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  1. #1
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    Default Help with fussy 3yo and eating

    I have always been happy to let miss 3yo fussy eating slide as I've read if you make a big deal of it and battle it just makes it worse. She's tiny (less than 3rd percentile) and has never been very interested in food.

    However things are not improving. At all. Her diet is extremely limited and poor. It's embarrassing to take her somewhere such as MILs house and they have gone the extra mile to cook something I've told her she'll like and she will refuse to touch it. She won't even look at the food daycare offer choosing to go to bed instead.

    Dh and me are starting to fight about it. We don't agree on what to do. Tonight he asked dd what she wanted and prepared a bacon toasted sandwich and some pear (she doesn't even like it but asked fit done). She took one bite of the toast and declared she was full. Rightly or wrongly he lost it. But it doesn't change anything. One night last week he tried to make her eat something and she just sat there bawling as he told her she was going straight to bed without books. She tried to eat it but she was upset and gagging. I had to leave and go in my room I was so upset by it all. He says it doesn't help I don't back him up.

    I don't like the hard approach as I fought my mum for YEARS over dinner and often went to bed hungry. It achieved nothing. But at the same time dh says it's not about the food but bad behaviour by not at least trying something or asking for something and then not eating it, or refusing to eat something she likes and asks for something else a bit later.

    She eats no meat, no fruit and minimal veg. She often likes something but then decides she doesn't after all and I throw away large volumes of food. I keep telling dh this is typical behaviour but he's saying it's neglect that we don't make her eat properly.

    Does it get better? Am I doing the wrong thing by just letting it go? Dh is so angry right now at dd1 and me for being soft and letting her get away with it .

    Please help

    Eta: she's not underweight just small- I'm very petite myself and not a big eater either
    Last edited by Little Miss Sunshine; 19-06-2016 at 19:56.

  2. #2
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    What does she eat? I would try to coax her to eat a little more if possible but I agree with your approach and I dont think being forced to eat helps the issue.

    Personally I agree with you and if DD and/or DS dont eat dinner, they can have an apple, carrot or PB sandwich but I dont force dinner.

    I'm just going to throw some ideas:
    - distracting her at dinner time. Not ideal but my DD eats more in front of the tv. I know bad habits etc but at least she eats.
    - getting her to help meal plan/shop/ prepare the food
    - my DD is a bit older but she has been loving about how our food helps our bodies grow etc and has been keen into that
    - would she drink smoothies? Can you get stuff in there.

    An understanding MCHN might have some more ideas.
    - are there sensory issues at play?

    I was speaking to someone who was a nutrtionist and her son woild eat apples and rice. He soon grew out of it

    Lots of hugs. My children refused to eat pizza tonight - wtf, clearly not my kids

  3. #3
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    Well you know I have lots of food issues with my daughter.
    And ^^^ has great ideas.
    Just to add...

    - try a plate with some food she does like but put something new there as well.
    (Eg... my dd doesn't eat carrots *among other things. .. but what I do is put a few on her plate anywhere. And cut them differently etc. So you're introducing a new food without pressure. .. and tell her she doesn't need to eat it. But if she tolerates it in front of her that's progress.
    - put out the food on plates/bowls and she can serve herself.
    I've got plenty of other things we do with DD for her issues. I'll come back just can't think right now.
    It takes so much out of you eating issues. Also muscle tone can play a huge role with food. Chewing food can be tiring. Could it be possible she has some low tone which is why she doesn't eat meat etc.
    Also. ..and I know you probably know this but forcing the food in will only make it worse. Getting angry will only make it worse. Bribery general will be a fail too. Some kids just don't enjoy food. Trust me I lose the plot with my DD frequently. .. she's on a huge food strike right now and I've thrown out everything I've offered for week. It's so unbelievably frustrating. Sending you hugs.

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    I try to work on the "I decide what food to offer and when, but dd decides what to eat" approach. It was one of the few things of value I took away from mach nurse visits. I agree that making dinner a battle ground doesn't help anyone. Current health advice is that it can actually create unhealthy relationships with food in the future.
    For my dd I try to make sure there's something on her plate that she's eaten before but if she doesn't want any of it then it's not a big deal. We keep the focus at dinner on talking to each other. Dh and I make sure we talk to each other about how yummy dinner is. Occasionally we'll ask dd if she wants to try some of her dinner but if she says no we move on. If she doesn't eat dinner and then decides she's hungry later we offer a banana, apple, or a sandwich.
    I'm not sure what advice to offer about the issue of your dh's differing approach. The only thing I can think to suggest is getting him to do some reading about toddlers and healthy food relationships?

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    Default Help with fussy 3yo and eating

    I agree with not liking the hard or forced approach as yes I believe it does more harm than good, I'm not one for giving DS a choice as such, he just eats what we do, I do know what he genuinely doesn't like so never give that but he eats as much /little as he wants but I never make extra meals , we have one night a week when it's his choice , ( he always chooses fish tacos) and he always comes shopping with me so is involved in the processes but at the younger ages I think giving a choice can back fire , as they think they are in control ( or give them say 2 healthy choices - chicken or fish for dinner?)
    She may just be a small eater which is fine but yes honestly all you can do ( unless there are medical issues ) is just keep offering healthy food, keep eating it in front of her and hopefully it will just become "normal " to her , good luck xx

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elijahs Mum View Post
    She may just be a small eater which is fine but yes honestly all you can do ( unless there are medical issues ) is just keep offering healthy food, keep eating it in front of her and hopefully it will just become "normal " to her , good luck xx
    This.
    I'm sure you've had times where you don't feel like eating anything, I think if she doesn't want to eat anything there will be no food you can make/ nothing you can do that will make her want to eat.
    I have one good eater (7yo) and then a fussy 4yo (making slow progress) and a newly fussy 1yo. I have put way to much pressure on the 4yo in the past, and I think it has just made her fussier. I'm going with the I offer it, he decides if he wants to eat it, with the 1yo and hope that this fussy stage is much shorter for him.
    Good luck

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    Your description sounds just like DS2. He is 4 in October and is below 3rd percentile for weight as well. He also has a VERY limited range of food he will eat which changes at random. He does all of the things you have said in your post (including asking for a specific food and then saying he doesn't like it 😭).

    My DH also struggles but has predominately left me in charge.

    So DS2 is involved in all meal prep. He will sometimes eat things as we prepare the meal - so I just count that as a meal!

    If he asks for something random like porridge for dinner then I make it.

    I always offer the main meals and we all sit together for dinner (just DS2 and I for brekky and lunch). However he does not have to eat anything if he doesn't want to. I do encourage him to smell, lick and taste food. He knows if he takes a bite and doesn't like it he can spit it out - there is no pressure.

    I always put vegetables and fruit on his plates. He will say he doesn't like 'X' and I just say that's ok you don't have to eat it. Sometimes he will leave it on the plate other times he gets too stressed and I have to take it off the plate.

    The other thing that seems to work with him has been growing our own vegetables. He won't touch a carrot that is peeled and cut up on his plate BUT will happily pull one out of the dirt, wash it under the tap and munch away!

    It is REALLY hard but making food a battleground will not work IMO. Maybe rule out and sensory or muscle tone issues with your GP and then sit with your DH to discuss. Being divided on it definitely won't help the situation either.

    Big hugs - it's super stressful I know!

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    Default Help with fussy 3yo and eating

    I go with the "I choose what and when, you choose how much" deal. He doesn't have to eat any of his meals, but if he doesn't eat what's offered, he doesn't eat. His choice. We had a Mexican stand off on Saturday as he wouldn't even try the soup I made for lunch. I refused to give him anything else to eat until he had at least tried it. He didn't eat from 11- 6, when he decided to have one mouthful. He told me he didn't like it and that was fine, I expected that, but I refuse to allow him to tell me he doesn't like something without trying it.

    If he finishes his dinner and is still hungry, he can have milk and fruit after. If he doesn't finish his dinner, it goes in the fridge for the inevitable "I'm hungry!" That happens immediately after a bath. It took some tears, but we all know what happens now and mostly there isn't an issue. I don't serve up a lot of things he doesn't like, for example, tonight he had frozen corn kernels instead of corn on the cob, I try to be realistic with it and not insist on eating something he doesn't like. If he tries the peas and doesn't like them, but eats the rest, then that's fine.

    Sorry for the novel lol!

    Edited to add that after he tried the soup and didn't like it, he had dinner with the rest of us.

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    Following....i will return

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    I went to a workshop this weekend about dealing with "fussy eaters" because my 2 year old has a limited diet. A couple of the take home messages that I got that I hope help you;

    * the division of responsibility in the "feeding relationship". You decide the what, when & where. They decide whether they do & how much.
    * always offer a "safe" food (something your child likes/has eaten before) with new food choices
    * that dinner time is often the battle ground because we tend to offer the harder foods (veges etc) when our kids are already tired etc. Look for opportunities to provide these choices earlier in the day.

    Shared in the hope it helps x

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