Must I starve him?(7 Posts)
In brief, ds aged 3yo is incredibly fussy eater. For 18 months now he has had chicken nuggets for lunch and fish fingers for tea every single day. Supplements this with fruit yoghurt, fruit puree, occasional baby jar of cauliflower cheese, dry cereals for breakfast, plain white and brown bread, breadsticks, crackers and sometimes a banana. He drinks orange juice or water.
He will not try anything new at all. Just won't. I have tried to get him involved in cooking, make things look pretty and fun on his plate, take him out to eat, we always eat at the table together, he has chosen nice cutlery and plates, I always eat with them and he asks what I am having and I offer him a bit, but no way. I've been cross with him, patient with him, tried bribing him, tried making a fuss and tried not making a fuss.
The only advice HV and other friends and family have is that I should let him go hungry until he caves in and tries something new ie literally give him nothing at all except the new thing I am trying on him. Is that really my only option?
I sort of tried this once and all that happened was that after a normal breakfast he went an entire day with eating nothing at all but was screaming and crying and of course slept badly. Next day he did exactly the same, so I caved in at teatime.
I am totally at my wits end.
(BTW he is a twin - his sister with whom I have done evrything the same is a picky eater but will try most things and has a decent range of things she will eat.)
Can anyone help?
God - I really feel for you. My DS (2yrs) is fussy but not as much as your DS.
From what I can see, you're doing everything the books say to do and I recently read that you should always offer new foods along with other foods they do eat so I think your HV was wrong to suggest only offering the one new thing.
It is so stressful to make a small child go without too - they often don't eat more the next day and still refuse to try the new thing.
I'd just keep putting a few little pieces of new things on his plate and if you cave in later, don't worry.
Do you think it could be an attention thing because of his twin? Kind of 'if I don't play the game, I'll get more attention'?
My HV said don't give him anything after he refuses his tea but I felt bad sending him to bed hungry and then he'd wake up anyway in the night as he had a rumbly tummy. I'd just fill him up on healthy stuff he does eat and hope it's a phase that he'll grow out of.
Does he go to preschool where they have snacks? What does he do there? Could you perhaps ask them to help him try new foods?
Good luck anyway - It's so easy for other people to suggest what to do but it's so frustrating having to think of what meals to do every day, knowing full well, they'll be left on the plate.
I have had success with a chart where my dd1 gets a smiley face (and a big fuss made)if she tries something new - even to put it in her mouth - and then a present (just something small)after a certain number of smileys. Other than that I just got tough. Only eating at mealtimes and only eating what was offered, no substitutions.
You could try the strict route, but give him some leeway eg. chicken nuggets in tomato sauce, fish fingers chopped up in rice - some way to get him to start trying different things, but with some of the tastes he used to rather than something totally different. Once he can eat like this, maybe move onto a new food. That way you are saying: I know you like this, but we are eating it like this today - and maybe the whole family could eat it too.
Starving him won't do anything other than tell him mealtimes are stress
Just do what you are doing, maybe stick a little of something new on his plate or on a side plate. Just say, I put this here for you, if you would like to try it. If he doesn't, just take it away, no comment but praise for sitting nicely/eating nuggets. Huge praise for sister for eating anything new, but still some praise for him for sitting nicely and eating what he does like nicely. Doesn't it take a child about 20 times of trying to accept new foods? Sure I have heard that somewhere
all children like to exert control, your son is choosing to do it over food. He will eat a varied diet eventually (I have had a breakthrough recently over 15 year old and vegetables! lol)
Thanks for the thoughts and suggestions. It is just a pig of a situation. i agree it may partly be an attention thing as so much of what he does generally is for attention - dd has SN so ds is often in her shadow as a result. But with the food thing I think he just isn't a foodie ( like his dad ). I am ths size of a house and love my food and so does dd but he just isn't interested at all.
JJ i get what you are saying about does it matter, and I felt that way to for ages, but at the moment I get the feeling he is just bored with the same few things so he is just eating even less. While it is kind of balanced at the moment, ever since he was tiny what is happening is that he drops a food every so often and never goes back to it, which is why I am trying to bring new things in. If he drops, say, the chicken from his repertoire then it looks much more dodgy all of a sudden.
I think I will start off trying to put extras alongside the usual meals and start up a reward chart too.
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