise he's soon going to learn that all he has to do is hold out for onion rings and stuff.

What really encourages dd is actually seeing me and dp eat and enjoy whatever it is I want her to eat. And you could try letting him play with more food, worth a go. You can buy plastic mats to put under the high chair. I got one in the 99p shop.

I've found that just when I feel like I've got somewhere with my dd she'll start teething or something and refuse to eat! It's frustrating but you'll get there. Does he have any milk?

RattleAndRoll Mon 10-Aug-15 21:19:24

Thanks both.

I always hide the alternative so he can't see it, so the only thing he sees at first is what we're all eating. So we'll be munching away with 'mmmm yummy, you try' type chat and he will literally pick the food up off his plate and throw it on the floor. Once he has no food left we pick it up (falls onto a plastic mat) and put it back in front of him. He does the same - picks it up and throws it straight on the floor. Sometimes he picks it up and looks at it, sometimes he just chucks it straight away without looking. Sometimes he only picks a few things up then throws the whole plate. Sometimes we don't give him a plate so at least he has to touch everything first to throw it. Very occasionally - say once each week (so 1/21 meals) he puts something new in his mouth then spits it out. Just one thing so he'll try 1 piece of chicken spit it out and that's it for another week.

He has milk. He was a large baby (over 11lb) so always has had a lot of milk. I thought this was filling him up so about a month ago I reduced his milk slightly (in the far I only offered half bottles) to see if he'd eat more / more variety and it didn't change. So in the last week or so I've stopped all milk in day and he only has a bottle in morning and a bottle in the evening. This hasn't helped and instead he won't go to bed til he's had a lot of milk (before had 9oz, now has at least 15oz) and wakes in the night for more milk too. So reducing milk isn't working either.

Give me sleepless nights, teething, nappies any day. Weaning is the worst for me so far too. I don't want him to be a chicken nuggets and chip kid. We eat proper cooked meals every night. We eat lots of veg. I don't know what to do.

Tonight we had satay chicken, noodles and veg. I let him play with it and it all went on the floor. He didn't try any of it. So after picking it up so many times and him getting frustrated/upset/whatever I gave him crackers with cheese spread which he ate. Then he had his normal fruit for afters (which again I hide until he's eating something savoury. I can't not give him anything can I?

RattleAndRoll Mon 10-Aug-15 21:42:38

Or do try for a few days / a week not give him anything other than what we're having and if he doesn't eat he goes without? After a few days will he eat stuff? Or will he just be grumpy and I'll need to give him more bottles? If I do this, do I stop all food he eats for all meals each day and only have new foods or do I give him his normal breakfasts and lunches but only our dinners at dinner time? Do I keep giving him fruit after each meal? Is he just going to wake me up a zillion times at night for milk?
Argh.

Diggum Mon 10-Aug-15 21:50:33

God that sounds really stressful. My DD is going through a bit of a refusey phase and it is really hard not to just give her bread to fill her (which I know she'll scoff). But if I force myself not to then she almost always will at least pick at the dinner I've provided. Not all of it- she might just eat the chicken one night, just the peas another night. But it's not about a single day, it's about the trend over a week or so. So she'll get in a vaguely decent average of veg/meat/pasta over a few days.

The answer of course is that they won't starve themselves, so you absolutely can provide a variety of bits and pieces and leave him to it. If he wants to chuck in on the floor so be it. Eventually he'll get hungry and pick. It might take scarily long but he will. The key is to force yourself not to care. If he doesn't want something fine. If he gets hungry it won't hurt him. If you make food into a power play you will lose.

I think the nighttime milk needs to be gradually watered down too maybe, and try cutting it out or just offering water if he wakes for it? That sounds simple but if course I know it'll likely mean a few hellish nights.

I think the key is to think of the long game. He won't become vitamin depleted if he goes without a decent bit of grub over the course of a week. In the course of his lifetime of eating he'll get back everything he needs. My friend swears her DD ate nothing but bread for the first 5 years of her life and she's fine. So individual meals/days/even weeks don't really matter. You have to stop letting him make food something he can control you with.

Also bear in mind their growth slackens a lot after the age of 1 so often they genuinely only need tiny amounts of food. So don't panic if that's all he's taking. Decide on a rough meal plan each day/week with a reasonable variety of foods (fruit with breakfast and at snack time, something with beans for lunch maybe, yogurts and cheese for fat and dinner with assorted veg/whatever you guys are eating) and stick to that.

Sorry, that was epic. And it sounds very matter of fact but I don't have all the answers, just some theory! DD ate basically just bread for dinner tonight but she had some salmon, peas and pasta yesterday so meh! You win some you lose some. I try not to take it personally!

Hope this didn't sound lecturey. I just feel your pain and am trying to work my way around this stuff too. Bottom line- you can't fuck up weaning. You just muck about till they figure things out themselves. I bet you a fiver he'll be mainlining carvery dinners when he gets to college!

CultureSucksDownWords Mon 10-Aug-15 22:37:50

I agree with what a lot of the PP have said.

Plan your meals for the day, including what puddings and snacks you will offer. Make sure that in each meal is at least one element that your DS would eat or try. Don't offer alternatives or substitutes if things don't get eaten. Give the pudding irrespective of how much main is eaten, but I wouldn't give seconds if the main is not mostly eaten. I also wouldn't give more snack than planned if the previous meal wasn't mostly eaten.

I would put his food straight onto his tray if he's prone to throwing his plate. I would continue with just returning dropped food to his tray without any comment. I also think it's very important to avoid all discussion about the food, so avoid any comments like "mmm, yummy, do you want to try?". Don't ask him to try anything, don't encourage him to eat, don't make any comments about it at all. Eat your food and chat about other stuff, play calm music if you like. Try and keep the atmosphere light and calm. Let him feed himself with his hands, and don't try and spoon feed him. Give a multivitamin if you're not already then you won't need to worry about essential nutrients whilst this is getting sorted out.

Don't increase the bottles as that will be a backwards step. You may well have to deal with night waking whilst this is getting sorted, but I think it's important not to swap food for milk at this age.

RattleAndRoll Tue 11-Aug-15 08:39:24

Thank you for giving such detailed replies both of you. Both posts are really helpful.

So is this right -

All meals each day to be something new, but with something I know he'll eat. (The thing he will eat needs to be more of a side thing rather than a full other meal eg do him jacket potato with beans and cheese (potato and beans he doesn't usually eat - cheese he only eats in a sandwich) along with cucumber, tomatoes (he eats these).) is that right?

No fuss if he doesn't eat. Do I praise if he does try things? Pick things up without comment and put back on his tray. Let him get messy.

Try to replace night time milk with water. Do I not give him any whatsoever or try to reduce it first? This is going to be so shitty isn't it? What do I actually do during the night if I've tried everything to get him to go back to sleep and he just wants milk?

Currently I don't give vitamins but last few days have been looking at them so will get some.

How long do I do this for? When would I expect to see a change? I don't want to still be doing this in a month/ 6 months and nothing's changed and everyone's horrified I'm still starving him!

RattleAndRoll Tue 11-Aug-15 09:20:54

And do I give milk at all during the day?
And how long do I have him at the table for, say he's thrown his food, I've picked it up. He's whingy and throwing it on the floor again. I pick it up. He's now crying and throwing it on the floor. How long do I keep going for? This morning he threw it all twice, then he was crying so have taken it away and given him his fruit. He must have only been at the table 5 mins though.
However he did taste a bit towards the end of the last throw and then spat it out and threw it all on the floor.

CultureSucksDownWords Tue 11-Aug-15 11:58:00

Try not to think in terms of "how long will it take", instead think of it as "this is how we do mealtimes now". Things ebb and flow with mealtimes as PP has said. I don't think the job is done till they're 18 plus, and cooking their own food!

The jacket potato meal sounds ideal - some things that are usually eaten plus a few other parts.

I wouldn't praise for eating anything, I wouldn't comment on his eating at all tbh. I would allow him to eat for as long as you're eating yours, and if he's not interested then clear away (calmly and without making it a big deal) and move on.

One thing I find helpful is to not always have a pudding, and only one a day at most. It stops them expecting a dessert at every meal which isn't necessary. Plus it means they get used to there being no guarantee that there'll be a pudding to fill up on if the main is left.

I'm not an expert on milk, as I was breastfeeding. At this age I think we'd be doing a morning feed on waking, another before nap and again before bed. We had just stopped doing a night feed I think. I don't know how that would translate into formula feeds but I don't think it's unreasonable to be doing 2 or 3 bottles a day?

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 11-Aug-15 16:41:04

Totally agree with pp. No praise for eating, eating is just something that we do. We had an extremely fussy dd and did all of this and it does work.

At one they don't actually need to eat that much. They aren't growing at the same rate they did before 12 months, so a lot of parents start to worry that they aren't having the same calories when, in fact, it is totally normal.

Can I suggest a little meal plan for a day, if that's not being too presumptuous?

Breakfast weetabix with chopped berries and full fat milk, no bottle but a cup of milk instead.

10ish a couple of small cubes of cheese with some halved grapes.

Lunch. Ham sandwich with cucumber and cherry tomatoes followed by natural yoghurt and banana. Cup of milk.

Afternoon snack a couple of mini breadsticks with hummus dip.

Tea spaghetti Bol with one slice of garlic bread.

Bedtime bottle of full fat cows milk.

How does that sound?

Also, as you seem so stressed about his eating, is there someone else who could offer him a couple of meals? If DH is a bit more relaxed, could he do breakfast whilst you have a shower or could you have a few hours to youse like on Saturday and let him ignore DS at mealtimes offer lunch and afternoon snack?

ShipShapeAhoy Tue 11-Aug-15 16:55:32

My dd throws food on to the floor too but she has got better. I think it just clicked one day (although she still has her moments sadly!). Im sure it will click with yours one day too. Sometimes I sit her on this floor with the plate of food next to her so she can throw it around but pick it up herself and she sometimes ended up eating some. Maybe that's worth a go, the change of setting might encourage him.

Dd is bf so not sure if the same with ff but I have worked on cutting out her milk in the day (although she gets loads at night still).

I don't think there's an exact way to make it work, you just need to keep trying different things.

It doesn't sound like he eats that badly btw. He gets salad, fruit, crackers, cheese... Those are all good things and there's variety there. You just want to increase the variety a bit.

Is part of the problem for you that he doesn't feed himself enough? Dd has toast and bready and salady thjngs she feeds herself, but more complicated stuff (like spaghetti bol etc) I will spoon feed to her. Maybe spoon feed more (sorry if you already are). My dd was really good at clamping her mouth shut and pushing the spoon away but with a lot of perseverance we got there. Sometimes I'd sneak food in her mouth and once she got a taste for it she'd willingly eat more.

Try not to worry so much because he will get there eventually. I know it's easier said then done. Like I said in my last post I've found weaning harder than anything else so far.

Diggum Tue 11-Aug-15 19:58:21

JiltedJohn's suggestions are great. I always struggle with lunchtime I must say so might just try the sandwich suggestion!

As to bedtime milk I'd say water it down. So maybe a third water to two thirds milk the first night, then half and half, then gradually lower the milk ratio till he's basically getting ghostly looking water. I'd just give plain water if he wakes though you could do the watering down for night feeds too.

I'm not sure about a time scale for how long this would take in terms of the eating but I'd be inclined to make your plans and stick with them doggedly (but without showing you care!) Even if it does take a month! You provide a variety of good foods and he takes what he wants.

For individual meals I'd give it a relaxed half hour or even 45 mins if you're having a cuppa yourself after. However long it generally takes for you to eat a leisurely meal and chat with your DP while offering oh-so-casual bites to DS.

Also using appealing terms for the food helps I find. But again being nonchalant is crucial. "Ooh, sweetie potatoes, I love these", to no one in particular as you nibble sweet potato. "Mmm ice cream peas, my favourite" as you munch a frozen pea. You're gently modelling to him that food is enjoyable, without it being a big issue or something to use as a weapon.

Think of it as trying to make him ask food out on a date. He'll want it to be his idea, not to be forced into it, and definitely not to suspect the food is desperate for him to like it grin.

RattleAndRoll Wed 12-Aug-15 11:27:26

Only just had a chance to get on here. Thank you everyone again for your helpful replies.

I'm on an app so can't see replies therefore can't remember what everyone has said. However, progress has been made!
(Not my usual menu, shopping delivery was due late last night)

Yesterday:
Early morning he had a bottle.
Breakfast I gave beans and cheese on toast. He eventually tried a bit but didn't eat much. But he tried some! Strawberries after.
Lunch we had tuna, Mayo, sweetcorn on jacket potato and salad. (Have tried him before with all this and wouldn't touch it) He scooped mouthfuls of tuna in his mouth and kept eating, he tried carrot and kept eating it, and lettuce too, potato he kept putting in his mouth and eating the potato part and then spitting out the skins. Few blueberries. Bottle before nap.
Dinner was sausages, sweet potato mash and veg. Kept throwing mash on floor until we spoon fed him a bit then had a few spoonfuls after. He ate his whole sausage. He then tried broccoli, cauliflower and peas. (Wouldn't eat carrot though - earlier it was raw, tonight cooked, might be why?) then yoghurt and grapes.
Bedtime bottle. (9oz)
He then whinged so I gave him a bottle of water and he drank some and went to sleep. He woke 4/5 times but each time I gave him his water bottle and he had some and went back to sleep without fuss. (Am hoping he eventually stops waking so much when he starts eating more as he used to sleep through but I don't know)

I thought he'd be starving this morning, dished up weetabix and strawberries. Had about half a weetabix, a few strawberries and about 5oz of milk. Most days he'd eat all his weetabix but he might just want smaller meals which is fine.

I don't know what's happened to him, or if yesterday was a one off, but he was completely different. Tried so many different foods he'd usually not try. Hoping it continues today. We still had the chucking it all on floor a few times first but it's like in the end he realised i was just going to put it back on his tray so he might as well try it? I do have tuna on the wall and mash on the TV stand though

Fingers crossed it continues.
I bet today he won't try anything just to throw me off!

Thank you all so much.

Singsongsung Wed 12-Aug-15 11:36:58

Can I suggest that you flip your meals around so that lunch becomes the most important meal (the one with protein etc) and tea becomes a lighter one? In my experience, babies and toddlers are often too tired in the evening to properly manage a decent meal but are often more receptive to it at lunchtime.

RattleAndRoll Wed 12-Aug-15 11:38:32

He's still on formula at the mo, as he's not quite 1, (Saturday eeek!) do I start giving cows milk now? Do I wait a few weeks til his eating's better? Do i gradually change it or swap straight over? A few nights ago he had his bottle of formula and then wanted more and I didn't have any made up so gave him a few oz of cows milk and he drank it happily.

RattleAndRoll Wed 12-Aug-15 11:41:10

Sorry cross posts.
I have tried that before and didn't seem to do anything, however if this doesn't work I will try again. Only issue (my issue) is having to cook proper dinners twice.

BertieBotts Wed 12-Aug-15 11:45:16

This is a really normal phase, don't worry! A good book is Carlos Gonzales' My Child Won't Eat.

Two reasons for food intake dropping at around a year of age. Firstly they are getting more mobile so in caveman times that means exploring more away from the safety of the tribe. Hence natural instinct to be suspicious of new foods and less likely to explore by putting things in own mouth. Often they prefer to eat your food rather than their own.

Secondly, they grow extremely rapidly in the first year and then their rate of growth tails off. Whereas he's most likely approaching triple his birth weight, he won't double his current weight until he's about four. In the first six months a 50th centile baby will put on about 1kg each month, but by the end of the first year this has slowed to around 300g. While he needs more energy due to being bigger, he doesn't need as much energy to grow as he did, so he can actually eat less now than he did at 6 months and still be receiving enough nutrients etc.

BertieBotts Wed 12-Aug-15 11:47:01

And - sorry to be the bringr of doom grin but I found DS woke more from hunger in the night at 13 months than he had before but it didn't last too long.

Singsongsung Wed 12-Aug-15 11:56:13

We freeze food that I cook in batches still so that dd2 has something from the freezer at lunchtime (shepherd's pie, fish pie, beef casserole etc etc). That has the added bonus of being v quick to prepare. In the evening she'll then just have sandwiches or a risotto type thing etc.
I have found with my dd2 (very similar age) that she is less willing to be spoon fed by me now and much prefers finger foods that she can do herself. It is much more messy though!! shock

Singsongsung Wed 12-Aug-15 11:56:46

We freeze food that I cook in batches still so that dd2 has something from the freezer at lunchtime (shepherd's pie, fish pie, beef casserole etc etc). That has the added bonus of being v quick to prepare. In the evening she'll then just have sandwiches or a risotto type thing etc.
I have found with my dd2 (very similar age) that she is less willing to be spoon fed by me now and much prefers finger foods that she can do herself. It is much more messy though!! shock

Singsongsung Wed 12-Aug-15 11:58:27

Apologies for double post! Phone went weird!

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 12-Aug-15 15:45:02

If he's happy to have cows milk, I'd just swap now. Absolutely no need for formula past 12 months.

How is today going?

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