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A bit beside myself with his eating - or lack there of


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#1 **** Sarah and Adam ****

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 10:46 AM

History is - Hamish was BF until 21 months when he self weaned. Had intolerances to dairy, gluten and soy and strong flavours and salycylates (sp?) were also a big no no. Slowly from about 18 months we were able to introduce a large amount of foods to where we are now that I am quite confident he will tolerate anything....getting him to eat it is another thing altogether.

He is fussy with lollies, chocolate, vegetables, fruit, carbs you name it he is fussy about it. So its not just a vegetable thing! He turns his nose up at a piece of chocolate cake or some ice cream like he would a piece of broccoli!

I'm just struggling with what we do from here. My current theory is that he is low on iron, but can I get him to have a multivitamin...NOO!!!

I can make us a bolognaise for dinner. I can give him pasta with just cheese ontop and he will eat it, or I can put a little bit of bolognaise in it and he will reject it...often not even tasting it. So it becomes a battle of do I feed him what I know he will eat or what I want him to eat? We've always given a yoghurt before bed so he doesn't go hungry, so should I just give him what we are having and the yoghurt is there to ensure he isn't starving?
He would live off milk if I let him and screams at me for it, I'm in a battle of not wanting him to fill up on milk bt wanting to ensure he gleans whatever nutrients he can from food sources like milk since he won't eat anything!

I'm just going spare because I have no idea what to do. I've just made him a sandwich on multigrain bread, he would not even try it and has turned his nose right up at it, he would eat it if on brown or white but I didn't have them here!

Anybody else going through this or gone through this and have some tips? Anybody a nutritionist and have some ideas for me?

#2 scasey77

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 10:59 AM

Heather - I am not sure I can be much help but we have similar problems with Cate on and off. She will go through really good periods where we manage to get her to eat lots of new things but then periods where she is so fussy it's ridiculous. She has never been a big eater.

She is very particular too - things have to be just right for her to eat them. Change one little thing and you have a battle on your hands.

One thing I have just discovered recently is putting food on toothpicks. She loves having a toothpick to eat her food. Obviously only works with chunky food.

I usually try to give Cate a new thing on her plate a couple of times a week (along with other things she has already eaten). Usually she won't touch it for ages but I just keep giving it and eventually (possibly weeks later) she will try it. I have also learnt not to make a big deal over new foods too - just point out it is there and what it is, suggest she try it a couple of times but that is it. She generally refuses to even touh anything that I suggest she eat - she has to do it of her own accord.

I also try to give her at least one thing on her plate that I know she likes (such as plain cooked pasta) so that she will at least eat that. That is harder to do when you are doing something like spag bol though.

For us, if she doesn't eat her savoury course we just leave it and she has her yoghurt (which she has every night). I basically just try to ignore the fact that she didn't eat the first course and carry on as normal.

On the milk thing - Cate has just started to show so much more interest in milk too. She asks for it all the time. So far I have just stood firm in that she has it with breakfast and before bed - twice a day. The rest of the time is water. Like you I don't want her filling up on milk and food going down even more.
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#3 Mel B

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 11:18 AM

Eddie is another one who would have lived on milk if I let him. Only a few months ago he was drinking about 750ml a day, plus eating cheese & yoghurt at every meal. So I cut back the milk to one 240ml before bed. The rest of the day he only has water. I've found it dramatically increased the variety and amount of food he will eat. He is always offered custard, yoghurt or fruit after lunch and dinner.

Rosie is also pretty fussy but fortunately the things she does like includes a reasonable range of healthy food, so I offer her mainly things she likes and don't make a fuss if she doesn't try everything.

I find my kids eat far better if I leave them to get on with it and don't hover or encourage. Also they eat far more if the TV is on. If we try to sit around the table in silence they get bored after 2 minutes and the meal is over, whereas they will happily eat their meal slowly over a period of 30 mins or so if they can watch TV at the same time.

The other thing that works for me is having no snacks after 3.30pm, then I serve their dinner at 5. They are genuinely hungry (especially Eddie who often hasn't eaten since lunch as he sleeps in the afternoon) and they enjoy their dinner far more.

I think it's completely normal for toddlers to be picky. I was so fussy as a child, and I eat almost anything now!
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#4 sam-lou

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 11:33 AM

Some great advice. Things that have worked for me are to put the food on her table and leave her to come and go and not hover over her eating it. If she refused most of it after a while i would just give her a jar of apple and oatmeal. I didnt want to make a big deal out of eating. have also had to reduce milk too as it is requested often and i think she would live off milk and bikkies if i let her. For me it has been trial and error. If i gave I a cheese sandwich she would turn up her nose but if i put a bit of sauce on some toasted bread, added a few mushrooms, pineapple and cheese and grilled it and called it pizza she would love it.

Good luck Heather, I hope some of these strategies work for you.
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#5 **** Sarah and Adam ****

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 11:34 AM

Thanks girls its just nice to know other toddlers are these fussy, I guess I always had romantic ideas that he would just eat what we eat! HA!

Just found these two websites which are quite comforting and provide some realistic advice, http://www.tipsforpa...ssy-eaters.html and http://www.drpaul.co...pickyeater.html.

I thinkI just need a plan from here which is going to be. Milk in a small cup after breakfast, and then a small amount before nap and bed time.
Yoghut before bed still (which is an adult sized yoghurt so nice and filling). And offering things I know he will at with things he won't. I.e. Bolognaise provided on a plate with pasta separate to the bolognaise, bangas and mash where he has the option of eating the sausage but not having too.

I'm always happy to have the TV on but he actually is happy to sit and eat an entire meal, its not getting his interest or appetite going that is the problem it seems to be a pure food fussyness driven thing!

#6 BaliJess

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 11:34 AM

Max is a funny eater. He will eat heaps every 3rd day and very little in between ! I also find he eats more if I leave little amounts of food on his table and leave him to it. He will grab a bit as he plays.

I also find if I put a few pieces of fruit, like 5 blueberries on his plate, he will eat those and then continue to eat after that. I only give him little portions like a sandwich made with one piece of bread only, sometimes he will say 'more'.

I also give him at least one item on his dinner plate that I know he likes. He also only ever has 3-4 items on his plate for dinner and in small amounts, we found this works much better.

How can he be fussy with chocolate laugh.gif hehe
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#7 **** Sarah and Adam ****

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 11:45 AM

I know Jess its weird, I will get chocolate biscuits out and he says 'yucky yucky', I've encouraged that though! laugh.gif It make me feel better that he is an all round fussy eater, but then I cannot even make a chocolate cake and hide stuff in it!

#8 Nin79

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 12:01 PM

Hugh is exactly the same Heather - he LOVES his milk - would only just have milk if it were up to him - so I've started reducing his milk intake in the hope that he'll eat more - it seems to be working a little bit but certainly not as much as I'd hoped sad.gif

He's not fussy with his food, he just doesn't want to eat sad.gif I figure he'll eat if he's hungry though and I've made note of all the suggestions in this threat. So thanks for starting it.

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#9 Jaydee

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 01:09 PM

Obviously my little lad is a bit younger and only just discovering his picky side rolleyes.gif , but these things might help you..

*Muffin Tin Monday. I have a 6-hole muffin tin, and on Mondays his lunch is served in that, with a different food in each hole.

*Sneaky veg- how about cauliflower hidden in potato mash? Will he eat sausage rolls? There are HEAPS of things you can hide in there.

*Letting Hamish choose a new fruit to try at the supermarket/grocers. And getting him to 'help' you cook dinner.

*I think there's a brand of multivatins for children called Pentavite that do a liquid version, so you could slip that into his milk.

*We just give Levi what we're eating 99% of the time, and if he doesn't want it that's not a big deal, though I dont go running into the kitchen to get him something else, either. I dont want it to become a battle of wills- or become a short-order cook tongue.gif

#10 *****030812

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 01:27 PM

Heather, it is normal for toddlers to become fussy. I remember right up until about 18 months Taylor was a big eater, even when she was in PICU! They tried to tell me it was a good sign of her getting better and I said nah, she always eats.

But probably in the last year roughly her eating of dinner has gone down hill. She loves her cereal, cheese, cheese sandwiches, easiyo yoghurt, apples, bananas, treats, but dinner is real hit and miss. So much so that some nights I just give her cereal if I don't feel up to my food being rejected.

Saying all that though, I can see why you would be extra concerned about Hamish.......with how he dislikes things that kids normally devour.
I have read that too much calcium can cause iron deficiency that can lead to fussy eating. Not sure how you would go with finding out if this is the case though.
We did buy the pentavite and give to Taylor for a little bit, but I wasn't a fan of the colours etc in it (you know how I am).

One thing I have learnt when Taylor is fussy at dinner time, is to not serve her too much at once........and sometimes when I am feeling lazy I will feed her in front of the tv if I think it is going to produce a better outcome. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.

Do you think keeping a food diary for a few weeks might help ? then if you go to see someone to see if his fussiness is more than just general toddler fussiness, it might help.

I hope things improve or you get some answers.

I also do what Mel does...........no snacks between 3.30pm and dinner time.

#11 E_JaYnE

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 01:55 PM

Yep living it here to! ATM he will only eat pumpkin Knocchi! Drives me up the wall some times, I find thou if I stress to much about it it makes it worse for us both. I went to so much effort last week to make him spaghetti with the pasta he loves and he just pushed it away grrr! Other days he will eat random food like zuchinni slice out of the blue.
He loves his milk to and would live only on that if I let him. I have learnt a lot of patience at meal times, I am thou also trying to make it clear that there is only ONE meal not 5 going to be made!

Its definately a challenge, try to not let it do your head in. As my mother said to me "He will eat when he is hungry" And it so true, it just might be a bumpy road to get there smile.gif

#12 scary_girl

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 03:07 PM

I'll be keeping an eye on this thread - Zoe is already getting quite fussy!

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#13 Daybreak

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 03:30 PM

On the low iron thing - will he eat/drink Milo? It has stacks of iron (and other vitamins in it) - 50% RDI for an adult in one serve - and may be an easy way to boost his levels.
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#14 **** Sarah and Adam ****

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 03:42 PM

Thanks so much everybody I appreciate your advice/support and have read it with great interest!

Katie I am not sure if he will have milo, he hates chocolate favour except as a milkshake so my thought today was to actually mix it like a milkshake and hopefully he wil have one in the morning. Went grocery shopping this arvo but got cut short so wasn't able to get the milo!

#15 lizabear

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 04:12 PM

Sounds very much like Finlay. He is very fussy (always has been since starting solids - never ate anything off a spoon for me and basically ended up doing self led finger foods) and lives off plain pasta and chicken, sausages, etc - put anything on it and he wont touch it. Wont eat anything he's not familiar with - even yummy things or naughty things...

Its taken a lot of time but we have found that putting food in his bowl from our plates and also having platters on the table we all take food from - not just plonking a ready made plate in front of him has worked really well. So he can see that he really is eating what we are eating.

He wont literally touch anything that feels funny - no banana, he only eats grapes so I make him banana/fruit smoothies occasionally for morning tea and put yoghurt in that - maybe you could put a powder vitamin in that for him?...

We just keep offering the same "new" foods over and over until he eventually trys them.

Weve also found to get him to eat more of his dinner, he really likes this areoplane fork he has and we gave him a pair of mini tongs the other night and ate twice as much dinner as it was fun to use the tongs, so we chose what to put in the tongs for him...

Cutting back his milk intake also helped as well, he only sometimes has a bit in the mornings and midday nap sometimes but will have a cup before bed (which I have reduced the size of the cup recently)

We certainly dont force or stress over it, despite it being annoying as I feel this will just make it worse.

HTH.
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